Floating just west of the Croatian mainland with dazzling views over the crystal clear Adriatic, the hulking mountains of the littoral and the Skoji islands scattered offshore, Korcula enjoys an enviable island setting. Its natural environment is equally desirable: spanning just 65km (41 miles) at its widest point, this slender island is shrouded in verdant pine forests, fertile vineyards and green shrubs. Korcula also reclines in a mellow Mediterranean climate and boasts a coastline punctuated with pebble beaches, attractive bays and secluded coves. Architecturally the island bears the unmistakeable stamp of the Venetian Republic, most notably in Korcula Town, which dominated local life for eight centuries. Visiting Korcula it is easy to understand why so many people rank it as their favourite Croatian island. No small achievement when you consider that the country boasts more than a thousand islands and islets.
Korcula boasts myriad shingle beaches. Proximity spurs many holidaymakers to plunge into the warm and clear Adriatic waters from the rocky beaches to the east of Korcula Town. One of Croatia’s best beaches, though, is the sandy beach located almost 10km (6 miles) away in Przna Bay, near Lumbarda. Orebic’s expansive pebble beach is a 15-minute ferry ride from Korcula Town.
Beyond the beach:
Korcula Town is one of the most attractive settlements in Europe; a pretty collection of traditional houses, centuries-old churches and cobbled streets enveloped by thick stone walls. Set majestically on its own peninsula the old town boasts sweeping 360° views over the Peljeski Channel to the distant vaulting mountains of the mainland. At the heart of this historic sanctuary the Cathedral of St Mark, Trg Sv Marka Statuta, dazzles with its gothic and renaissance architecture.
The colourful weekly re-enactments of the Moreska sword dance, which spectacularly recounts a tale of good triumphing over evil, are always a winner with kids. Children will also enjoy the ferry trip to Orebic, splashing about in the sea, building sandcastles on Przna Bay beach, and exploring the Skoji islands.
On the Peljesac Peninsula, Ston boasts fortified walls that tumble down the hillside like a miniature Great Wall of China. These mark the northern boundaries of the Ragusan Republic. Neighbouring Mali Ston with its handful of upscale fish restaurants should be an essential stop on the itinerary of any seafood connoisseur.