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We knew very little about our next port of call on our Mediterranean Cruise. In fact I’d never heard of the Croatian Island of Korčula. Probably because the Croatian islands of Viz and Hvar are more well known and popular with the Croatian sailing boats that cruise around the Adriatic Sea off the coastline of Croatia. All we knew was that Korčula is sometimes referred to as “mini Dubrovnik” and that it claims to be the birthplace of Marco Polo.
So with those two impressive facts in my mind I was looking forward to seeing this less frequented island. Korčula is the sixth largest Croatian Island and is known for its greenery and dense forest. The main town Korčula Town, where we disembarked from our cruise ship, has an Old Town with medieval squares, churches, palaces and houses. There’s also smaller towns and villages dotted around on the island that are worth exploring.
Our ship was moored a little way out from Korčula Harbour and as we boarded the tender boat there were dark clouds looming on the horizon. It looked as though it was going to pour down rain at any moment, so donning raincoats and carrying brollies, we quickly scampered for cover.
The Old Town itself is set on a small peninsula surrounded by sea on three sides. There were plenty of brightly coloured fishing boats and magnificent yachts moored in the bays and the marinas. It was such a pretty town from the sea, even with grey skies above.
After we realised the threat of rain had dispersed we walked through the narrow streets of the town around to another bay and marina, ogling the many beautiful yachts.
We then followed the bay around past a few restaurants and a big resort to a second bay. With our morning exercise out of the way, we turned around and walked back the other direction past the old town to a convent and church located by the water.
Market stalls had been setup around the exterior of the Old Town walls and being the shopping tragic that I am, I browsed these for a while. My two female travel companions and I were on a mission to purchase a couple of Captain’s caps that we were making the boys wear for my husband’s birthday the next day in Split. It’s a long story, but this has been a tradition of ours since travelling with the same friends on two previous occasions. Whoever has the birthday, must wear the hat that the wives have chosen for the occasion!
We entered the Old Town via the staircase through the land gate with Revelin Tower hovering above.
Although this 13th century fortress is a lot smaller than Dubrovnik, it is very well preserved and has many remarkable medieval buildings.
The narrow streets are arranged in a herringbone pattern allowing free circulation of air but protecting against strong winds.
The town’s historic sites include the central Gothic and Renaissance Cathedral of St Mark, the Town Hall and the massive city fortifications. Located in the Gabrielis Palace, is the Town Museum which is an outstanding example of 15th and 16th century residential architecture in the centre of the old town.
But by far the biggest attraction in Korčula Old Town is the supposed house that the famous Venetian explorer, Marco Polo was born in. The actual house does not originate from the times of Marco Polo (but was built in the 17th century). However we found it is still worth a poke around – at least to go up its watchtower for some great views.
Around the Old Town we discovered numerous places and things named after him, like shops and souvenirs. Given the fact that Marco Polo was a seafarer and adventurer he certainly was prominent in the local area and the Adriatic Sea. So maybe there is an iota of truth in the claim.
We stopped for a coffee at a bar with brightly printed vinyl chairs on the promenade overlooking the bay. The cafe/bar was the perfect place to perch oneself to people-watch and enjoy the sun that had finally emerged from the dark cloudy skies of earlier on in the day.
On the other side of the peninsula of the Old Town and outside the walls there are many waterfront restaurants all in a row. We strolled around a few times before we could decide on a place to eat lunch. Although the day was sunny, the breeze was decidedly brisk coming straight off the water.
We finally chose a table in the sun and all agreed that the special of the day – homemade vegetable soup and sour dough bread, sounded appetising. This was all washed down nicely with a pint of the local Croatian beer called Karlovacko.
Spending some time strolling around Korčula Town was a special day for me. I enjoyed the local vibe of the place and the relatively sleepy uncrowded streets. I finally found a place a little off the beaten path. A refreshing escape from the hordes of tourists that frequent the other Croatian hotspots. Korčula was divine!
Linking up with Travel Photo Thursday
Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
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budget janJuly 17, 2017
I’m so happy you got to visit Korčula and loved it. I would have liked to have got there but didn’t but I’ve seen photos of it and have always thought it looked lovely. I love croatian churches and the Cathedral of St. Marks is beautiful. The buildings here do look a lot like Vis.
KathyJuly 17, 2017
I think I liked the fact that it was less touristy and crowded than Dubrovnik and Split. The compact Old Town was also very well preserved and had some interesting churches and buildings. Plus I loved the pretty harbour.
DebbieJuly 20, 2017
We loved visiting Korcula a few years ago when we did a cycling and sailing tour of Southern Dalmatia. It was a lovely place and you’ve summed it up very well Kathy. Thanks for the memories!
KathyJuly 20, 2017
Thank you Debbie. A cruise and cycling tour of this area would be heavenly. I would love to do this one day. :)
EstherJuly 21, 2017
My husband and me visited Korcula when we just got engaged and I have such fun memories of the island. I really think it’s beautiful and the outdoor dining was just the best. Great photos!
KathyJuly 21, 2017
Thank you Esther. I loved all the places we visited in Croatia, but Korcula was a stand out because it was less hectic. It would be the perfect place for a romantic getaway. :)
Ruth | Tanama TalesJuly 22, 2017
Wow and wow! This is an island I would love to visit. I can get lost in that Old Town for days. And, I would not mind eating on those restaurants over and over again. The views are so inspiring. #TPThursday
KathyJuly 22, 2017
Yes Korcula was a big highlight of our cruise. We loved that it was less crowded and quieter than some of the other places we stopped at. :)
JulieJuly 23, 2017
I do so love Croatia but I’ve never heard of this place. Looks very intriguing I must say. And the thought of less tourists is very appealing.
KathyJuly 23, 2017
You and me both Julie. I had heard of Viz and Hvar but never Korcula. It was a beautiful island and I loved how sleepy it was. :)
JenJuly 25, 2017
Crotia really lives up to the hupe as new European destination. There’s just so much to see. I’m big fan of GoT and that’s how i knew Crotia. And now you just added another reason to visit this country.
KathyJuly 25, 2017
I had previously believed that Croatia was a hangout for younger people, however I pleasantly surprised with the amount of attractions, either historical or natural that were simply stunning. Korcula was a gorgeous place to see.
Paula - Gone with the WineJuly 25, 2017
Looks amazing! I have not been able to visit Croatia yet but it is definitely on my bucket list. I would love to jump into that turquoise water and visit that fortress. So much history there.
KathyJuly 25, 2017
I would not hesitate putting Croatia on my bucket list. It had so much to offer and that turquoise Adriatic Sea was so enticing!
Stacey BillingsleyJuly 25, 2017
Such a beautiful place! That water is so blue! I would love to explore the Old Town. That looks like a fun place to wander around. And I would totally be into the Marco Polo shop. Looks like you had a wonderful trip!
KathyJuly 25, 2017
We had a fabulous cruise around the Adriatic and Mediterranean Seas. Croatia was a highlight of our trip and the island of Korcula was most enjoyable.
Lydia SmithJuly 25, 2017
This is my first time of reading about Korcula. I’d love to visit and I’m sire I’d have a nice time to myself since it accomdates few tourists.
KathyJuly 25, 2017
I had never heard of Korcula prior to our visit either. It was a very pleasant surprise. :)
adaJuly 27, 2017
wow, now I am looking at that map and I am a bit shocked how many island Croatia have! Ive never heard of any of it ! Korčula seem so lovely! I am surprise why Croatia is not as popular like Italy or Spain as its beautiful as the other counties! Your photos are fabulous!
KathyJuly 27, 2017
Thank you. I always wanted to see Croatia and was fortunate enough to visit three places here on our Mediterranean Cruise. I think I chose well. Croatia lived up to my expectations. :)
NancieJuly 27, 2017
Every time I see a post featuring Croatia the country moves a little higher on my “must go” list. I love all the medieval architecture, and those blue waters make me coming back to look again and again. Thanks for linking up this week. #TPThursday
KathyJuly 27, 2017
I think you would definitely enjoy Croatia Nancie. Although we only got a small snippet of what it has to offer I could easily return to see more. :)
ZoyaJuly 27, 2017
Croatia has been on my list for quite some time and I just keep discovering more and more amazing things about it. Korcula looks absolutely stunning – I love architecture and history, but you would most probably find me lazing my days away on the beach and sipping mojito’s at one of those amazing waterfront cafe’s.
KathyJuly 28, 2017
I could easily see myself returning to Croatia and island hopping about. The idea of lazing on the beaches and sipping mojito’s is very appealing! I hope you get to fulfil your dream! :)
Samantha SparrowJuly 29, 2017
I just find Croatia to be so beautiful, and I can’t wait to visit. I think it is the beautiful blue sea and beaches set against the architecture of the Old Town – thanks for inspiring my next trip!
KathyJuly 30, 2017
Yes Croatia is all of those things – historical Old Towns, beautiful coastline with azure blue seas and some lovely little beaches. I would love to return someday soon. :)
Bruce SchinkelJuly 31, 2017
What a great overview of this island! I absolutely MUST add it to my itinerary the next time i’m in Croatia … especially for the historical architecture and Marco Polo factor :)
KathyJuly 31, 2017
For a small island Korcula did pack a punch. I loved that it was less crowded and touristy than other Croatian destinations.
nehaJuly 31, 2017
Medieval charm. Great architecture. Beautiful coastline. Seems the croatian island of Korcula has got it all that a traveler like me seeks. I am going to put this up on my bucket list because I was planning a visit to Croatia sometimes soon.
KathyJuly 31, 2017
Most certainly do not leave Korcula off your Croatian travel itinerary. It is a gem!