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Croatia is a small country with a beautiful coast, more than 1,000 islands, and breathtaking views. The Croatian coast and islands are quite popular, especially during the hot summer months, and the island of Korčula is one of the best places to visit in Croatia for family fun. In fact, there are a lot of great things to do in Korcula that make the island a perfect destination for a family trip.
Kurzel in old German, Curzola in Italian, Korkyra Melaina in Greek, Corcyra Nigra in Latin, or simply Korčula in Croatian is a beautiful island situated in the southern part of Croatia in the region of Dalmatia. One of the most popular day trips from Dubrovnik, Korcula offers visitors beaches, nature hikes, history, culture, and delicious food.
Since the island has a mild climate, crystal-clear and clean sea, and rich historical and cultural heritage, Korčula is surely one of the favorite destinations in Dalmatia. The island is a place of relaxation and peace, and because of that, it is great for a family vacation or getaway.
This family travel guide to Korčula Croatia includes tips and tricks, hidden places, and the top things to do in Korcula, Croatia. Plus, all the foods, flavors and aromas you won’t want to miss while you’re there, and essential travel information like where to stay in Korcula, and how to get there.
Filled with natural beauty, the island and its most amazing town, Korčula, is a favorite among many travelers. This family travel guide for the amazing town answers all of your where, what, and why questions with a focus on family fun!
History & Culture of Korčula, Croatia
The town of Korčula is located in the northeastern part of the Croatian island with the same name. Korcula island is the sixth largest island in the country, spanning 20 miles in length, and 4 to 5 miles across. The island in the Adriatic Sea is less crowded than the popular Croatian destinations of Brac or Hvar, yet it is still easily accessible from the mainland of Croatia and cities like Split and Dubrovnik.
It consists of the old town situated on a small oval peninsula, a baroque suburb next to the old walls, and new and modern portions of the city which extend along the coast west and east of the old city center.
The best things to do in Korcula
Korčula is a place for exploring. The town has numerous small, narrow, and stone-paved streets with shops, museums, and churches. It is great for wandering, especially for kids who will enjoy those cute hidden ice cream shops!
The town has something for everybody – it is rich in historical and cultural sights with interesting presentations and traditions. Plus, there is no shortage of small shops selling unique hand-crafted souvenirs, paintings, and jewelry. So, there are so many things to do in Korcula to keep you and your kids entertained on a family trip.
Wander the picturesque streets of Old Town Korcula
The old town of Korčula is often referred to as “Little Dubrovnik”. It has medieval walls that surround the town and cute, picturesque Venetian-style buildings with red rooftops. What makes Korčula stand out is the already mentioned streets – they are perfect for a nice walk, exploring, and wandering, especially for the kids since the streets surely evoke those ancient vibes and take you back to the time of the knights!
Watch a traditional sword dance
Speaking of knights, during the summer, Korčula organizes a knights’ game called moreška. Moreška is a battle dance with swords, and it is characterized by a short drama and play. Moreška combines a stage performance with textual, musical, and choreographic elements that will have you and your family holding your breath while you watch.
Visit the Museum of Marco Polo
The Museum of Marco Polo encompasses all the great themes of time, memories, interesting stories, imagination, and creativity. The museum intertwines real stories and facts with fictional ones. Like theater, museums need to tell stories and make people of all generations ask questions and wonder. And that is exactly what the Museum of Marco Polo does.
Even though there isn’t any evidence that can confirm that Marco Polo was born in Korčula, it is widely believed that the adventurer was from the island. From Korcula, many historians believe Marco Polo journeyed to distant and unknown China in the 13th century. The museum presents Marco Polo’s life through seven scenes depicted by amazing scenography and puppets accompanied by an audio guide. Both you and your kids will love it!
Explore Kočje Nature Park
A little outside the town, you can find a natural phenomenon called Kočje. Kočje looks like an amazing green fairy-tale land with magical vegetation, moss-covered boulders, different bushes, and holm oak with beautiful canopies.
The nature park covers an area of about 10 acres, and is one of the best things to do in Korcula island.
Visit a prehistoric cave
If you’re interested in exploring more outside the town of Korcula, go to the opposite side of the island and visit Vela Luka, Korcula. There you will find Vela Spila, a cave situated 430 feet (130 meters) above the bay of Kale. This beautiful cave is also one of the most important prehistoric archeological sites in Europe and visiting it is one of the top things to do in Korcula.
As recently as 2006, archaeologists have discovered ancient pottery and artifacts dating back to 15,500 BC! The prehistoric ceramics are the second-oldest collection ever unearthed in Europe.
Fun ways to explore Korčula, Croatia
Getting around Korcula is part of the fun of visiting the island. Whether you’re on a day trip to Korcula or spending a full holiday on the island, here are the best ways to explore Korcula.
Explore on foot
There is no better way to take in the beauty of Korcula town than on foot. Take a self-guided walking tour through Old Town Korcula and visit landmarks like St. Mark’s Cathedral and the Korcula Town Museum. Venture out of the town for beautiful nature hikes and breathtaking views of the perfect blue water surrounding the island.
Cycle around Korcula Island
One of the best ways to explore not only the city, but the island too, is with bikes! It doesn’t matter if you’re a cycling professional or you’re just looking for a nice pedal through the island’s and town’s beauties, cycling is a great way to explore and wander. And I’m quite sure you’ll find a nice hidden spot for relaxation! And a beach, too!
Go on a buggy tour
If your family is a bit more adventurous, the Korčula buggy safari is an excellent way to explore. It offers a unique opportunity to discover the island by riding through the forest, olive groves, and vineyards.
Explore by sea
Of course, for nature exploration, there are always many other options off land, too, such as kayaking and sailing. You can choose the best water activities in Korcula, Croatia according to your family’s preferences and abilities, with, of course, kids in mind. Even young children will certainly love adventurous afternoons spent on the water.
Oh, and let’s not forget scuba and snorkeling! There are numerous kid-friendly options for these activities which are among the popular ones during the summer. Exploring the sea, its beauties, and depths will certainly be unforgettable for you and your kids.
Best beaches in Korčula
Near the town, you’ll find numerous small and hidden beaches that are perfect for just enjoying and relaxing with your family.
One of the most popular beaches for families with kids is Lumbarda. Lumbarda has some of the best sandy beaches in Dalmatia and thanks to that, Korčula is among the most popular holiday destinations for families with small children.
If you want to explore and just get away for a nice afternoon with your family, visit Pupnatska Luka. The bay has a beautiful pebble beach and crystal-clear water, and it is situated just 10 miles (15 km) away from Korčula town.
The beach Žal is located in the central part of Prigradica and it is one of the best places for swimming on the island.
Also located in the central part of the island, the small beach Žitna in bay Zavalatica will just take your breath away with its beauty!
Finally, if you want to explore by boat, make sure to visit the small island of Proizd, a 35-minute boat ride from Vela Luka. Once voted Croatia’s most beautiful beach, this small island is perfect for enjoying the water, walking along the beach, and exploring nature.
Heading to the beach with kids? Check out our list of beach essentials for kids to make sure your prepared.
Signature dishes and foods to try in Korcula
Food in the town of Korčula, as well as the rest of the island, primarily consists of a Mediterranean diet. People use simple, everyday, and accessible ingredients in order to prepare interesting and delicious dishes that are rich in flavors.
The most basic ingredients on the island are fish, vegetables, and fruit. When it comes to meat, the most prepared is lamb, goat, and mutton. But meat, especially those that are mentioned, is often considered a delicacy, along with prosciutto, game, and beef. However, the food selection is certainly rich, and due to that, every palate will easily find an ecstasy of flavors, aromas, and nuances. If you love trying new foods, one of the best things to do in Korčula is to sample the local cuisine! Here are some of the best dishes in Korcula to try.
Grilled fish is a specialty that can be found in every restaurant. From sardines, mackerel, and saithe to sea bream and groupers, almost every fish is suitable to be grilled and served with olive oil, lemon, potatoes, and some vegetables! For kids, there is always an option to indulge in tuna – especially if it is prepared in interesting ways and small snacks such as ražnjići.
Risotto is an excellent dish that combines rice and seafood such as prawns, shrimps, and shellfish. If it is well prepared, it is creamy and delicious, while the rice beautifully combines with the fruits from the sea depths.
Brodetto is a fish stew and a true delicacy, but it is a bit more suitable for adults since it combines different types of fish and each of them certainly will have a few bones. But if your kids want to try some seafood, offer them mussels prepared on buzara! Mussels are shells that contain a small amount of meat, and they are tasty and interesting to eat and clean, so the kids will surely have a blast!
Žrnovski makaruni presents the traditional pasta of the island and is a must-try! In August, there is a festival called Žrnovska makarunada. There, you can try this signature dish of the town Žrnovo (near Korčula) or you can try to make it by yourself!
If you’re a lover of the meat, you can always go for lamb prepared under peka. Peka is a bell-shaped iron or ceramic vessel which covers the lamb. It is coated with coal and it beautifully cooks lamb and potatoes to perfection.
Not much of a meat eater? For vegetable dishes, make sure to try blitva na lešo.
Kroštule or Fritule
When it comes to the desserts, most of them in Croatia are simple but oh, so delicious snacks! Kroštule are knot-shaped, crispy sweets covered with powdered sugar, while fritule are similar, but they have a ball-shape, and they can be covered with Nutella, sugar, and other dressings.
Arancini and limuncini
Arancini and limuncini are made of orange and lemon peel, covered in sugar, and then dried for a couple of days. They amazingly combine bitter peel with sweet nuances of the sugar, and they are great snacks throughout the day. Your kids will love them!
Mandulat and Rožata
Mandulat consists of two wafers with a mixture made of honey, sugar, and almonds, while rožata is a delicious Dalmatian pudding with caramel dressing. Must-try if you ask me!
Where to eat in Korcula: The Best Restaurants in Korcula
There are numerous restaurants in the town of Korčula, as well as near the town which certainly deserve your attention. Here are a few recommendations for where to eat in Korcula.
Tavern Aterina is a beautiful place with an outstanding view over the peninsula Pelješac. The chefs prepare amazing homemade food such as grilled vegetables, tasty soups, fish, octopus, pasta, prosciutto, and more. Oh, and homemade bread and cakes! Yummy!
Tavern Mareta is located in one of those narrow and small streets in Old Town Korcula which certainly give more authentic vibes. The tavern offers local cuisine based on Mediterranean, European, and Croatian recipes.
Fish ‘N’ Go
Fish’N’Go is a perfect family restaurant. It offers a nice selection of fish and fries, tartare, and fish sandwiches. The restaurant is considered as one of the best seafood places in Korcula. It has great service, and friendly staff, while the prices are quite attractive!
Pizzeria Leut is a relaxed place with tasty pizzas and sandwiches, so you can get away from fish a bit!
If you want to enjoy new flavors out of the town, make sure to visit Agrotourism Grubinjac. You’ll be surrounded by olive trees and breathtaking views, while the food will simply seduce you! This beautiful place is situated in Žrnovo and you’ll certainly enjoy all of its beauty.
Where to stay in Korcula, Croatia
From hostels, to hotels, to full apartments, there are accommodations in Korčula for every budget and type of traveler.
Hostel Korcula (best for those on a budget)
Whether you are traveling solo or simply enjoy the atmosphere of a hostel and don’t mind staying in hostels with kids, Hostel Korcula is one of the top rated hostels on the island. It is located in the heart of Old Town Korcula and just a short walk from the ferry port.
Marko Polo Hotel (best mid-range hotel)
Marko Polo Hotel is a nice hotel for those on a conservative, yet moderate budget. This hotel is located south of the walled Old Town with ocean views and a great breakfast.
Lesic Dimitri Palace (best luxury hotel)
Guests to Lesic Dimitri Palace rave about the luxury treatment, Old Town location and personalized ambiance of these boutique apartments. This is for those who want to feel like they are at a private retreat.
Old Town Seafront M&M Apartment (best for those who prefer apartments)
If you prefer apartments vs. hotels, this seafront apartment is a perfect ten! The beachfront property overlooks the water in Old Town Korcula, and provides comfort, luxury, and a great location.
How to get to Korcula, Croatia
There is no airport on the island of Korcula. So to get to Korcula, Croatia you’ll have to travel by ferry or by boat. There are ferries available from both Dubrovnik or Split, as well as some of the other popular destinations in Croatia like Orebic and Hvar. There are both catamaran ferries and car ferries, so if plan to bring a car with you to the island, you can do so.
Final Thoughts on visiting Korcula
Korčula is an island to enjoy, relax, and explore. Can you imagine a better vacation? Me either! Korčula town is a perfect, family-friendly place with numerous activities that are fun and interesting for all generations.
Of course, you can always plan a little escape from the town and explore the island, its bays, coves, and small villages, while learning about the island’s history, culture, and tradition. But don’t forget to enjoy Mediterranean flavors and aromas by tasting new and interesting flavors of the island’s traditional dishes!
Explore and wander with your family – and you’ll have a truly unforgettable vacation!
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About the Author
Thanks to our guest writer, Ana Cerovski for contributing this family travel guide to Korcula, Croatia. Ana is an experienced writer for restaurants and wineries at KitchenToast. She loves to photograph and travel, especially to Korčula which is her second home and the best inspiration for new articles, recipes, and flavors.