Croatia: The island of Korčula
Updated: Jan 27, 2022
Our first island stop was the beautiful Korčula (pronounced korch-u-la), which was just a short ferry ride away from Dubrovnik.
This is a small island, and we made the beautiful and ancient Korčula town our home base for this two day stop.
On our first night we attended Moreska in an ancient outdoor amphitheater. This traditional sword dance is a confrontation between two kings engaged in an age-old story: a fight over a girl. This event is an ancient tradition on the island and goes back centuries.
The live orchestra set the pace for the dancers while the story unfolded, complete with a sword fight between Kings with sparks flying in the night sky as iron weapons loudly clashed with the swing of the mighty Kings' arms. The music emanated from the balcony above the actors and reverberated across the night sky - so cool!
After the amazing performance we walked over to the promenade that runs along the sea. There are lots of wonderful restaurants to
choose from on this waterside stone walk, and all let you sit right next to the sea, which is just below the wall running the length of the walkway (our favorite bar, Massimo, was just down the end of the walk). We had the most amazing meal of arctic char and Plavac Mali wine at Aurora. Our server was so friendly and conversational, we learned all about the island and his arrival from the North part of the country. We totally recommend this spot if you're in Korčula!
All of the restaurants along the promenade share the same waterfront view, and on this night the moon was casting a glow across the Adriatic Sea towards the mainland. As if that wasn't quite enough, I glanced up from my wine to peer at the sky and my eye caught a stunningly massive meteor fireball skimming low into the atmosphere above the mainland before burning out and disappearing. Wow that was a visual treat and and impressive way to wrap up our night!We walked back to our hotel, full from our meal and guided by the moon, our first day in Korčula a memorable experience.
Croatia is known for some delicious wines and the history of winemaking in Korčula goes back 2,500 years. Talk about old world wine! In addition to the inevitable bottles with every meal, we wanted to make sure we had a proper winery visit and tasting.
We set out as part of a small group tour to visit some local winery destinations, and it did not disappoint. The red Plavac Mali was divinely luscious with cheese and meat, and the white Pošip was bright and refreshing in the hot Dalmatian sun. Toreta winery was our favorite.
We made friends with some of our tour mates and decided to bring a pair of the twenty something couples with us for after winery drinks at one of Korčula's coolest watering holes - a place that quickly became our favorite after discovering it on our first day.
Massimo is one of the most unique cocktail bars we've ever seen.
Perched high atop a medieval turret with sunset views across the sea, you climb up a ladder through a small aperture to gain access to the open-air seating. The server hoists trays of cocktails from the bartender down below using a rope and pulley system not much different than the mechanism first used 2000 years ago.
It was worth the trip to the top as the views and the cocktails were fantastic!
On our final day we rented a scooter for some island exploration. We followed the coast just a few miles from old town to find Ozujak beach, which was a tiny cove of small white stones in a very secluded, calm, and utterly beautiful location. The water was clear and plenty warm for my first dip into the Adriatic Sea.
This was not your typical beach destination with crowds and umbrellas, bars, and restaurants. It was small, quiet, and out of the way. There was a small refreshment stand which was closed (probably due to Covid-19) and only a handful of other people. We spent an enjoyable hour there relaxing before we were itching for a new adventure.
We decided to put some miles on our scooter and explore the far reaches of the island. Rather than scoot back to Korčula town to access the major road across the island, we opted for the road less traveled straight from the beach.
This was a small and very windy mountain road with multiple hairpin turns traversing from sea level to the top of the mountainous terrain before finally reaching the major road. It was hairy and scary but a very fun journey! We finally ended up on the far end of this long thin island in the town of Vela Luka. We enjoyed a beer on an outdoor swing at a bar there, then walked around a bit until we realized that there was just not a whole lot to see in Vela Luka, so we jumped back on the scooter for a return trip back to Korčula town.
We love exploring local artists, and when we entered the gallery of painter Abel Brcic, we were immediately drawn to his vibrant colors and unique vision of his native island - so we went home with this beautiful blue representation of our time in Korcula.
After a fantastic dinner of local seafood and wine we got a good night's rest and were ready for our next stop in the morning. Onward to the city of Split!
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