Korčula, Croatia

Nestled on an Adriatic Island off the Dalmatian Coast is the fortified Old Town of Korčula, Croatia. You will enjoy walking along the cobblestone, narrow streets while exploring its Medieval towers, walls, churches and the birth place of Marco Polo.

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1 Harbor View of Stari Grad Korčula, Croatia

The Island of Korčula is about 29 miles long and is located just off the Dalmatian coast of Croatia. This makes it the sixth largest of the 1,200 islands in the Adriatic archipelago. Its jewel is along the northeastern shore: the Old Town of Korčula. Stari Grad was fortified during the 10th century, took on its current design in the 13th century and reached its peak during the 16th century. This Medieval city may be small – it is about the size of a football field – but it is a delight to explore.

[42.958193, 17.137636]
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2 Tower Kanakević in Korčula, Croatia

Tower Kanakević was built in 1488 when this town was named Curzola and ruled by the Republic of Venice. It was commissioned by Agostino Barbarigo, the Dodge of Venice who was also responsible for Italy’s most famous clock tower at Piazza San Marco. This fortress is sometimes called Kula Kanalvic. This refers to Petar Kanavelić, a famous and prolific Croatian writer who lived next door during the 17th century.

Šetalište Petra Kanavelića, 20260, Korčula, Croatia
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3 Shoes on Cliff Overlooking Peljesac Strait in Korčula, Croatia

From the northern edge of the town of Korčula is a gorgeous view of Sveti Iliga Mountain. Its 3,153 foot summit forms part of the coastline of the Pelješac Peninsula. Apparently one traveler couldn’t resist the balmy blue waters of the Pelješac Strait.

Šetalište Petra Kanavelića, 20260, Korčula, Croatia
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4 Stairs Up Biskupa Luke Tolentića in Korčula, Croatia

As you walk along the east side of Korčula, you will notice all but one of the narrow streets have stairs leading up to the center of Old Town. Tucked away within these stone buildings are delightful shops. An example on Ulica Biskupa Luke Tolentića is Manina, a boutique offering Croatian jewelry and clothes. Less obvious is the logic of this 13th century layout. The ten streets along the east side are curved to draw in the gentle summer breeze called Maestral. This ventilates the city.

Ul. biskupa Luke Tolentića, 20260, Korčula, Croatia
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5 Cannon at Tower of All Saints in Korčula, Croatia

Three cannons stand on top of the rampart known as Kula Svih Svetih or the Tower of All Saints at Rampada Street. They are silent reminders of several historic battles that occurred in the Pelješac Strait. For example in 1298, 180 navy ships fought here between the fleets of Venice and Genoa. Native son Marco Polo was imprisoned after this Battle of Curzola. While in jail he wrote his famous book on his world travels.

Rampada, 20260, Korčula, Croatia
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6 Church of All Saints in Korčula, Croatia

The Church of All Saints was built during the early 15th century above the Kula Svih Svetih city walls near the waterline. Other churches from the 10th and 13th centuries previously occupied this location. The simple, three-bell campanile was added in 1749. The Brotherhood of All Saints, called Sasvetani in Croatian, was founded in Korčula in 1301.

Kaporova and Setaliste Petra Kanavelica Streets, Korčula, Croatia
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7 Sunning and Swimming on Eastern Shore in Korčula, Croatia

Many people huddle on the rocky ledge along the eastern shore of Old Town to sun and swim. But as you can see, the space is cramped and the water can be choppy at times. A better alternative is to hop on a ferry that leaves near here. It makes a short .75 mile journey across the Pelješac Strait to the town of Orebić. There you can find several pebble beaches including Trstenica Beach. It is often rated as one of Croatia’s best.

[42.961078, 17.136996]
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8 Side View of Revelin Tower in Korčula, Croatia

The Old Town of Korčula was a walled-in peninsula surrounded with massive stone walls and a network of Medieval towers in the 13th century. They were maintained until the end of the Venetian Republic in 1797 when Korčula became part of the Habsburg Monarchy. After centuries of neglect, most of the walls were torn down during the 19th century. One of the few that remains is this rampart attached to the Veliki Revelin Tower. Veliki in Croatian means great or big.

Ul. Korčulanskog statuta 1214, 20260, Korčula, Croatia
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9 Staircase to Revelin Tower in Korčula, Croatia

Since the 13th century, the Revelin Tower has been the major entry to Old Town from the south. It is also called the Dry Land Gate because it is the only one not facing the water. In 1863, this grand staircase replaced an earlier one. Above the arched portal is a plaque commemorating the millennium crowing of Tomislav. He became the first King of the Croatian Kingdom in 925 AD.

Ul. Korčulanskog statuta 1214, 20260, Korčula, Croatia
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10 Winged Lion Relief on Big Revelin Tower in Korčula, Croatia

This carved relief on the Big Revelin Tower is the Winged Lion of Venice. This symbol of Saint Mark the Evangelist was proudly displayed on the flags and coat of arms of the Republic of Venice until their collapse in 1797.

Ul. Korčulanskog statuta 1214, 20260, Korčula, Croatia
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11 Mali Revelin in Korčula, Croatia

When standing on the southern edge of Korčula – the only direction not surrounded by water – most tourists’ eyes immediately focus on the Big Revelin Tower. And for good reason; the Kula Veliki Revelin is magnificent. What they often overlook is the Mali Revelin just to the right. Mali in Croatian means small or little. This former fortress and tower was built in 1499.

Ul. Dobrotvornosti, 20260, Korčula, Croatia
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12 Accommodations Options in Korčula, Croatia

If you typically book a hotel in the historic district of your destination, then prepare to be disappointed. You will not find any chain hotels in the Old Town of Korčula. But then prepare to be delighted when you select from a host of modest guesthouses and apartments. You are sure to enjoy staying along the charming cobblestone streets like this along Ulica Kalafata.

Ul. Kalafata, 20260, Korčula, Croatia
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13 Cupola of St. Mark’s Cathedral in Korčula, Croatia

This cupola crowing St. Mark’s Cathedral is the stunning design and stonework of local artisan Marko Andijić. It is supported by an octagonal loggia with eight columns and is surrounded by a balustrade. This upper half of the Gothic-Renaissance bell tower was finished in 1483, 42 years before the cathedral was completed. This campanile is the highest point in the Old Town of Korčula.

Trg sv Marka, 20260, Korčula, Croatia
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14 Side Altar of St. Mark’s Cathedral in Korčula, Croatia

St. Mark’s Cathedral is blessed with a virtual art gallery of religious paintings from the 16th century. The main altar has images by Venetian master Jacopo Tintoretto of Saint Mark the Evangelist (Korčula’s patron saint and the cathedral’s namesake), Saint Jerolisimus and Saint Bartholomew the Apostle. This side altar depicts St. Anthony of Padua holding the Christ child. He was a Franciscan friar who lived from 1195 until 1231. He is typically portrayed with a white lily connoting his purity. He is a good saint to pray to for help in recovering lost items.

Trg sv Marka, 20260, Korčula, Croatia
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15 Marco Polo Birth House in Korčula, Croatia

Beginning at the age of 17 in 1271, Marco Polo spent the next 24 years sailing throughout the world. He documented his adventures, which included visiting the Middle East and China, in a book called “The Travels of Marco Polo.” Most experts believe he was born in Venice in 1254. However, the Croatians are convinced his birthplace was in Korčula. You can climb this tower for a great view of the Old Town. In 2012, this home became a modest museum honoring the famous early explorer. Plans are underway to further renovate the property.

Ulica Depolo, 20260, Korčula, Croatia
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16 Town Museum Called Gradski Muzej in Korčula, Croatia

The Town Museum is housed in the Gabrielis Palace. This mansion was built in the center of old town during the 16th century. Inside Gradski Muzej are archeological displays of the island’s and Korčula’s history dating back to the ancient Greek and Roman periods before Christ. You’ll enjoy seeing exhibits of kitchen utensils, furniture plus artifacts discovered from underwater expeditions.

Trg sv Marka, 20260, Korčula, Croatia
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17 Laundry Hanging From Narrow House in Korčula, Croatia

For over 500 years, the residents of Korčula were under constant threat of attack so the first home outside of the city walls was not built until the 18th century. As a result, the citizens had a long time to adjust to tall yet narrow houses along narrow streets. You’ll also notice the buildings in Stari Grad have a uniform gray appearance. Most were constructed with a stone similar to limestone from the small island of Vrnik.

Ul. Hrvatske Bratske Zajednice, 20260, Korčula, Croatia
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18 Family Walking Towards Plokata Square in Korčula, Croatia

This family is walking next to an outdoor café on Obala Vinka Palentina, a large platform along the harbor. In a few more steps they will reach Plokata. This main square is located outside of the walls surrounding Old Town towards the southwest section of Korčula. Trg 19 Aprila Square is surrounded with places to eat and has an active produce market. Frankly, this seems more like a social gathering spot for locals rather than tourists. However it is a great place for ice cream on a hot afternoon.

Autobusni kolodvor 2, 20260, Korčula, Croatia
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19 Small Boat Harbor in Korčula, Croatia

A short distance from the east side of Old Town is a small boat harbor. It is protected by a long breakwater that runs parallel to the shore. ACI Marina has well over 100 berths in order to accommodate everything from modest water craft to sizable yachts.

ACI Club Marina, 20260, Korčula, Croatia
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20 Cupola on Church of Saint Justine in Korčula, Croatia

The statue on top of this cupola is the resurrected Christ. The church is dedicated to Saint Justine who was martyred for her Christian beliefs in 304 AD. Also spelled Saint Justina, she is the patron saint of Padua, northern Italy’s oldest city which was founded in 1183 BC. She is also the patroness of Venice. This Roman Catholic Church Sveta Justina was built just outside of the city walls in 1897.

Sveta Justina, 20260, Korčula, Croatia
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21 Towers of the Governor in Korčula, Croatia

These are two of the twelve towers surrounding the old town of Korčula. The Large Tower of the Governor is massive and circular. Behind Velika Kunaseževa Kula is the slender and cylindrical Small Tower of the Governor. In Croatian it is called Mala Kunaseževa Kula. Both of these fortifications were built during the 15th century to protect the Governor’s Palace.

Obala Franje Tuđmana, 20260, Korčula, Croatia
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22 View of Old Town from Luka Korčulanska Bay in Korčula, Croatia

A delightful respite from exploring Korčula is to walk outside of the walls on the western quay and then on a street called Put Svetog Nikole. It runs along the shoreline of Luka Korčulanska Bay. You will be rewarded with this cityscape view of Old Town and the prominent landmarks shown here: the Towers of the Governors and St. Mark’s Cathedral bell tower.

Put Svetog Nikole 2, Korčula, Croatia
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23 Pitched Red Roofs of Old Town in Korčula, Croatia

This cityscape of Korčula’s Old Town shows how the pitched, red tile roofs are stacked up a promontory with the bell tower of St. Mark’s Cathedral as its centerpiece. This charming, Medieval city has about 3,000 residents. If you look at a map, you will notice how this small town is shaped like a helmet with narrow streets aligned in a fishbone pattern.

[42.961787, 17.134599]
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24 Beach at Luka Korčulanska Bay in Korčula, Croatia

Most tourists visit the island of Korčula during the summer months when its Adriatic-Mediterranean climate has an average daily high of 72° to 76° Fahrenheit and about a dozen hours of sunlight. So when you set off for a day of sightseeing in the Old Town of Korčula, make sure to bring your bathing suit and a towel. You can enjoy a quick tip in the peaceful waters of Luka Korčulanska Bay or what the locals call Luka Us. Also take time to admire the seasonal mansions that line the coast. Most of them were built during the early 20th century.

Put Svetog Nikole 28, 20260, Korčula, Croatia
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25 Dominican Monastery Bell Tower in Korčula, Croatia

Dominikanski Samostan is a Dominican monastery, convent and church. It is located along a road called Put Svetog Nikole a short distance from Old Town Korčula. This bell tower has a commanding view of the water so it is appropriate the namesake of this Roman Catholic complex is Saint Nicholas. Nikolaos of Myra is the patron saint of sailors and fishermen. The first monastery here was finished in 1501. But after it was destroyed by the Ottoman Turks 70 years later, it was rebuilt in the mid-17th century and then restored in 1750.

Samostan Svetog Nikole, 20260, Korčula, Croatia
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