Complete Guide to VELA LUKA on KORCULA

(Edited November 2018)

The island of Korčula is much less known and popular as many of its sisters although with over 15,000 inhabitants it is the second most populous Adriatic island. However, in the West, the town of Vela Luka, arranged around a half moon shaped bay, grants total relaxation while Korčula town presents a breathtaking historic old town within fairy tale like fortress walls.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Croatia - Vela Luka - Korcula
View of Korčula town from the Uvala Plitvine bay.

Korčula used to be a pretty important spot in her days: Not only came the timber for the wooden walls of Venice from here, it had also been one of the most important harbors to the Venetian fleets.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Croatia - Vela Luka - Korcula
Korčula: Name of the island and of a town.

Just like Cres, Korčula, too, is the name of the island and of a town.

Vela Luka

Coming from Split, the first harbor you reach, though, is Vela Luka, a town with 4,000 inhabitants, nestled in a half-moon shaped bay on the island’s western side.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Croatia - Vela Luka - Korcula
The bay of Vela Luka.

The many indented coves along the crystal clear waters make it sunbathers’ and swimmers’ paradise.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Croatia - Vela Luka - Korcula
For me, one shot of Relaxation on the Rocks, please!

Because of the lush vegetation along the bay, going for a pleasant walk or a sportive hike are great options on how to fill gaps between lazing on the rocks on the shores.

There is, for instance, the Vela Spila, the Big Cave, which it is one of the most important prehistoric caves in Europe. From the town center, it’s only about 2 miles, but you have to hike uphill.

To get more great view of this beautiful island, there is also the Hum Hill – about 2.5 miles southwest from the town center and the slope is twice as high as the one to Spila.

Everything around Vela Luka is just beautiful – so I guess the town itself doesn’t have to be. It’s basically one or two rows of houses along the shore. Only the part in the very center before you get to the harbor is somewhat scenic. Of course, there are supermarkets and restaurants and basically, everything you need; it’s just not that cute. Actually, it’s much less pretty and charming than most other places I’ve been in Croatia; and, however, I do recommend it since there is no nicer and calmer place for a couple of lazy dayz.

However, it might be difficult for people who are not so fit or with small children since climbing on the big rocks can a bit dangerous and there are lots of sea urchins in the water.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Croatia - Vela Luka - Korcula
View of Ošjak island from one of the many coves.

Besides the sumptuous landscape, another thing is really striking in Vela Luka, and that’s the many modern mosaics. They’ve been there since 1968 when the International Artist’s Meeting of Painters was held there.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Croatia - Vela Luka - Korcula
Some of the mosaics on the shore.
bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Croatia - Vela Luka - Korcula
Even if you don’t intend to kiss: This mosaic marks the nicest place to spend the day by the sea.

Korčula

Now Korčula – the city of Korčula – is a whole different story. From Vela Luka, you can get there a couple of times per day by bus – it takes about an hour and you’ll get to see the entire island.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Croatia - Vela Luka - Korcula
Gothic adornments.
bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Croatia - Vela Luka - Korcula
Narrow allow leading to the ocean.

Korčula – the city of Korčula – has an amazing historic old city surrounded by walls. The most spectacular feature is the layout of the streets in a herringbone pattern. This arrangement allows the air to circulate and protects at the same time against the strong winds blowing from the Adriatic sea.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Croatia - Vela Luka - Korcula - St. Michaels
Entrance to St. Michael’s Church.

The historic part is on a promontory and can be accessed over a wooden drawbridge from 1863.

Within the walls, there are all these cute narrow alleys, but also impressive structures such as St. Michael’s Church located right at the entrance on Trg Antuna i Stjepana Radića, restored in 1615 which is the reason for its Baroque appearance.

But there is also the Romanesque-Gothic Cathedral of St. Mark, built in the 15th century – just like the Saint Nikola monastery and the Franciscan monastery with a Venetian Gothic cloister.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Croatia - Vela Luka - Korcula - St. Marks
St. Mark’s Cathedral

But you don’t need to look for the most prominent houses since basically every building within the old walls is a jewel – like e.g. the Renaissance Palaces that can totally keep up with those in Venice or Florence.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Croatia - Vela Luka - Korcula - St. Peter
Church of St. Peter – and on the wall to the left a map sketching Marco Polo’s journey along the Silk Road.

Talking ’bout Venice – rumor has it that signore Marco Polo was born in Korčula in 1254. Together with his father and his uncle, he was one of the first Europeans to travel the Silk Road to China. Like I said, rumor has it, but there’s actually no proof.
Notwithstanding, the good people of Korčula would be crazy not gaining profit from this rumor, so they insist and you can even visit a building they claim to be Marko Polo’s house of birth.
I find it pretty unique that a municipality just decides having been some famous guy’s birth place – and upsadaisy – tourism flows.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Croatia - Vela Luka - Korcula
The town of Korčula is like a open air museum.

By the way, to get the most scenic view of Korčula – the city of Korčula – I recommend to climb up to the very un-scenic supermarket at the town’s entrance. Take the elevator to the parking level and from there you’ll have the best view of the entire promontory and the marvelous sea and mountains in the backdrop.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Croatia - Vela Luka - Korcula
Getting the best view – from the supermarket’s parking level.

So while Korčula – the city of Korčula – is much more beautiful than Vela Luka, I’d still recommend staying at latter. It’s far more relaxing, few tourists, hardly any day tripper, secluded coves and big trees that grant you shade – nothing but the noise of the noise of the cicadas, the gurgle of the sea and the lapping of the waves against the rocks.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Croatia - Vela Luka - Korcula
Man, the sea is jammed today.

From time to time, you hear one of the small boats chugging, then it’s just the pretty regular ripple of the water again. Twice a day, at one and then again at half past five, the ferry to Split slides by; this is rush hour in Vela Luka.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Croatia - Vela Luka - Korcula
Going to Dubrovnik, the ferry from Korčula island crosses the sea to Orebić. Bye bye, my island in the sun, I’ll be back.

Best place to sleep:

Location, location, location: Although it’s about twenty to thirty minutes walking to the harbor, I loved the location; and Jenny and her husband picked me up at the ferry on arrival and brought me to the bus to Dubrovnik as I left, anyway.

The nearest beach – that is not so nice and in front of a pretty busy hotel – is just across the street. But when you walk for about fifteen minutes along the lovely trail next to olive trees and cactusses and through tunnels of greenery, you’ll get to paradisiac spots where you are all by yourself.

Apartments Jenny *
Ulica 1 Broj 60/1
20270 Vela Luka
51000 Rijeka
Phone: + 385 – 99 – 6631877

Best place to eat:

Actually, I must admit that the best place to eat for me was at the apartman: I enjoyed doing a little Croatian grocery shopping and doing my own cooking at the well equipped kitchen.

Here is how I prepared coffee since I wasn’t able to buy coffee filters at any of the local supermarkets:



Do you want to read about all the other beautiful places I’ve visited in Croatia? 
Then go to the main post and take your pick!


If you choose to pin this post, please use these pictures:


Here are more pins from Europe for you:

* This is an affiliate link. If you book through this page, not only do you get the best deal, I also get a small commission that helps me run this blog. Thank you so much for supporting me!

Croatia Bus Road Trip. Seventh Stop Vela Luka on Korcula

Walking through a tunnel of exotic looking bushes and conifers, smelling the scent of their needles. Hearing nothing but the cacophony of what seems to be a thousand cicadas. Passing a row of cactuses, turning left at the little field of olive trees and carefully climbing down some huge rocks.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Croatia - Vela Luka - Korcula
My favorite spot – I can truly enjoy it bye:myself.

There I’m spreading my beach towel on the one that’s shaped like a mattress – and that’s my personal piece of paradise for the day.

Down here, the noise of the cicadas is not that loud and leaves room for the gurgle of the sea and the lapping of the waves against the rocks.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Croatia - Vela Luka - Korcula
Some traffic.

From time to time, you hear one of the small boats chugging, then it’s just the pretty regular ripple of the water again.

Twice a day, a ferry slides by, almost silently. Then I know it must be either around one or half past five in the afternoon. Still time to take a dip in the deep blue sea.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Croatia - Vela Luka - Korcula
The clock is ticking: It must be around one.

To get there, I have to climb prudently across the rocks. I don’t have swim shoes, so I’m wearing my flip flops to the very shore where I leave them behind on one of the rocks to just dive headlong into the clear water.

It’s good that it’s clear since I need to see what’s on the ground: There are sea urchins – in incredible numbers and all sizes. Even paradise needs a little flaw, I guess.

Back on my cozy rock, I turn on my stomach and take a nap.

This is how I’ve spent the last days. In Vela Luka. On Korčula, an island south of the much more popular island of Hvar.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Croatia - Vela Luka - Korcula
If it’s not blue, it’s green on Korčula island.

Croatians seem to be a bit chintzy when it comes to naming places: On the island of Cres*, there is a same-named town; and on the Korčula island is also a town called Korčula – and for this little jewel, I was willing to sacrifice a couple of my beach hours.

*Note: I’m writing many of the names in Croatian – and after I’ve heard someone pronouncing Cres like Kres, it might be helpful to explain some of the pronunciations.
To begin with the above example: A c is never pronounced k, it is pronounced like the ts in Tsar, so Cres is ‘Tsres’, Plitvice ‘Plitvitse’ etc.
Only when c is written č or ć, it is pronounced like a ch: ‘Korchula’, ‘Porech’. Same goes for s: written š, it’s pronounced sh. But only then. 
People tend to overdo it with the ch and the sh – if there is no accent, it’s a simple c or s, no crackjaw there.

There is a bus going to Korčula town across the entire island – and this actually is a Garden Eden: Endless vineyards, huge olive groves, lavender fields – and in the backdrop always the sight of the mighty Adriatic sea.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Croatia - Vela Luka - Korcula
They have olives in abundance – and make them into really nice and tasty souvenirs.

The historic old town of Korčula is architectonically very interesting with its long central road and narrow alleys which makes it a fishbone pattern.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Croatia - Vela Luka - Korcula
The layout of the medieval cities is not only artistic and beautiful, it is also a sort of genius.

It is not only incredibly picturesque, it is also idyllically located – slightly uphill on a small peninsula.

A quick side-trip back in time VI

Come to think of it, it’s quite surprising that after having suffered various Summers from my parents’ road trips crisscross Europe, I got a hang of tripping myself. Actually, at the tender age of 17, I quit high school, packed a canvas bag, my boyfriend and we joined the Interrail bandwagon. Today, I wonder a bit that I had no difficulties travelling across Europe before reaching legal age, but somehow nobody really cared.


In Amsterdam, we had problems finding a hostel – it was Summer and many underaged couples had the same idea of travelling; somehow it did work out. 
In Rotterdam, I finally found the hard-boiled eggs I had packed a couple of days ago as a snack for our trip somewhere deep in my bag between some T-shirts; it was Summer – I tossed them in the trash, being grateful for having packed them in a tight plastic bag.
In Paris, my wallet got stolen by a group of little girls whose ethnicity I withhold in favor of political correctness; they wore pretty, very colorful dresses.
Eventually, the adventurous idea of sleeping on the lawn under the Eiffel tower turned out to be not as adventurous as going to the North Pole, but in the wee hours as cold.
Switzerland was Swiss – beautiful, but not very exciting.
In the beginning, Italy was not so bad until in Marina di Massa, I broke to my boyfriend that I wanted to break up; he was heartbroken.
In Pisa, he drowned his pain in lots of beer and some wine. Since his vomit was very red, I got worried and called the ambulance. As the Paramedics mentioned vino rosso, I remembered that we had had spaghetti with tomato sauce; I was too embarrassed to clarify the source of the red vomit, the paramedics took us to a hospital.
He spent the night in a comfy hospital bed, I spent it on a mattress on the floor of an exam room. In the morning, the paramedics gave me black coffee with sugar; that was very sweet – metaphorically and literally. I didn’t drink it, I hate sweet hot beverages and I drink coffee only with milk. 

As we left, we had to promise to come back in the evening for the results of the blood tests. We didn’t. We knew that the result was tomato sauce.
After Pisa, we decided to go back home.
In Milan, however, we had to get off once more since my now ex-boyfriend’s wallet had been stolen while we were sleeping. Actually, I’m pretty sure that we had been victim of one of these train sleeping gas attacks.
However, the German embassy in Milan gave him a train ticket home and some money for the day.
I thought it was a brilliant idea to spend the money on a big plate of small assorted sandwiches. They had mayonnaise on them. It was Summer. In Italy. In the afternoon, I scraped the mayonnaise off and we ate what was not rancid.

Waiting for the train back home at a park, I noticed some guy jerking off on a park bench watching us playing cards.

Actually, it is very, very surprising that I still got a hang of road trips.

One of their most important marketing schemes is Korčula being Marco Polo’s birthplace. While it’s probable that his family was from Dalmatia – which at that time was ruled by Venice, some historians dispute Marco Polo being born in Korčula.

The Korčulanians are clever business people for sure: Not only can one visit what they claim to be Marco Polo’s house, with the same amount of imagination they determine their prices for…everything. It’s pretty expensive here.

But Croatia does not only share a glorious cultural past with Italy, Croatians also share their love for snacks rich in carbohydrates: At every bakery and even supermarket, there are uncountable variations of filled puff pastry – hearty and sweet alike. Many of the hearty snacks – filled with cheese and spinach – are called Burek which is funny since there is the same pastry in Turkey called Börek.
I guess the Ottomans did leave traces, after all.

Yes, this country is a cornucopia of cultures and heritages.

Note to the curious reader: Like I did during my former like e. g. Cambodia, while on the road, I’ll be posting little stories and reflections. At the end of the entire tour, there will be an extended travel guide with all the relevant information including addresses, links etc. Until then, just share some thoughts and special moments with me. 

Wanna know about the former stops? Here is where I’ve been: 

Croatia Bus Road Trip. First Stop Poreč

Croatia Bus Road Trip. Second Stop Cres

Croatia Bus Road Trip. Third Stop Rijeka

Croatia Bus Road Trip. Fourth Stop Plitvice Lakes

Croatia Bus Road Trip. Fifth Stop Skradin and Krka National Park

Croatia Bus Road Trip. Sixth Stop Split

If you choose to pin this post, please use this picture: