When a Captain sails the world for a living, the place they choose to call home has to be pretty special. Korčula – the largest island in the Adriatic – certainly fits the bill, and it is within easy reach of some of Croatia’s most popular ports.
Unsurprisingly for an island surrounded by the Adriatic, Korčula thrives on seafood. Many of the best seafood restaurants are squirrelled away between the medieval walls of the Old Town, where you’ll find respite from the scorching Croatian sun and a sweet shot of limoncello to boot.
Home-cured pršut (prosciutto) and locally produced goats’ cheese are piled alongside marinated Mediterranean vegetables on težačka plitica, literally translated as a ‘farmer’s platter’, at the unassuming but delicious Konoba Mate. This family-run restaurant is hidden amongst the olive trees in the tiny hillside village of Pupnat and creates many of its dishes from ingredients grown on site, from the fresh rolled pasta made with eggs from the farm, to the home grown almonds that are baked into the chocolate cakes.
If you’re fit and well, there is only one place on the island in which to enjoy your sundowners. The Massimo Cocktail Bar Korčula’s unique take on a rooftop bar, but you’ll have to earn the views from the top.
Climb a simple wooden ladder through a hole in the ceiling of the lower bar and you will emerge amongst the turrets of the 15th century Zakerjan Tower, in Korčula’s Old Town. Whilst the cocktails are good, albeit rather sweet, it’s the views across the Adriatic Sea and Pelješac peninsula that hold the appeal.
Don’t get too squiffy; the only way down at the end of the night is via the ladder that brought you up!
The beaches are never far away in Korčula and they are beautiful. Head to Lumbarda for sandy bays or visit the pebbly coves of Pupnatska Luka on the south coast; the nearby village of Pupnat is home to the aforementioned Konoba Mate, so stopping off for lunch after a morning at the beach is a must.
Much of Korčula’s culture is centred around the historic fortified walls of its charming Old Town and its streets are well worth a wander. The city makes much of its tenuous links with legendary explorer, Marco Polo, and the Marco Polo Exhibition documents his travels well. In terms of historic sites, the Gothic-Renaissance St Mark’s Cathedral has come to be recognised as the face of the island.
Red and white wines have been produced in Korčula’s villages for centuries and wine tasting tours are a great way to get out of the Old Town’s walls and see more of the countryside.
Korcula is often referred to as the ‘mini Dubrovnik’, thanks to its Old Town and fortifications, and a day trip from the popular Croatian cruise port to Captain Serena Melani’s dream destination gives you chance to compare the two. There are several options available, with perhaps the most popular being a full-day tour that allows plenty of free time in Korcula, plus a chance to sample the produce at a beautiful vineyard in the Pelješac Peninsula. Alternatively, it is really simple to make your own way to the island from Dubrovnik’s mainland. The Nona Ana catamaran runs a regular service throughout the summer, sailing in the morning and returning at 4pm, giving you plenty of time to make your way back to the ship.
Visit Dubrovnik on Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ 10-night ‘Ultimate Italy’ itinerary, departing 3 October 2016 on board Seven Seas Navigator. Fares from £2,999pp. Alternatively, cruise lines including Azamara Club Cruises, Cunard, Princess Cruises and P&O Cruises sail directly to Korcula as part of their Mediterranean itineraries.