The sea routes along Croatia’s Adriatic coast become almost a marine highway in the summer. There are ferry boats for people and cars, fast catamaran ferries, sail boats, super yachts (actually not yachts), cruise boats big and small all plying the sea passages between the mainland – the Peljesac peninsula – and other islands. We travelled on the Jadrolinija ferry from Dubrovnik up to Korcula on the island of Korcula; a smooth 4-hour trip. Korcula is the second largest island in the Adriatic (by population), home to about 17,000 people.
We had searched out an apartment with a balcony and view of the sea and booked months in advance. Once again we were not disappointed with our find; Apartment Adriatic, unsophisticated, comfortable and only 2 minutes to the beach for our morning swim. Everyday we enjoyed watching the comings and goings on the sea and each evening we watched the glow of the sun drench the stone buildings in the old town. We became expert on the arrival and departure times of the passenger ferry that plied the route between Korcula and Orebic, we watched luxury super yachts slip into their mooring spots and daring wind surfers and kite surfers zip, zap and take flight across the Peljesac channel (between mainland and the island). Korcula’s location on the eastern side of the island where the channel is only 1270 metres across means the Maestral wind is reliably strong, but not unpleasant, and the area seems to be a popular destination for windsurfers.
With a rental car for a day we explored the whole island, stopping at remote beaches that were so picturesque they could have been in a story book. The town of Lumbarda was one of the main destinations on our must-see list. This village is famous for its white wine “Grk,” and is the home town of one of New Zealand’s most well known wine pioneers, Mr Nikola Nobilo. It is a beautiful place; acres of old vines stretched out down gentle slopes, the blue of the sea in the distance, and of course the dry stone walls that are familiar in Northland NZ where the Dalmatian immigrants settled. Our visit was completed with a winery stop, purchase of some Grk wine, and very friendly conversation about NZ once the proprietor realised where we hailed from. Other means of exploration included making use of the water taxis from Korcula. A couple of times we made a picnic lunch and headed out to Badija island for the day to find remote swimming spots, our only company some rather pesky “biting flies” and wasps.
Speaking of exploration, Korcula is reputed to be the birthplace of Marco Polo. The house where he was born in the Old Town is open as a museum. The fortified Old Town is itself very picturesque; stone buildings with terracotta roofs and narrow cobbled streets between. The steep streets on the western side run straight down to the water to allow the prevailing breeze in the summer to flow into the heart of the Old Town and the streets on the eastern side curve away to minimise the blast of the cold easterly wind during the winter. My favourite building in the old town was St Mark’s Cathedral with it’s beautiful bell tower. It dominates the skyline and its regular ding-donging routine was a pleasant marker of the leisurely rhythm of our days. One evening as the sun set we climbed up to the viewing balcony right beside the bells and were rewarded not only with a sublime view of the sun going down, but a close up rendition of the 8pm chimes. Magic.
Korcula turned out to be another great destination where we enjoyed the beach holiday delights as well as brushing up on our history and geography knowledge, more photos here. I will add that my chair on the balcony was one of the best knitting spots I’ve enjoyed. I’ve christened the red socks completed during the holiday Rosamond de Croatie after the pattern name Rosamond.