Korčula is scattered with small villages and hamlets filled with centuries-old stone buildings, and is sparsely populated for much of the year, with spikes over the summer and in the olive harvesting month of November. The sun beats down from March to early December, and swimming off the rocky shoreline is superb. Read on for our guide to the best places for exploring on the island.
Spread across the hills above Korčula town, Žrnovo is a sprawling settlement made up of several distinct villages, Prvo Selo, Brdo, Postrana and Kampus, each grouped around its own chapel. Occupying a hillock in between the villages is St Martin’s Church, containing some delightful, locally carved Baroque altarpieces. St Postrana is the most picturesque of Žrnovo’s quarters, with its stone houses and narrow stepped alleyways.
Lying at the bottom of the coastal slopes south of Žrnovo is one of Korčula’s best known targets for bathing connoisseurs, Bačva beach, a peaceful small bay with a shingle beach and a hut selling refreshments. Be warned however that the steep and narrow access road is not for the faint-hearted – a lot of people come by boat.
The village of Pupnat is a typical wine and vegetable-growing community set at the side of a small but fertile plain. To the south of Pupnat at the bottom of a steep slope is Pupnatska Luka, once the village’s port. Accessible via a narrow windy road, Pupnatska Luka is today a beautiful crescent of fine pebble, and is arguably the best of Korčula’s south-coast beaches. There are a couple of café-cum-snack bars at the back of the beach, screened by outsized cacti. The only problem with Pupnatska Luka is the lack of parking spaces, and the constant danger that you might meet a large and cumbersome car coming in the opposite direction on the way up or down.