Just a little over 2km / 1mi from the tip of the Peljesac Peninsula is the beautiful Island of Korcula. Korcula is one of the largest islands in the Adriatic. Covered in forest and dominated by the mountains that form the backbone of the island, Korcula is a very popular tourist destination. The main town is Korcula and lies just across the channel from the town of Orebic, on the Peljesac Peninsula. The two towns are connected by regular ferry service.Evidence shows the island was inhabited during Neolithic times, perhaps as early as 6500 BC. Much later the Romans inhabited Korcula, and called the island Korkyra Melaina, or Black Corfu, because of the pine forests. Although it is the subject of much debate, it is also believed that the 13th Century explorer, Marco Polo was born on the island of Korcula.
Korcula Island Map
The small island of Badija lies off the eastern shore of Korcula Island. The island is only 1 sq km / .4 sq mi but is the largest of the islands offshore from Korcula. On Badija is the San Franciscan Church and Monastery of Badija, which the island is named for. The monastery dates to the late 14th Century when a group of monks fleeing Bosnia settled here. Both the Church and Monastery were later enlarged. In the mid 1900s the island of Badija was taken over and turned into a military site and later a resort for use by government workers.Today the Badija Church and Monastery still stand near the shore. The beautiful Gothic Cloister is hard to miss from the sea. The interior has been stripped of its belongings, most of which are now in the Town Museum or Cathedral in Korcula.
Vela Luka, Croatia
Vela Luka is one of the largest and most industrious towns on the Island of Korcula. The town is also home to the island's main port, with ferry service to Split and Lastovo. Vela Luka was built in the 19th century on the ancient site of Vela Spilja, from the Neolithic period. Because of this it is affectionately known as the oldest and youngest town on the island. There is a beach in town but the best option outside of Vela Luka is on the nearby island of Proizd.Of interest in Vela Luka is the Cultural Centre (Kulturni Centar) which has a permanent collection and features changing exhibits. The Big Cave (Vela Spilja) just east of town is thought to have been inhabited in Neolithic times. Some of the pieces found here date back to 6500 BC. The cave has regular visiting hours
Blato is an inland town on the island of Korcula. Its location away from the coast and beaches means that it is not a popular tourist destination. That said there is still some worthwhile sights and a visit to the town can make a good day trip. The main square, known as Plokata, in Blato is where visitors will find most of the town's attractions and action. The 18th Century Baroque Loggia, the Renaissance Arneri Castle, and the medieval All Saints Church (Svi Sveti) are all located on the square. The Arneri Castle also houses the Blato Town Museum. Also of interest is the All Saints Church which contains the remains of St Vincent (Sv Vincenza), as well as a 1540 main altar by Girolamo de Santacroce.
The village of Lumbarda on Korcula Island is about 6km / 4mi from the town of Korcula. It was founded by the Greeks and originally known as Eraclea by the Romans. A stone inscription known as Lumbardska Psefizma, from the 4th Century BC, was found in Lumbarda. Only a copy of it exists in the Korcula Town Museum, the original has been moved to the Archeological Museum in Zagreb.The settlement was not well fortified and eventually it was abandoned. In the 16th Century the Korcula nobility began coming to the area and it developed into a holiday resort. Today Lumbarda is a popular destination for visitors with a nice local beach and another beautiful sand beach just 2km / 1mi south of the town.
The Island of Lastovo has only been opened to the public in recent years. Prior to this Lastovo was used as a military area. The island is quite rugged with a mountainous interior and rocky shorelines with numerous outlying islands. Of interest on Lastovo are an 1819 French fort built on the site of a former castle and, on the main square, a 14th Century Church and a 16th Century Loggia. There is also a small 12th Century church, known as the Church of St Blaise (Sv Blaho), just outside the village center. This small community is known for its elaborate holiday celebrations.