Our Dalmatian Coast Tour Continues – Ston & Korčula
After spending a few great days in and around Split we loaded up the car and pointed south, singing “On the Road Again” (as we often do when driving to a new place). Our destination was Korčula, one of Croatia’s islands.
Most travelers from Split take the ferry to Korčula, but since we were traveling on a Sunday there was only one ferry running on this route and it would have had us arriving to our destination quite late. So, we decided to drive the long way around and take the shorter, more frequent ferry between Orebič and Korčula.
On our way to Korčula we decided to make a short stop in Ston, which is famous for its city walls that are sometimes known as the European version of the Great Wall of China.
But before we could get to Ston we had to drive across a tiny part of Bosnia and Herzegovina where that country extends to the sea. We arrived at the first border crossing station where a Croatian border agent stamped us out. At the nearby Bosnian immigration booth there was nobody present. Apparently they didn’t care if we entered their country. We drove 5 miles down the road to the next border station, where again there were no Bosnian officials on duty (it was Sunday, after all). The Croatian border agent stamped us again and on we went.
As we approached Ston, we were immediately impressed by the fortifications and the walls that surrounded the town and extended up to the top of the nearby hill. Construction of the walls began in 1358 and they protected not only the city, but also the valuable salt evaporation ponds that provided a third of the income of the Dubrovnik Republic.
It is possible to walk along the walls from Ston to Mali Ston (little Ston), about a kilometer away. Unfortunately we had a ferry to catch so we enjoyed a gelato then pressed on.
Leaving Ston, we traversed most of the length of the Pelješac peninsula. This was a wonderfully scenic drive; we passed by many vineyards and were treated to some amazing views of the coastline. At Orebič we bought our ticket for the 15 minute ferry crossing to Korčula. Soon it was time to roll onto the ferry and make our way to the island.
Korčula town is the largest town on Korčula island. The inner part of the town is surrounded by high walls. Within the walls, the narrow streets form a herringbone pattern that allows summer breezes to pass through but blocks out stronger winter gales.
We enjoyed exploring the compact old town. Can you spot the two-tailed mermaid on this church?
Korčula claims to be the birthplace of Marco Polo, but this claim is shared by other cities including Venice and Istanbul.
Kayaking with Active Korcula
Being mid-October, most of the kayaking outfitters had shut down for the season. But since it was sunny and in the mid 70s we wanted to get out on the water. Fortunately the kind people at Active Korcula agreed to take a few of their kayaks out of storage and lead us on a guided paddle along the southern coast of the island.
Later we were lucky to see a dolphin swimming by as we paddled. According to our guide dolphin sightings are uncommon in the summer due to all of the boat traffic.
Our last stop was a cliff where we took turns jumping into the waters below. The kids were proud when they made the jump.
Wine Tasting In Lumbarda
One of the highlights of our visit to Korčula was a wine tasting at Lorvic Winery. Our visit started with a tour of the production facilities. Our guide (one of the family members who runs the business) was clearly passionate about the craft and was happy to answer all of our questions.
This small, family run winery produces two types of wine. The white wine (Grk) is made from a grape that is only grown on the island. The red (Plavac) is grown in other parts of Croatia as well.
Both wines were delicious but we particularly enjoyed the Grk. While we sipped the wine we enjoyed a small plate of local cheese and olives. After that we had a taste of the Rakia (grape brandy) that is produced from the leftovers of the grapes after they are pressed.
Upon leaving the tasting we were treated to a wonderful sunset over the Lumbada waterfront.
We enjoyed our time on Korčula and would recommend it for a visit. October is definitely the low season there and many restaurants were closed or low on supplies, particularly in the smaller towns on the island. We did not find this to be a problem, but if we return we might try to go a bit earlier in the year.