Welcome to Total Korčula!

By 23 May 2018

May 23, 2018 - TCN is delighted to announce the launch of its latest website promoting the gorgeous island of Korcula. 

There are not so many Brits living in Croatia, and for some reason, they rarely meet up or get to know each other in person (unless, of course, they are meeting without me...). But over the years, one builds a picture of the other Brits living around the country from anecdotes, rumours, conversations and media coverage of their activities in Croatia. 

I knew there was a Brit living on Korcula, who was making a far bigger contribution to tourism than most, opening and running arguably the top boutique hotel in the country, Lesic Dimitri Palace. Because I lived in Paradise on the island of Hvar, I had never paid much attention to Korcula, a similar island (or so I thought) to the south of my Dalmatian paradise. But then I received an invitation for luncheon as this Korcula Brit said he would like to meet and discuss a few things. 

And so began a journey in late August last year which culminates today in the launch of TCN's latest - and last - Croatian tourism portal, Total Korcula.


I wanted to be faithful to my adopted island, but this man Michael completely disarmed me over lunch, a fabulous five-course special from his very talented chef Marko Gajski (once a chef on my Hvar), while head sommelier Drazen poured the very best Grks and Posips from the neighbouring vineyards, with a story and an explanation with each one. 

Sat as I was on the Lesic Terrace overlooking the water directly below, Michael's charm and obvious passion for his island battering through my remaining defences, I succumbed. Korcula was an absolute stunner, and when I posted Facebook photos later that day, I explained that I felt a little unfaithful at looking at another woman after my long and happy marriage to Hvar. 

One good lunch and some excellent wines in the best company do not make a destination, however, and as I walked around its intimate and perfectly preserved stone old town, I wondered at two things: the superb way in which the island's local offerings were consistently promoted at every turn - wine, olive oil, art, Korcula cakes and desserts - in a way that I had not seen done as effectively elsewhere in Croatia; and secondly, why Marco Polo felt the need to travel at all when he had been born into perfection. 

Once I got home, I wrote an article about my stay - Exquisite Korcula: A Blueprint for Quality Tourism in Croatia

No party tourism here, no mass tourism, just a simple approach to focus on raising the level of tourism by focusing on outstanding fresh, local food and wine, tradition, heritage, history, culture, beaches and adventure tourism. As other destinations rank tourist success in the number of tourists that can be squeezed into small stone towns, Korcula is showing that quality beats quantity every time. 

If you are looking to party and go on pub crawls, this is not the island for you. There is good nightlife, but with a leaning towards the classical, with excellent festivals to match, such as the Korkyra Baroque Festival in September. Korcula is not as accessible as many other islands (although that will change somewhat with the Peljesac Bridge), and it also does not care how famous you are, and as such it is popular with celebrities. One of my favourite stories that I heard over a casual coffee was how Roman Abramovich moored his super yacht off the coast at Brna a few years ago, because his captain was from Brna and wanted to say hi to his mum. 

The closer you look, the more astonishing this island becomes. Slavery was abolished here a staggering 800 years ago; a huge cave near Vela Luka dates human inhabitation back 30,000 years according to experts from the University of Oxford; only this weekend, a sensational archaeological discovery dating back to the Ancient Greeks in Lumbarda will bring new insights into the island's history; an island with such a rich gourmet offering that there is enough to satisfy the most demanding gourmand, from the flagship indigenous whites of Grk and Posip, to the more than 30 local desserts and cakes to try from recipes handed down by Korculan grandmothers, to sensational dining experiences in Michelin-recommended restaurants, both in the historic old town and the outstanding local produce and traditional fare of Konoba Mate in Pupnat. 

Korcula is a cycling and sailing paradise, to name but two of the numerous activities on offer. A chance to escape the crowds and lose oneself in its truly unspoiled nature. 

"It is an island for grown-ups." said a foodie writer from the Financial Times a couple of weeks ago within an hour of arriving. He was under the combined spell of Michael's hospitality on the Lesic Dimitri terrace and a glass of Bire Grk. 

That is exactly it, I thought to myself - Korcula, the island for grown-ups. Party tourism has its place in Croatia, and there is an increasing number of destinations which cater to this growing trend. Korcula is not one of them. 

In many ways, Korcula has lived in the shadow of its more fashionable neighbours. Korcula Town is sometimes called a mini-Dubrovnik, and when it comes to media coverage, it is mini indeed - coming all the way to Korcula when already in Dubrovnik is a journey too far for many media. So too, with the island of Hvar - easier to reach from Split and much more in the international spotlight. 

And, as I have been discovering on my recent voyages of discovery all over the island of Korcula, there is MUCH more to this destination than the town of the same name, which attracts the bulk of the media attention. Pupnat, Lumbarda, Cara, Smokvica, Brna, Blato and Vela Luka to name just a few places which we will be exploring in much greater detail.

Change is coming to the region in a number of ways, and the arrival of the Peljesac Bridge will make Korcula accessible as never before. Tourists driving from the direction of Split, as well as those coming from the improving road network of Central Europe will find Korcula much easier to reach and just a 15-minute ferry ride away once they arrive in Orebic. These are exciting times, and with a proper and responsible vision, Korcula can grow its brand as an upmarket destination, focusing on culture, tradition, nature, activities and the finest local gourmet experiences. 

An island for grown-ups. 

Hvar, you will always be my first love, and I look forward to seeing you soon, but this Korcula is very, very charming. 

We hope you like the site. We are evolving from an initial focus on Korcula Town to the rest of the island as time and resources permit. We are VERY interested to hear from you if you would like to contribute an article or two about your Korcula experiences. The more voices we have, the better the picture for all. As such, we are also very grateful to English teacher Maja Zuvela, for engaging some of her students in a project to see the island through their young and very local eyes - we will be publishing some of their thoughts shortly.

Thoughts, suggestions and constructive criticism are always welcome - I am sure we will not get everything right (in fact, given my past experience, I know we won't) and the more help we can receive to get the information correct, the better the resource for Korcula's visitors. 

Welcome to Total Korcula!

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