Monday, 24 October 2022

Korculanske Pjatance: Spectacular Showcase of Korcula Cuisine in Autumn

October 24, 2022 - Celebrating the very best of local quality produce while showcasing the magic of a Dalmatian island in late October - Korculanske Pjatance 2022 was an event that had it all. A blueprint for Croatia's luxury gourmet offer. 

An awful lot is written about the quality of Croatia's gourmet offer, as well as initiatives to prolong the season. Currently, the Croatian National Tourism Board is trumpeting its national campaign, Croatian Tourism Month, which on paper looks like a great idea. A 35% discount off all participating businesses to allow locals and tourists to enjoy the very best of Croatia at a more affordable price. Except very few businesses have signed up, as it is peak season in continental Croatia, and currently there are only 5 restaurants and wineries in the whole country are participating in this pointless initiative. 

Meanwhile, on the island of Korcula, a little-known but rather sensational food and wine event celebrated its fifth anniversary - one of the most enjoyable, tasty - and educational - gourmet festivals I have attended in my time in Croatia. 

It had everything, and Korcula shone, basking in the late autumn sunshine and the considerable richness and diversity of its culinary credentials. 

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(The bedroom view, October 22, 2022)

About the festival first of all, from the official website:

The first edition of Korculanske Pjatance, a food and wine festival, was held in the spring of 2017. when the best Korcula restaurants united in the desire to present the local population and visitors with the best of Korcula's wine and gastronomic offer. Motivated by the success of the first edition of the festival and driven by the desire to create a gastronomic event of the highest possible quality, the aforementioned catering establishments founded the association "Korculanske Pjatance" in January 2018. Nurturing a centuries-old gourmet tradition woven into the identity of the city and the island, the main goal of the association is the development of Korcula as a high-quality tourism destination based on top gastronomy, oenology and original hospitality.

Through a variety of food and drink offers, Korcula caterers present Dalmatian cuisine as a combination of traditional and modern, created in harmony with the seasonal benefits of the Adriatic gardens below and above the surface of the sea. Local connoisseurs present their gastronomic achievements at popular prices with creative menus designed especially for this occasion, which will change daily during the week of the festival.

Autumn is a logical season for the event, taking into account the wealth of seasonal foods that ripen or have their qualitative peak precisely at this time of the year.

Autumn thus asserted itself as an inspiration that, in addition to Korcula chefs and chefs, the famous Korcula and Peljesac winemakers could not resist, for whom wine, vines, the sea and the (half) island are inexhaustible inspirations for new stylistic interpretations of Posip, Grk and Plavac mali, many of which will be presented during the week of the festival, and will certainly mark the 2022 harvest and determine wine trends in the coming season.

(Stairway to Heaven, Korcula Old Town, October 22, 2022)

One doesn't have to be long on Korcula to realise that this is an island with a rich heritage and one which is fiercely patriotic to its local produce and traditions. No cheap Chinese souvenir shops here, but ones filled with local arts and crafts, olive oil, and those two magical Korculan whites - Grk and Posip.  

The sheer diversity of local dishes on Korcula makes it (I believe) the only island which has its own book of recipes for its indigenous cakes (Sweet Korcula has no less than 35 local recipes - all of them delicious).

And so to the festival, which was a combination of culinary celebration, discovery and education - something for everyone against a backdrop of social interaction and relaxation after an excellent tourist season.  

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Korculanske Pjatance 2022 opened in trademark bright sunshine with a superb presentation of the wares of members of the LAG 5 Fest association. 

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Including a very generous selection of local wines. 

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An outstanding constant part of this year's festival was the daily marenda (price 60 kuna) hosted by Restaurant Planjak - fabulous local fare with sizable portions at a very affordable price.   

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Among the honoured guests and participants was Dalmatia's leading caricaturist, Tisja Kljakovic Braic, whose depiction of daily life in Dalmatia is a true work of art. Tisja had an exhibition of her incredible work in the town park throughout the festival. 

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Her latest book, 'Oni' was a Christmas gift a couple of years ago, and it was nice to come face to face with my favourite cartoon - Sarma, Day 5. 

You can take a tour of some of the exhibition in the video above. 

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Day 1 came to a VERY strong close, with two outstanding dinners, this after an afternoon masterclass at Konoba Mate in Pupnat from Slovenian Michelin Star chef Igor Jagodic. 

Oyster lovers headed to De Canavelis for a Wine and oysters eno-gastro workshop with WSET lecturer Kruno Filipović & EventLab, moderated by Morana Zibar. Meanwhile, at Korcula's own Michelin Star restaurant, LD Palace, Michelin star chefs Kevin Bonello (The Xara Palace, Malta) & Marko Gajski (LD Restaurant) with the support of the winery Korta Katarina & Meneghetti, put on a culinary extravaganza. 

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Early risers with a sweet tooth on Day 2 were rewarded with a pastry masterclass by one of Croatia's leading pastry chefs, Tea Mamut. 

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This was followed by a superb look at the wonderful world of rare island indigenous varieties, led by Ksenija Matic at Filippi. 

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Coming from Hvar, I was amazed at just how many indigenous varieties there were on Hvar alone, before discovering that islands such as Solta, Vis and Korcula all had varieties specific to their own individual island.  

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Lunchtime? It must be marenda at Restauant Planjak.  

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Education has been a key aspect of the philosophy from the inaugural event in 2017, and this year was no exception.  The City Museum was the venue for two presentations; the first by LAG SKOJ, LAG BRAC, and LAG 5 presenting the 'Collect the island' project, which was followed by a lecture by Ana Marusic Lisac B Sc. on the certification and protection of island goods. 

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There were no places available for the star event that evening - a superb 8-course dinner by Slovenian Michelin Star chef Igor Jagodic, more than ably supported by Tea Mamut's dessert.  

 

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Education, activity, and affinity to nature kicked off the third day, as the emphasis shifted to the village of Zrnovo, the host of most of the day's activities. Energetic participants were up early to forage for plants in the forests under the watchful guidance of Sani Sardelic. 

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A successful morning's foraging yielded an impressive and varied haul. 

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Which was put to very good use in the workshop. 

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There then followed what was arguably the best part of the whole event, a VERY relaxed and lazy afternoon of indulgence at the excellent Eko Skoj in Zrnovo.

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Where the food just kept on coming, Korculan speciality after Korculan speciality.  

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An undoubted highlight was a dish I had never heard of before - skopac, which translates as castrated lamb. Superbly prepared.  

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A very encouraging thing I noticed this year was the level of participation and engagement from other islands, and it was great to catch up with leading Jelsa winemaker, Ivo Dubokovic, for example - one of several familiar faces from Hvar.   

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The theme of education was never far away, and Ivo Kara Pesic mr.phil gave an extensive adn thought-provoking presentation on the Slow Food Movement. This was followed back in the city museum by a lecture on The science and art of food experience, by Daniela Angelina Jelinčić, Ph.D. from the 
Institute for Development and International Relations, Zagreb. 

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Meanwhile, there are certain people one cannot visit Korcula without saying hi. High on that list is Smiljana Matijaca, whose outstanding Cukarin pastry show is internationally acclaimed. And full of dangerous calorie traps. The Marko Polo Chocolate Bomb was a new one to me. Sensational.  

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The final day kicked off with an early morning visit (too early for this correspondent) to OPG Komparak and a lesson in ecological beekeeping with Vlaho Komparak. 

But I did make it for the daily marenda at Planjak - lamb shank peka.

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And how about this for a trademark Korculan desert display?  

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There was swimming, there was walking, there was chilling in the cafe - a very relaxed few days enjoying this magnificent town and all it had to offer with very few tourists.  Idyllic. 

And one final dinner, this time at Hotel Korcula, with a wonderful touch from the Korculan community, as the first public presentation of a rather special wine in honour of a very special man was presented. 

Korcula was rocked 3 years ago by the tragic passing of Drazen Matkovic, the popular sommelier at LD Palace. A pillar of the community who touched the lives of everyone he met, Drazen lives on in the hearts of many on the island, and the wineries of Korta Katarina, Bire and Krajancic came together to produce a stunning cuvee in Drazen's honour called DraMa (using the first parts of his first and last names). 

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A fitting end to an extraordinary few days of Korculan culture, hospitality, gastronomy and community. It was a true pleasure to be a small part of it. 

You can follow Korculanske Pjatance on Facebook - see you there for the 2023 edition.  

And whether or not you go to the festival, I do heartily recommend that you get up for sunrise at least once on your next visit. As you can see from the video below, it is truly magical.  

And don't forget to check out the drone view, courtesy of Steve Tsentserensky. 

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What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning - Business and Dalmatia.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners is now available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.

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Thursday, 6 October 2022

Korčulanske Pjatance: the Korčula Foodie Festival, First Time in Autumn

October 6, 2022 - The organisers would like to invite you to join the celebration of the traditions and food on the island of Korčula, the festival called Korčulanske pjatance, this year held in October for the first time, in the weekend of 20-23.

The unique island gastro story was started in 2017, and this year's festival will be the fifth edition. The festival is held all over the town (and some locations on the island, outside of the confines of Korčula town), and this year they are offering a variety of visits by famous chefs, lectures, workshops, just hanging out with the people in the industry, exhibitions, fairs and thematic evenings, and you will also get to discover the secrets of the autumn on the tastiest island in the Mediterranean.

Some traditions are tastier than others, and the autumn on the plates of the people of Korčula is a good enough reason to visit. Previously, the festival was held in the spring, but the brief autumn version of the festival held (courtesy of the pandemic) in 2020 led the organisers to explore the season of grape and olive picking again this year. This year, the restaurants involved in the festival are Fillipi, Radiona, Lešić Dimitri, Cupido, Nigra, konobas Mate and Škafetin and traditional producers Eko škoj.

If you're following the scene in Korčula, you might recognize that there is a restaurant with a Michelin star on the list (Lešić Dimitri restaurant), with two other Michelin-recommended establishments from Korčula also participating in the festival: Fillipi and Konoba Mate. The effort to brand the island on the national and global scene, with restaurants supporting each other in their work and cooperating in the organisation of such a festival can only be applauded.

Thanks to the Pjatance, the island of Korčula has seen a lot of education in terms of the most recent trends in modern gastronomy. In the last four festivals, most of the star chefs in Croatia held workshops or shared their experiences, including David Skoko, Hrvoje Zirojević, Dino Galvagno and Rudolf Štefan, chocolate maker Stiv Kahlina and many others.

This year's opening on the well-known Rotonda will bring together the islands of Hvar, Brač, Šolta and Vis, and their products will be offered at the fair, organized in cooperation with LAG 5. The cult restaurant Planjak in Korčula, a locals' favorite, will try to teach the visitors the island art of "marendavanje" (translating "marenda" is not easy. Words marenda and gablec are used in different versions of Croatia for basically the same thing, a meal that can be compared to what would be called "brunch" in English, but it's definitely NOT that. You need to come to Korčula to learn if you want to know more). The masterclass lectures will be held by the famed chef Igor Jagodić and pastry chef Tea Mamut, and there will be a workshop on collecting the herbs on the island, led by the curator Sani Sardelić. There will be a few wine workshops held, as well as lectures on olive oil, protecting and branding of various island products, beekeeping etc.

Daniela Jelinčić, PhD of the Institute for development and international relations will present her scientific findings to the public for the first time, in her lecture on the science and art of the experience of food. And, this year, after being closed for many years, a part of the festival's program will be held in the newly renovated Blue Club nightclub/bar, which will be open to the public after many years.

Themed dinners will be held in many restaurants with affordable prices: Kevin Bonello, a chef from Malta will work with Marko Gajski from Lešić Dimitri, and Igor Jagodić and Tea Mamut will also work together. There will also be an exhibition of works by Tisja Kljaković Braić in the Town Park in Korčula, mostly dedicated to the food.

To find out more, visit the website, FB page, or Instagram.

Thursday, 28 July 2022

Korcula to Split via Peljesac Bridge: A Heavenly, Speedy Road Trip

July 28, 2022 - While most of the Peljesac Bridge commentary has been focused on connecting Dubrovnik, access to the islands of Korcula and Mljet has just improved considerably. TCN road tests the new drive from Korcula to Split. 

One of the very few things I don't like about Korcula is its accessibility. Driving down from Zagreb is already a fairly long day, without having to either plan your trip around two ferries (Ploce to Trpanj, Orebic to Korcula) or two borders (the Neum Corridor) and then driving the length of the Peljesac Peninsula.

That all changed yesterday. 

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And sitting in my favourite place in Dalmatia, the Michelin Star terrace of Lesic Dimitri Palace, thoughts of the onward journey were not as terrible as usual. Leaving such a divine spot is always a wrench, but at least this time, I would have the pleasure of trying out the new bridge and seeing just how much time I would save on my way to Split (Korcula to Split would normally take over 4 hours by car and ferry, and a painful 4 hours too - and this was assuming no border queues and the ferry schedule worked for you), starting from my favourite terrace on Korcula?

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Actually I was starting from Venice, the delightful suite at Lesic Dimitri Palace, which is comprised of 9 outstanding 5-star suites in the town of Marco Polo's birthplace, under the theme Where the Silk Road Begins. Check out the latest addition, Sumatra

After bidding my reluctant farewells to the Lesic team, it was a 5-minute walk to the Brodica, the small passenger ferry that runs on the hour to Orebic, price 23 kuna. A wonderful service from the centre of Korcula Town, so no need to drive to the ferry at Domince. From landing in Orebic, a 7-minute walk to my favourite free parking in Orebic.

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If I told you where it was, I would have to kill you. I don't want to publish details, but if you want to know, send me a private PM. 

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And then the drive. Although the bridge is not yet appearing in my Google Maps, it does for others. According to Google, I had a 45-minute drive to the start of the bridge at Brijesta. I finally learned to drive on water... 

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It was a stunning drive through hills offering ridiculous views of the Adriatic, combined with the temptations of some of Croatia's finest vineyards. For this is Plavac Mali country. There IS a bridge at the back of this photo, I promise. My legendary photo skills come to the fore again.

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And, as we get closer to the bridge, new signage shows the new reality. 

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And a big surprise. a tunnel as long as the bridge itself - some 2.4 km) underneath (presumably) those gorgeous vines. 

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And as we edged closer to Croatia's new star connection, a smile. Just 145 kilometres to Split, and most of that motorway. Heaven. 

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And then the bridge finally came into view. And what a beauty she is. I am more into Dalmatian benches than bridges, but I have to admit that this one is a beauty. 

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The 2,404 metres that will change the lives of many - for the better. 

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On the other side, new signs take you to Neum if you want to go, but the main direction is Split. 

A short drive to Ploce and then joining up to the motorway to Split, toll price 50 kuna. 

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And after some time in what was honestly one of the most pleasant and stress-free peak season drives during my time in Croatia, the journey from Korcula to Split ended with a cold one on the riva, with clouds and a merciful gust of wind and threats of a storm. 

Total travel time from Korcula to Split, including the boat - 2 hours 50 minutes.

My favourite place in Dalmatia just got a little closer. 

So how was traffic on the bridge and also at the Neum Corridor on the first day of the new reality? Check out the TCN video report below.

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What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning - Business and Dalmatia.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

Sunday, 24 July 2022

Lesic Dimitri's Michael Unsworth Named Korcula Town Person of the Year. Bravo!

July 24, 2022 - If a foreigner has done more for a Croatian island, I have yet to meet them. Congratulations to Michael Unsworth, the pioneering owner of 5-star, Michelin Star Lesic Dimitri Palace, the new Town of Korcula Person of the Year. 

It is a love affair that started more than 50 years ago, when a young English student followed a pretty young lady from Yugoslavia, who was also studying in London. What was meant to be a short holiday in Orebic to woo her turned into a lifetime passion for both the Peljesac town, but also the magical island across the channel and birthplace of Marco Polo himself - Korcula. 

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Little did that young student know back then that he would go on to marry the girl and still be humoured by her half a century later, but that he would leave an indelible mark on the island that was to become his second love. 

There is so much that one could say, but the simple facts say it best - and Michael Unsworth is a very modest man, who will probably be upset at all this attention. For that reason, I decided to leave his photo in the body of the text, so that the lead photo could showcase the very latest addition to the incredible Lesic Dimitri Palace, the first 5-star boutique hotel on a Croatian island, where every room is themed to the Silk Road of Marco Polo, the latest being the Sumatra Residence pictured here (more details in the press release below).

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The hotel and restaurant scene when Michael started was average at best, with pizza and other faster foods the common fare. Walking around the old town these days is a gastronomic delight, as the standards have been raised considerably. It all started with Lesic Dimitri Palace, which has never compromised on quality. And there is a good reason why Lesic was the first island hotel to be awarded the prestigious Michelin Star, thanks to magician chef Marko Gajski, who has blossomed under Michael's guidance. 

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If there is one place on the coast that I had to spend the rest of my life, it would probably be on the LD Terrace, the gentle afternoon breeze from the water cooling the air, listening to Michael's stories from around the world, while sampling Marko's latest creations washed down with the best Korcula wine pairing. 

Several people have told me over the years that they have never met a foreigner who loves an island as much as I love Hvar. That is perhaps because they have never met Michael, who has Korcula in his veins. 

Congratulations to you, Sir, richly deserved and fully fitting. I look forward to toasting you with a glass of Posip or six the next time we meet. 

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You can learn more about LD Palace on the official website.  

Press release:

Korčula's Lešić Dimitri Palace has been synonymous with high-quality tourism experiences – both on the island in Croatia – on the global luxury tourism map for over a decade. The oldest part of the palace (dating back to the 15th century), which received the World Architecture Community Award back in 2010, got an additional accommodation unit this season – the Sumatra Residence. Sumatra's interior draws inspiration from Marco Polo's Silk Road, which is also the focal point of what the Palace has to offer, and excellence as the core business principle. An open space attic with one of the best views of the ancient walls, islands around Korčula and the blue waters of the Adriatic, is a new luxury heaven for romantic couples and anyone who identifies as such. Sumatra completed the story about the famous place in Korčula that stood out from the beginning as a rarely successful example of conversion and restoration of cultural monuments into a cultural good that the entire town can be proud of. With his forward-thinking planning and tireless efforts, Lešić Dimitri Palace owner and director Mr. Michael Anthony Unsworth has managed to prove that Korčula can be and is a world-class exclusive tourist destination. Thanks to his outstanding business results and years of wholehearted enthusiasm for the benefit of society, he received the Town of Korčula's Person of the Year Award.

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Learn more about Korcula in the Total Croatia Korcula in a Page guide

Sunday, 3 July 2022

The Ultimate Guide For Digital Nomads in Korcula

July 3, 2022 - The island of Korcula is slowly being discovered as a remote work paradise. A comprehensive overview for digital nomads in Korcula from its first two DN ambassadors. 

This guide is written by Yvette Pelgrom and Mandy Fransz to share their top tips and recommendations after working remotely in Korčula island, Croatia as the inaugural Digital Nomad Ambassadors, a pro-bono concept designed and delivered by Saltwater Nomads, in partnership with the Korčula Tourist Board, Korčula Hill and LD Palace.

After spending a few weeks in beautiful Dubrovnik, we’ve had the unique opportunity to experience the digital nomad lifestyle in one of the magical Croatian islands only a 2,5-hour ferry ride away: Korčula island.

Also known as “Little Dubrovnik”, Korčula is featured as the 5th most beautiful island in the world according to a Big Seven Travel list alongside popular hotspots including Bora Bora, Maldives, and Bali — and we couldn’t agree more!

With its tagline “one island, endless experiences” we’ve been astonished by the magical Old Town with its cobblestone streets, tiny beaches with crystal clear waters, serene coastline and scenery, and most of all, its pure and kind locals. 

There are plenty of activities to explore the island by foot, bike, or boat which makes this the perfect place to visit all year round — whether you’re looking for adventure or simply want to relax and enjoy the island’s tranquility.

We’ve created memories of a lifetime: from learning about the local bee farms and olive oil production, tasting the typical Grk wine at one of the family-owned vineyards, and enjoying a Michelin-starred meal on a traditional Kata boat.

In this guide, we happily share our top tips and recommendations to help you create the ultimate digital nomad experience in this dreamy oasis called Korčula.

Where to stay:

According to locals, Korčula’s famous resident Marco Polo started his travels along the Silk Road from this magical island. Korčula Old Town is built in a very special way, resembling something of a fishbone to protect the town against sea winds. 

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During our two-week workation, we’ve had the pleasure to stay at Korčula Hill — a self-catering luxury apartment complex just a short drive from Korčula Old Town. They provide discounted offers for long-term stays to attract more digital nomads starting for as little as $200,- per person / month for a 2- or 3-bedroom apartment.

The modern and well-equipped apartments provide everything you need: from high-speed Wi-Fi, fully-equipped gym, tennis & basketball court, bicycle rental, and two outdoor swimming pools with amazing views of the Pelješac peninsula. Follow the trail just behind the building for a short hike with a gorgeous view!

As a guest, you’ll also get free access to the sunbeds at La Banya beach, which is the perfect place to relax or do a bit of work from their restaurant or terrace bar serving delicious stone-oven baked pizzas and home-made ice tea.

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If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, we highly recommend this Airbnb in Medvinjak, a two-bedroom apartment only a 15 to 20 minutes walk from Old Town with a spacious terrace and an amazing view perfect for stargazing at night! And the best part: it’s a stone's throw away from small, semi-private “hidden” areas to enjoy a dip in the sea before, during or after work (or, all!).

Last but not least, if you’re looking for a honeymoon-worthy luxury experience we highly recommend LD Palace, a lovingly restored 18th-century palace now offering five unique residences for those wishing to escape, relax and unwind. We stayed at Arabia, a one-bedroom residence providing a 360-degree sea-view, fully equipped kitchen, an en-suite bathroom with walk-in shower and bathtub, and an open plan living which makes it the perfect romantic getaway. 

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Where to eat:

Korčula is known for its traditional “konobas” and, of course, fresh seafood making it the perfect place to enjoy unique and delicious gastronomy.

A must-visit is Konoba Maha — a traditional, family-owned restaurant run by two brothers serving locally produced food and wine passionately prepared with fresh ingredients from the land located in the middle of nature surrounded by nothing but serenity. It’s a 10-minute drive from Old Town, but it’s worth every second! Try their signature lamb dish or T-boke steak perfectly paired with a red oak wine.

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Another one of our favorites is Eko Skoj — a “from land to table” organic eco-farm owned by a mother and her kind daughter (Jelena Marović) and their wonderful team. You can walk through the flourishing garden to find a diversity of vegetables, fruits, and herbs. We even got to eat fresh cherries from the trees! Try their delicious homemade bread and order several dishes to share; a true gift for the eye and so nourishing for the tummy. 

One of our favorite restaurants in Old Town is Aurora and their next-door coffee shop Aurora Sweets providing gluten-free, refined-sugar-free and dairy-free treats. Although the Wi-Fi is not very strong (yet), it’s a fantastic option to get some thoughts on paper and switch work environments with a stunning ocean view. Note: the coffee shop is only open until 3 PM — make sure to be there on time! 

If you’re looking for a luxury Michelin-starred experience, then you need to visit LD Restaurant. Their wonderful staff members are incredibly attentive and passionate, serving the most Instagrammable chef’s tasting menus depending on seasonal products (definitely try their foie gras if you have the chance!). Their surprising flavors and combinations make you eat every bite so mindful to appreciate the taste so dearly. You can also rent their traditional Kata boat for a unique (romantic) dining experience in the Adriatic Sea surrounded by islands.

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A few other favorite places include Konoba Mate, Bistro Maha, Vrnik Arts Club (ask for their freshly baked homemade bread!), and Adio Mare for the best catch of the day (if you’re lucky, highly recommend the Amberjack – truly delicious!).

Where to work:

Since Wi-Fi speed is not optimal (yet!) on the island, having a work-friendly home office is essential. Hence, make sure to find accommodation with high-speed Wi-Fi and enough workspace such as Korčula Hill or, before booking an Airbnb, ask the hosts to check speedtest.net for ideally a minimum of 50 - 100 Mbps.

You can also work from one of the restaurants or coffee shops in Old Town such as Aurora Sweets or Hotel Korčula where locals come for business meetings in this beautiful, monumental building. Another option is Korčula Town Library where the owner Ivan Vidali provides co-working space for about 5 Euros per month. In autumn 2022, it is expected their larger coworking space will be open too.

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Things to do:

Whether you’re seeking adventure or looking to relax and recharge — Korčula island offers endless experiences making it a perfect all-year-round destination!

Here are a few of our favorite activities:

  • Go for a City Tour with Korčula Tourist Board to walk through the cobbled streets of Old Town and learn more about the history, culture, and traditions. Don’t forget to take a picture in the famous Ulica Ismaelli — the most Instagrammable street in Korčula!

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  • Visit a local bee farm at OPG Komparak. You can enjoy a 45-minute workshop to learn about local honey and olive oil production for as little as 5 euro. You’ll even get to taste their locally produced Gin!
  • Watch a Moreška sword dance performance. They say “if you haven’t seen Moreška, you haven’t been on Korčula”. You can watch a performance in Old Town on Mondays and Thursdays at 9 p.m. in July and August; and on Thursdays at 9 p.m. during off-season.
  • Visit a local vineyard such as the recently opened, family-owned Tasovac winery for a local wine tasting experience. While Korčula is known for its popular Grk wine, our favorite is called Posip.

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  • Treat yourself to a luxury spa treatment at LD Spa such as a Thai massage or Ayurvedic relaxing massage. We highly recommend all therapists — especially Viviane from Brazil who has the purest energy and wisdom with years of experience having studied in India and has now landed her wings in the beautiful Korčula island.
  • Go Island hopping to explore the nearby islands such as Badija island, Vrnik, and Stupe. You can hop on a water taxi for about 10 - 20 Euros return per person, or rent a private boat with La Banya for a half-or full-day experience visiting the most beautiful beaches.
  • Enjoy an outdoor activity with Korčula Outdoor such as sailing, multi-day guided sea kayaking tours, and visits to the pristine archipelago and nature reserves. The wonderful owner Damir is truly kind and ensures you’ll have the best experience!

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  • Go beach hopping to explore Korčula’s pebble-stone beaches such as La Banya Beach, Pupnatska Luka, and Vela Luka. However, we recommend simply roaming around the island by bike / foot / car / scooter as you can find many tiny entrances and stairs to beautiful “hidden gems” with crystal clear waters. We prefer going off the beaten track, but, if you rather go to the more common beaches (also beautiful!), you can find the most recommended beaches here.
  • Join wellbeing or active classes such as going for a swim at this indoor swimming pool, a yoga class with Nina at Yoga Korčula Balanca, a typical local sport at Water polo at PK Korčula (founded in 1930, they are legendary!), or a pilates class at Pilana studio by Lana — having studied and worked extensively in this field, she has a fiery but compassionate energy. Classes can be given in Croatian or English, and she offers both group classes as well as 1-1 to tailor it to the person with passion. Highly recommended! 

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General tips & recommendations

After spending two weeks on Korčula island, it already has a special place in our hearts. It is such a safe space where you can leave your bike unlocked (yes, it’s still possible here!) and where locals still simply catch the freshest fish from the Adriatic sea themselves to enjoy with family for dinner. 

Here are a few useful links for planning your (next) visit to Korčula island:

We hope this guide will help you to create the ultimate digital nomad experience in Korčula island. We highly recommend visiting off-season to escape the tourist crowds while still being able to enjoy nice, warm temperatures all year round.

Many thanks to Hana from the Korčula Tourist Board and Ivana from LD Palace for giving us a memorable, one-of-a-kind experience on this magical island :) Hvala!

This guide is written by Yvette Pelgrom and Mandy Fransz to share their top tips and recommendations after working remotely in Korčula island, Croatia as the inaugural Digital Nomad Ambassadors, a pro-bono concept designed and delivered by Saltwater Nomads, in partnership with the Korčula Tourist Board, Korčula Hill and LD Palace.

Now check out Mandy and Yvette's guide for digital nomads in Dubrovnik.

Sunday, 19 June 2022

Meet The Luka Mozaika, A World Record Contender

June 19, 2022 - The Port of Mosaics (Luka Mozaika) project aims to become the world's longest recorded mosaic walkway. This innovative Luka Mozaika project can be explored in Vela Luka, a coastal town situated at the very western end of the Island of Korčula.

Currently, at forty metres in length, Luka Mozaika has already been laid and is still an ongoing project which is growing steadily. The recent global coronavirus pandemic slowed down the Vela Mozaika project and even halted it for some time, but it has now regained full motion once again. The project was started back in 2017 by Udruga Likovno Stvaralaštvo Vela Luke (the Vela Luka Artistic Creation Association). Each mosaic involves a detailed picture with four thousand stones per masterpiece. The mosaic pieces that are used to create the final image are between one and two centimetres long, and they are all cut in an old and unused factory, which has become the workshop where this utterly exquisite artistry is designed.

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Photo: Adriana Tasovac/Total Croatia News

The creative head of the operation is Ante Marinovic who also lead a smaller-scale mosaic project on Proizd island, which contains seventy mosaics and are all under Vela Luka’s ownership. The Port of Mosaics in Vela Luka aims to cover the entire walkway with mosaics along the shore belt, which is just under three kilometres long.

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Photo: Adriana Tasovac/Total Croatia News

Over three hundred mosaic pieces make up the walkway in Vela Luka already, and tourists, as well as locals with an artistic flair, can participate in adding to the project, which will forever make them a part of the culture and history of this ever-growing walkway. Even novices who are unfamiliar with the process have the opportunity to become skilled in this artistic field as part of a truly impressive move Vela Luka has made.

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 16 June 2022

Ongoing Inflation Continuing to Significantly Alter Croatian Price Lists

June the 16th, 2022 - Ongoing inflation is continuing to force Croatian price lists to alter more and more frequently, with some very simple services now significantly more expensive than they were this time last year.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the increase in prices across all fields owing to inflation has particularly affected Croatian islanders, and even on the gorgeous Central Dalmatian island of Korcula, company owners had to adjust their business to the recent price increases, writes HRT. As costs increase, it's now questionable how altering Croatian price lists will affect the upcoming height of the summer tourist season.

New Croatian price lists - new measures. The recent price increases have greatly affected all of the island of Korcula's small business owners, and they've had to adjust their business to this new and rapidly changing situation.

“Some artisans and small business owners had to increase their prices, some had to lay off workers, some were thinking about it. Everything is difficult, materials have become more expensive, fuel has become more expensive, now electricity also has, and what's worse, we don't know how it's going to go on like this and to what extent it will continue,'' pointed out Mihovil Depolo, President of the Korcula-Lastovo Association of Craftsmen.

Most craftsmen from this particular island have changed their price lists in line with rising costs, meaning that their prices, in order for their businesses to survive, are higher almost all over.

"We were forced to raise our ice cream prices, and a scoop of ice cream went from 12 kuna to 15 kuna, maybe it's symbolic as it's a mere three kuna, but it means a lot to us because looking at the example of a litre of milk I need to make the ice cream, well... I can't find that for under nine kuna,'' said Korcula pastry chef Jagoda Milina.

"We've increased our prices a little, we haven't done it by much, ten kuna, so enough cover this increase in fuel prices because fuel has risen by 50 percent when compared to last year," said the president of the Korcula Barcarioli, Stipe Separovic. However, it seems that tourists are also aware of the situation, and aren't too bothered about the altering of Croatian price lists on the island.

"It's not extremely expensive, it's kind of in our country, in big centres it's always a little more expensive, but it isn't too expensive for us. It's okay,'' said Marius from Lithuania.

“I love the grocery stores here, I think the prices are fair, just like when we eat out,” added Jessica from Florida.

"It's similar to some larger cities, except that in restaurants I'd say that the prices may be a little higher, but let's say in stores it's similar, more or less," believes Aleksandar from Serbia.

The global coronavirus pandemic is now finally behind us and a thing of the past, but with new price increases, it seems that another uncertain summer tourist season awaits small business owners and artisans on the islands.

For more, check out our business section.

Thursday, 26 May 2022

2022 Korčula Summer Season Expected to Catch Record 2019

May 26, 2022 - The 2022 Korčula summer season is expected to catch the record 2019, with the return of many cultural events, a revamped ACI marina, and the soon-to-open Pelješac bridge. 

Korčula has already recorded an excellent pre-season with figures better than the record 2019. All local governments on the island are growing, bookings are crazy, caterers and renters are satisfied, and a hellish season awaits them, reports Slobodna Dalmacija.

Expectations for a good start to the pre-season in Korčula town have been justified, said the director of the Korčula Tourist Board, Hana Turudić. Compared to April and the first week of May 2019, Korčula has 25 percent fewer arrivals and overnight stays, which are very good numbers and indicators of a successful season, Hana Turudić is convinced. Most guests are still from Croatia and Slovenia, followed by travelers from the USA, Great Britain, and Germany, and markets that have slowed down in the last two years and are looking forward to returning. With no restrictions in place, the possibility of holding numerous events that were called off in the previous two years is now a reality. Following the traditions of the famous Korčula Vela setemana, the 12th Marco Polo Challenge was successfully held, the Croatian Championship in Medium-Long Triathlon, and the Asparagus Festival, Fortress Night, and the Kumpanji Klapa concert on May 1.

"Of great importance are the completed works in the ACI Marina Korčula, which welcomes this season with full capacity and numerous catamaran lines that connect the city of Korčula with Split and Dubrovnik and the islands of Lastovo, Hvar, and Mljet. The Pelješac Bridge opening will be a turning point for further development. In addition, we are announcing numerous events, from the Festival of Knightly Games, classical and popular music concerts, music festivals, the Korčula Baroque Festival and Lost in the Renaissance, food and wine festival Korčula Pjatance, and many other events," announced Turudić.

Lumbarda has recorded excellent numbers, too, and the pre-season recorded an increase of 175 percent in overnight stays compared to last year, but 3 percent more than the pre-pandemic 2019. The director of the Lumbarda Tourist Board, Ante Šestanović, said most guests are Slovenes, followed by the Swiss, French, Norwegians, and Irish. Most of the tourist traffic, more than 41 percent, took place in private accommodation, and they stay for almost a week during the pre-season!

The Municipality of Blato recorded a 25 percent increase in arrivals and overnight stays in the first four months of 2022 compared to 2019. Croats are the most numerous in Blato, followed by Slovenes and guests from BiH and Poland.

"What is worth mentioning is that visitors perceive our island as a destination for a pleasant and quality vacation, and despite all the challenges, expectations for the upcoming season are certainly positive," announced Blato Tourist Board director Maja Separovic.

Several traditional events are planned and held this pre-season at the Blato Tourist Board, starting with the successful traditional gastronomic event Tastes and Scents of the Homeland - Easter Fair in Blato. Then, from mid-May, there are specially designed gastronomic tours for visitors and the local population, to whom they will present local winemakers and producers of traditional lumblija cake.

The Vela Luka Tourist Board director, Dorjan Dragojević, is more than satisfied with the results, especially with overnight stays and arrivals in April, which are 65 percent better than last year.

"Hotel Korkyra has opened, and private accommodation is slowly filling up. Given the good bookings, we expect even better tourist numbers in the future, which we are currently planning at the level of 2019," announced Dragojević.

Although last year's season was excellent for Orebić, this year they are announcing an even better one, primarily due to the Pelješac Bridge opening, and the current figures prove it.

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Sunday, 15 May 2022

Big 7 Travel Pronounces Korcula 5th Most Beautiful Island in the World

May the 15th, 2022 - The stunning Central Dalmatian island of Korcula is absolutely unique, and anyone who has ever spent any amount of time there doesn't need to be convinced of that. We all know it, and now it's official. Big 7 Travel has declared Korcula the fifth most beautiful island on the face of the Earth, ranking it alongside the likes of Bora Bora.

As Morski writes, Korcula's deserved title as the fifth most beautiful island in the entire world was announced by the readers and editors of the Big 7 travel site, who chose from as many as 50 islands dotted all over the globe. Very surprisingly, there were no other islands from Croatia listed, but there were Seychelles, Bora Bora, Barbados, the Maldives, jaw-dropping locations in from Hawaii and the Caribbean, and islands from Zanzibar, but all these places were overshadowed by Korcula.

It's difficult to pick the most beautiful island from all of the many inhabited and uninhabited islands this country boasts. Each and every one of them stands out from another in some shape or form, and each has unique qualities, customs and traditions. This particular Croatian island, however, has clearly caught the eye of the international community.

Margaret from Ireland stated: “What do I think about Korcula? If you're up for living in the moment and meditating, and you have to imagine a happy place, this is it. There is no price it could ever be sold for.''

Evelyn from France also has only praise for idyllic Korcula: “It's very quiet and the people there are very kind. Wherever we go, we meet lovely people, so I think we'll come back again.''

The old town of Korcula is unavoidable for all visitors, and it is remembered fondly for its beautiful architecture.

''Another specificity is that the side streets are curved so that the harsh winds of winter can't enter the old town while on the left they're flat so that the summer mistral refreshes us every day,'' revealed Andrea Tedeschi, a Korcula-based tourist guide, for RTL. Those who construced the buildings on the island of Korcula were smart, and it now has a number of restaurants to boast of as well, and with very good reason.

''The gastronomic life of Korcula as a whole is fantastic. I think that you rarely have so many different gastronomic offers on one island in Croatia,'' said Ante Bojic, the owner of the oldest tavern on Korcula.

Hana Turudic, the director of the Tourist Board of Korcula Town said: "We love our little island, we keep it very hospitable with the welcoming hearts of the local population, there's something for everyone on this island.''

The hidden gems Korcula can boast of are plentiful, such as the gorgeous beach which, in addition to being drenched in sun, a calm, crystal clear sea and silence, also offers a view of the island of Lastovo, seeing it get a rightful place on the list of most sought after beaches in the world.

This new title could bring Korcula many guests from across the globe, and nature has done its thing in the many gifts it has given to this breathtaking island, and now it is up to the locals to keep the island as it is - the most desirable.

For more, check out our dedicated travel section.

Tuesday, 15 March 2022

Dream Job: Luxury Villa on Croatian Island Looking for Two Home Testers

March 15th, 2022 - Luxury home tester sure sounds like one of the better jobs in the tourism industry

Many employers in the service industry are currently recruiting staff for the upcoming tourist season, but it’s not every day that you come across a job listing as captivating as one that was posted on a local job search site this week.

Namely, owners of a beachfront luxury villa on Korčula island are looking for two people who will stay at the property for a week and test all the amenities to ensure everything is in working order and ready to welcome the first guests of the season, reports Morski.hr.

‘Our villa has numerous facilities available for guests to use during their stay, so we posted the listing in question to ensure we’re completely ready for the new season’, said the villa owners.

Dream job? Sure sounds like it - too bad it’ll only last a week. The fun stuff that needs testing includes the following: kayaks, bicycles, scooters, table tennis, foosball, billiard table, gym, PS4, trampoline, seaside hammock, sunset swings and deckchairs.

The job also involves inspecting the cleanliness of the villa, testing the full functionality of the kitchen (all the kitchen appliances), inspecting the bedrooms (mattresses, A/C, closets), the bathroom, living room, laundry room and the garden.

Employees staying at the villa are also expected to inspect the tidiness of the adjacent beach, evaluate the host (the person who welcomes guests into the villa) and review Villa Gabriela.

According to the listing, ideal candidates would be in good shape, athletic, communicative, and have some experience making videos, as the gig involves filming daily video diaries while testing the facilities.

The original job listing is available on Pick Jobs (in Croatian).

 

 

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