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.
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?
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.
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.
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…
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.
And, as we get closer to the bridge, new signage shows the new reality.
And a big surprise. a tunnel as long as the bridge itself – some 2.4 km) underneath (presumably) those gorgeous vines.
And as we edged closer to Croatia’s new star connection, a smile. Just 145 kilometres to Split, and most of that motorway. Heaven.
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.
The 2,404 metres that will change the lives of many – for the better.
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.
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.