August 15, 2018 – Whisper it quietly, but there is a quiet little luxury tourism revolution going on on the small islets between Korcula and the Peljesac Peninsula.
Having spent most of my time in Croatia on Hvar, I know all about little islands off a bigger island. Those jewels known as the Pakleni Islands which sit in front of Hvar Town are one of the reasons why Hvar Town will always be a stunning destination, no matter what happens in the town itself. As one Hvar Town businessman commented to me on the ferry a couple of years ago as he agreed the town was going downhill, partly due to his businesses:
“But whatever happens in Hvar Town, we will always be number one, for we have the Pakleni Islands.”
To the south of Hvar, just across from Zavala, lies the idyllic island of Scedro, famous for – among other things – its wonderful honey. Indeed, back in 2011, Scedro honey came fourth at Apimondia 2011 in Argentina. If you are looking for a slice of Dalmatia in the slow lane, I do encourage you to check out Scedro – here was a visit in January 2013. And to the north of Hvar, just off Vrboska, lies the tiny former FKK islet of Zecevo, but perhaps I should not write much about that with the impending lawsuit from the Mayor of Jelsa.
The little islets between Korcula and Peljesac have always been something of a mystery to me. They are certainly beautiful, and I have admired them each time I have taken the short ferry from Orebic to Korcula.
With the launch of Total Korcula a few months ago, I have been spending a little more time on Korcula, and it has been a pleasure to see how this neighbouring island, which I overlooked for years, is quietly developing its tourism direction, based on its strong natural produce, nature and cultural heritage. I, for one, was not at all surprised when Korcula was named as Destination of the Year by the annual Vecernji Tourist Patrol.
I started taking a closer look at those little islands. Something really rather amazing was happening. High-quality products, a new scheduled transport service, with the focus on comfort and authenticity. As some destinations are selling themselves to mass tourism, this is a tiny slice of Dalmatia where things are being done absolutely beautifully. A quick overview.
Moro Beach, Stupe – taking cocktail beach life to a new level, the Moro Beach Club on Stupe opened a couple of summers ago, complete with swing in the sea. Excellent service and plenty of privacy, as well as a luxury selection of food and drink. From an uninhabited rocky islet to one of the more exclusive places to chill on the Adriatic.
Vrnik Art Club – I really, REALLY liked this when I visited a few weeks ago. The small islet of Vrnik is famous for its stone quarries, and you can still see evidence of the tracks and trolleys which transported the stone from the quarries in the middle of Vrnik to the coast. There are several houses on Vrnik, but a great addition this year has been the renovation of the old school. Restaurant on the ground floor, fully (and very authentically) restored schoolroom and art gallery on the first floor, and two luxury apartments to rent on top. There have been a number of exhibitions there this summer. A really nice addition to Korcula’s tourism offer.
Badija – I am not aware of any recent additions to Badija (but please send any info and I will update), but this island has long been attractive – partly as a sports camp, but also for its beautiful monastery. A great place to laze the day away.
Sestrice – one stone building, one tiny island. Now available for luxury rent, complete with butler.
But how to reach all these gems? Private speedboat is, of course, one option, but so too is a rather lovely new service for season 2018 – the Korcula Water Taxi, which offers hourly scheduled transfers between Korcula and Lumbarda, stopping off at some of the islets, as well as affordable transfers on demand wherever you want to go. I road tested the service a few weeks ago, and it was very impressive. Read about that here.
So the next time you are on that Orebic to Korcula ferry, take a closer look at those divine little islets – a very nice Dalmatian tourism story is unfolding.