Lumbarda is a small, picturesque village on Korcula island, Croatia and is truly a hidden gem in Croatias’ tourist attractions. Reputed to be the oldest settlement on Korcula island, the pretty village is built around a sweeping, sheltered bay and onto the surrounding hills. Vineyards abound in this fertile area. If you are looking for a taste of unspolit Croatian island life and for a peaceful, laidback holiday, then Lumbarda is the perfect location. We fell in love with this friendly village and cannot wait to return.
As the location of the only sandy beaches on Korcula – and one of the few locations for sandy beaches in Croatia – Lumbarda beaches are popular with locals as well as visitors.
The largest stretch of sandy beach in Lumbarda can be found at Vela Przina; in Croatian Vela Przina means ‘big sandy beach.’ It is found on the southern side of the headland on which Lumbarda is located. The pristine beach is just 1.5 kilometres from the villlage centre. Due to the rare expanse of sand, it is one of the most popular Korcula beaches so arrive early to secure your spot!
It is possible to walk to the beach from Lumbarda along a narrow, paved road through pretty vineyards packed with vines groaning with the weight of Grk grapes. Alternatively, you can hire bikes from the village square. If you drive to the beach there is a fee for parking.
Vela Przina is a lovely, clean beach offering fantastic views across the sea to the nature island of Lastovo. There are a couple of cafes and huts offering massages for tired limbs! There is little natural shade on the beach so consider hiring an umbrella or bring your own. It is a sheltered, secluded bay, ideal for families visiting Croatia with children who like swimming and snorkelling as the water is warm, clear and shallow. Beware submerged rocks at high tide.
From Vela Przina you can walk through the pine woods to the furthest tip of the headland. It is easy to find a secluded swimming spot here but the water can be rough and has some strong currents. Hired bikes are not allowed on these unpaved roads.
The Lumbarda beach which is most popular with locals is Bilin Zal. You can walk to Bilin Zal around the scenic, paved coastal path from Lumbarda village. The 1 kilometre walk is a lovely, peaceful stroll especially at sunset. Alternatively, combine time at Vela Przina with a visit to Bilin Zal (or vice versa) as they are close to each other on opposite sides of the headland.
After a long day at Vela Prizina, we decided to head to Bilin Zal for a change of scenery. The short scenic walk travels past ordered vineyards edged with dense forest and tiny hamlets. Look carefully for the hidden sandy path turning off the road which leads you to Bilin Zal.
Bilin Zal is a lively spot popular with local families and provides stunning views of the Peljesac Peninusla and the Skoji archpelago. The sandy beach catches the sun all day and again, is sheltered from the local winds. The gentle incline into the sea makes this an ideal spot for children. We loved the atmosphere here; it was loud with laughter and families having fun.
The rustic Konoba Bilin Zal sells deliciously ice cold beer to enjoy on their terrace which must have one of the best views in Korcula. Even if you do not want to spend time on the bustling beach, it is worth visiting this friendly, local spot for the vibes and the view, particularly at sunset.
The nearest sandy beach to Lumbarda village is just a five minutes walk from the village centre. Tatinja Beach is a narrow strip of sand right on the edge of the road which fills up very quickly in high season. Again, there is a very gentle incline into the sea making this beach ideal for children. The beach bar and proximity to nearby appartments makes this a popular beach with tourists but the small size and location right by the roadside meant that this was not our favourite beach.
In Lumbarda village itself, there is a tiny sandy beach at the small marina but as it is right by the main road into the village, it is not utilised. There is a larger pebble beach just a few metres further along the harbour front backed by a busy bar. Here you can hire kayaks or pay to use the inflatable obstacle course in the sea.
The water at all of the beaches in Lumbarda is warm, clean and clear. However, for great snorkelling you need to swim at less visited spots or from a rocky shore as churned up sand at the sandy beaches affects visibility. Most of the shoreline around Lumbarda is rocky and upon entering, the water is instantly deep. There are numerous places with slopes or steps to help you enter and leave the water and it is a good idea to wear beach shoes to protect your feet. These more secluded spots are spectacular for snorkelling, not only for variety of fish that can be seen but for the depth and distance you can see to. Watch out for currents, sharp submerged rocks and if snorkelling or swimming far from land, make yourself visible to passing boats.
Things to do in Lumbarda
It does not take much time to explore the tiny village of Lumbarda. There is a tiny tourist office, a school, a bar and a small grocery shop. A larger, well stocked supermarket is a five minutes walk away up the hill. There are several restaurants, all with terraces making the most of the lovely views. In addition, there are a couple of locations where you can hire a bike, a kayak or a stand up paddle board.
In high season, try to time your visit for a Friday night. Every Friday the small village square plays host to a bustling ‘Fishermans Market‘ where local people set up stalls to sell freshly cooked food, predominantly the catch of the day. You can buy a full dinner, move onto another stall for a delicious desert washed down with homegrown wine from another stall. The market has a great atmosphere and is always busy.
From the marina, you can take an organised boat trip to the neighbouring national park island of Mljet, and the nature island of Lastovo. A cheaper option to visit these islands is via the scheduled taxi boat which continues onto Korcula town.
Korcula Town is an interesting town to visit and has a beautiful old town to wander around. Though a taxi boat is a scenic way to travel to Korcula Town, travelling by bus or taxi is much cheaper.
Lumbarda is famous for its Grk white wine which is grown and made locally. Grown in abundance from the grape of the same name, Grk is not grown in any of the other Croatian wine regions. There are a number of family owned wineries offering tours and tastings such as Lovric winery or Popic winery. You won’t be able to resist buying some delicious wine as a souvenir!
How to get to Korcula island
Getting to Korcula Island (and island hopping elsewhere in Croatia) is simple. Drive or take a public bus to the Peljesac peninsula town of Orebic where you can pick up a regular Jadrolinija ferry for the short 15 minute crossing to Korcula Island. A car ferry departs roughly every hour and a half but check the current timetable on the Jadrolinija website before you travel.
The Orebic ferry takes you to Domince, 2 kilometres from Korcula Town. Buses (or taxis) depart from the ferry port and drop you to the bus station in Korcula Town where you can either pick up a bus for Lumbarda or take a taxi.
From Split, you can travel by road using the journey outlined above, or you can catch a high-speed foot passenger catamaran to Korcula Town which takes around 3 hours. We made this journey in reverse (bizarrely sitting behind a famous Hollywood actor and his family!). It is a very scenic journey which hugs the coastline and stops at a couple of islands along the way, usually Brac and Hvar. This popular route gets very busy in summer so book in advance if possible, and arrive early for departure as long queues form well before boarding time.
From Dubrovnik, you can travel by road to Orebic and there is also a brand new airport shuttle service which runs directly from Dubrovniks’ Cilipi airport to Lumbarda. Check the Lumbarda tourist board website for prices and schedules. In addition, you can catch a high-speed catamaran from Dubrovnik which runs every day in high season and takes around two hours. The catamaran stops at Mljet Island before arriving at Korcula Town.
How to get to Lumbarda
Lumbarda is five miles from Korcula Town. It is easily reached from Korcula Town by an hourly bus but as we had to pay for our children on the bus, we found taxis to be very similar in price. If you are travelling in a group a taxi may be a better option offering you a flexible schedule and the ease of travelling door to door. The short drive winds through pine woods, vineyards and olive groves, passing beautiful gardens laden with vines and pomegranate trees.
Where to stay
Thankfully, Lumbarda has no big resorts or hotels. There are a couple of appartment complexes but sympatheic landscaping shields them from the view of most passers by. Mostly, accommodation is offered by private landlords in the quiet back streets of the village which are lined with fragrant bougainvillea and small vines. We stayed in a gorgeous Airbnb, a stones throw from the sea, with a fabulous terrace for dining and relaxing. We found it is common in Croatia for the owner to live on site, either upstairs or downstairs. As it gets very hot in the summer, make sure your acommodation has air conditioning, ideally throughout the building!
I was hesitant to write about the beautiful village of Lumbarda as it is a lovely, unspoilt, friendly village. I do not want that to change! We felt other parts of Croatia that we visited suffered from over tourism and over building; a fate that I hope will not spread to Lumbarda. If you want wall to wall bars, noisy ‘be seen’ beaches, do not come here. If you want a quiet, relaxing holiday with good food, great scenery, friendly people and picturesque beaches, then this is the spot for you.
Just don’t tell anyone else about it!