Head 3km inland from Korčula old town and you will arrive at the very quiet and rural village of Žrnovo. The four rustic hamlets that make up Žrnovo sprawl amongst the green hillsides, randomly dotted by red-roofed houses and quaint old churches. The area provides for the walking enthusiast, the nature lover, a restful retreat for the busy city worker and outdoor fun for adults and children alike. Need some more reasons to stay in Žrnovo…
There are number of trails to head off on leading to stunning views and rock formations, the most remarkable being a site called Kocje. After a 25 minute walk from Žrnovo you will find yourself in a setting quite mystical with tight paths running through huge boulders adorned with moss and trees. This place is a joy for adults to explore and great fun for kids to scramble over and under the rocks.
For beautiful places to bathe and swim, visit Žrnovska Banja and the bay of Vrbovica, lovely seaside settlements in easy walking distance, which also offer great restaurants. Further afield the best walks from Žrnovo lead you to some of the most secluded bays on the island, such as Pavja Luka and Rasohatica (or hire a bicycle from one of the travel agents in Korčula and ride there). After a long walk or cycle in the sun there are not many better places to cool down, than in their crystal clear waters.
From Žrnovo you also have the west end of Korčula in easy reach (either by bus or walking) and there is also a very scenic route to Lumbarda, an area famous for its wine and beaches.
One great day out from Žrnovo I recently experienced was an excursion simply called “Donkey Safari” – you guessed it you get to ride a donkey, although you don’t have to ride it all the way to your final destination! Riding these placid beasts of burden is great fun and for just over an hour you travel through olive groves and typically beautiful scenery, until the Adriatic appears before you and you start heading down towards the truly stunning pebbled bay of Pavja Luka. Here you can spend the day lounging in the sun, swimming and snorkelling, with a grilled fish lunch to sustain you and as much wine as you desire. You will love this day out – I did and would recommend it to all!
In and around Žrnovo there are some superb places to eat and because of their rural position they tend to be better value and more localised. As any experience traveller will tell you, the best place to eat is where the locals go. One that I strongly recommend in the centre of Žrnovo is Atrij. Atrij has a simple menu constructed from good, honest, local ingredients. All their dishes are superb from the quick pizza to the slow cooked speciality dishes such as the peka or a whole lamb or goat spit-roasted on the huge grill out in the front garden.
So let me set the scene for you… You have just had a day out walking, cycling and sunning yourself somewhere spectacular on the beaches near Žrnovo, you’ve pre-ordered your family and friends a peka and head on over to Atrij. Whilst you wait for your food to perfect, sitting in the leafy front garden, quenching your thirst with some refreshing local wine or beer, you are invited by the locals to join in a game. You try your hand at the Croatian version of bowls (think French boules but bigger) and either after getting the hang of it or getting thrashed by some old timer (who looks like they can hardly lift one of the balls) you sit back down and gorge yourself on the mouth watering dish presented to you. A good laugh, a few drinks later and with a full belly, you’ve made some friends for life.
Place to Stay – Relax in peaceful surroundings and stay in this bright and cosy studio apartment in the centre of Žrnovo. For more information –
Place to Eat – Buffet Atrij located in Kampuš, Žrnovo ( 020 721-254). Peka and spit-roasted meats need to be pre-ordered the day before.
Thing to Do – Donkey safari day trip to Pavja Luka by donkey, including lunch and wine/beer and soft drinks.