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Korcula, Croatia

The early Greeks named this island Korkyra Melaina, or “Dark Korcula”-- because of its dense forests it loomed black on the horizon against the azure Adriatic. It is the most populous of the Dalmatian isles off the coast near Dubrovnik. Its main port is a classic medieval Dalmatian walled stone town with round towers and red-tiled roofs, perfect for strolling through narrow cobblestone byways and discovering tiny plazas where they join. In one of these, the famous traveler Marco Polo is rumored to have been born, and local people will proudly show you the very house. Another local sight you’re likely to see is the elaborately choreographed Moreska, a ritual performed by dancers with swords depicting a long-ago battle. Croatians love their coffee, and also brew wonderful beer. Enjoy one of these at an open air café, or sip the fragrant cherry liqueur called maraschino, made on the Makarska Riviera on the nearby mainland.