Apartments in Prizba are today a well-known location for accommodation on Korcula island. A picturesque central part of Prizba features a pebble beach and a small port and the rest of Prizba comprises several kilometers of coast of houses with apartments in the first or second row to the sea. With charming islands which captivate the eye, Prizba and this part of the island of Korcula are an oasis in a map of countless beach apartments in Croatia.
But how did it all start? Let’s take a look into the history of Prizba from a view of a person to whom Prizba islands and the distant blue horizon were the first sights in life.
In this post:
- Early Sixties – Beach for Locals
- The Seventies – Restaurant Ratak and Hotel Alfir
- The Eighties – Growth Towards Priscapac, Expansion of Apartments in Prizba
- The Nineties and Present
Early Sixties – Beach for Locals
To understand how Prizba became a holiday and apartment rental destination, it is necessary to know how Prizba was connected to Blato. In the early sixties, the only way to reach Prizba was on foot along the old and narrow path across the hills.
In the beginning of the sixties, the construction of the road to Prizba was initiated. Here is the aerial photo of the area showing the area of Prizba without the completed road.
But walking for almost two hours across the hills surrounded by the astonishing scenery of uncountable stone terraces was an unforgettable experience. Above photo also shows that this area is amazingly built in stone walls which cover every hill as well as the steep hillsides.
Sadly, today the stone walls are hardly visible as the whole area is covered with the typical mediterranean greenery, mostly pine trees, as in most other similar areas on Korcula. Although these pine trees create large areas of green forest on Korculas, they cover the view to these magnificent sunny stone terraces that were once an unique source for great grapes and wines.
Prizba was not a classic seaside village. There were just several houses built in stone in what is today the central part of Prizba: the area around the beach “Žal” and the small peninsula “Ratak”. The houses were used for keeping tools as they were surrounded by vineyards and olive groves and also for keeping the boats and fishing equipment. But I know that the people, apart from the hard work and fishing, always liked to stay in Prizba and enjoy spending days and nights listening to the sounds of the winds and the sea, enchanted with a distant horizon.
The main beach in Prizba is the mentioned beach Zal in the central area of Prizba. Beach Zal ( Žal means “pebble” in croatian language) was always known by the locals and used as a place for a swim and for relaxation. The sea in this area of Korcula is of blue turquoise colour as the sea bottom is mostly sandy. There is a monastery nearby and a garden around it, a place for solitude for the Congregation of Daughters of Mercy, founded by Blessed Mary of Crucified Jesus. On the other side of the peninsula, there is a port where the locals keep their boats, used to go out fishing and for occasional boat trips.
Staying in Prizba was especially popular during the Summer when Prizba was a great place for sunbathing on the beach, swimming, diving or rowing and sailing to the nearby islets.
The islets in front of Prizba were an immensely popular spot for locals. People in multitude of boats rushed during the weekends to the shores of the islets, to enjoy a swim in a crystal clear sea, fishing and tasting underwater delicacies such as sea urchins. Boat trips to nearby bays and other seaside places were and still are usual pastime – close to Prizba is Grscica and then Karbuni, with also a spectacular set of islets to explore.
The road to Prizba was quickly finished. It was only a macadam road but it brought a regular bus connection which enabled more and more people to come. Slowly but steadily, Prizba starts to grow.
The road connection also brought first foreign tourists. In the beginning, there were just a few in this part of Korcula and I remember the first guests in my mother’s house around ’68-’70. It was a couple from Belgium and the husband was a fan of underwater fishing. My grandfather took him by boat every day to the fishing locations on the nearby islets.
The Seventies – Restaurant Ratak and Hotel Alfir
As more and more guests were arriving in Prizba during the Summer, the first establishment that was conceived to meet the tourists’ needs was the restaurant Ratak in Prizba center. The building was built to represent a ship with spacious decks (terraces). With a specific view from the terraces and the internal part that had glass walls (there weren’t many neighboring houses in this period in this area), the restaurant Ratak attracted many guests during Summer days and nights.
Evening dancing events were another popular feature of the restaurant Ratak. They would take place several times during the week and featured live music on the open terrace on the upper floor of the building. It attracted local people and tourists from all over the island of Korcula. Evening dance at the terrace of the restaurant Ratak was a very special event for young people as that was an event where they met their first friends from abroad and often their first loves. The terrace also featured open air movie nights under the starry nights. Some of the interior floors were in the following decades a club venue, also popular amongst youngsters in that period.
Restaurant Ratak was an elegant structure perfectly incorporated into the scenery. For some time now, the restaurant Ratak is not operational but a steel flag at the top of a high pole (mimicking the mast of a sailing vessel) still shows the direction of the winds.
Shortly after the restaurant Ratak, the hotel Alfir was built. It was at the beginning of seventies, and the connection to Blato is still the macadam road. But, the hotel attracts not only the domestic tourists but also many tourists from abroad. I remember many tourists from Germany who were guests of the hotel Alfir. They were also staying in the private apartments as Prizba started to grow and many new houses were built.
Hotel Alfir is situated on an elevated position overlooking the central part of Prizba and it has a beautiful view from the terraces and from the rooms (some rooms are facing the back side of the hotel). Along with its own restaurant, the hotel featured a large terrace with a bar. Live music under the bright starry nights were popular and memorable events in this part of Korcula. Hotel Alfir had its own beach which was just down the stairs about 30 meters from the hotel. It was a simple but a popular concrete beach surrounded by pine trees. Although the strong winter waves made the beach non functional for some time now, during the seventies, it was a beach excellent for swimming or lounging in the shade under the pine tree.
The Eighties – Growth Towards Priscapac, Expansion of Apartments in Prizba
Already during the seventies Prizba started to grow quickly. The road to Blato is now better, wider and made of asphalt. The road is also extended from Prizba towards Priscapac and Brna with a water system and electrical infrastructure. Tourist bungalows above Priscapac peninsula were planned as a great spot to combine accommodation close to the natural beauties of Prizba.
The peninsula of Priscapac features two beaches on the beginning of the peninsula. The sea is shallow here and the beaches comprise of pebbles, which makes them a great choice for families with children. The path that was built around the peninsula leads to a few different parts. One of them is a small playground in the central part of the peninsula, surrounded with pine trees. Another part is a small cove with deep sea, excellent for jumping from heights.
Along the paths, there are benches and a couple of shaded spots for resting under the pine trees.
There is also a diving centre, as this part has many interesting underwater areas to explore. There were also some underwater archaeological excavations in nearby areas, too.
The people in this period also started to build houses in the first and second row to the sea. This area nowadays hosts a majority of the apartments in Prizba in the houses just a few meters to the sea or in the second row 30 meters from the sea but mostly with beautiful views to the sea.
Sometimes guests wonder how and when exactly these houses were built. Even though it is easy to imagine that the houses and apartments were always there, this was not the case. The houses were built by the hard work of the owners themselves. It was a long process. In the beginning, without a road and with simple tools, the people built a small pier which could be approached with a boat. After that, using the stones extracted from the location of the building plot, the people started to build the houses.
I remember when I first came with my mother to the spot where she bought a plot. It was a feeling like arriving at a deserted island with an unapproachable rocky shore. There was no road there, only woods and stones. But in those woods and stones, we saw an opportunity for a new life. My mother, like the other owners, started to transport building materials, such as cement and gravel, using only a small wooden boat. It looked like an impossible mission but the people had a strong will to build. Their courage and diligence always pushed them forward and they built nice houses which were very simple and small in the beginning, but as time went by, the rental of apartments in Prizba enabled the houses to develop more.
In the meantime the summers passed by. Many guests arrived at the newly built houses and apartments in Prizba. They always admired the beauty of nature and the perfect location of the houses. I met many of them who just fell in love with this part of Korcula so much that they bought a house or land and decided to live in Prizba.
The seventies and eighties were a period of hard work for house owners, but as tourism developed and many people came to stay at the apartments in Prizba, the summertime started being a period of fully enjoying the life by the seaside.
The Nineties and Present
The war in Croatia during the nineties halted the development and the arrival of tourists diminished. All the apartments and houses in Prizba became just empty reminders of the past times.
By the end of the nineties, the tourists started to come again. Most of the tourists that came after the war were from Slovenia. Even today, they are one of the most numerous guests. As challenging times come and go, the apartments in Prizba always prove to be the destination for the unforgettable Summer in accommodation on Korcula island.