Mount Sveti Ilija
THE PELJEŠAC PENINSULA
This hike will let you take in some of Croatia’s most stunning views – but you will need to do some scrambling.
The Pelješac Peninsula seems barely connected to the mainland. Situated in the extreme south of Croatia, surrounded by islands and the sea, it can be easily confused for an island. Or even for a mountain range rising from under the sea. Indeed, the Pelješac Peninsula is a spectacularly rugged finger of rocky mountainscapes. Mount Sveti Ilija, the objective of this hike, is its highest peak. If the Pelješac Peninsula were an island, Mount Sveti Ilija would be the highest peak in the Adriatic Islands.
1.575,00 HRK (210 €) base price + 330,00 HRK (44 €) per person
Duration & Difficulty:
7 h / challenging
What to bring: hiking boots, hiking trousers, water and a smile
every day at 8 am or earlier
Meeting Point: in front of the main entrance to the Korčula Tourist Board Office
Languages: English, French, Portuguese, Croatian
Included: guiding services, public transport by boat from Korčula to Orebić, and from Orebić to Korčula, lunch box
Not included: insurance policy
• Very good physical condition is required.
• Hiking sticks are available at no extra cost.
• Please advise us of any food allergies or dietary restrictions.
• Vegetarian menu available.
Saint Elias the Thunderer
It’s a good three-hour ascent to the top. At 961 metres, the gnarled old Sveti Ilija Mountain towers above the crystal blue sea. If you are in Korčula Town right now, you can see it just opposite, across the channel. Although it looks arid and stony from a distance, it hides a wooded area within its folds.
Ilija, Elijah, also spelled Elias, was a saint who eradicated the cult of the Slavic pagan god of thunder and lightning – Perun. According to traditional beliefs, St. Elias is the lord of thunder. He rides his flaming chariot through the clouds creating thunder.
This hike should be at the top of your bucket list
There are three routes to reach the top of Sveti Ilija Mountain. We’ll take the most challenging one for the ascent, and the most beautiful one for the descent. Thus, our hike will describe an amazing loop.
Firstly, we’ll catch a boat to cross the channel between Korčula and Orebić, a town of sea captains, at the foot of Mount St. Elias. From Orebić, we’ll start to walk uphill towards the bare slope of the mountain. Leaving houses behind, we’ll find ourselves on a wonderful path, but from here, the hike only gets more difficult.
Be prepared for the magnificent view
The path is quite steep and uneven, leading up into the mountain. Once we cross the shoulder, Korčula’s Archipelago appears like in the palm of our hand. We can count the islets as if they were marbles! Mamma mia, it’s fabulous!
A little further ahead, the path turns west traversing the slippery surface of a stony slope. Be careful now! There are wobbly tiny stones! Slowly but surely. It won’t be long before Korčula Old Town comes into view. And then, we’ll enter an unexpected forest of black pines. We are now at 750 metres above sea level. The path in the forest is smooth and flat, just long enough to recover our strength before the final part on rough cracked limestone rocks.
You may see horses roaming freely
From the mountain hut, the path heads directly up to the top. In places, we’ll literally scramble over boulders. But, it’s fun to do! Come on! Just a little bit more, and you’ll be on the roof of the world!
At the top, there is no lounge bar. Only the amazing panoramic view that embraces the rugged Pelješac Peninsula, Mljet Island in the distance, the wooded Korčula Island, the slender Hvar Island, the mighty Biokovo Mountain… There is also a metal box containing a hike conquerors’ book. By the way, do you have a pen?
After taking a break, we’ll head back down, but from the mountain hut, we’ll bear west descending first through the forest, and then on the steep stony path offering spectacular views across to Korčula Island.