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Vis is a little island located just off Split. Far from abandoned, this languid village is where you want to go to get away from the tourist crowds of Split and Hvar for a proper local experience. Beautiful hilly landscapes and well-preserved army bases make this a unique landscape with an unforgettable, captivating allure.
Up until 1989, Vis was a military base for the Yugoslav army. The island now has a small population of approximately 5000 people and remains relatively untouched by the tourist trade, holding on to its old charm. A lot of produce is grown on the island, notably the grape Vugava known for its strong fruity flavours.
THINGS TO DO
PLACES TO GO
One of the things that amazed me about Vis was the remnants of the army presence dotted around the island. You have Fort George, built by the British to protect Vis from the French on one side of the island (where the views are fantastic btw) and then you have an abandoned submarine pen that is perfectly intact.
Of course the seaside towns are quaint and pretty with the familiar terracotta roofs that are so recognisably Croatian; spend a little time here watching the ferries come and go, grab an ice cream to cool down from the blistering summer heat or watch the sunset with a glass of white wine and a plate of the local fish dish. The lazy, lovely opportunities are endless here.
Spend a day at one of the many stony beaches. As Vis is so small, you are never far from the water. Go for a little explore and you will definitely find another secluded beach. Be aware that there are a couple of nudist beaches here as well if that tickles your fancy.
TOURS & EXCURSIONS
There are a couple of natural wonders that are a short boat trip away from Vis. The Blue Grotto, or Blue Cave is named as such due to the magical blue glow that comes from beneath the water. Bear in mind that it is extremely busy here; you will be sharing the cave with a couple of small boat-fulls of people and you’re not allowed to get out and swim. This excursion is around 150 kuna depending on the vendor which is about £15 so it’s quite cheap and is worth seeing.
The Green Cave has its name from the glittering green light that is scattered around the cave from a small hole in the ‘ceiling’. This grotto is much larger and you can get out and swim here. It does get a little busy but is much quieter than the Blue Cave. I loved the glint of the sun coming through in this cave, and it was so much fun to jump in and splash about. I can’t remember the cost but I think it was relatively cheap and we basically had a private boat there!
GETTING AROUND VIS
Getting to and from Vis is easy, you can get a ferry from Spilt which is cheap and only takes a couple of hours, and it will port in either Vis or Komiža town. There are normally 3 a day although the times do change throughout the season so keep an eye on this so you don’t get caught out or stuck somewhere!
Getting around the island when you are there can be rolled into the fun. We hired a scooter for 24 hours for 350 kuna and easily covered the whole island in a relaxed day trip. The roads are empty so you can stop-start, appreciate the beautiful vistas and enjoy the breeze in your hair (and a couple of bugs too).
A lot of the locals rent out rooms and apartments on AirBnB which is what we chose to do while we stayed in Vis. We had a beautiful view from the balcony and the apartment was spacious enough for 3 days stay. The hotels and accommodation tends to be located well so I don’t think this is something that you need to spend too much time worrying about – you will always be located well on this island.
As mentioned above, you can’t leave Vis without having
at least one of the indulgent, creamy ice creams along the seafront. There are so many options that you can’t be disappointed. If you are, you need a solid think about yourself. 😉
Croatian pizza is not something to be smirked at. Taking massive inspiration from Italy, it is fast becoming a national speciality. Every pizza I tried in Croatia was bursting with cheesy perfection. Grate 😉
If you stay in a seaside town without trying the local fish, did you really stay there? If you can afford to, have dinner at one of the restaurants along the bay. There will always be daily and seasonal specials so you know you are getting something that’s locally sourced. If you are on a budget, see if you can buy some fish at one of the mini markets and cook it yourself.
Vis is still in like, the top 3 places I’ve ever been. It was honestly so wonderful and unlike anywhere else I’ve ever been. If you have any questions (cos I have 100% missed things!) please let me know and I’ll be happy to help you. I want anybody that goes to this place to experience the magic that I did.