27 March 19
Discovering the island of Vis | An overnight trip
It’s hardly surprising that Croatia’s Adriatic Coast has become one of the most lauded European Summer destinations in recent years and it only takes a Saturday morning negotiating the organised chaos of Split harbour to understand that the hype is real. So where does a crowd-weary traveller retreat to after defeating the postcard destinations of the Adriatic on their Horizon Sail trip? Look to the farthest flung island of all, Vis!
An isolated Paradise
The island’s isolation from the tourist trail is legendary. The sparsely populated island was suspended in animation after being closed to the public from the 1950’s, all the way up to 1989 whilst serving as a military base of former Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito.
This period of isolation and secrecy has instilled Vis with a mysterious aura that is only now rewarding travellers who get sucked into the time warped island. Spared from communist era construction and architecture, the two largest settlements of Vis Town and Komiža are stunning examples of Roman and Venetian architecture. Without the polish of the some of the neighbouring island towns, both have a rustic, weather-beaten aesthetic, which blends perfectly with the islands fishing lineage.
Sample the Daily Catch
The fishermen of Vis are amongst the best in Europe and their daily catch, traditionally prepared, more than justifies the reputation. Komiža hosts several incredible waterfront seafood restaurants, Konoba Barba, Konoba Bako, and Konoba Jastozera, that compete to offer you the best taste of the Adriatic that money can buy. If you didn’t know how to dismantle a lobster with a pair of shears before visiting, you definitely will after!
Where there is top class seafood, top class beaches are sure to follow. A day on Vis is best spent self-touring the supreme shoreline on a scooter or quad bike. The island can easily be circumnavigated in a day, making several stops to cool off. The most iconic beach is Stiniva, a glassy green bay that opens up from a narrow break in the dramatic cliffs on either side. The hike down from the road is the perfect challenge to weed out those who aren’t worthy of the beaches beauty. A cold beer from the beachside hut is all the motivation you should need as you clamber down the hardly visible path. Make an early visit your priority in order to beat the lazy punters who cruise in on tour boats by mid-morning. Equally beautiful, and more readily accessible is Srebrna, the Silver Beach. A sweeping horseshoe of tranquil water that is perfect for a picnic and a long afternoon of sunbathing and swimming.
The Blue Cave
Just off the coast of Komiža is the small limestone island of Biševo, home to the famous Blue Cave. A short boat ride from town will take you inside the natural cave that uses sunlight to transform the colour of the water to an iridescent blue glow. The 24m cave is a spectacular example of the natural beauty of Vis and should definitely squeeze its was into your itinerary when the sunshine is at its peak.
An Authentic Experience
If you manage to superhumanly pack all of these experiences into a single day or even two, it goes without saying that you should reward yourself with a seat on the promenade to watch the sunset and sip on some locally produced wine. It is at this point that I hope you do as I did and bask in the feeling that you have discovered something special in Vis. The authenticity of the island is something to be admired, and taking the time to experience this hidden pocket of Croatia will let you in on one of the countries best kept secrets. The hardest decision you have to make is whether to keep it for yourself or tell your friends to join the club.
Ferries sail from Split to Vis (and return) three times per day in peak season, costing 55 kuna per person (€7.40). Check the local timetable before planning your journey.
Ryan MacFarlane is a freelance writer from Melbourne, Australia.Back to Posts