About Vis Island
Vis island is a bit different as it was not open to tourism until quite recently, so it's a quieter, less developed location. Vis has mild winters and cool summers due to the Mistral giving it one of the best climates in Croatia, which in turn favours the development of rich and lush Mediterranean vegetation: palm trees, carob and lemon trees and vines. Vis has an important place in Croatian culture and history - here you can see Roman and Greek remains as well as renaissance and baroque monuments. The Fishing Museum in the old citadel is an interesting reminder of long-forgotten fishing skills.
Owing to its extraordinary geographical position, Vis has been occupied by many invaders and has been the site of many battles over the years, the most famous one being on 20th July, 1886 - the anniversary is celebrated every year. For a long time, though, Vis was isolated from the rest of the islands which hindered its development but now the island is becoming more popular, especially since Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again was filmed here!
The town of Vis is connected by regular ferry and hydrofoil lines to the island of Hvar, Split and in the summer months with Ancona and Pescara on the Italian coast. Travelling by hydrofoil ship from Split to Vis takes 1 hour, 15 minutes, and the ferry from Split to Vis takes 2 hours and 15 minutes.
Vis is a naturally beautiful island with a selection of beaches, bays and caves. One of the most popular things to do on Vis is a day trip by boat to the Islet of Bisevo and Blue Cave (Modra Spilja). Bisevo, around 4.5km southwest of Vis, is famous for its caves, the most well-known being the Blue Cave - at around midday during the summer months, sunlight enters the cave in such a way as to colour the interior entirely blue. Other excursions can include the Green Cave, Queen’s Cave and some of the remote islands such as Svetac, Palagruža and Brusnik.
The town of Vis emerged around 397 BC when the mighty Greek ruler Dionysius the Great built an urban settlement with democratic rule and its own money under the name Issa, the Greek graveyard here testifies to that. Along with the Greeks, the Romans also had an important role in the development of the town and their building prowess is best witnessed by the Roman spas and amphitheatre. Vis reached its pinnacle at the time of the Venetian Republic; then around St George's harbour two urban centres emerged: Kut and Luka, from which developed contemporary Vis.
Walking through the town's narrow, stone streets leads you to many squares, fortresses and churches (St Ciprianus church, Our Lady of Spilice and the Franciscan Monastery on the Prirovo Peninsula). If you begin from its eastern part, Kut, towards the west you will see the palace of the poet Petar Hektorović, the house in which the Croatian writer Ranko Marinković was born, Gariboldi’s palace and the 19th century Austrian fort Batarija, in which the museum of the town of Vis is located today.
Elsewhere on the island, Holy Ghost, the highest peak of Vis, was the supreme headquarters of Tito's government and Stonica Cape is the stunning location of a lighthouse and a lovely sandy beach.
Komiža lies on the sunny side of the island, sheltered from cold northerly winds, its centre is compact with narrow alleys and slender houses. It is a famous place for fishermen and its harbour faces south-west, towards the open sea with two islands on its horizon - Biševo and Svetac. There are several beautiful pebble beaches of which Kamenice is the most famous; the beach,with springs of ice cold water and a shaded area provided by the tamarix trees, every night turns into a party area. There is an excellent fish market in Komiža in the morning where you can find the best choice of freshly caught fish on the island.
Where to stay
"House on Vis smaller than expected. Our room only had a small window in the very back of the room by the wardrobe so no natural light. No garden. Scruffy village. We were unlucky with the weather there and only canoed on the last two days but the other people staying there were lovely."
E Langley, UK, Sept 2016