Vis is a town on the legendary island in southern Croatia on the Adriatic Sea. It has a complex, multicultural past, having been ruled by the Romans, Greeks, Austrians, Venetians, and Italians. In the 20s, it was a part of Yugoslavia, and in the 40s, it was transformed into a military base and one of Tito’s personal retreats.
Closed to tourists for the next 50 years, Vis was abandoned as a military base in 1989 and became independent in 1991. Finally, Vis was accessible to the world again.
Today, Vis is a popular tourist attraction during the summer months—especially as a sailing destination. Seafarers boarding everything from tiny sailboats to enormous yachts enjoy this Adriatic getaway.
Croatian islands are a hidden gem, but Vis especially is one of the most spectacular places in Croatia. As an island, it is the furthest away from the mainland. Since it wasn’t a tourist attraction for decades, it will remind you of how Croatia used to be in the past, before influences from the modern world seeped in.
For example, you won’t find cheap souvenir kiosks, Irish pubs, backpacker tours, or other signs of a vibrant tourism industry. Instead, it attracts a different cadre of world explorers. You won’t find any nightlife, big hotels, package tourism, or the like.
Life may feel slower here, uncrowded, more authentic. It takes longer to get to Vis than other islands, and there is only one central hotel, so travelers who come here must consciously choose Vis over more accessible options. In fact, Vis Island life is so perfectly Mediterranean that it was selected to be the location for Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!
There are many things to do around the island, including visiting the Green Cave, Blue Cave, boat around the island, or Stiniva Beach. Vis Island has two central towns: Vis and Komiža. While the towns are only 20 minutes apart, there are plenty of differences.
The Blue Cave is likely the most well-known draw of Vis — a cave illuminated in shades of glowing blue. The light effect is only active from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM; therefore, it can get a little busy in the summer.
Where the Blue Cave is located, Biševo Island is worth exploring. On the other end of the island from the Blue Cave is Porat Beach, which offers a nice break for a swim. This beach is partially pebbly and partially sandy with shallow, calm water that is great for young kids.
This small sandy beach is surrounded by tall stone cliffs that are reachable only by a steep trail. While not easy, it is definitely worth the effort!
Srebrna is a gorgeous rocky beach that is perfect for children and families.
The cobblestone alleys invite you to get lost in the historic old town of Komiža. You can treat yourself to breathtaking views of the bay by climbing the St. Nicholas Monastery or visit the Komiza Fortress, Church of Our Lady of the Pirates, or Fishing Museum.
Komiža offers some of the most incredible beaches on Vis island, including Gusarica, Sporku Zolo, Bile Stine, Bjazicovo, Drugo Ploca, Jurkovica, Novo Posta. Zanicovo, Templuz, Kamenica, Lucica, Velu Zolo, Mlin, Baluncic, Storo Posta, and Vartalac.
Authentic local wine: Making wine is a long and rich tradition on Vis island, dating back to the Greeks. Vis’ vineyards produce two different varieties: the savory, rich red wine called Plavac Mali and the honey-flavored white wine called Vugava, brought to Vis by the Roman army. The delicate grape must be harvested at precisely the right time. Not everyone is a fan of its sweet taste, which is why it is often combined with Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, or Sauvignon Blanc. Any vineyard or wine house will have local wines for you to sample and enjoy.
Can’t Miss: Stiniva Cove won “Best Beach in Croatia” and it’s easy to see why. The turquoise water is clear enough to see straight through to the bottom. The best way to visit is by boat, but if you’re brave enough to go by land, be sure to wear good shoes for the steep, rocky path of switchbacks, as there’s no other way to get there.
Insider Tip: Rent a scooter from Vis Town and explore the eerily silent inner roads that pass through fragrant vineyards and tiny white stone villages. Vis is truly magical and you’ll quickly find yourself lost in the natural beauty of green hills and blue sea.
Restaurants: Restaurant Lola is a must-visit spot while in town. The restaurant is known for its amazing tasting menu, which features dishes made with fresh and locally sourced ingredients. Be sure to make a reservation ahead of time, as the restaurant tends to fill up quickly.