The island of Vis is one of the most interesting marine areas in the Adriatic. Due to its many years as a forbidden zone for foreigners in Communist Yugoslavia, the island has largely remained untouched and unmarred, surrounded by seas of indescribable beauty.
The most attractive is the archipelago around the southeast coast of Vis, then around the western coast, the islets of Biševo, Brusnik and Sveti Andrija (St Andrew), and in the east, Sušac.
Vis is an island that cannot be seen on a day trip due to its fair distance from the mainland. However, it’s an excellent place to spend a few days to get a good sense of its beauty, or ten days to take advantage of all of its charms.
The only way to arrive to the island of Vis is by ferry or catamaran. If arriving from Split, and if in possession of a car, you can only go via the Jadrolinija Ferry service. The trip takes 1 hour and 15 minutes and from Split, tickets can be purchased at the kiosk by the catamarans. From Vis, tickets can be purchased at Jadrolinija Agency. The two largest towns on the island, Vis and Komiža, are connected with a bus line. The main bus station is located at the ferry stop, on the right of the exit ramp. Tickets are purchased on the bus and are only valid for one way travel (fare 20kn). For those who get off the bus in Komiža, there is always a bus connection for Vis tied in with the ferry departures for Split.
Things to see and do: The best way to experience Vis is to go about it with abandon and without a plan. Endeavour to taste the gastronomic delights by which Vis is known or, lounge around on the marvelous beaches at the small bay Stiniva (the prettiest sandy beach on the island, 10km north from the town of Vis), the bay of Srebrena, Rukavac or Zaglav. Also, don’t miss the chance to meander around the renaissance summer villas, Tito’s cave above Podšpilja or the ruins of the ancient city.
Vis is one of the most valuable Hellenistic sites in Croatia. One of the most important Dalmatian cities of the Greek colony of Issa was located here in the 4th century BC. The ruins of the ancient city of Issa can still be seen in parts of the port, the Roman baths, the necropolis and theatre and you can also view artifacts from Issa at the Archaeological Museum of Vis which is located in the Austrian fortress “Gospina batarija’ (Our Lady’s Battery) also known for its large collection of amphorae and more notably for its bronze head of the Greek godess Artemis.
The island Vis has a rich sacral heritage as seen in the churches of St Cyprian (Sv. Ciprijana) and the Holy Spirit, the Franciscan monastery on the Prirovo peninsula and the sanctuary of Our Lady (Vele Gospe) in Podselja.
Komiža is a fishing village located at the southern end of the island which is dominated by the Grimaldi fortress, which also houses the Fishing Museum. The main church in Komiža, the church of St Mikule, is positioned above the village offering a spectacular view of below.
The interior areas of Vis are worth seeing, especially the township of Dragodid (complete with picturesque stone huts), only a 45 minute walk from Komiža. Dragodid is interesting because it is one of the rare preserved villages which has conserved its exceptional form.
Without the diving and swimming in the Medvjedina (Medvjedina Cave) on Biševo, and the Zelena špilja (Green Cave) near Milna, the island of Vis wouldn’t be the marvel that it is. And if you have time, take a trip to Palagruža island and enjoy a true marine experience!
It’s worth engaging in a gastronomic adventure on the island of Vis, for the island is known as the “island of sweetness”. It has a unique way of preparing sardines (srdele), a fish stew served with soft polenta and fagioli beans (brudet), young goat grilled Dalmatian style (kozletina na gradelima), artichokes with broad-beans and peas (artičoke sa bobom i bižima), octopus in red wine (hobotnica u crnom vinu), crispy little cakes which have a two month shelf-life due to one exceptional ingredient (cviti), a Christmas cake (hjib) which is prepared for guests all year round and contains dried figs mixed with the essence of the grape and fennel spirits. And, let’s not forget the island’s charming wines, Viška Vugava and Plavac. By the way, the delicious and most popular spirits on the island of Vis include flavours of carob, rose, sage and fennel.