Guide to Vis Island, Croatia: Best Beaches and What to Do on the Island
Vis Island is the most remote of all Central Dalmatia islands, the last natural paradise in the eastern Mediterranean, a perfect summer gateway.
It’s one of the last havens that from 1945 to 1992 for almost 40 years was a military bunker, an island off limits, isolated and inaccessible to foreign visitors. Only from 1992 after Croatia was proclaimed as an independent state, Vis finally opened the doors to visitors.
The only benefit of island’s so long isolation, is its untouched and pristine nature what makes this island really ‘the Mediterranean as it once was’.
Suddenly, the island has become a new tourist destination for local and international travelers, seeking for genuineness, unspoiled nature, gourmet delights and above all the tranquility.
Where is Vis Island?
It is located in the Central Dalmatian archipelago, 30 nautical miles from Split, reachable in two and half hours by ferry or in one hour and a half by fast catamaran.
Getting to Vis
- New 2018 ferry and catamaran schedules!
- Jadrolinija Car ferry line N° 602 from Split to Vis town
- Jadrolinija company fast catamaran Line N° 9602 From Split – Miln (Brac island) – Hvar – Vis – Split.
The island has an area over 90.3 square kilometers and it rises 587 meters above sea level with Hum, the highest peak.
The whole island is divided between two beautiful small towns, both positioned at the bottom of two large bays. The first one on the northeast side is Vis town, island’s capital and Komiza town, on the southwest.
There is a friendly competition between them (similar rivalry is also on Hvar island between Hvar town and Stari Grad) as Vis town was richer and associated with upper-class nobility and Komiza was always related to working-class mostly fishermen and farmers.
Vis beaches and natural wonders
The rugged coast around the Vis island is spotted with stunning coves, caves and a couple of sandy and pebble beaches.
Stoncica sandy beach
One of the most beautiful is Stoncica bay, often refereed as Vis’ Hawaii, situated 6 km from Vis town on the northeastern coast of the island. It is a beautiful sandy bay with a small restaurant with home atmosphere. In vicinity there is a beautiful lighthouse , at the entrance to the Vis bay and few private apartments for renting.
Some owners offer a taxi boat service to Vis town. This is a perfect place to anyone seeking peace and quiet, a vacation away from civilization. No phones, no running waters but rainwater cisterns. Stoncica also has a good mooring for nautical tourists.
Zaglav sandy beach
Island’s the biggest and the most beautiful sandy beach Zaglav is situated 10km south of Vis town, near Milna village. You can’t drive all the way to the beach.
You have to leave your car in Milna and then walk for about 10 minutes along the coastline path. I recommend to ask the local for a boat rental or to use a taxi boat from Milna.
In Zaglav there is a restaurant with a beautiful terrace and few houses offering apartments. The place is convenient for those who look for peace and isolation. This sandy beach is very often visited by yacht owners.
Stiniva – Secluded bay
On of the most beautiful hidden and picturesque bays is Stiniva. The Stiniva Bay is located in the south part of the island and characterized by a very narrow entrance behind which the bay spreads and ends with a 30 meters wide beautiful pebble beach.
The bay is surrounded by 35 meters high steep cliffs. There is no road that leads to the bay so the only way is to get there by boat. You can hire one in Milna village.
Magical Vis island caves
As the best preserved island in this part of the Mediterranean sea, the top visited sights are magical island’s caves.
- The Green cave (Zelena) on the small island of Ravnik
- The Blue cave (Plava) on Bisevo island.
On the small island of Bisevo placed in the southwest of Vis island, the most valuable tourist attraction is the Blue Cave. The island is 5 nautical miles away from Komiza or 15 minutes drive by speed boat, taking one of day excursions from Komiza town by Blue Cave Agency.
From Split you can also take one of daily tours in high season.
Blue Cave (Plava spilja) has two entrances. One is smaller, artificially deepened, through which a paddle boat may pass. The other entrance is on the south side of the cave, below sea level, and the sunlight penetrates through it.
Around noon, while the sea is calm, the sun-rays enter through an undersea opening into the Blue Cave and illuminate the cave with blue and objects in water with silver color.
Vis Island – Things To Do And See
Visiting Vis and Komiza towns, two museums are worth visiting. Both museums reflect a deep connection with island sea traditions and its Hellenistic history.
Vis town Archaeological Museum
The island’s history is best displayed in this museum in Vis town. Beside archaeological exhibitions, this museum also features a rich ethnographic collection, including the island’s fishing, wine-making, shipbuilding and recent history.
The 2nd floor has the largest collection of Hellenistic relics, with Greek pottery, jewelers and sculpture, including a lovely 4th-century bronze head of a Greek goddess. There is also a large collection of well preserved antique amphorae in this museum.
The Museum remains open from 1st June until 1st October from 10 am until 1 pm and from 5 pm until 9 pm and on Saturdays from 10 am until 1 pm. On Sundays the museum remains closed. Entrance fee is 20 KN
Komiza Fishermen museum
Komiza town has always been proud of the fisherman’s history. This long history has been displayed in the Fisherman’s museum located at the Kastel, a sixteenth century Venetian fortress built in the Renaissance style, on the harbor promenade (riva).
The museum contains a large collection of nets and knots as well as a model of a falkusa fishing boat, in Komiza known as gajeta.
A copy of the Komiza fishing boat gajeta represented the Croatian maritime heritage at the world fair EXPO 1998 in Lisbon.
Each year on December the 6th, a day of Komiza town, during the celebration of St. Nikola, a famous ship funeral is held. A model of gajeta boat is burned every year in front of the parish church of St. Nikola, celebrating St. Nicholas, the patron of travelers, seamen and fishermen. It’s one of the most suggestive events on Vis island.
Exploring Vis Island Undersea World
If you are looking for diving vacations, on Vis you can find several experienced diving clubs. They offer courses on all levels for amateur to professional divers. They are highly qualified with international licenses and have permission to design custom tours to all available spots for any tourist.
The seabed around the island keeps many secrets of numerous shipwrecks and cargo ships as a witness of island’s trading activity.
The underwater world surrounding the island of Vis hides a large number of archaeological sites where many relics like amphorae, bronze cannons and various items, now lie on the sea bottom of the island.
Vis island foodie delicacies
The most famous and original specialty of the island of Vis is a pie known as a Vis pogaca (pie).
On the island this delicious pie (pastry) is prepared in different variants depending if you are in Vis or in Komiza town. It’s not a secret that almost every house has its own way of making it.
Vis and Komiza, as the two rival cities, are always in conflict even in preparing this traditional island meal. Vis town pie variant is simpler as they consider using only fried chopped onion with salted anchovy, while Komiza inhabitants advice to add tomato sauce or sliced tomatoes.
It’s a sardine pie, a kind of Vis pastry which is similar to pizza known from ancient Greek period.
Wine-making has a long history on Vis Island, dating back from the Greek period, and it’s very much alive today. Vis produces some of Croatia’s best-known wines – vugava (white) and plavac (red) – and when visiting this island you’ll see vineyards all over the island.
The most famous brandies from Vis are carob brandy and brandies made of wild May roses, sage, fennel, and especially grape brandy.
- Visit Konoba Pol Murvu, Zena Glava bb, Vis town, Croatia 00385 21 715002 where you can try lavender cookies for desert and the carob brandy.
Vis island restaurants
- Restaurant ‘Konoba Bako‘ – Komiza town, Guduliceve str.1, tel.021/713008. If happen to visit this restaurant, ask a table on the terrace. They offer beside fresh fish also mixed grilled meat.
- Restaurant ‘Jastozera’ (lobster) – Komiza town, Gunduliceva str.6 tel.021/713859 Famous actor John Malkovich was a guest there. If you want to enjoy the excellent grilled fish don’t forget to make a reservation at least few days before.
- Restaurant ‘Stoncica’ – Stončica 1, tel. +385 21 711 669. Opening hours:
noon to 2 AM daily. It’s located in a sand bay with a few tables placed randomly outside. You should try the usual plate – fresh sardines grilled on an open grill.
- Restaurant ‘Val’ (Wave) – Vis town, tel. +385 21 711 763). This palm-shaded restaurant with a terrace overlooking the bay offers outstanding cooking. Its specialties are seashells and crustacean (crabs, lobsters, shrimps) including a memorable caponata (capers).
- Lola Konoba & Bar Garden – Vis town, tel.+385958497932, address Matije Gupca 12. This restaurant is N°5 among 27 Tripadvisor’s recommended places. A great cooking in fantastic romantic setting