Note: This guide to Vis is part of my Tour Guide’s Super-Guide to Croatia. Click to see the rest, and for some preliminary Croatia info that would be useful for this guide!
Vis is the tenth largest Adriatic island, and is home to many peaceful getaways. This guide to Vis should tell you all I have learned in 3 years of working sailing tours in the area, and more!
Vis was only opened to tourism in 1990 after being a military base for former Yugoslavia and a submarine base and hideaway for Marshall Tito during WW2! Legend has it that they finally cleared the last land mine from the island in 2008, and that there are over 50km of tunnels throughout the island. But, in its present state, all of that crazy history is pushed aside to make room for a quiet and peaceful island town with beautiful beaches and scenery.
Nowadays Vis island is a popular stop for tourists from all over the world to enjoy Croatian scenery at its finest. Rent a bike and ride up to Fort George, check out the monastery beach, explore around town, check out Komiža, or grab a scooter and zoom around the island to lay your eyes on amazing views over town, unexplored bays, and caves galore.
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Guide to Vis: Adventure Spots
Town/ Old Town of Kut
All the bigger ships dock is in the main town of Vis. Walking around this small town you can find many outdoor cafes, some small bars, some markets, some family-owned restaurants, some locally grown fruit and other products, and a few amazing shops.
A bit further east (left) from the main town is the Old Town of Kut. The old town is home to summer houses built by the nobility of Hvar. The feeling here is a bit different from that of the main town; there is definitely a more quiet and local vibe with much older looking buildings and streets with a unique Croatian charm. Walking around these streets you can find some beautiful scenes.
Just past the old town of Kut and around the peninsula is a gorgeous rocky beach; I’m not sure it’s name! There is a small bar near the road as well, and plenty of space on the pebbly beach or surrounding cliffy rocks to lay out and enjoy some sun. The water here, like most places in Croatia, is remarkably clear and offers an amazing blue contrast the the white pebbles beneath the water. This is probably the most beautiful beach within reach of town, and the least crowded!
The monastery is a trademark of Vis town, right in the middle of the harbor. There is a swimming area around most of the monastery that runs around to a small but popular beach of the town. This is a great place to relax, have a drink, or have a swim in the clear water. Just watch out for sea urchins!
It took me three years to get here (and finally visited solely because of bad weather), but Komiža is now one of my favorite towns! Situated on a big bay at the other side of the island, it is a lovely and lively little down dotted with outdoor patio restaurants and shops. There are some little beaches to chill on, and an amazing outdoor beach club where The Yacht Week holds events on certain days of the week.
Blue Caves in Biševo
Just on the other side of Vis from the mainland is a tiny little island called Biševo, which is hardly inhabited but overrun with tourists in the summer. Why? Because it is home to Croatia’s famous blue cave – a huge cave inside the island’s massive rocky cliffs. The rock of the cave only comes a few feet below surface level at certain parts, allowing the light to shine through Croatia’s glassy blue waters and reflect blue inside the entire space. It’s an amazing sight to see, but just remember to get there early to beat the crowds, or to sign up for a tour (like this one from Split) so everything is dealt with for you.
Vis Military Tour
As I said above, it is rumored that there are miles of tunnels under the ground in Vis and lots of abandoned military outposts. You can sign up for a military tour of the island from Vis town or Komiža, and some even take you in military vehicles to see all sorts of top-secret sights.
This is Stiniva Bay – visited on the tour I mentioned above!
Guide to Vis: Sunset Spots
The best place to see the sunset in Vis would absolutely be Fort George. Up the hill on the western side of town, this fortress was built on a peninsula in the early 1800’s by a British commander trying to shield the island from Napoleonic forces. The fort, ironically like many other historical sites in Croatia, has now been converted into a trendy venue. It is now a gorgeous bar area with almost 360 degree views of the sea and many little islands that dot the coastline of Vis. Comfy couches and chairs surround an amphitheater-style middle area with a few bars and with lanterns strung between the trees that shade the whole area. It is absolutely surreal! It would be a beautiful place to get married. They throw parties for the boat groups that come through during the summer, mostly on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. They send land rovers back and forth from the ferry port all night when they have parties, and basically all day as well if you don’t want to walk, bike or scooter up. Check their summer schedule for the next events!
Up on the Hill
If you rent a bike, scooter, or even a car, you can catch a great sunset from exploring the streets up the hill from the town. You can get up the hill from Kut or a few places in the main town as well. Once you reach a higher point in the hill, pull over to watch the sunset over the port or even over the hill on the western side of town. Have an adventure, but be sure to remember how to get back 😛
An old submarine tunnel around the corner from Vis town that you can jump off if you are brave!
Guide to Vis: Food
Kod Paveta: I go to Kod Paveta each week in Vis for dinner. I kid you not, this place has the best gnocchi I have ever eaten in my entire life. It’s a gnocchi in a gorgonzola sauce with walnut and sage, and it is beautiful. They also have amazing brushetta, chicken in cheese sauce, multiple different types of risotto (black, squid & cuttlefish, and sour cream & rock samphire – a yummy salty leaf) , rump steak, baby beef with gnocchi, and the list goes on and on. I highly recommend this place!
If there is something going on at Fort George, it is definitely the place to go out in Vis town! The venue is simply incredible and throws a pretty great party – I think once or twice a week.
Pronounced ‘baby’ bar, this is pretty much one of the only night time bars in Vis. They make great cocktails, and if you are determined to party this place can be a great time. It is situated half outside and half inside and is also right across from the ferry port in town.
Lunatic Beach Club
This beach club is just on the outskirts of Komiža, has a panoramic view of the bay, and is fitted with top-notch music and lighting setups. Catch it on a crowded night for an amazing party!