Oh, Vis. We had never heard of you until our Captain said we were sailing your way, but from the moment we hopped off the gangway and onto your unspoiled shores, our heats were taken. Hvar might get all the attention but Vis is where the charm lies.
A magnificent 16th century Franciscan monastery and dazzling cerulean waters greet you pulling into the main harbor, Viska Luka Bay. Ahead lies an island full of character, rich history, beautiful scenery, and one wildly rustic restaurant that’s sure to give you one of the best meals of your life. Currently, they’re filming Mama Mia II there, and it’s not hard to see why.
From the 1940s all the way to 1991, the island served as a military base for the Yugoslav Army and was cut of from foreign visitors. Continued instability throughout the Balkans during the 1990s also kept tourists at bay. All of this, in a very sad way, preserved the island in an incredibly unique way. Even today, it’s remote location as one of the furthest Dalmatian islands out into the Adriatic, Vis is wonderfully removed from most of Croatia’s tourist traffic. It attracts more sailors than day-trippers and the harbor buzzes with catamarans and sailboat groups enjoying this piece of paradise.
Explore Old Town Vis
The town of Vis stretches along the entire waterfront of Viska Luka Bay, with the newer part towards the west end and the Old Town (also referred to as Kut) towards the east end. Starting from the newer end, stroll the promenade lined with docked sailboats, sidewalk café, and boutique shops. The stone streets become more narrow making your way into Old Town, and you’ll pass by medieval churches and little alleyways that lead down to the sparking blue water. Get lost in the back streets — follow stone staircases up to quiet neighborhood streets, where clean laundry flutters in the breeze draped across windows above and sleepy cats rest carefree on doorsteps in the shade.
Rent a Scooter
Right on the main promenade in old town, you’ll find a scooter rental near St Cyrian & Justin Church (the bell tower is first visible) and across from Bejbi Bar. Hope on your Vespa and zip up and down the promenade.
Dine ON AUTHENTIC PEKA at KONOBA Roki’s
Absolutely book a table at Roki’s if you’re headed to Vis. Heck, it’s reason enough to visit Vis! The family-owned and operated tavern & winery is the best place to taste and experience the authentic Croatian dish called Peka. With Peka, your choice of lamb, veal, fish, or octopus is cooked slowly in a metal dome over glowing coals for hours. Thus, if you want to eat here, you need to call to book your table and give your Peka order at least a few hours (preferably more) in advance. Come dinner time, head inland to a small village called, Plisko Polje, located in a flat valley that was once home to an strategic Allied airbase during WWII. With it’s family-owned, countryside charm, Roki’s dining experience from start to finish is superb. Before you sit down in the rustic, cozy taverna or outside in the courtyard under the twinkly lights, head over to the outside oven area, where you’ll find the Peka-master roasting metal pots over coals and the bread-maker throwing fresh loaves into his wood-burning oven. Find out which is your pot and ask the Peka-master for a peek inside. Enjoy the delicious house-made wines and the best hot bread in the entire world until your Peka dish comes out. The octopus was out of this world — even if octopus isn’t normally your thing, we highly recommend you venture out of your comfort zone and try this one! The rich hearty flavors of each Peka dish will leave the table ohh-ing and aww-ing over each bite.
Take the Military Tour or Your Own Tour of the Island’s Rich History
Vis’ history run deep and is incredibly fascinating from the first neolithic inhabitants to modern times. The small Adriatic island has seen settlers and rulers ranging from the Illyrians, Greeks, Romans, Venetians, Austrians, Italians, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, and now, Croatia. During WWII, the famed Yugoslav revolutionary-turned-president, Tito, hid out in Vis’ maze of underground tunnels to avoid capture. Today you can tour the military tunnels and learn about the rich, tumultuous, and fascinating history of the Vis.
Hit the Beach
Preserved from time and tourists, Vis’ stunning beaches are yours to find and enjoy. Gorgeous blue water and stunning, pebbly beach surround the island. Set out to explore and find one to have all to yourself.
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