The Island of Vis in Croatia – Everything You Need to Know

A Jadrolinija Ferry from Split took a little over 2 hours for us to arrive in the charming, sleepiest, littlest island of Vis in Croatia. We crossed several small islands before our ferry harbored at an island sprinkled with red roof tiled cream houses.

The remotest and least-inhabited of all Dalmatian islands, Vis is one of the best places to visit in Croatia. It remained inaccessible and off-limits for the longest time for it served as a Yugoslav military base from 1950 to 1989. The island feels other-worldly with its exclusive, untouched, sleepy, and low-key vibe.

Vis in Croatia is a perfect place to experience fjaka ( pronounced fyaka) as Dalmatians call it, a relaxed way of life.

Best Things to do on the island of Vis in Croatia

Despite it being under the tourism radar until 1989, Vis has enough things to do and see beside beaches.

Explore Vis Town

Vis has been ruled by many empires – British, Venetian, Ottoman, Italian, Yugoslav due to its strategic position geographically.

Earlier Issa, now Vis comprises of 8 villages – Dračevo Polje, Marine Zemlje, Milna, Plisko Polje, Podselje, Podstražje, Rogačić and Rukavac.

Vis has a wealth of things to see and do.

The cultural heritage of the town Vis can be seen through its many churches, Fortica fortress, Our Lady’s Battalion & Museum, and the Archeological Museum.

The Issa town walls, the remains of Issa town’s streets, the supporting masonry of terraces in the southern part of the town, Roman thermae, the remains of Issa’s residential architecture, Roman theater, and the Necropolis of Issa (ancient Issa’s cemetery) are among ancient monuments in the town of Vis.

Kut is the oldest and the prettiest part of Vis that’s best admired on foot.

An evening stroll on the island is a celestial experience.

vis croatia evening view

Experience the Beautiful Beaches of Vis

The island boasts some of the best beaches in Croatia. I particularly loved two of them – Stiniva and Srebrna.

Stiniva is a tiny sand beach enveloped by high stone cliffs that can only be reached by steep trail. The trail isn’t easy, though worth it!

Srebrna is another beautiful rocky beach perfect for families with kids. The water is as pure as a child’s heart here.

Stiniva Beach in Vis Croatia
Stiniva Beach

Prilovo City Beach, Punta Biskupa, Stoncica, Vela Svitnja, Grandovac, Milna, Zaglav, Teplus, Vela Smokova, Bili Bok, and Mala Travna are the other beaches in Vis. Stoncica is a shallow sandy beach with amazing reefs. Vela Smokova Beach is popular among boaters. About 100 meters from Smokova, you can see the submerged remains of the wings of the World War II airplane.

Explore Komiža

One can easily get lost in the cobbled alleys of the historic old town of Komiža. You can climb the St. Nicholas Monastery for some amazing views over the bay or visit the church of Our Lady of the Pirates, Komiza Fortress, and Fishing Museum.

komiza harbor vis croatia

You can have enough of vitamin sea here as Komiza boasts some of the best beaches on the Vis island – Bile Stine, Drugo Ploca, Gusarica, Bjazicovo, Zanicovo, Sporku Zolo, Lucica, Jurkovica, Mlin, Vartalac, Kamenica, Novo Posta, Templuz, Storo Posta, Baluncic, Pizdica, and Velu Zolo.

Join Vis Military Tour

Vis had been a major military base for the Yugoslav army. Vis Military Tour gives you an insight into the military subways, a patchwork of tunnels, and military objects scattered across Vis.

The missile base at Stupišće point near Komiža is one such huge military ground with an impressive tunnel and a bunker complex that was used for land-sea missiles.

The Vis Military Tour includes a tour of former rocket base of cape Stupišće, former atomic missile command of ARK Vela Glava, the highest peak Hum, church St. Spirit, and Tito’s Cave.

Visit Mamma Mia Locations

10 years after a Hollywood movie Mamma Mia, filmmakers turned to the tiny picturesque island of Vis to shoot Mamma Mia 2 – Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!

Right, where your Jadrolinija ferry anchors, Vis harbor has been the Mamma Mia location. A few meters away from the harbor, Pansion Dionis and the surrounding steps were converted into a local Greek market for the movie. Interestingly, the fruits, and vegetables sold at this market were imported from Greece to make everything look authentic and real.

Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again production, based itself in Komiža, and for the most part, a restaurant named Jastožera on its harbor was used as a Greek Taverna. Most beach scenes were filmed at Barjoška bay. The north of the bay, Barjaci, was where the famous Abba song was filmed.

Stiniva bay, Srebrna Bay, St. Jerronim church in a little village of Prirovo are some other Mamma Mia locations.

Komiza harbor Mamma Mia location

Visit Blue Cave on the island of Biševo

Blue Cave is a unique natural wonder on the island of Biševo. We took a Blue Cave Tour from Komiza, Vis. You can book the tour online or talk to one of the many boat companies along the promenade offering blue cave tours. You can even rent your own boat to visit Biševo but, you’ll need to transfer to an official boat to Blue Cave at Mežuporat.

They say that 11 am to 12 pm is the best time to explore the cave as that’s when the sun’s high up to light up space inside the cave.

blue cave bisevo

Visit Green Cave

Green Cave on the island of Ravnik is not as famous as Blue Cave but worth a visit. The high point fo green cave is that you can swim and snorkel inside the cave, unlike Blue Cave.

Island Hopping

The island of Vis is swaddled by an archipelago of many tiny islands and islets viz. Ravnik, Bisevo, Jabuka, Palagruza, Budikovac, Brusnik, and Lastovo. You can even explore the islands of Brač, Hvar, Korčula, Sušac, and Sveti Andrija from Vis.

Join any one of the private or group boat tours and enjoy sailing while appreciating the stunning sceneries of Vis and other islands.

jabuka volcanic island croatia
Jabuka Volcanic Island

If you don’t have enough time to spend a few days on one of the Dalmatian islands – the Blue Cave and 5 Islands Day Tour gets you covered. The tour starts in Split or Trogir and lets you explore the islands of Biševo, Vis, Budikovac, Pakleni, and Hvar with Blue Cave, and Monk Seal Cave.

Taste the Authentic Local Wine

The vineyards of Vis produce two varieties of wines – the fruity-honey flavored white wine known as Vugava (Bugava) and the rich-savory red wine known as Plavac Mali. You can taste the local wine at some wine houses or wineries. Antonio Lipanović Winery is one of the well-known wineries in Vis. They have kept the barrels in the World War II caves used by Tito’s Yugoslav army.

Best Time to Visit Vis

The best time to visit Vis island is from May to October. June, July, and August are the hottest months weatherwise and witness the maximum number of tourists so of course hotels are expensive during this time of the year. It’s the best time to indulge in water sports.

The months of Spring (March, April, and May) have moderate temperatures and are the second busiest for tourism.

Fall or Autumn months of September, October, and November offer cool weather yet comfortable given the humidity. It rains and snows too. Owing to the weather, tourism is slowest during these months and thus, hotels are affordably priced.

Early Autumn (September) and Late Spring (May) can be the best months to visit as they are beautiful, quieter, and pleasant.

Getting to Vis Island

Split is the mainland gateway to the Dalmatian islands. You can travel to Vis island from Split by catamaran, ferry or speedboat. Jadrolinija operates a year-round daily catamaran and twice-daily ferry from Split to Vis. The catamaran takes one and a half hours whilst the ferry takes two hours and 20 minutes to reach.

The speedboat is the fastest way (1 hour) but the ferry is the most reliable option especially when traveling with kids as it keeps you safe in any kind of weather. Plus, it allows you to take your rented car with you on the island.

The tickets can be purchased online in advance or at the Jadrolinia office near the harbor. It’s highly recommended to buy the tickets online if you are traveling during the peak season.

A catamaran tickets costs 45 kuna per adult and 28 kuna per child (3-12 years).

A ferry ticket costs 45 kuna for an adult and 22.5 kuna for kids aged 3 to 12-year-old. Taking a car on ferry costs anywhere between 270 kuna to 470 kuna depending upon the model and size.

If you are planning a Split to Vis island day-trip, please check the ferry schedules beforehand and book tickets online as the schedules differ by season and day. You can book the first ferry that departs from Split to Vis and the last ferry that departs from Vis to Split.

Getting Around Vis Island

Vis and Komiza are the two main towns on the island. They are about 10 km (15 minutes) away. You can travel between the two towns via public bus, taxi, or a rented car, scooter, or bike. The bus tickets are purchased directly from the driver and cost 20 kunas one -way. The buses from Vis harbor to Komiza are scheduled according to the ferry departure and arrival time.

Taxi from Vis to Komiza or vice-versa costs about 150 kunas. Alternatively, you can join one of the excursion tours by Vis tour companies.

What and Where to Eat and Drink on Vis Island

A majority of restaurants on the island of Vis, Croatia are called konobas. Konoba means a traditional restaurant serving traditional Dalmatian cuisine. Some of the best places to eat in Vis and Komiza are:

We feasted on the traditional Woodfired Pizza overlooking the Barjoska Bay at Pizzeria Charly in Komiža.

traditional woodfired pizza Pizzeria Charly

If you are a fig lover like me, the traditional Hib Cake, the energy bar made from figs using a traditional recipe dating back to the ancient times. It’s spiced up with aromatic herbs, almonds, homemade brandy, rosemary, and fennel. The cake is kept in bay and rosemary leaves that gives a special aroma to it. Hib Cake is mostly made for Christmas and is best served with local homemade Rakia or Rakija (fruit brandy).

Where to Stay on Vis Island

The hotel choices are a bit limited (3 to be precise) on Vis island but apartments, guesthouses, and villas are plentiful.

Hotels in Vis Town

  • Located in the Kut neighborhood, Hotel San Giorgio is a beautiful family-run four-star property.
  • Excellent in terms of its central location, Hotel Issa is in a dire need of a makeover.
  • Located right on the seaside promenade, Hotel Tamaris offers a good value for money.

Airbnb in Vis Town

Our Airbnb at Marine Zemlje, a small village in Vis was everything we could ask for and more. Cozy, comfy, and calm.

Airbnb Marine Zemlje

The place was so peaceful that we could hear the beautiful sounds of nature – birds singing to one another, ocean waves crashing on the shore, cool breeze rustling by the trees, croaking of the frogs, and chirping of crickets. Our host Maja made us feel at home. She even cooked us Komiška pogača, a famous Dalmatian Island dish. Based on our delightful experience, we can very well recommend this property to our readers and fellow-travelers.

Hotels in Komiža

Hotel Bisevo, an old yet well-maintained is the only hotel in Komiža.

Apartments in Komiža

Apartments Frenkie and Val Comeza are two of the best apartments to stay in Komiža. They have been rated highly by the travelers for their location, amenities, and hosts’ warm and concerned ways.

You can choose from about 427 properties in Vis, and 238 stay options in Komiža.

beautiful sunrise at port of vis isalnd in croatia
One of the best sunrises of my life while waiting for the Jadrolinija ferry at Vis harbor.

We loved you, Vis. Your sights, sounds, essence, warmth, and Mamma Mia charm will remain with us until we return.

We sincerely hope our guide to Vis, Croatia helps you plan a perfect visit. If you have any questions, let us know in the comments section below. We’ll be happy to help as always.

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