Vis, Croatia: Unspoilt Mediterranean Island

Stone Croatian church against blue sky with green foliage

 

The Real Mediterranean As it Once Was…


A hidden, remote corner of Croatia harbors some of the simplest beauty, untouched by commercialism. Read about Croatia and specifically the island of Vis where the Mediterranean has been truly preserved.

Although not actually in the Mediterranean sea, the glittering blue coast of Croatia possesses a strongly Mediterranean feel. Coastal Croatia is a timeless, laid back oasis of sun, crystal waters, velvet green-cloaked islands and alluring history. With a Baroque and Slavic past in addition to its Mediterranean influence, Croatia is a melting pot of varied and rich culture.

Island of Vis


The islands of Croatia all boast varied attractions for a variety of travellers. There is truly something here for everyone. The island of focus here, however is the very small, unspoilt and totally laid-back Vis.

Don’t expect tourism of an obvious kind, in fact don’t have too many expectations at all. The reality is that some of the best experiences we have in unspoilt and timeless places are the ones which help us to appreciate it for what it truly is, and nothing more.

Vis is a tiny island, and one of the furthest from the mainland. Approximately 25 miles wide, Vis's main town of the same name possesses a beautiful palm-fringed marina lined with restaurants and small shops. The second town, Komiza, is much like a smaller version, but with a charm of its own. There are a handful of very tiny villages scattered over the steep green mountains where olives and grapes thrive on the sunny hillsides.

The simplest and yet most poignant memory can be nothing more than wandering idly through the dusty narrow streets of Vis town, taking in the quaint stone buildings, coloured window shutters, and washing hanging from lines across the alley above. The sailing boats bob gently up and down on the glistening aqua sea of the harbourfront and the palm leaves rustle, reflecting the late summer sun.

Trip to Bisevo Blue Cave


True, Vis’s best pleasures are simple and free, however there are more deliberate activities should you want to enjoy something more active. The arguably most popular attraction lies a short boat ride from the island, on a smaller islet names Bisevo - The Blue Cave. Similar to the Blue Grotto in Capri but smaller and less famed (and therefore less touristed) the Blue Cave is a natural phenomenon. Sunlight at around midday shines in through a gap in the rock underwater and illuminates the entire cave a bright, ghostly neon blue and the cave walls reflect the colour with eerie brilliance. Bisevo is reached by boat, which takes around half an hour. The cave entrance is always entered by a much smaller boat through a gap in the rock, which can be a pretty hairy but exciting experience if the sea is not at its calmest. Tours run on calm sunny days from Vis Town and Komiza. Tours are usually advertised along the Komiza harbour front and from the tourist office in Vis.

For more information on Bisevo island visit http://www.croatia-expert.com/bisevo/

Other activities can include bike hire, pedal boat hire, a quaint fishing museum and needless to say, there are also wonderful clean pebble and sandy beaches dotted around the island.

Hotels and Accommodation


In Croatia it is pretty common to find ‘Sobe’ - rooms which are rented out to travellers in local people’s homes. These can be en-suite 3 star equivalent rooms or very basic. In Vis there are few hotels, and for the real experience it is great to stay in a guesthouse or Sobe.

We stayed in a fantastic but basic guesthouse canlled Komza Provita Guesthouse (contact details below). it was in the centre of Komiza right on the seafront and the owners were so Croatian they didn’t speak English! They had their friendly English-speaking grandson working for them who rang to confirm our visit, came and met us when we arrived, and gave us a choice of the rooms available. The stay was excellent and it was great to be immersed in the local culture more than would be possible in a hotel. The stay included our own bathroom and a shared kitchen with roof-top outdoors area. Breakfast wasn’t available but with a variety of small restaurants serving breakfast around the corner there was no need.

Hotel Komiza Provita Guesthouse. Address: Don Mihovila Pavlinovića 3, Komiza, Island Vis, 21485, Croatia

An excellent restaurant for breakfast was 'Riblji Restoran.' They serve excellent Croatian food as well as fried egg and other traditional English breakfast items. The restaurant has a very Croatian feel.

Travelling to Vis


To reach Vis, you need to take the ferry from Split with 'Jadrolinija' ferries. If taking the car ferry this cannot be booked in advance. The ferry journey takes around 3 hours. For more information visithttp://www.jadrolinija.hr/default.aspx?lang=2

Split


Split itself is a fantastic bustling, historic city, a mish-mash of old and new buildings, with a range of one-off and mainstream shopping along the seafront and amongst the narrow stone streets of the city centre. A main highlight is Diocletian's Palace. A Roman palace which has been used and converted over hundreds of years into city accommodations, shopping, and even a red-light district. Although it has been added to and adapted over the years, this area is now an excellently preserved Roman ruin accommodating shops, a market and an evocative tour of the inner palace ruins.


Text and Images Copyright © Lise Griffiths, 2012
All Rights Reserved

3 comments:

  1. Hi, I am not sure if you'll get this, but if you do I'd love to hear which place you would recommend to travel to. Corisca or Croatia? We at first thought Croatia, but after watching a video thought perhaps it was too touristy? Now, I'm thinking Corsica might be too expensive/
    We enjoy the outdoors, meeting local people and learning about their culture, food, and relaxation.
    We will have a month to explore. I've read your blog about both places, but which would you recommend to a couple who has not been to either in terms of off the beaten path, reasonably priced, food and culture?
    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi, thanks for getting in touch and thanks for reading! I loved both places, however here's a little more info based on what you're looking for...

    Corsica is perhaps less touristy as the infrastructure is basic and villages and towns are small. However parts of inland Croatia are also very unspoilt and vis Island is pretty far off and therefore Tourism is smallscale which is great.

    Corsica: the food is incredible and a little more rustic and 'country' than mainland France. The charcuterie is a Corsican delicacy and there's some good local wine. Getting around is not easy without a car but there's lots of natural attractions spread all over the Island. Corsica is a walker's paradise and if you're happy to go slow and camp, they're really geared up for that. If you have a month you could even get the ferry to Tuscany, or the Cote d'Azur - amazing food and wine, and scenery.

    Croatia: There's also many natural sights in Croatia and again they are pretty spread out. Buses are possible and with a month you won't need to rush around. Food in Croatia is good but perhaps not as reliably good. If you wanted to travel around while youre there, options include the austrian alps and the other ex yugoslavian countries
    Some of which are fairly poor but very interesting.

    Sorry if I've blurred the lines even more! Both places really are fantastic for natural beauty and relaxing so enjoy, and please let me know how you get on!

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  3. The island of Biševo, located 4.8 NM from the town of Komiža on the island of Vis, is known by its interesting coastline and an abundant sea bed. The strongest impression is imprinted by its caves that adorned Bisevo ...

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