About the Island
The island of Vis, known by the Greeks as Issa, is one of Croatia’s best kept secrets. Off limits to foreigners for nearly 50 years, it’s strategic westerly location made it the choice par excellence for the Yugoslav Navy’s Adriatic Command. Today, Yugoslavia and the naval base are gone. Years of isolation and economic neglect are gradually being reversed and the island, with its two main towns – Vis and Komiža – experiencing a veritable renaissance. Its untouched natural beauty, pristine coastline and preserved traditional lifestyle, are attracting visitors looking to escape the commercialism and mass tourism of more well-known destinations. Situated at the end of a large protected bay, the town of Vis has all the characteristics of a typical Mediterranean town with its summer villas, polished stone -flagged squares, churches, monasteries and walled fortifications. A handful of excellent wine bars and restaurants offer superb local cuisine and tastings of the island’s famous Vugava and Plavac Mali wines. Behind the town a rugged landscape of rock, pine and carob frames the crescent-shaped bay and stretches westward. Dramatic vistas of cascading terraces, dropping to the sea, unfold in a succession of dizzy hairpin turns, revealing blue coves and rocky beaches and row after row of tenacious, gnarled grape vines. Komiža, on the southwest side of the island, is a timeless little fishing town, nestled at the foot of Mount Hum, and overlooking a dazzling azure bay with the islands of Biševo, Svetac, Brusnik, and Jabuka in the distance. Honey-colored limestone houses, with sea-green painted shutters, line the narrow side streets and passage ways that lead uphill from the harbor where a large renaissance citadel and bell tower keep watch. Orange and lemon trees dot the hillsides, mixing scents with lavender, honeysuckle, and spring lilacs. Cafés and restaurants crowd the waterfront in summer, while little white fishing boats bob at their moorings and sailboats ply the bay. The interior of the island is much akin to a vast, natural rock garden with rosemary, sage and garlic carpeting the hillsides and softening the cultivated terraces of grape vines and olive groves. While virtually every family on the island grows its own grapes and makes its own wine, serious winemaking is currently enjoying a renaissance as a new generation of educated young vintners returns to the land of their grandfathers.
Did you know…
The Blue Grotto on the eastern side of the island of Biševo, is a phenomenon similar to the island of Capri in Italy. Formed by the action of waves, the limestone cave is large enough for small boats to enter. Between 11 and 12 o’clock noon, when the sun’s rays shine through an underwater opening, the interior of the cave is bathed in a silvery blue light.