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Best things to do in Vis
Located south of Hvar Island, Vis is another island that is breathtakingly beautiful. In fact, when you look out to the sparkling waters of the Adriatic Sea, and the undiscovered rocky coves and beaches, it’s sometimes easy to forget you are in Europe. Tropical scenes, warm weather and the backdrop to the musical-hit Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again all make it a very attractive island to visit during your Croatia trip.
Like much of Croatia, the island is home to a few statement architectural and geological landmarks. The island was a naval base so homes a collection of military buildings and disused bunkers. On the water’s edge, caves like Tito’s Cave, the Blue Cave and the Green Cave are worth visiting (on foot, boat or kayak) – not only for their geological shape and formation but also because, at the right time of day, the sunlight shines into the cave, the colors are simply mesmorizing.
For the foodies, Vis offers fresh fish, seafood and other delicious delicacies served in many independent and owner-run restaurants. That said, Vis is famous for a particular style of cooking, rather than an actual dish. Ispod Peke is a Croatian version of ‘slow cooking’ – find out more below.
Crystal waters, blue skies and beautiful marinas surround the island of Vis. It is truly a sailing paradise. Bays like Komiza, Stiniva and Budihovac are worth visiting by boat, offering stunning beaches and mini archipelagos respectively. From the sea, looking over to other islets and archipelagos is a sight to remember – the blue-green sparkles and you will feel freedom.
Explore Tito’s Cave
During World War II (1939-1945), a resistance leader named Josip Broz (also known as Tito) was secretly hiding on the island of Vis and it is said that meetings inside the cave were held with other Yugoslavian communist members. The cave itself is on the mount of Hum (in the south-west of the island). This highest peak is at 587 meters and from here, panoramic views of the stunning coastline and leafy island can be enjoyed. For those who are looking for an active day out in Vis, there are several hiking trails around Mount Hum, including the main goal: reaching the Chapel of the Holy Spirit.
From the Chapel of the Holy Spirit, you get a stunning view down to Komiza (a bay in Vis). The village of Komiza is also worth visiting (once you’ve caught your breath again). It is a small, quaint village with lots of charm and personality. Moored boats, white stone buildings and peaceful sunsets over the bay are on offer. Make sure to visit the Church of St Nicholas and the 16th century Venetian Tower.
The Blue Cave
Head out on the water for five kilmoeters in a south-westerly direction from Komiza village, and you arrive at the island of Bisevo. Situated in the middle of the Dalmatian archipelago, this island features blue waters and great sailing conditions. Although Bisevo Island itself is very small, it has approximately ten caves around its coastline, including arguably the most stunning of them all – the Blue Cave.
The best thing to visit the Blue Cave is the middle of the day. The sun is at its highest point during the day, illuminating through the cave. The underwater reflection of the rays is what makes the cave radiate with bright blue tones and shimmers. You can dive into the blue waters and enjoy a swim but, with such a stunning setting, be warned that it does get busy (sometimes overcrowded) especially during the summer months of July and August.
The island of Vis is located in the middle of the beautiful Dalmatian archipelago, so naturally, diving, snorkeling and other water activities are very popular things to do. Because the island became only (relatively) popular in the last few decades or so, the waters around Vis have remained clean, clear and less polluted from human activity than other European islands. As a result, great diving sites, archipelagos and coastlines can be enjoyed.
For divers who want something more than sea creatures and coral reefs, there is a sunken wreck to be explored off the Komiza coast. Research shows that the wreck, which now sits on the ocean floor at a depth of around 70-75 meters, was once a Flying Fortress plane that went down during World War II (in 1944). Other wrecks – ships, boats and planes – can be found off the coast of Vis, many dating back hundreds of years.
Drink Vugava and Plavac Wine
With warm temperatures and plenty of sunshine, much of the island of Vis is occupied with vineyards. In particular, Vis is famous for the dry white wine called Vugava and the rich yet delicate red wine – Plavac Mali. These are two of the most recognized Croatian wines and are definitely worth tasting during your time in Vis – either during a vineyard visit, or in a bar or restaurant.
Taste Ispod Peke style food
Ispod Peke is a local term and style of cooking, native to the habitants of Vis and other islands on the Dalmatian archipelago. A ‘peka’ is a dome-shaped pan with a long handle. Although not too dissimilar to other cooking pans and utensils we are familiar with, the peka is then put onto a ready-lit fire, with coals and hot ashes steaming up the ingredients in the pan. Reflecting the pace of life on Vis, the ingredients inside the pan (be it fish, lamb or even squid), the meat is slowly cooked, soaking up flavours and heat from the fire.
In summary, Vis is an island where history and stories are to be discovered on land, in caves and on the ocean. Cruising up to Vis is special. On arrival, you will instantly see tropical colors and mountains of leafy vegetation and vineyards. With warm and fulfilling days of exploring, walking and kayaking during the day, and long evenings of drinking and meeting new people, there is certainly so many great things to do in Vis, and it is an island that you certainly won’t forget.
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