Paradise Found in Vis, Croatia
Once shrouded in mystery, the island paradise Vis is now a prestige destination with pristine waters and layers of history. Considered among the top 10 paradise sites of the Mediterranean, once you visit Vis, you may not want to leave.
Previously a military zone of the Yugo era, Vis was off limits from the 1950s to 1989. As a result, much of the natural beauty has been protected from the booming tourism industry that some some say is destroying the local natural beauty of many Mediterranean shores. It is ironic as it is that natural beauty that first attracted the tourists in the first place!
Vis is said to be a foodies paradise – the freshest seafood, producers of some of Croatia’s finest wines and a traditional culture that will bring you back for more. The influence of the farming and fishing traditions are evident whether eating at one of the fine restaurants in town, or a small cafe out on the islands. Once you step off that ferry, you step into paradise.
My time in Vis was severely limited – I knew that right away as I strolled the promenade my first evening in town. The air was alive with people, relaxed and enjoying life. Live music was setting up as I read menus, looking for a place to eat. I settled upon Admirals – their menu highly appealing and the prospect of sitting outside, mindlessly watching the yachts bob up and down in the harbour the perfect way to close out the day. I learned that there is the strongest of yachting cultures here in Vis – but more to come on that later.
My objective on the island – a boat trip out to see and swim in the Blue Grotto on Bisevo, one of the many islands in the area. I had read that you could swim in the cave – the light show in the crystal clear waters would be nothing short of spectacular. The effect of the midday sun penetrating the cave a mesmerising shimmer of perfect Mediterranean Blue!
My swim in the Blue Grotto was not to be. While I heard stories of people being able to swim, the sheer volume of tourists and the boats in the cave meant no one got out of their boat. Perhaps rumours of coming later when the tourists have gone would hold true for a swim, but the illuminating effects of the sun at midday, spilling into the cave, would possibly also be gone! It was an amazing site – photos do not do the Blue Grotto justice.
Included in our boat tour was a trip to the small island Ravnik, home of the Green Grotto, a much less visited attraction. Here, for a small fee, we could catch another boat that would take us to the Green Grotto, where we were more than eager to dive into the water for a swim. It still amazes me how clear the water is – you can see so much in the pristine waters of Croatia.
Out tour took all day – we sailed around the islands, swam in the Mediterranean and lived in the luxury of Croatia’s paradise. Paradise has been found – it resides in Vis – it is no wonder they call Croatia the pearl of the Adriatic – time here is priceless!
Take the ferry from Split to Vis with Jadrolinija. In summer, Tuesday is the quietest day – check with the ferry service for schedules. The bus station at Split is directly across from the ferry service – quick and easy to get to. At the time of my travel, there were 3 services a day, with the exception of Tuesday.
Need a place to stay – the tourist information directly opposite the ferry terminal will help you find a room in private homes if you have not made arrangements prior to arriving. Even in the height of tourist season, they found me a room for 2 nights with no problems.
Scooter, car and bike rentals are available, but they go quickly in peak season. Book your tours at the tourist office – there is much to see and do in Vis. It was clear to me that 2 nights was not nearly enough time to enjoy this piece of paradise – there is so much to see and do!