Far Away, Yet Easy to Get To
Vis is the farthest inhabited island off the Croatian mainland, but don’t let the distance scare you; it is easily reachable by ferry from the port town of Split. For less than $6 per person, we made the 2 hour and 20 minute journey on the Jadrolinija ferry to reach this beautiful island.
Our first view of a Croatian island was everything we’d dreamt of!
The weather couldn’t have been any more perfect as we pulled into the harbor surrounded by yachts, palm trees, and quintessential stone buildings.
We didn’t have much of a plan for our visit, other than exploring the island and cooling off in the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic. When you look up ‘things to do’ in Vis, the majority of top contenders are various beaches around the island, with an occasional historic building thrown in for good measure.
Where to Stay in Vis
What we love about Vis is that there are no high rise resorts, just smaller hotels and locally run bed and breakfasts. We rented an apartment for a few days through AirBnB. The location was perfect, just up an alleyway leading away from the harbor.
The views from our room were nothing short of spectacular, especially in the evening. We overlooked the harbor as the sun set from behind and watched as the moon peaked up over the horizon.
Our Favorite Beach
While there are many incredible beaches on the island, we regrettably didn’t have time to explore them all; there are just too many! However, we will introduce you to one of our favorites: Grandovac Beach. We took a taxi to get there initially and it’s important to note that not all taxis will go to this location, as it requires a drive on an unpaved, and very bumpy, road. The taxi cost about $15, which was a little steep in our opinion, but rented scooters are not permitted on this road and the walk seemed a bit far.
Once we arrived at the beach, we didn’t much care about the cost to get there. With water so blue, very minimal crowds, and a slice of beach we found all to ourselves, we were in heaven!
In preparation for beach time, while in Zagreb (the capital city of Croatia), Sam bought a snorkel and mask and I bought a raft for floating in the sea! Another essential item we recommend you bring along for your visit to the Croatian islands (besides sunscreen) is water shoes. The beaches are very rocky, and spiky sea urchins if stepped on barefoot, can ruin your holiday. (If possible purchase these items before arriving on the islands to save some money. I saw the exact raft I purchased for $10 in Zagreb marked as $20 on the island!)
Sam snorkeled around the cove as I relaxed on my raft. It was pure bliss! A few more people arrived throughout our time at the beach, but it never got crowded… and this was during the summer months!
Something to note is that just around the cove from where we positioned ourselves is a nude beach, so don’t be surprised if you see a little extra skin if you venture that way. Grandovac Beach is not listed as a nude beach, though people tend to be a little more ‘free’ in parts of Europe when compared to the States where we’re from. So even though a beach may not be labeled as a ‘nude beach’, it seemed as if swimsuits were optional on many of Croatia’s beaches.
A Walk to Remember
Not wanting to spend another $15 for a taxi back to Vis town, we decided to walk. Honestly, the walk wasn’t so bad and the views were incredible. Normally, it would take about 25 minutes to walk from Grandovac Beach to the Vis Harbor, but it took us about an hour, because we stopped to take so many pictures.
You walk along the shore for a while before coming to the quaint village town of Kut. Small alleyways shadowed by centuries old buildings with colorful window shutters lead the way back to Vis Harbor.
So, if you’re able and feeling up to it, we’d say walk both to and from Grandovac Beach. It’s a beautiful journey and it allows you to see and experience another village town, as opposed to just driving by.
The ‘Other’ Side of the Island
With an area of almost 35 square miles (90 sq. km), there is much to see on the island of Vis. Buses run multiple times a day to the town of Komiza on the opposite end of the island (from Vis Town). You can also rent a car or scooter to get around the island, but note that several of the roads are steep and full of hairpin turns.
Traveling to and from Komiza by bus was the most comfortable and affordable option for us at a little over $7 per person (roundtrip). After seeing the route to Komiza (via bus), we’re glad we opted to NOT rent a scooter! The roads were steep, narrow, and winding!
There are several options for exploring around the island of Vis: rent a kayak, go on a guided group boat tour, hire a captain for a few hours, or rent your own boat. Now, most boat companies require that you have a boater’s license to take a boat out unaccompanied, but we found one (semi-sketchy) company/individual who rented us his boat for a few hours at a nominal fee. It was a rickety little boat with a 5 horse-power engine, and a few pieces of duct tape masking some imperfections. We made sure to have life jackets on board and set out to explore a nearby island!
One of Vis’ main attractions is the Blue Lagoon Grotto on the island of Bisevo just off the coast of the town of Komiza. We opted not to visit the Blue Lagoon, but instead motored around to a lovely beach cove around the other side of the island. With only a 5-horsepower engine, it took us about an hour to reach our destination.
As we left the town of Komiza behind, there wasn’t much scenery ahead other than the rich blue water of the Adriatic as the island of Bisevo increased in size as we approached.
We anchored and docked in the bay of Porat Beach and enjoyed a few hours swimming, floating, and enjoying the picnic lunch we had packed.
Another one of Vis’ most visited attractions, besides the Blue Lagoon, is Stiniva Bay. This popular cove requires a scooter or taxi ride and a 20-minute harrowing climb down a steep and rocky hillside. We decided to play it safe and stick with the beautiful beaches we had already seen. There’s a lot to see and do on the island, if you can spare more than just a day or two. Otherwise, pick a few experiences you’d like to have and enjoy your time on the beautiful island of Vis! We also visited the islands on Hvar and Korcula on our do-it-yourself island-hopping itinerary. The islands are pretty close together and combined, make one heck of a holiday!