A Guide to Vis: Croatia's Hidden Gem

13 Aug 2019

Over the past decade or so, Croatia has slowly been gaining a reputation as a hotspot for festivals and its 24-hour party scene. My first visit back in 2012 to what was then a relatively ‘unknown’ European holiday destination – conjures up memories of my 21-year-old self, jumping into the sea after an all-night party at the famous Carpe Diem beach club, off the popular island of Hvar.

But what if I told you that you could holiday on the Dalmatian Coast in complete peace and quiet?

Well, if you – like my older, more sophisticated self – are looking for a more subdued way to spend your time in Croatia, then the island of Vis should certainly be on your radar. And here are the reasons why...

The Food

Typically described as the ‘foodie’ island, Vis has a reputation for traditional Dalmatian cuisine as well as seafood. Okay, don’t get me wrong, the options aren’t in abundance but what you do get is something to write home about – and after all, it’s all about quality over quantity. If you’re unsure what Dalmatian cuisine is, it’s very similar to Italian with a focus on fresh fish, red meat and pizza and pasta dishes.

Walking along the main port of Vis, you’ll find a selection of restaurants serving the usual fare – you know, the casual tuna steak or maybe a spot of grilled calamari. But if you’re looking for something slightly off the beaten track then I’d recommend Pojoda. Set back in a garden just off the coastal path, this al fresco restaurant offers the perfect spot to drink and eat the afternoon away in peace and quiet. You can choose from a selection of catch-of-the-day fish dishes like ‘Skarpana’ (Red-Scorpion fish) washed down with a well-priced bottle of wine, all for around £30 per person.

The Sundown Drinks

Okay so I know I’m one sophisticated lady, but I do enjoy the odd cocktail while I’m on holiday. Not too far from Pojoda you’ll find Frutarija Vis, a brunch-cum-cocktail bar set on a beautiful terrace right on the sea front. We stumbled across this gem after a walk back from Kut (a nearby harbour) and found its selection of cocktails to be rather addictive – particularly the ‘Hugo’, an Italian-style spritz made with a blend of prosecco, elderflower, soda, lime and crushed ice. And if you don’t find the cocktails refreshing enough, there’s a jetty leading down to the crystal clear waters, just in case you fancy a cheeky sunset dip. So be sure to take your sea shoes!

The Surrounding Beauty Spots

If your accommodation is in Vis town like ours was, then you’ll probably find you can cover off the main attractions in the first couple of days. So for at least one day, I’d recommend hiring a bike from Bim Bim Bikes in the centre of the port. From around 40kn (roughly £4) per day you can use one of its road or mountain bikes to discover the surrounding beauty spots.

Fort George:

One place you cannot afford to miss is Fort George, a medieval fort overlooking the headland. After an extensive restoration it’s now a multi-functional space that doubles up as a restaurant and a highly sought after event destination – playing host to the annual Yacht Week party as well as weddings.

The Mamma Mia Style Fishing Villages:

Fun fact: I didn’t realise until recently, but Mamma Mia 2 wasn’t filmed in Greece (spoiler alert!) and was actually filmed in Vis. It should come as no surprise then, to hear that Vis has some of the most beautiful fishing villages and coves that I have ever laid eyes upon.

Just north of Fort George you’ll find the sleepy bay of Rogačić and its undulating landscape – perfect for an uphill sprint if you do choose to take the bike. There’s not much to do here but gaze into the crystal clear, azure waters or visit one of the nearby rocky beaches including Komarča.

Further round to the west of the Island – by bus from Vis town or if you can stomach a 10km bike ride across country – I’d also suggest a visit to Komiža (the actual filming location for Mamma Mia 2). Similarly to Vis, Komiza retains all the charm of a typical Mediterranean fishing village, with a cluster of 17th and 18th century houses and the obligatory smattering of brightly painted doorways. The village is also the ideal launch pad if you want to spend a day out exploring the Blue Grotto – a blue cave that resembles the famous Grotto of Capri. And if this Instagram-friendly spot sounds like your cup-of-tea, it's worth getting your Travel Consultant to organise a stay for you here.


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Faye Howard

Faye Howard is an editor with a background in fashion trend forecasting and travel writing. Faye loves to unearth hidden gems on her travels and always makes sure she eats where the locals do.