Monday Column - Croatia Destinations 7: Vis
Vis island was Croatia’s first main defence against aggression from the sea and there is much evidence of its wartime past. It was Tito’s stronghold during the Second World War, there are old artillery posts high up on the hills, a number of submarine caves, and it was the last Croatian island to open for tourism after the war. It has therefore stood still in time longer than its neighbouring islands and has a more British feel to it as a result of its history as an allied base. It’s very popular in the summer, especially with Superyachts, but we spent Christmas there in 2003 and were the only guests in the only hotel that was open. There are two main settlements; the town of Vis, on the north side of the island, and Komiza on the west. Both are great places to stay though we preferred the cosier feel of Komiza.
Ferries run regularly from Split to Vis town – a scenic two hour trip past the islands of Brac, Solta and Hvar. Click on http://www.jadrolinija.hr/ for more information on ferries.
The town is spread around the large bay and has a few relics of interest including Roman Baths, a British Cemetery, Fort Wellington and the George III Fortress. It is now the island’s wine and agriculture centre.
Vis has all the facilities you would expect of a town this size, located mostly close to the shore – markets, banks, shops, post office, etc, however there seemed to be less restaurants than the Croatian “norm”. We had good pizzas at Dionis, which is open all year round and about a 5 minute walk east from the visitors boat moorings. Matije Gubca 1, tel 021 711 963, fax 021 711 126. The restaurant in hotel Tamaris is conveniently in the centre of town but lacking in atmosphere. Instead try Villa Kaliopa, near to the town museum on the eastern side of the bay, Vladimira Nazora 32, Kut, tel 021 771755. It’s not cheap but the setting in a walled garden is superb. Also worth a try in Kut is the popular Konoba Vatrica, Kralja Kresimira IV bb, tel 021 711 574 and the more rustic Tezok, Kralja Kresimira IV bb, tel 021 711 271. The best beach is by the Hotel Issa, west of the centre of town. There are a couple of ferries per day between Split and Vis and you can hire cars and scooters via the numerous agencies advertising on the sea front. Buses run between Komiza and Vis to coincide with the ferries.
Tourist Office: Near the ferry terminal, Setaliste Stare Isse 5, 21480 Vis, tel 021 717 017, fax 021 717 018, http://www.tz.vis.hr/
Post Office: On the eastern side of the bay, Obala Svetog Jurja 25, 21480 Vis, open 07:30 to 21:00 Monday to Saturday in the season, otherwise 07:00 to 19:00 Monday to Friday and 07:00 to 13:00 on Saturday
Medical Centre: Poljana Sv Duha 10, 21480 Vis, tel 021 711 633
Pharmacy: Vukovarska 2, 21480 Vis, tel 021 711 434
Dodoro Diving Tours: Kranjevica 4, 21480 Vis, tel/fax 021 711 347, www.dodoro-diving.com.
Komiza is a traditional fishing village and famous for a sail powered wooden fishing boat – The Gajeta Falkusa. It’s another favourite place of ours for its lovely stone buildings, compact size and friendly atmosphere.
The tourist office is just past the root of the pier and there’s a cash point next door. Walking a little further around the bay you’ll pass the fishing museum and a number of bars. The market is a little further on and the post office further still. Konoba Bako is a great seafood restaurant with its own small beach, Gunduliceva 1, tel 021 713 008, and there’s a wide choice of other restaurants. Trips to the blue cave on Bisevo island go from Komiza and the tourist office will give you all the necessary information. The ceremonial burning of a traditional fishing boat takes place on 6th December and there is a fisherman’s night on the first Saturday in August. Buses run between Komiza and Vis to coincide with the ferries.
Tourist Office: Riva 1, 21485 Komiza, tel 021 713 455, fax 021 713 095, www.dalmacija.net/komiza, firstname.lastname@example.org
Post Office: Hrvatskih Mucenika 8, 21485 Komiza. Open in the season, 08:00 to 12:00 and 18:00 to 21:00 Monday to Saturday, otherwise 08:00 to 14:00 Monday to Friday and 08:00 to 13:00 on Saturday.
Medical Centre: San Pedra bb, 21485 Komiza, 021 713 122
Pharmacy: Podspiljska bb, 21485 Komiza, 021 713 445