The Island of Vis
Updated: Sep 12, 2021
Once I had settled in the village of Stomorska on the island of Solta for a couple weeks, I decided it was time to expand my horizons and visit another island. I had read some interesting blogs and watched several YouTube videos about the island of Vis, particularly the village of Komiza, where Mama Mia II was filmed. I decided on a four day excursion to Vis, which started with a forty-five minute ferry from Solta to Split and then a two and a half ferry to Vis.
Vis is the outermost island in the arpeggios of Croatia and is basically an unspoiled island that only started to allow tourism in 1989.
In 1944 the island was used as a military base where it remained off limits to foreigners and any kind of development for forty years. One of the top tourist excursions on the island is a trip up in the mountains to the old military installations.
Where farming and fishing were the islands primary resources, now the marina brings in a large yachting crowd and has a wide selection of gourmet restaurants. Within Croatia, Vis is known as the island of the rich and famous.
I found the people very friendly, the scenery beautiful, and I did splurge on some of the delicious restaurants including Karijola for pizza and Pojoda offering traditional Croatian cuisine.
The most popular greeting in town is, "Polocko" which means take it easy. My hotel, Bed & Breakfast Dionis Vis which I booked on www.Booking.com, was right in the center of town , walking distance from the ferry. My hotel rate included a full breakfast every morning. I had a lovely waitress named Daniella who was born and raised on the island of Vis and says she has no desire to be anywhere else. Louisa, the hotel manager, checked on me everyday during breakfast to see if I needed anything.
There was a large fruit and vegetable kiosk in the front of the hotel run by Nickolana. She always made sure I had the sweetest peaches!
During my stay I learned that the film crew for Mama Mia II had taken over the hotel for a few weeks during production.
To explore the island, I thought I would do the eco friendly thing and rent an electric bike from Vortex which was very close to my hotel. Diana hooked me up on a bike and told me I would have plenty of battery to get to Komiza and back. What I didn't ask was how to read how much battery I had used...big mistake!
Komiza is twelve miles away from Vis so on the way I visited Fort George, which was built on a cliff overlooking the village and open sea. The fortress was built by the British in 1811 and is now a great place for coffee in the morning and cocktails at sunset.
Continuing my journey, I had no idea the number of mountains I would have to travel up and down on my e-bike.
Komiza is a small fishing village retaining that old island charm mixed with some fine restaurants and artsy boutiques. The town is very charming and quiet and I had the best pizza of my life at Hum Pizza and Wine Bar.
From Komiza, I traveled to Rukavac and found Srebma Bay beach, which had many families and lots of shade under the pine trees with flat limestone rocks leading into the sea.
There was a lone seafood restaurant on the furthest point of the village called Dalmatino, which boasts the best fish on the island.
The day was splendid and the bike was awesome ... until it wasn't. Six and a half miles from Vis the battery on the bike ran out. At the same time my phone battery died, so I couldn't even call for help. To get back to town, there was an endless stretch of two lane road, through pine forest, olive groves , and vineyards Beautiful, right? Trust me I was not happy. I had to coast down hills when possible, peddling when it was flat road and pushing the bike up endless hills. The road reminded me of Route 1 through Big Sur with, high cliffs, stunning views, and deadly drops. There was very little traffic and when I did see a car and tried to flag them down, they would just honk their horn and sometimes throw a friendly wave from the window. I finally made it back to the center of Vis before dark, safe but exhausted. I immediately emailed my friend Jamie to bring me a portable charger when she joined me later in the month. Needless to say, a bottle of red wine was on the menu that night!
Choosing a much better mode of transportation the next day, I rented a scooter with a full tank of gas and set out to explore the beautiful Stiniva Beach and Cove. Even though I was warned that in order to get to the cove I had to hike down an old goat trail that was very steep, I had no idea how treacherous it would be. There were actually people walking down the mountain in flip flops, while I was nervously edging down on my butt. I would definitely recommend a boat tour to this cove to avoid the hike if possible but to say it was worth the trek goes beyond words because of it's stunning beauty.
In 1967 Stiniva Beach was proclaimed a protected natural monument. The cove has clear, turquoise water, a white stone pebble beach and is guarded by two high cliffs with a small sea opening. It was truly breathtaking and I can understand why people say it's the most beautiful beach in Europe. There was a small, traditional tavern on the beach serving authentic Dalmation cusine and I welcomed an ice cold beer after the long, hot hike down the mountain!
The e-bike was fun but I have to say the scooter is the way to go, unless of course you can afford a car and driver!