This summer we spent 10 days on the Dalmatian island Vis, THE FARTHEST ISLAND from Croatia´s mainland. As the island was once a military zone and therefore inaccessible to all foreigners it has retained its CHARM and can truly be called “the Mediterranean as it once was”. We like Vis because of its uncrowded BEACHES, little stone house VILLAGES and the small islands around where you can amongst other swim in CAVES.
Visited: Vis, Komiža, Rukavac, Stiniva, Stončica, Budikovac, Biševo, Ravnik, Hum
How: with our car
Stayed in: private apartment
WE VISITED VIS WHEN LU WAS 2 YEARS OLD. THERE IS A SECTION ABOUT VIS WITH KIDS AT THE END OF THIS POST.
USEFUL INFORMATION FOR TRAVELLING TO VIS, CROATIA
GETTING TO & AROUND VIS ISLAND
Vis is reachable from SPLIT on the mainland by a ferry and a speed boat. If you are coming there from ITALY, you can catch a FERRY from Ancona or a speedboat from Pescara. Timetables change depending on the season, so check the site of JADROLINIJA before you arrive and if you are visiting in the peak summer season take care that you arrive to Split 1-2 hrs before the ferry.
All the ferrys land in the town of VIS, but its only about 20 km to KOMIŽA on the other side of the island. There are public buses between Komiža and Vis town, but to get to the smaller villages you will need to organize your own transport. Better to fill up the tank in Split, because I believe there is only ONE GAS STATION on the island.
There are some BIGGER HOTELS in Vis town and Komiža, but other than that there are mostly private rooms or apartments. If you are visiting in the high season it is better to book in advance. People who come to Vis are normally looking for peace so don´t expect some crazy party scene – if you want that then you should rather visit some other island instead. In the summer there are some FESTIVALS and CONCERTS which you can attend though. We stayed in RUKAVAC in a private apartment with a beautiful big terrace and an even nicer sea view.
WHAT TO SEE & DO ON VIS ISLAND
VIS TOWN | ferry port and the largest town on the island
Most probably the town of Vis will be your first contact to the island. If you still have to buy specific things after you leave the ferry you can do it here. It can get a bit hectic, because there will be many locals standing at the pier, offering rooms and some cars will stop and some will want to drive around them and so on. If you walk from one town end to another it will take you about half an hour.
There are some nice beaches in the near, check out the GRANDOVAC BEACH. Don´t forget to visit the FRANCISCAN CHURCH and MONASTERY. Anyway the whole island is not big and although there is much to see and do, you can reach all those places in a short time.
RUKAVAC | former fishing village, laid back seaside small town and our base
The bay of Rukavac lies ON THE SOUTH SIDE of the island and is surrounded with other small islands and amazing beaches. There are many private apartments and villas for rent, if you want a relaxed atmosphere this is the place to be. We also stayed here and it was perfect. Rukavac used to be a SMALL FISHING VILLAGE but nowadays it is separated in 3 PARTS, the old, the upper and the lower Rukovac. In the last years the once 8 kilometres long gravel access road turned into an asphalt one, making Rukovac EASILY ACCESSIBLE from the main road. There are 2 RESTAURANTS in the village and NO SHOPS. But, they have a solution for that – every morning around 8AM a smaller TRUCK drives around the village and beeps its horn – you have to come to the main road and you can buy fresh BREAD AND PASTRY from the friendly guy. 3 times a week in the evenings comes also a van with FRUITS AND VEGETABLES. Besides that you can buy freshly caught FISH from one of the boats that stop in the bay.
TEPLUŠ BEACH, RUKAVAC | the main beach in Rukavac
This is THE MAIN BEACH in Rukavac. With a SMALL PINE WOOD where you can relax in the shade, the water is clear and the small bay is perfect for families also. If you want more privacy you can continue along the rocks and stop when you find a nice spot. When you leave the beach in the afternoon make sure you pick some ROSEMARY or other herbs for the dinner on the way 😉
SREBRNA BEACH, RUKAVAC | one of the best beaches on Vis, just a short walk from Rukavac
Only a few minutes by foot from Rukavac, you come to one of the nicest beaches in the whole Croatia, SREBRNA BEACH. With a surrounding PINE FOREST, nice big white stones (if you dislike lying on those you can hire a chair). There is also A SMALL BEACH BAR where you can buy ice cream, snacks and drinks. Stay at the beach until the sun starts to set, its soooo peaceful and nice!
KOMIŽA | the second largest town on Vis
Komiža, the second largest town on Vis, is located at the foot of the HUM HILL (587 m) in a deep bay, whose eastern coast abounds with large pebble beaches. The town is very relaxed and less busy than Vis town, here you will see many SAILING BOATS boats stopping for the night and lots of local fisherman.
The PICTURESQUE STONE HOUSES, narrow alleys, BARS and RESTAURANTS, small SHOPS, food MARKETS, churches and monasteries make an extraordinary atmosphere and it may just happen that you will have serious thoughts about prolonging your holiday.
BIŠEVO ISLAND | the famous Blue Cave and a day trip from Vis island
Biševo is a SMALL ISLAND 5km south-west from Vis, reachable by a daily BOAT FROM KOMIŽA. Its main attraction is the famous SEA CAVE (Modra spilja). Around NOON the sunlight shines through the sea water into the CAVE and produces some really amazing blue LIGHT REFLECTIONS.
If you are on an ORGANISED TOUR, you can go inside the cave on LITTLE BOATS. Wonder how this amazing BLUE LIGHT looks like under water? You can jump in and take a look. There is also a nice beach close by where you can relax for a few hour before moving on.
STINIVA BEACH | an iconic spot on Vis and one of the best beaches in Croatia
This might be ONE OF THE MOST AMAZING BAYS IN THE WHOLE MEDITERRANEAN. It is reachable BY FOOT on a steep path (maybe not the best idea with small children), but probably it is easier BY BOAT. Looking towards it from the sea, you will not even notice it is a bay. It looks just like rock cliffs, but once you approach you see the TWO CLIFS are just four metres from each other and through this gap the amazing PEBBLE BEACH shows up. There is also a restaurant/bar with an amazing view as you can see.
STONČICA BEACH | sandy bay and beach perfect for families with smaller kids
STONČICA COVE differs from others on the island mainly because it is a SANDY one. After 30 metres or so the water is still SHALLOW – makes it a perfect spot for young children. There is enough shadow under the PINE TREES, where you also find a RESTAURANT that serves fresh seafood – you can even watch how they cook in their OPEN AIR KITCHEN.
There is also a smaller ice cream, snacks and drinks BAR right at the entrance to the beach. There is also a BEACH VOLLEY field. To reach Stoncica you have to drive through MILNA (which also has a nice cove) and then park the car about 500 metres before the beach. So you have to walk the last part. From there you can also walk to the STONČICA LIGHTHOUSE.
BUDIKOVAC ISLAND | peaceful island close to Vis
There are actually 2 ISLANDS with the same name, only that one is big and the other one is small. The UNPOPULATED BIGGER ONE (Veli Budikovac) is only 3 kilometres away from the mainland and has TWO MAIN BEACHES where you can enjoy all the peace in the world – one is in the bigger bay where there is also a bar and a restaurant and the other one is just a short walk to the other side of the island.
RAVNIK ISLAND | amazing Green Cave and impressive cliffs
The GREEN CAVE (Zelena spilja) is a natural attraction situated in the south-west part of a small island near Vis, RAVNIK. The sunlight passes through a small HOLE ON THE TOP OF THE CAVE producing the fascinating green colored surface of the sea within the cave – this is how the cave also got its name. You can go inside the cave with a boat and don´t forget to jump inside! SWIMMING IN CAVES is a great experience.
BOAT TRIPS AROUND VIS | discovering lonely bays and hidden spots around Vis island
If you have enough time make sure you take at least one BOAT TRIP and see the COASTLINE from another angle. There are also lots of LITTLE BAYS accessible only by small boats.
There are lots of things to do on Vis besides just enjoying its beaches. We CYCLED AROUND THE ISLAND with a rented bicycle, took BOAT TRIPS to secret bays, coves and beaches. Visited Tito´s 1944 cave (TITOVA SPILJA) or the former MILITARY AIRFIELD, used in the World War II. So it was kind of a perfect combination of an relaxed but also active beach holiday. Don´t forget to buy some local OLIVE OIL and VIS WINE.
VIS ISLAND WITH KIDS
We love to visit DALMATIAN ISLANDS with Lu because the weather is usually nice and the air is fresh – and so is the food. Straight from the sea onto the plate. PEBBLE BEACHES make a great NATURAL PLAYGROUND and the best thing is, they are not overcrowded. We loved the PEACE AND QUIET on Vis and found RUKAVAC to be a great spot to stay at.
If your kids only like SANDY BEACHES – no problem, there are also some. STONČICA for example. Just pack a proper SUNSCREEN and you´ll be fine. Since there is not much traffic on the island it´s very safe for kids who love to run around freely. Remember that there is no bigger HOSPITAL on the island.
We had a great time on Vis and find it also very good for young children and families who are not into organized children animation activities or clubs, but want to simply RELAX and discover pristine Dalmatian towns, villages, caves and beaches.
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