This year my choice for a short holiday has fallen on Vis, Croatia, the westernmost island of Central Dalmatia’s archipelago, connected by a two hour ferry trip with Split.
Vis has been the stage of an important naval battle in 1866, during Italy’s Third Independence War. The Italian navy suffered a terrible defeat by the hands of the Austria-Hungarian Empire.
In the aftermath of the Second World War, Vis became a military base of the Yugoslavian navy until 1989. Only later tourism had its way. This forces isolation allowed the island to preserve its innate character and its distinct charm, a beautiful blend of sea and land enlightened by the bright sun.
The island’s main town and port, also called Vis, combines two hamlets: Kut, more ancient and picturesque, is a labyrinth of paved alleys stretching from the church, whose thin bell tower rises against the blue sky; and Luka, comprising harbour and marina. A long and evocative road binds the two centres, a pleasant 15 minute walk in front of a charming landscape.
Large bay closed by a small island in its middle. In the background, green hills declining towards the sea. The houses are still the same since centuries, fishermen’s houses of white stone, with red shingles, undergone to a careful work of restoration. No concrete on this island!
The promenade on the sea is an endless string of small restaurant offering fresh seafood on the grill. Vis is a quite oasis deep in an untouched natural environment, with crystal clear water ranging from turquoise to emerald and cobalt. The coast is enriched by clefts and small creeks. The best way to move around is with a rubber boat: it’s the only way to discover all the enchanted bays filled with stunning beauty. Some of them can also be reached by car or walking the impervious paths.
Most of the beaches made of grave or white pebbles polished by the waves and by the wind. There aren’t big resorts, just a wide range of private rooms. No fancy clubs, no loudness. The only sound to be heard comes from the water clashing against the rocks.