Culture, art & history trip

The unique Vis island – a private trip to the Mediterranean paradise

The islands of the Middle Dalmatia archipelago, including Vis, have been listed among the 10 last paradise oases in the Mediterranean. No nightlife, no big hotels, no fuss, no hubbub. No wonder Vis island was chosen as the filming location for Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! using the old stone towns of Vis and Komiža as a backdrop for the musical.

Trip highlights

  • Explore the uniqueness of Vis island, visit Tito’s cave and submarine tunnel
  • Sail through the past on gajeta falkuša, the historical fishing boat
  • Hike to the lost villages on the island and see the traditional stone houses
  • Experience the outstanding beauty of the Blue Cave and swim in the attractive Stiniva Bay
  • Kayak to the Mamma Mia filming location and enjoy the incredible sunset
  • Taste excellent local wines in a 150-years-old cellar housed in a cave 

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In the middle of the Croatian blue, there is Vis island with a green “heart” of vineyards, fruit trees, and the scents of the aromatic wild herbs. Simplicity is the essence of this island. One of the reasons for Vis' uniqueness lies in its 500 years of isolation as a military island where time had stopped, in its untouched nature and the people who are hospitable in an authentic, "native" way. Once a forbidden and unknown island in the Adriatic, it was only after 1991 that the island opened to foreign visitors.

The island of Vis, with its small open-sea islands, is becoming a worldwide attraction. The modern world started to discover once forbidden and unknown island zone in the Adriatic. Vis and the nearby islands Biševo, Sveti Andrija, Brusnik, Jabuka, Palagruža, along with the whole Vis archipelago are protected as Natura 2000 sites.

Numerous water springs created fertile conditions for life to flourish, and it is no wonder that the ancient Greeks had chosen Vis island some 2400 years ago as the place where they founded their first Greek colony on the Adriatic.

Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Slavs, Venetians, Austrians, French, and British have all controlled Vis at different times. Major naval battles took place in 1811 when the British defeated the French and in 1866 when Austrian forces trounced Italy.

During the Second World War, the island was at different times under the control of Tito's partisans and played an important role as the British Military Mission Headquarters. There were as many as 30 military bases reinforced in concrete, brimming with personnel which is very impressive considering that the entire island has only 90 square kilometres.

There are over 30 different military objects now scattered across the island: tunnels, underground hospital and command centre, army barracks… and most of them are abandoned. One of the most attractive is the missile base at Stupisce point near Komiža. It was a huge base for land-sea missiles with quite an impressive tunnel and bunker complex that had an important purpose in case of an invasion.

Being a wine-growing island,  Vis is covered with a grid of dry stone walls, densely interspersed and constructed throughout the centuries as stone heaps, stone fences or support walls for vineyard terraces on the island’s steep slopes.

The stone manuscript of the Vis peasants, was a testament to a centuries-long struggle with macchia underbrush and harsh karst terrain with the purpose of conquering each small inch of fertile soil, and is a story of survival and of centuries of heavy toil of hundreds of generations that produced wine and who have succeeded even under harsh circumstances. It was also a story of taming the rocky landscape and turning it into fertile terraces that covered the slopes up to the very hilltops.

Known as Vis town today, the main settlement on the island is also one of the oldest in Croatia and dates back to the 4th century BC. In addition to interesting ruins from an Greek and Roman period, there are villas and churches dating from the 16th and 17th centuries.

One of the highlights of Vis town is the Archaeological Museum which contains several exquisite Greek sculptures. Within the Austrian-built battery, the museum houses discoveries from around 400BC, when the Greek tyrant Dionysus the Elder founded the colony of Issa here. The prize exhibit is the bronze head of Artemis, the Greek goddess of hunting. Other treasures, found both on land and in crystal clear waters, relate to the wine and fishing industries that have been essential to island life here for well over 2,000 years.

Komiža was the centre of the Adriatic fishing industry until the mid-20th century and its fishermen were the only open sea fishermen in the Mediterranean. They were fishing in the waters of Croatia's islet Palagruža, the most distant one from the mainland.

Gajeta falkuša is a traditional historical wooden fishing boat designed for specific needs of Komiža fishermen, providing them sailing speed and practical characteristics for fish transport. More than a hundred boats were operating in Komiža Bay in the 16th century. There used to be 5 crew members on the boat and they were sailing to the most distant locations using sails and rows.

There are frequent buses between Vis town and Komiža allowing day trips between the two towns. 

Day-by-day itinerary


A ferry or catamaran ride from Split to Vis island

If you flew to Split airport, we can arrange a transfer (on request) to the port in Split where you will embark on the ferry or catamaran to Vis island, Vis town port. Upon arrival, shuttle transfer and check-in at the hotel in Vis town.

Immediately after arriving in the Vis town port, you will notice the island’s lush fragrances. An intense aroma of Mediterranean flora saturates the air – you’ll be smelling rosemary, lavender, and immortelle all over the island.

In the evening we suggest that you visit one of the taverns and experience the local specialities or take a walk along a seaside promenade boasting Ancient Greek and Roman ruins, Renaissance churches, and palaces.


Vis Discovery private tour

A private half-day tour of the Vis island begins with historical stories going back to the ancient times all the way until the present. You will learn more about the island of Vis and see all the important sites.

Departure from Vis town by Land Rover accompanied by the local English-speaking guide.

Vis was strategically significant in the Adriatic and was fought over in many naval battles. After the Second World War Vis became a military base to which access was strictly controlled and it was not until 1991 that the island opened to foreign visitors.

On the tour, you will visit Tito’s cave, the island’s highest peak Hum (587m), former RAF airport and cricket field in Plisko polje (inland), George III fort above Vis town, former military base Parja and submarine tunnel “Jastog” (Lobster).

Return to Vis town and visit the remains of a Greek cemetery and the archaeological site of the Roman baths that date back to the 1st and 2nd centuries AD.


A private experience of the local tradition

In the morning transfer from Vis town to Komiža (some 10km from Vis town) for the half-day excursion. Komiža city walk is next, visiting St. Mary Church (Our Lady Pirate), Old lobster-pot house, Old fish market, Zanki mansion, and the fortress "Komuna" (Fisherman museum).

Short presentation of Gajeta falkuša boat, its design and characteristics, its meaning and importance in the past. You will hear interesting and amusing fishermen and pirate stories and will be offered to use traditional tools and ropes, get acquainted with original boat parts names and tie boating knots yourself.

Gajeta falkuša is an ancient wooden fishing boat, a central symbol of a thousand-year-old fishermen tradition in Komiža and also a symbol of the Croatian maritime heritage.

Boarding on falkuša and sailing in Komiža Bay. You will finish the trip visiting a local tavern in Komiža. Taste Falkuša plate - salted sardines, cheese, tomatoes, capers, olives and bread with a glass of local wine or natural homemade juice.

Transfer to Vis town. Time at leisure.


Half-day private island hike tour to the lost villages

In the morning transfer from Vis town to Komiža. Walk to St. Bjož hill where you will see a little chapel, ring the old bells and say hello to the “Thinking tree”. Short break in the old village Bjož, an abandoned, hidden gem. After a break, you will continue to walk to Dragodid, a tiny village located in the hills overlooking Komiža.

The village was founded some 200 years ago as the youngest of all the nearby settlements such as Rudine or Konjska glava and was populated till the 1950s when the last inhabitants left. These days, the village is only being used by the locals who still grow wine here, pick rosemary or keep their beehives.

All houses have been built using the same traditional technique of stone building with roughly carved blocks of stone. The roofs were also done of flat pieces of stone placed on wooden constructions. See the Lavender House, Tramontana Avenue and “Lazy Dalmatian” labyrinth.

Transfer to Vis town. Time at leisure.

In the afternoon you can rent a car and go to Stončica Bay on the east side of the island. It is famous for the beautiful beach surrounded by amazing Mediterranean vegetation and crystal clear sea. Near the beach, there is a pedestrian stone lighthouse Stončica built in 1865, one of the most beautiful and preserved lighthouses in the Mediterranean.


Half-day private boat-excursion to the stunning caves and bays

In the morning departure from Vis town by speed boat to visit some of the stunning caves scattered on the island of Biševo.

Coming up first is the famous Green Cave located on the open sea side on the islet Ravnik, known for the visible green beam of light that penetrates through the opening on the ceiling and refracts on the sea surface. You can swim in the cave and discover the shimmering green underwater world.

After the Green Cave, you will visit Stiniva Bay, the most beautiful and attractive bay on the Vis island. The entire bay is surrounded by massive limestone walls which form a narrow entrance to the beautiful silver pebble beach. There are speculations that Stiniva Cove was a cave a long time ago but the ceiling collapsed forming what is now known as Stiniva Cove.

Proceed to Mezoporat Bay where you will get off the speed boat and take a small wooden boat that takes you inside the Blue Cave. The entrance is really small, so at one moment you will have to crouch in the centre of the boat. The interior of the cave and the sea inside it are illuminated with an indescribable silver-blue light. The rays of sun passing into the cave through a small crack in the ceiling are reflected in the water, creating incredible light effects.

After the tour of the Blue Cave boat ride is next to the Monk Seal Cave where the Mediterranean monk seal used to reside. You can swim inside the cave and see the small beach where monk seals used to come ashore.

The boat returns to Komiža. Transfer to Vis town.


Afternoon private kayaking trip to Mamma Mia filming location

Morning at leisure. In the afternoon transfer to Komiža for a kayaking trip in the Vis Island archipelago.

The island of Vis, with its indented coastline, numerous islets and cliffs, hidden bays, sandy or pebble beaches and sea caves is one of the most attractive kayaking destinations in the Adriatic.

In the sequel to the famous blockbuster Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, the island of Vis represents the Greek island Kalokairi, which means summer. Most of the scenes were filmed in the sheltered Barjoška Bay, on the west side of the island.

The kayaking trip will take you there, you will enjoy the untouched nature, explore the filming location and paddle from Komiža to the north-west direction of the island. On the way, you will stop at lovely beaches Knežica and Perna and hear the story about Manjarema fort, whose remnants witness the famous 1866 naval battle of Vis.

In Barjoška Bay you will have some time to swim in the crystal sea or take a walk to explore the bay and indulge in the scents of rosemary, lavender and other herbs – there are over 300 kinds of herbs growing on the island.

In the afternoon enjoy the incredible sunset!

Return to Komiža. Transfer to Vis town.

If you would like to spend some more time in Komiža, we suggest that you visit (on your own) the restaurant Konoba Jastožera which serves up the freshest lobster in a variety of tantalizing dishes. The building Jastožera has been used as a lobster storehouse for trading purposes and was able to store up to 15 tons of live lobsters.


Experience wine-making in the depth of Tito´s tunnels

Starting in Vis town this half-day private tour will take you through the island to the picturesque villages and some historical sites. You will see hundreds of years old vineyards that had been there since ancient Greek times and hear interesting stories. Stop at Podhumlje village and visit a local household surrounded by olive groves. Taste local delicacies such as olive oil, two types of homemade liqueurs, fish pâté, and Viška pogača, a tasty leavened pastry with chopped anchovies or sardines, sautéed onions, seasoning and capers.

Return to Vis town and visit a more than one hundred fifty years old cellar – a unique winery in the world housed in a cave that was once an army installation during the time of Tito.

You will taste Plavac, an excellent wine of the oldest known variety of black grapes, Vugava - white wine of the grape grown almost exclusively on the island, and quality dry white wine Rosé. Try home-made grappa and liqueurs made from sage, carob, fennel or myrtle and olive oils followed by a snack.

In the evening we suggest that you visit (on your own) the famous restaurant Pojoda with a reputation of imaginative use of old recipes from Vis Island for simple, light meals such as pasta and bean stew, octopus fritters and chickpeas with fish and lentils.


Return to Split

Breakfast and check-out. Shuttle transfer from the hotel to Vis town port, catamaran or ferry ride to the port of Split. If needed, we can arrange a transfer (on request) from Split port to Split airport. 

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