The charming coastal town of Vis lays in the large, naturally protected bay of St. George (Sveti Juraj), facing the island of Hvar and the Dalmatian mainland. The port of Vis, which is protected from the influence of the open sea by the islet of Host and the peninsula of Prirovo, is a perfect refuge for sailors.
The area of the town of Vis also includes the indented southern and southeastern coast of the island of Vis with its many beautiful bays and coves (Milna, Rukavac, Srebrna, Stiniva, Stončica, Ruda, and many more) and the islets of Budikovac and Ravnik. The local villages Zenka, Milna, Bargujac, Podstražje, Podselje, Plisko Polje, and Marine Zemlje also gravitate towards the town.
The town of Vis was created by merging the former settlements of Kut and Luka. A parish church, and later a school, was built between them to better connect. The high hills separate it from the fertile fields in the interior of the island where mostly vines are grown. Viticulture is real art here that with love and patience for years gives excellent fruits, the prized wines of the island of Vis.
Those beautiful wines were already known in ancient times. The Greeks colonized the island by founding the city of Issa in the 4th century BC, and were the first to plant vines, produce wine and enjoy in it.
Vis is therefore considered the oldest urban settlement in Croatia.
Throughout history, Vis has changed states and rulers. Since World War II, the entire island has been a military zone. Tourism began to develop only twenty years ago when the army finally left the island.
A significant number of the population emigrated to other countries in search of a better life, so today the town of Vis has about 2000 inhabitants.
It is a small community that strives to maintain the Mediterranean flair of the city, its historical and natural charm and life tailored to man, without stress and crowds.
Where to go and what to see
The town of Vis is rich in cultural and monumental heritage from many historical periods that have left their unavoidable mark here. Anyone who likes to explore the meanders of historical events through museums, forts and palaces and imagine life as it once was by visiting the archaeological remains, must visit:
- The Archaeological Museum of Vis (link: https://www.mdc.hr/split-arheoloski/eng/issa.html)
The museum is located in Our Lady’s Battalion (Gospina batarija), the main fortress built by the Austrians during their reign over the island at the beginning of the 19th century. Of great interest is the collection of amphorae retrieved from the seabed, uniquely stacked in the way they were stacked in the ship’s lower deck. The museum exhibits a collection of Hellenistic monuments and prehistoric objects. In the ethnographic part, it is possible to see exhibits related to the life of the inhabitants.
The highlights are the ancient finds on the second floor, including a 4th-century bronze head of the Greek goddess Artemis.
- the remains of the ancient Greek settlement of Issa, founded in the 4th century BC (thermal baths, necropolis, a theatre and parts of the port)
The remains of Issa await history buffs on Gradina Hill near the town of Vis and in the Martvilo Archaeological Park. It is also worth visiting the 16th century monastery on the Prirovo peninsula, which was built on the remains of an ancient theater.
More detailed information can be obtained in the Archaeological Museum of Vis.
- summer houses, villas and palaces of Hvar and Vis nobles (Hektorović, Jakša, Gariboldi, Dojmi Delupis and more)
In the town of Vis, many summer houses and palaces have been built throughout history. You will enjoy a beautiful walk around the town walking past Jakin’s court and the palace of the poet Petar Hektorović, passing by the birthplace of one of the greatest Croatian writers Ranko Marinković or Gariboldi’s palace. Have fun exploring all the other historic buildings.
- fortifications from various historical periods
Fort George, popularly called Fortica, is the largest fort on the island, located at the western entrance to the port of Vis. It was built by the British Royal Navy in 1813 as part of its campaign on the Adriatic.
In addition to the historical significance of this beautiful fortress, concerts and parties are organized here during the summer days. Due to the fairytale view of the port of Vis and the neighboring islands, many decide to say their fateful “yes” in the landscaped garden of this imposing building.
You can also visit the Perast Tower, the Bentich, Robertson, and Wellington forts, and the already mentioned Our Lady’s Battalion fortress, which houses the Archaeological Museum of Vis.
From the sacral architecture can be singled out the pre-Romanesque church of St. George, who is also the patron saint of the town of Vis, and the church of St. Mary in Podselje where the islanders make a pilgrimage on the feast of the Assumption.
The town of Vis offers many sports activities. There is a sailing and paragliding club in the town, and a cricket club in its surroundings.
The gastronomic offer of the town springs from tradition, originally composed of local specialties. Gastro nomads will find an interesting mecca in the many different town restaurants and taverns, but also in those located in its surroundings.
For those who enjoy cultural events, music, and performances, the “Vis Cultural Summer” offers various concerts, theater performances, and cultural events held in Vis throughout the summer. If you decide to visit the island at another time of year, you can have an interesting New Year’s Eve in the open air, masquerades in February, visit the International Festival of Amateur Theaters in spring, and enjoy the famous Vis regatta in October.
Beaches and coves
The coastline of the island of Vis is very tame, so its beautiful beaches are easily accessible to all who love sunbathing under the warm, summer sun and swimming in the crystal clear sea.
In the town of Vis and its immediate surroundings, several beaches could be singled out. Although looking at the whole island, the choice is large and varied.
The most popular beach in the town of Vis is Prirovo beach. It stretches along the promenade on the northern coast of the Prirovo peninsula, which is located in the town port of Vis.
Prirovo Beach is a pebble beach, about 100 meters long, and is located close to the Hotel ISSA. It is adorned with tamarisk trees that provide pleasant shade in summer. For athletes, there are also sports fields, and for rest and refreshment bars and restaurants.
The sea is crystal clear and clean due to the sea currents that ensure a constant inflow of fresh seawater from the open sea. Diving here is a particularly interesting activity for all adventurers who want to explore the remains of a medieval harbor that are still visible.
Grandovac beach is located in the bay of St. George, in the eastern part of the Vis bay. This beautiful, pebble beach is about 60 meters long and is located in a fairytale natural environment. The sea is also crystal clear, and tamarisk and pine trees give bathers the necessary shade in summer. Underwater life flourishes and delights every diver who dives into it.
Above Grandovac beach is a small bar where everyone can find refreshments in cold drinks, enjoying the relaxed atmosphere.
In the evening, concerts and various interesting cultural and artistic events are held. Dancing and fun are the night leitmotif of this beach.
Punta od Biskupa beach
Punta od Biskupa is a long beach that stretches along the coast from the bay of Stonca to the island of Host. It is about 1 kilometer long, so everyone will easily find a place here. The beach is easily accessible by macadam road along the coast.
Lush underwater life with meadows of Posidonia, a refuge for many fish and other marine species, adorned this unique place.
This small pebble beach located in the bay of the same name, on the west side of the Vis bay, is close to the Hotel ISSA. Stonca beach is located below the road, and the pines above it provide pleasant shade on warm summer days.
Vela Svitnja beach
Vela Svitnja is a small bay with a rocky shore and stone slabs for sunbathing and enjoying. It is located on the opposite side of Fortress Fortica and can be reached by walking through a beautiful landscape of nature.
This beauty is visited mainly by naturists. Divers can enjoy here the interesting underwater world, which is one of the most important hydro-archaeological finds on the island of Vis, a collection of 634 amphorae from the first century BC which are exhibited today in the Archaeological Museum of Vis.