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Vis Croatia
Vis Croatia (Image by Filip Filipović from Pixabay)

 

Vis, Croatia


The furthest out to sea of the inhabited Dalmatian islands, 45 km from the mainland and separated from Hvar by an 8 ktm wide channel, Vis is an island of wild, windswept beauty. It is just over 90 sq km in area with a landscape of rugged cliffs and hidden caves, limestone hills and fertile valleys. After World War II, when it was a partisan hideout, the island became a Yugoslav army base, closed to tourists until 1989. It is therefore refreshingly undeveloped in comparison with the better-known holiday islands in the area and has preserved a genuine island culture dependent on fishing and agriculture.


The town of Vis (Issa) on the north-eastern coast of the island is the oldest urban settlement on the Adriatic. Inhabited since 3000 BC, the island was colonized by Greeks from Sicily who established a polis (democratic city-state). It is estimated that the city had 12,000 to 14,000 inhabitants and was therefore a place of enormous significance. You can still see Greek and Roman ruins here as well as some lovely 16th and 17th century churches and villas. On the west coast, the 17th century fishing village of Komiza, with its Renaissance citadel and monastery Is in a huge sandy-bottomed bay. This picturesque village is a motley Jumble of houses huddled round a harbour at the foot of Hum, the highest hill on the island at 587 m.


As well as its beautiful wild mountain scenery and unspoiled cultural heritage there are some beautiful beaches, the best known being Zaglav, 10 km south of Vis Town. There is also superb paragliding here and some great diving sites, with six sunken wreck dating from ancient times to World War II.