It’s interesting how you find out interesting things after visiting a new place. While researching for this short article about the Town of VIS I was surprised to hear it’s only inhabited by about 2000 permanent residents throughout the year. The entire island counts around 3500 souls, with tourists during the season almost doubling that (1900 more beds in private houses, apartments and hotels).
I had no idea VIS island is so scarcely populated. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, if you don’t like bumping into others while walking on the waterfronts of Vis or Komiza, the two municipalities on the island of Vis.
If you chose to arrive by boat, the town of Vis is the first one you get to see, as this is where the ferry-boat stops. There’s one main road that follows the waterfront and a few secondary streets intersecting it, so it’s pretty much impossible to get lost in the town of Vis.
As you can expect, this is a place where you relax and take things slowly. It’s been like this since 400 BC, when it was first established by Greeks, and will probably stay the same in the centuries to come. People who look out for opportunities usually emigrate.
On the waterfront is where you’ll find shops and restaurants, plus places to rent scooters and cars. If you don’t have your own car and you want to experience the island I suggest you get a scooter, which will set you back around 200 Kuna per day. There are plenty of beaches to see, so it would be a shame to limit yourself just to Vis town.
We stayed in a remote apartment villa, near Rukavac, but got in Vis Town on two occasions. The first time we went out to eat. After walking down the waterfront and checking TripAdvisor for a traditional Croatian cuisine place to eat we’ve settled for Villa Kaliopa. It’s a really nice garden with tables outside, in the open air, covered or inside, so they got all possibilities covered.
Unfortunately, the food was so so, service was OK, and prices… well, prices are normal for Croatia, which means at least double for seafood, if you compare them to Greece. It was exactly as indicated by the comments on TripAdvisor, so if you plan on eating local cuisine get to Rukavac, at the end of the pier. It’s better tasting and cheaper. We were set on grilled octopus, a delicacy we’ve known from Greece, but it’s not a very common dish in Croatia, as you have to order it a couple of hours in advance (if they have one frozen in the fridge).
I almost forgot to mention, we’ve tried local wine, since wineries on the hills nearby were the main income source for the island until tourism flourished about 15 years ago, after the war, when the island was demilitarized. It was good, but nothing to get excited about.
As a side note, you can eat cheaper in nicer places if you can settle for pizza or pasta, as we’ve seen plenty such Italian inspired places when we’ve visited Vis for the second time, during the day, and walked the entire waterfront.
Architectural wise, we’re dealing with typical mediterranean buildings, no surprise here, with stone paved streets and narrow passages between buildings. There are a few modern amenities, like a recreation centre with tennis, basketball and football grounds and clubs for sailing, cricket, paragliding and two diving centers outside town. There’s even a Museum of Vis, if you’re into archaeological artifacts and art.
Since Vis island was nominated as one of the best environmentally preserved islands in the region, biking and mountain climbing are the kind of activities you’ll best enjoy here. Seeing the port from the nearby high hills is amazing, whether it’s during the day or during the night. Nature is the reason you come to Vis island. The rest are just things you do if that’s not enough for you.