How to get to VIS island in Croatia

I’m not sure why, but when traveling for sun and water I’m always attracted by islands. It’s not like there’s something wrong with the continental coastline, but islands are what dreams are made of. If you receive those Powerpoints at the office, which show amazing summer destinations, it’s a big chance that most of the locations are islands.

Probably it’s the thought of a remote location just for yourself that makes an island vacation appealing. So it’s pretty clear why our trip to Croatia had VIS island as the final destination point.

Why VIS island?

VIS means ‘dream’ in romanian, so expectations were high and the island lives up to the hype, being a small paradise, only around 90 square kilometers, with two major settlements, Vis and Komiža, both on the coast, opposite of eachother (they’re not enemies or anything, so don’t worry about that).

Besides the two cities, with very well conserved mediterranean architecture, there are plenty of beaches to visit. Just make sure you get some water shoes, as just a small fraction of them are sandy. Going barefoot it’s not something you can do comfortably.

And to move between these remote locations you either get a car or a scouter, depending on your mood. Roads are narrow, but very well maintained and road signs help a lot, if you know where you’re going. We used trusty old Google Maps for our endeavour, and it worked great, but for those of you with prohibitive roaming options you can always get a map from a local souvenir shop.

And then there are the caves. You can rent a boat or go on a scheduled cruise, but I’m sure I’ve mentioned that already in this short post.

How to reach the island of Vis

There are three options if you plan to visit VIS island. I think most of us would discard the first one: navigate your own boat. It’s not because I can’t ‘drive’ a boat, it’s because I don’t own one, and I’m pretty sure neither do you.

The second one only applies if you’re traveling without a car: hydrofoil operated by U.T.O KAPETAN LUKA. Travel time is one hour and twenty five minutes and you’ll pay 6 euros for a one way trip from Split.

So this leaves us with the third option, which is the ferry-boat. There’s only one company, JADROLINIJA, operating on this line, so not much to choose from. On your way towards Vis, you’ll take the ferry from the port in Split. My recommendation is to arrive at least half an hour before departure, so you’ll have time to buy the tickets and find the lane where you need to park your car, if you came with your own vehicle. The ferry boat arrived 20-15 minutes before boarding, so early arrival meant we had a chance to visit nearby shops and exchange some cash for local kuna currency.

Split seen from ferry-boat to VIS island
Split seen from ferry-boat to VIS island

Almost every establishment in Vis accepts euros, but the exchange rate they give you, about 7 kuna per one euro is worse than the official one, 7.4-7.5, which you can get in the port of Split. If you exchange money in Vis expect something like 7.3-7.4 kunas for one euro. These exchange rates are for the summer of 2014.

I’m not sure how much the trip had cost us, but I can tell you 9 people plus 2 cars with everything spit by 9 came in around 20 euros each, one way. That’s for a two and a half hour long trip.

For updated timetables on both Jadrolinija and U.T.O. Kapetan Luka lines you should access this page. They also link to both companies and list phone numbers where you can get more info. Note: reservation is not required, on both cases.

If you’re worried about sea motion don’t be: we didn’t even realise when the ferry got moving, so that says a lot about traveling with a large ship. You have access to the upper deck, so the best view in my opinion is at the back, as the ship departs from the port, be it Split or Vis. If you want to take a nap make sure you arrive real early, as the few benches where you can lay down during the trip were already occupied when we got onboard.

All you have to do now is pay 3 euros for a local beer and enjoy the view.

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