The clue’s in the name: Vis, the queen bee of Croatia’s glistening cast of islands, is the ultimate place to visit. From beaches fit for mermaids to meals fit for kings, here are 10 reasons why Vis is it, and why to visit it:
1.We often describe pretty places as untouched – but Vis actually is. Or only recently touched, anyway. For years it was the Yugoslav navy base, out of bounds to visitors. Tourists are only just beginning to discover it, and it retains that air of rudimental beauty that’ll makes you feel like Christopher Columbus when you reach its unspoilt shores.
2. And then you can feel like Adam or Eve as you frolic amidst the olive groves. There's an array of flora and fauna on Vis to delight the eye. The lucky traveller might glimpse a dolphin leaping through the waves, and rumour has it there are hedgehogs, too.
3. Weather is pretty much perfect. In winter it gets humid, but in summer it is hot, sunny, and dry.
4. So you can cool off at one its stunning beaches. They’ve all got different kinds of charm: Lucica, the closest to town, is dotted with characterful fisherman’s huts, while Srebrna, a beach made up of unusually large white stones that glow silver in the moonlight, is extremelyserene. Stiniva, meanwhile, is bona fide mermaid territory – its Stiniva Cove is protected, meaning that you’ll have to dive off the motor boat and swim your way to this beauty spot…
5. But you can reward yourself with a dreamily good meal afterwards. Restaurants here tend to be family-run, with much of the food fresh from the sea and each dish lovingly cooked. Pojoda is one of the best: here you can enjoy prawn and barley risotto or lentil and squid brodet on its tree-lined, coast-facing terrace while you listen to the roar of the waves.
6. ...along with a glass of top quality wine. Vis is known for its fine, fine wines – Bugava is its headline act, a sweet and rounded white wine, but others are close contenders - Salbun is lapped up like honey and red wine made from plavac mali grapes is just as intensely delicious now as it was when the Greek chronicler Agarthid from Knid raved about it in 300 BC.
7. And there’s a surprisingly lively nightlife. You can try and fit in with the locals over a beer at Bejbi, a stroll away from the ferry port, or Fabrika, a café-bar-cum-restaurant frequented by a hipster coterie. And if all the tranquility is making you restless, you can head to club Aquarius and burn off all that energy in this feverish party corner.
8. You can town-hop according to your mood. Vis is home to two small towns footing two large bays. They’re both beautiful but they give off very different vibes: Vis Town in the northeast is slightly haughtier, with a history of noble dwellers. Southwest settlement Komiža, meanwhile, keeps its lowly fisherman heritage close to its heart.
9. But wherever you are, make sure to marvel at the architecture. Vis town is a beguiling jumble of Greek vessels, Roman baths and Baroque Austrian architecture (a 16th century Venetian fort), which speaks of its rich, shifting history.
10. Before you’ve reached your hotel you’ll be utterly transported. A cross-island drive will make you feel as though you’re zooming through paradise: each sharp turn on the hairpin bends of the roads winding through the island will reveal a new, majestic scene – a glimpse of a rocky pool of water or a breath-taking view over the azure Adriatic sea.