Vis town was created through the union of the seaside communities of Luka, the working harbour area, and Kut, the neighbourhood with more food, fun and night-time action. Both sides are relatively quiet during daytime beach hours, and a lot of the restaurants only open around 6pm. The marina brings in a sizeable yachting crowd who support a growing number of gourmet restaurants. Students also come here for the fantastic nearby beaches and bars.
Komiža feels slightly more bohemian. This is the place to enjoy an easy-going Mediterranean pace and excellent pebbly beaches. Many of Komiža’s servers are year-round residents, who tend to be more friendly and casual than summer workers after their tip.
Despite the relaxed atmosphere, the village has some fancy, formal restaurants, as well as the island’s only disco to speak of, the beachside Aquarius, run by a husband-and-wife team who fell in love with Komiža. Refreshingly, there is no nightlife industry per se.
Obscure historic remains relate to the island’s strategic importance since 500 BC. In Vis town, you can find Greek vessels, Roman baths and Baroque Austrian architecture. After passing to the Italians, in 1944 Vis was used as a base by Tito and his Partisans. It remained a military facility, off-limits to foreigners, until 1989. You can visit Tito’s cave headquarters, halfway up Mount Hum – just ask at any local travel agency.
The major historical sights in Vis town are the Archaeological Museum in the Austrian fortress, or Baterija (021 711 729; open May-Oct 10am-1pm, 5-9pm Mon-Fri, 10am-1pm Sat; 20kn), with pottery, jewellery and sculpture from the Greek and Roman eras, including a 400 BC bronze head of a Greek goddess; and, in Kut, St Cyprian’s church, 18th-century Baroque with a campanile. The main tourist sight in Komiža is the stubby Venetian fortress and tower, Kaštel, which is the Fishing Museum (open summer 9am-noon, 6-10pm daily; 10kn), with memorabilia from Komiža’s glory days as a busy hub of the industry. Just in the distance, you can see the islet of Biševo with its singular, once-in-a-day attraction.