Vis-à-vis with Vis

Croatia can feel like an actor that, despite talent and charisma, never quite makes it to mega-stardom. If it’s the case of needing the right role, then Mamma Mia 2 just did the trick for Vis, an island off its coast: in 2018, the film’s cast and crew refashioned it as the “Greek” resort of Kalokairi that serves as the backdrop to the films.


You can reach Vis via a beautiful yacht of your choosing per our arrangement. The arrival truly feels filmic. After a series of small islands, a harbor lined with a jagged mouth of creamy white houses emerges, making your mouth water. As you get closer up, they appear to have a satisfying ratio of balconies, washing lines and tiny jetties.


When you visit the wonderful Vis town (and there are compelling reasons why you should), be sure to take 20 minutes to walk around the harbor to Kut, the oldest and prettiest part.


Built by the Venetians in the 17th century, Kut is a series of courtyards and passageways in limestone, overhung with balconies, with steps rising up into the hills behind. There are no smart clothes boutiques; instead there are mini-marts and boat chandlers. The water is achingly clear, the food, Italian in influence, majors on seafood. Particularly in Kut, Vis has a winning way of creating restaurants within the walls of ruined palazzos.


In many ways, Vis is the most fascinating of all the Croatian islands. This is mainly due to the fact that the island was entirely closed to foreigners in the days of Yugoslavia (as it was used as a naval base), only being opened to visitors in 1989.


Vis feels like Greece designed by the Dutch: mellow, but practical and efficient. It’s not a big island; it takes about 15 minutes to drive from Vis town to the other main hub of Komiža. When they say they are plenty of fish in the sea, what they have in mind is Komiža, a major fishing port with a series of good restaurants. Komiža also has more beaches – of the pebbly Croatian variety – than Kut.


Primarily for the reason that the island was closed to tourism for so long, but also because of its location, it’s often considered somewhere for an “off-the-beaten-track” holiday in Croatia or a great place to go to try something a bit different – especially for a peaceful and relaxing break. The island of Vis is a lot sleepier than Hvar, its club-minded neighbor to the east, so it’s ideal for those who want to enjoy some peace and quiet. Despite its low-key vibe, Vis has enough sights, including an archaeological museum and churches, to avoid beach-centered boredom. There’s an action side to Vis, too: cycling is big here, so is exploring a network of tunnels built by the Yugoslav army, alongside abseiling and diving – wrecks include a B-17 from the Second World War.


Along the coast of the island of Vis there are numerous small bays and coves just waiting for you to explore them. Vis is the best type of star there is – intriguing, beautiful and dashing, yet modest.

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