ISLAND OF VIS – CROATIA

The answers are based on our knowledge and our experience

F. A. Q. about island Vis Croatia

where is vis island

Vis island is located in front of Hvar island in central Dalmatia.

How far is Vis island from Split?

Vis island is around 30NM far from Split.

How far is Vis island from HVAR?

Vis island is around 10NM far from Hvar island.

How big is Vis island?

The island of Vis covers about 90 square kilometers.

Is island Vis good option for family vacation?

It is great option for family vacation. There is so much to do or visit and also the sea and nature is so nice and peaceful.

Is Vis island popular tourist destination?

It is very popular tourist destination but there is never too much people and you never feel crowded like on mainland.

What is Vis population?

Around 5000 permanently but during the Summer that number goes up to 50 000 at the same time.

When to visit Vis?

It is best to visit Vis island between May and September.

Where to stay in Vis?

There are two options. You can stay in Komiža town or Vis town. Also there is option to stay in some of the villages on the top of the island. Anyway, you could visit both towns because they are not far from each other.

How to get to Vis?

There is ferry from Split that operates every day more than once and also catamaran lines. Also it is possible to arrange private boat transfers from the airport, Split, Hvar, Trogir or from some other place that you prefer.

Is there option to visit Vis by car, motorbike or bike?

Yes there is option to visit Vis by car or bike but in that case you need to take the ferry from Split that can transfer cars, or bikes.

BLUE LAGOON TOUR FROM vis – IS IT POSSIBLE?

Mostly it is going on from Split, but it can be arrange from island Hvar, town Trogir, island Brac, island Vis, island Solta and other places, especially for large group, however it depends on arrangement. PRIVATE TOURS AND TRANSFERS go wherever needed of course.

BLUE cave TOURs FROM vis – IS IT POSSIBLE?

Mostly it is going on from Split, but it can be arrange from island Hvar, town Trogir, island Brac, island Vis, island Solta and other places, especially for large group, however it depends on arrangement. PRIVATE TOURS AND TRANSFERS go wherever needed of course.

Prehistoric Vis

The island of Vis has always been a strategically important island in the Adriatic Sea. Back in the Stone Age, the island was inhabited. The first true records of the history and importance of the island date back to VI. Century BC. At that time, battles were raging in this area of the Mediterranean. The Illyrian tribes fought for domination of the Adriatic Sea against the Greek colonists.

Historians then first come across the writings of the powerful Illyrian ruler Joni, who then ruled the area. As history shows, he controlled the island of Vis and the surrounding areas. It is even considered that the nearby, Jonian Sea is named after him.

Struggles for domination of the island of Vis

Ancient historical sources say that on Vis in IV. century BC, comes the tyrant of the Greek city of Syracuse Dionysius the Elder, in his quest to become the strongest ruler of the Mediterranean, in the place of present-day Vis he establishes his colony – Issa. Issa soon became an independent city of states (polis) forging its own money, whose citizens trade all over the Mediterranean and who set up their own colonies.

Issa gained particular fame in the ancient world with the excellence of her wines. After that, the island came under Roman rule, under whose rule it lost its independence. Nevertheless, Vis continues to develop economically and culturally. With the collapse of the Roman Empire, Vis was also declining. Affected by various diseases and attacks from the sea, the inhabitants of Vis are retreating to the interior of the island for their own safety.

The arrival of the Croats

In VII. century, a new chapter opens. The new inhabitants (Croats) are rapidly taking over maritime skills from the natives as well as the knowledge of growing Mediterranean crops. Vis is part of the early medieval Croatian kingdom, and its inhabitants stand out for their maritime skills and even piracy. Vis was part of the Hvar commune at that time and many nobles from Hvar have their possessions here.

Therefore, at the end of the 10th century, the Venetians attacked and destroyed Vis. Although the residents retreated to the interior of the island for safety, it still did not prove to be sufficient protection. Despite the fact that Vis was then under the mighty Venetian Republic, the Catalans, in the service of the King of Naples, ravaged the largest Vis settlement in the interior, the Velo selo.

The experience of this attack, as well as the increasing threat of attack by the Turks and Arabs, convinces Visians that the island can only be defended if it has a strong settlement on the coast. The nobles of Hvar and the surplus people from the coast of Vis harbor erect fortified houses that are at the same time housing, economic activities and defense. This creates two settlements Kut and Luka, from which modern Vis will be created.

island of Vis, Croatia

Recent History of Vis

Despite many attacks and threats during that time, Vis prospered in the Renaissance and Baroque times. As part of the Venetian empire, Vis and its port are important traffic points where people and goods meet from the far north of Europe to the Middle East.

During the Napoleonic times, the French and even the English had ruled (then cricket was played on the island for the first time in Croatia). After the fall of Napoleon and the Venetian Republic, Vis came under the rule of the Habsburgs. With the further administrative reorganization of the monarchy, Vis became part of the imperial province of Dalmatia, which after the Austro-Hungarian division of the monarchy fell under the Austrian part.

In 1866, a naval battle took place near the island of Vis, which greatly influenced the further development of events on the eastern Adriatic coast. With the victory of the Austro-Hungarian Navy, the Italian encroachments on Vis and the whole of Dalmatia were temporarily stopped.

Grapevine disease and major migration

Abrupt progress is halted by catastrophic grapevine, phylloxera disease in the early twentieth century. High incomes related to wine production are declining, which is accompanied by a wave of Visians emigration, especially in overseas countries, up North America and Australia. It was only the beginning of the turbulent twentieth century.

Vis in World War II

After the outbreak of World War II, the island of Vis was again occupied in 1941 by Italy, which immediately began to implement a policy of general Italianization, especially in the town of Vis. After the capitulation of Italy in September 1943, Partizans took over the island. Vis is the only part of the former Yugoslavia that was never occupied by the German army.

It was then home to an Allied military airport (today under vineyards). The future lifelong president of Yugoslavia, Marshal Tito was hiding in Vis and used the island as a command center. Tito took refuge in Vis in June 1944 after a German assault on Drvar where he was almost killed. Until the occupation of Belgrade in October 1944, the island functioned as the center of partisan authorities and allied military missions.

All non-combatant islanders were evacuated by the British to the El Shatt camp in Sinai, where many Visians died as a result of poor living conditions. The return from Egypt was made in 1946. In socialist Yugoslavia, Vis, due to its strategic location, was an island closed to foreigners (the ban on the arrival of foreigners was lifted only in 1989) and the whole was transformed into a large military fort. With an area of just 90 km2, there were more than 30 military facilities, including an underground military hospital and a warship tunnel, as well as an atomic shelter and submarine entrance.

The result of half a century of isolation was the economic backwardness and the inability of tourism development, and, consequently, the large expatriation of the population. The Yugoslav Army left the island only on May 30, 1992, almost six months after Croatia’s international recognition.

Vis Island attractions

Natural beauties worth seeing are the Blue Cave on the nearby island of Bisevo, the Green Cave on Ravnik and the Queen’s Cave on Vis, and one of the historical sights is the Tito’s Cave, a restored monument to fallen sailors at the Battle of Vis. Because of the many battles that have taken place throughout history around the island, it is a true paradise for divers.

At depths of 15 to 90 meters, there are many submerged planes and boats, which attracts many visitors and lovers of underwater sightseeing. Also, hiking on Vis is especial because of the beauty of nature and the view that stretches all the way to the coast of Italy. The two most beautiful and important places on the island are certainly the cities of Vis and Komiža, which is definitely worth a visit when you are on the island. Also Hum, highest point of the island is must see.

Vis Battle

The naval battle of Vis took place on July 20, 1866 in the Adriatic Sea, near the island of Vis (in the Vis Channel). The navies of the Habsburg Monarchy and the Kingdom of Italy clashed there. The battle ended with the victory of the Habsburg Navy, and was part of the Austro-Prussian War. In that conflict, the Kingdom of Italy was an ally of Prussia. The Italian interest was the occupation of the former Venetian possessions which by peace in Campo Formi in 1797 belonged to the Habsburg Monarchy.

The goal of the maritime campaign was to capture the eastern Adriatic coast. This was the first major naval battle involving armored and steam-powered ships. It is also the first battle in world history in which two armored fleets clashed on the open seas. Equally, it was one of the last, if not the last, battle that used the punching of a ship with its beak as a tactic of war, a technique used back in the Illyrian era in the early ancient times.

The fleets consisted of a combination of unshielded steam-powered sailboats (liners) and armored vessels, which were also of mixed propulsion. The Italian fleet of 12 armored and 17 unshielded ships was larger than the Austrian fleet, consisting of 7 armored and 11 unshielded ships. Austrian forces were also significantly smaller in cannon (276 to 121) and overall metal tonnage (53,236 t to 23,538 t).

The Italian armored ship Affondatore also participated in the battle. The Austrian fleet was headed by Wilhelm von Tegetthoff, while the commander of the Italian fleet was Count Carlo di Persano. Since numerous Croatian sailors participated on the Austrian side (there were around 5,000 Croats out of 7,871 sailors), an important consequence of the Austrian victory under Vis was the rejection of affection for Italy and the awakening of Croatian national awareness in Dalmatia.

Fortress GEORGE – FORTICA

English Commander in Vis, George Duncan Robertson in April 1812 began to build a low and oblong fort of sloping walls and surrounded by a moat above the entrance to the Harbor. They called her the name of the then English King George III, since she was bigger than the others, and today the Vis inhabitants call her “Fortica”.

Through the suspension bridge, which was drawn on the outstretched pedestal above the ditch, one entered the fort through a wide door, with an English flag engraved in the middle of the arch and two flowers on the side. Inside the fort are two courtyards surrounded by ditches. There is a well in the north. On the terrace of the inner fort are semicircular cannon holes, and all the walls are secured by loopholes. Today, it serves as a cultural monument, a place for celebrations of weddings and festive dinners, and a disco bar.

***VIS

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