Octopus cooked under a domed lid, specialty dish
orange rental car
red, orange, and YELLOW kayak on a secluded beach
Green water of Stiniva
Blue water of Vis Town
purple hues of the afternoon on Vis after a storm
I have had my sights set on spending eight glorious days on the tiny island of Vis for seven months, and it finally happened! We have taken quite the hiatus from traveling over the last year, deciding only to go to places nearby on train and in the UK. We were looking for a vacation that didn’t involve sightseeing or cities, plus one of us doesn’t like sitting on the beach (hint: it isn’t me) and so we went this island to have a different kind of experience.
Of course I just assumed I was going to get food poisoning, since I got it 2 out of the last 4 times whilst traveling south of the English Channel. So I decided to try and combat my fears and just ignore everything and eat anywhere. Would Croatia’s hygiene standards outperform that of Greece and one particular restaurant (Bobbyland) in Malta?
The answer is yes! From home-tinned fish to deep fried sardines to octopus cooked over five hours under a domed lid, we had some of the best eating experiences in Croatia that we’ve had traveling. On the third night, we were picked up by van and taken to a Vineyard called Roki’s. There they have courtyard dining in a beautiful setting. We got there early and so the chef showed us how he had prepared out meal. (This is not the greatest photo because the fire was so hot I could barely take a picture!)
Another amazing food experience was the Fisherman’s Festival, which happened on the second to last night of our visit. They were selling wine for the equivalent of £1 per glass and they were giving away FREE fried anchovy sandwiches! Here a picture of the event getting set up.
Renting a car for one day cost the equivalent of £40. We were able to drive all around the island and hike from the road down to some pretty amazing beaches. The one that really stood out for me was Stiniva, voted Europe’s best beach of the year. Basically, it is a little cove surrounded by high limestone walls and it’s tiny beach is speckled with many tourists. There are also many people swimming to the beach from their yachts. However, by the time we got there, it was 5pm and the beach was in the shade. People were leaving. By 6:30 we were the last people there and we had the beach all to ourselves!
Another touristy spot that we had to hit was The Green Cave. We were reluctant to go to this, given that the guidebook said it was crowded, but for £20 we got a ride out to the cave and we’re glad we did:
The pictures don’t do it justice, but that’s me swimming and the water is bluish green.
The best thing about Vis is where we stayed. We were at a airBNB for seven nights and it was comfortable. Our host, Miro cooked us a very fresh and amazing dinner one night while we chatted about many things. We had his homemade wine from his vineyard and for dessert, Ustipci. Ustipci are fried dough balls that we just called “Balls of Vis” when we were there because we could not read, understand, or pronounce any Croatian. But our hosts thought that was really funny.
I have never been so close to real exhaustion and dehydration as I was on the day we rented kayaks. First of all, kayaks are kind of gross. You sit in a pool of water all day and risk getting swamp butt. The paddles are double sided and you get splashed in the face by others kayaking around you. They’re so heavy you need two people to lift them. You can flip apparently, but why would you want to? I am still 100% on the side of canoes. I want to stay relatively dry and I like sitting up and getting lots of power from my strokes…but that’s for another time.
Kayaking in Croatia was cool! If you look at the map below and find Komiza, we kayaked south of there, around the tip and to where it says Bili Rat.
Bili Rat is amazing. It was by far the best beach that I’ve been to. It had rocks for climbing, a cave to swim to, and beautiful water. I have no pictures from there because I was having so much fun. Notice how there are no roads? That allowed for us to be pretty much alone, except for a kayak guide and his 30 charges who pulled into the beach shortly after us. You might think it was annoying, but it wasn’t. He was very concerned about us paddling against the wind and current on the way back, to the point where he left us his outrageously long phone number to call him just in case we needed to paddle to the other town and get picked up.
I’m here to tell you that we did paddle back against the wind. At times it was totally manageable. We sang sea shanties and were able to paddle back at a nice pace. Then we ran out of water. Then it got really hot. Then there were lots of waves. We could see the town in view, but it was so far. It was like paddling on a treadmill. It also felt really urgent because of the gathering of storm clouds coming over the mountain. At one point I started laughing hysterically for no reason. I think I was on the brink of dehydration.
When we returned to town and told people what we had done, no one could believe it! People were abhorred and concerned we were going to lose weight while on holiday. I mean it was hard, but it wasn’t that bad. Is no one on this island in shape enough to do anything? I mean, we also rented bikes one day and everyone told us it was “not possible” to ride outside of the harbor area because it was too steep. I’m not even kidding that Andrew biked over the mountain in like ten minutes.
Drink RED wine from the region. There are several vineyards on Vis and they’re all very different. Get in the car and taste them out!
Rent an ORANGE car. No one cares what kind of damage you do to these cars. I can testify to this as Andrew rammed ours into a cement wall leaving two huge marks, which none even cared about or noticed for that matter. They’re beat up, but they will get you from place to place.
Try the Balls of Vis! YELLOWish fried dough balls + plus powdered sugar +Nutella=midnight snack under the stars.
Check out the GREEN Cave. Charter a little boat or if you are a masochist, hire a kayak. You can go swimming in the cave. But quick! Take pictures before too many boats come in!
Spend time skinny dipping in the BLUE waters of the FKKs. Croatia has so many nude beaches, you might as well drop trow and jump in!
Drive to the top of the hill and watch the PURPLE sunset.