Vis island – attractions not only for divers
Although there are five diving centres on the island of Vis, and the number of interesting dive sites lets people stay for months on the island to explore them all, there is plenty of attractions besides diving. The phenomenon of Vis as the island for divers results from, among others, its location. Vis island is the furthest off the mainland among inhabited Croatian islands, what results in higher biodiversity of marine life than around the other islands. Besides, the island is relatively small – it’s ninth island considering area, but thinking about heights it is ranked on the fifth place. That is why the dive sites are deep and the walls are steep. Another thing which makes the diving even more interesting is the military history of the island resulting in numerous wrecks sunken under the water.
The reasons why divers visit the island are more or less the same as for the other tourists. The first mentioned above is the location. Distance from Croatian mainland makes the access to the island more difficult than to other islands. This isolation was influencing the development of the island for the centuries. In the ancient times, when Greeks set up a colony on the island, it became an independent polis with own currency. After thousands of years there are still the remains of the ancient culture visible on the island, particularly in the town of Vis – there is for example a Hellenistic necropolis and a Roman thermae. Rich collection of antique artefacts is possessed by a local museum in Vis, which is definitely worth a visit. The second town of the island (after Vis) is Komiža – a magical fishing village with a romantic atmosphere and beautiful sunsets. Located on the other side of the island it is not known from the ancient times, but started developing in the Middle Ages. In here, there was a falkusa – fishing boat for long expeditions in the open seas – designed and constructed and the fishing traditions preserved up to now and are visible in town.
Next reason for visiting the island is its size combined with height. Driving a car it is easy to go around the island in more or less an hour. On the way there are numerous wonderful places, like beaches – Stiniva and Srebrena – awarded in 2016 as the best in Europe in different contests. Besides those two, there are many cozy coves. Some of them can be accessed by boat only, but to the others lead steep gravel-stony roads enjoyed by fans of off-road drives and mountain hikes. The enthusiasts of trekking can find many more routes in the island’s interior – there are six marked mountain paths. One of the tracks leads through Oključna (also accessible by off-road vehicles) – an abandoned village on the northern coast. In a place, where in the past the school was full of students, no one lives year round. Oključna is worth visiting not only because of the beauty of the village – less than an hour trekking separates the village from the Queen’s Cave (Krajličina Špilja), which is the biggest among natural caves on the island and its stalactites are well-preserved.
As the Queen’s Cave is the biggest cave of the island’s interior, there are also two well-known caves on the nearby islands – Blue Cave (Modra Špilja) on Biševo and Green Cave (Zelena Špilja) on the islet of Ravnik. These two are accessible by boats only, and are very popular among tourists. Natural forms are not the only ones among the holes in the ground. After 1945, when Vis was the main military base for the Yugoslav army, there were many bunkers built and underground corridors hollowed. Today there are about 30 different military objects identified. Although tourist agencies organize military tours, the majority of objects does not require special guiding. To the most interesting ones belongs the system on the peninsula of Stupišće with abandoned army barracks and an impressive bunker complex built in case of an attack from Italy. What is interesting, there are still the cannons left. Paranoid of invasions, Yugoslav army was hiding in the interior of the island of Vis. Close to the highest mountain of the island there is the Tito’s Cave (Titova Špilja) – a place, where according to the stories, the headquarters of Tito’s authorities were located. The cave itself is worth seeing, but what is more interesting is the view from the nearby highest peak of Vis – Hum (Sveti Duh).