Vis is the inhabited island farthest from Croatia’s mainland, and it has only recently become a destination, having been closed to visitors until 1989 because of its status as a Yugoslav naval military base. Unspoiled and isolated, Vis is short on hotel accommodations and tourism infrastructure, but it is beginning to catch up. The island’s two main towns, Vis Town and Komiža, are particularly popular with yachters, who moor up their boats for a couple of days of total relaxation, dining at the island’s fine authentic restaurants.
Vis’s recorded history dates from the 4th century b.c., when Dionysius of Syracuse founded Issa (Vis), presumably as a strategic base for Greek enterprises in the Adriatic. Issa became a city-state and eventually was taken over by the Romans, the Byzantines, and the Venetians, in that order. Vis attained its greatest notoriety during World War II, when Marshal Tito used a cave on the island as his base for masterminding Partisan strategies. Called Tito’s Cave, the chamber on the south side of Mount Hum makes an interesting visit, even though you have to climb 245 overgrown stone steps to reach it.
Travel routes between the island and the mainland have increased with the introduction of a new fast Krilo catamaran (www.krilo.hr) between Split and Vis Town, on top of existing Jadrolinija (www.jadrolinija.hr) ferry service. There are many secluded bays on Vis (Rukavac, Stiniva, Milna, Srebrena), particularly on the island’s southern side, but the best way to reach them is by private sailing boat.