We have yet to visit the island of Vis in Croatia. It’s on our ever-growing bucket list of places to visit in Croatia. To put us in the mood and give us a taste of the island, we’ve reached out to Xania and Craig of Wearactive. Originally from UK, they’ve been living on the island of Vis for eight years.
About Xania and Craig
After teaching sports in the UK, Bahrain and Russia a few days on Vis Island was enough to realize they wanted to live in Croatia and make it their home.While kayaking, hiking and biking around the island, they realized that it is the perfect location to set up their business Wearactive. The concept of what they do is based on everything they love, exercise, relaxation, good food and sharing it in a gorgeous location with like minded people. They keep their guest numbers to 8 and they share their home from May to October. For more information about what they offer visit their website Wearactive or follow their adventures on Twitter and Facebook.
Here are things Xania and Craig love about Vis. In no particular order.
Fall in love with Vis: ten reasons why we love Vis
We didn’t realise it before Croatia and Vis but we love pebble beaches! We always knew we loved hidden coves, crystal clear seas and generally hanging out on a beach, but we never truly understood the pebble. Pebble beaches are warming to lie on, they are clean and full of artistic potential. You can make sculptures, build walls and then throw the pebbles back in the sea.
Pebbles make the water even clearer and we don’t have to spend time after the beach getting rid of irritating hidden grains of sand. Vis has a few sand beaches but we also love these but for different reasons. Sand beaches they are fantastic to play ball games. We never sit on these beaches, we just throw balls, hit balls and then catch balls! Our favourite pebble beaches are Srebana and Pritišćina.
Vis is fantastic for kayaking. There are so many different types of kayak experiences around Vis island. We love them all! You can kayak to the island of Ravnik from Rukavac and paddle into the Green Grotto. Inside the cave you will see the sun illuminating the sea with a shaft of green light, it’s truly beautiful. From the cave you can then kayak to another island and have a cold beer in the shade of a idyllic restaurant.
Along the south coast of Vis you can kayak close to dramatic cliffs, into caves and then onto beaches that are not accessible by foot. Along the south side of Vis is Stiniva cove, a beach that is accessed by kayaking through a narrow entrance. Stiniva is also a great place for the climbers as there are lots of overhangs and climb routes that safely deposit you into deep water should you fall!
Everyone on the island produces, drinks and speaks passionately about their wine. It is even suggested that you must drink wine to maintain good health! The grapevines give the island a cover of greenery during the summer and then in late September the island becomes a grape picking frenzy, scooter with trailers, cars and donkeys are everywhere taking the picked grapes to pressed. Some of the most exclusive wine in Croatia is produced on Vis due to the Vugava which is a white grape and can can only be found on Vis Island.
The interior of the island is untouched. Everyone in the Summer stays in Vis town or Komiza or on their boat, the interior remains quiet. Biking and hiking is fantastic as a result. One of our favorite hikes during the the late spring takes us up to Mount Hum (560m) and then through abandoned vineyards and olive groves down into Vis town. For three hours of hiking you will see lots of herbs, orchards, wild flowers but no people!
Biking can be quite diverse for such a small island. For the more adventurous biker, Vis has some really challenging but scenic single track paths. Cycling on the roads are equally enjoyable as they are always very quite, with hardly any cars and you can always see the sea as you circle the island.
Vis is the oldest established town in Dalmatia, founded in 397 B.C, with the Latin name of the island being Issa. As a result of being occupied by the Austrians and also the Italians, Vis has some gorgeous architect that has recently started to be carefully renovated. The island also has a strong military history with the British having a base here in WW2 and then the Yugoslav army closing the island off to the public for 30 years. As a result Vis has many traditions that have strongly remained and has shown no signs of over developing for tourism.
Craig was born in Yorkshire, England. Cricket is part of life to a Yorkshireman!
The British first arrived on the Croatian island of Vis in 1811 when Captain William Hoste established a naval base from which to exert British sea power in the region. Whilst on Vis Captain Hoste decided it would be good for the mens morale to play cricket.
Vis was without the sound of leather on willow for almost 200 years. It was Oliver Roki – cricketer, restaurateur and bon viveur who stumbled across Vis’s long-forgotten cricketing history. Despite having the smallest player base in the country, The Sir William Hoste Cricket Club (SWHCC) currently hosts 8-12 touring teams from around the globe each year. The MCC had 5 days of Cricket here in 2009, and SWHCC hosted Griff Rhys-Jones, Rory McGrath and Dara O Briain of the BBC’s ‘3 men go to Venice’ in the spring of 2011.
The longer we live on Vis the more attuned with the what the island can provide for us and what we can forage from nature. Fresh herbs, vegetables, fruits and sea life can be found all year round. In Autumn you can hunt for mushrooms, fish for squid and pick oranges, pomegranates and lemons from the trees. Early spring has wild asparagus, artichoke, walnuts, broad beans and plums. Summer has wonderful tomatoes, courgettes, aubergines, peppers, watermelon, apricots and peaches. It is also the start of the sardine season. Around the island you can always buy Vis olive oil, honey, wine and various grappas. Vis also provides domestic specialties such as Hib, which is a pressed fig, grappa and rosemary cake and also pogaca which is a traditional fish pie.
To get to Vis you need to get the ferry from Split. Vis is the furthermost inhabited island from the Croatian coast and the closest to Italy. Due to it being a little bit longer to get to Vis, it only gets overnight tourists and travelers that have researched the island, happy to make that extra little bit of effort.
We love Vis because of the people we have met and the friends we have made on the island. We have had lots of support for our business on the island and genuine enthusiasm about the sort of tourism we provide on Vis. Our Croatian language skills are still terrible but we have very understanding friends!
Pace of Life
Pomalo Pomalo is something we heard constantly when first arrived to the island. It means slowly slowly. We needed to adjust to island life, we needed to understand that things will get done eventually and if they didn’t get done then maybe that was okay. The weather, wind direction and the sea dictates a lot of the island pace. If you come on holiday to Vis, stay for at least a week. Slowly adjust to the Viski pace, no one will rush you and when you eventually leave you will be very relaxed, wondering about what you did in your time on the island and when you can next return!
We hope that Xania & Craig gave you enough reasons to visit the island of Vis. If you plan on visiting Vis, don’t forget to check their house and kayaking tour (Hurry up! They only take 8 persons per week). Please check their website Wearactive, or find them on Twitter and Facebook.
Have you ever been to Vis? Would you like to visit? Let us know in the comments below.