HERZEGOVINA & CROATIAN ISLANDS - 12 DAY GUIDED TOUR ITINERARY

DAY 8 - Croatia - Island of Vis


 


  • Komiza

Komiža. The shortest description of this adorable place today would be: narrow streets that hide many konobas and cafes, small stone houses squeezed together, fishermen vessels dominating the harbor, pebble beaches, beautiful trees (pine trees, carob trees, citrus orchards, palm trees, cacti, silver palm tree

  • Komiza

With a picturesque setting on a bay at the foot of Hum mountain, this small town has somewhat-bohemian, rough-around-the-edges ambience. Narrow backstreets lined with 17th- and 18th-century stone town houses twist uphill from the port, which has been used by fisherfolk since at least the 12th century.

  • Komiza

Komiža is a small island town that has been a center for fishermen in the Adriatic since the Middle Ages. Today, its red rooftops decorate a forested green backdrop, while colorful window blinds adorn rustic sea-facing stone houses.

  • Komiza

Komiža is a village where the fishing on the eastern side of the Adriatic Sea was born.

  • Komiza

Its fishers not only ruled with their boats over the Adriatic Sea but they also traded with the neighbouring coast creating fishermen's centres on the Pacific coasts of both Americas. Komiža has always been proud of the fisherman's history, whose remains can be found in the Fisherman's museum located in the old Venetian tower on the promenade (riva), the only one in Croatia. The traditional fishing tools are displayed in it.

  • Komiza

Due to the frequent attacks of Turks and pirates on Komiža, a fort was built in 1595, during the time of Prince Ivan Grimani of Hvar, whose coat of arms and cross were carved on the inscription above the entrance. The Venetian administration was reluctant to finance the construction of the fortresses in their entirety, so the construction slowed down. Fishermen from Komiža came to the rescue, as evidenced by an inscription from 1592. on the north wall of the fortress: this building is the work of a ‘Tresjavac position’. It is a fishing position south of the island of Biševo, where fishermen from Komiža have been working hard to raise money to complete their fort.

At the beginning of the 19th century, the fort was held by a smaller English military crew. In 1870, a tower with a bell dating from 1722, was erected above one corner of the fort. Nine years later in 1879. the municipality of Komiža bought the fort and located its offices there – hence its name Komuna (Commune). At that time, on the fort the windows were opened and the balconies were built, also the clock tower with the bell was added to the exhisting turret.

The fortress is actually a spacious tower with a regular square base with sloping lower walls. At the top of the fort is a terrace with a wide crown. At the time of construction, the fortress was partly in the sea, and on the north and west walls, are still present, well preserved, the solid stone rings for the mooring of ships.

Nowadays, the fortress Komuna hosts a unique Fisherman’s Museum.

  • Komiza

Overgrown abandoned stone houses.

  • Komiza

It’s a curious thing, but in some ways the lengthy political and geographical isolation has worked to Vis’s advantage. Its lack of development and underpopulation means the island – particularly Komiža – has managed to preserve its traditional character and somewhat mysterious feel.

  • Komiza

Komiža and its surroundings are a truly idyllic place where you can discover the unique beauties of nature.

  • Komiza

Sunset over Komiža.

Komiža

  • Mediterranean house gecko

Mediterranean House Gecko can be seen at night on stone walls. Very common in and around houses using rocks, stone walls, trees and scrub to provide for cover when required and a ready source of food which comprises various small flying and crawling insects. They are easy to observe at night around the light sources of houses that attract moths and insects.

  • Titos Cave

Tito's Cave is located below Hum, the highest peak of Vis, formerly known as Ghost's Cave, after former Yugoslav President Tito was there, while the cave served as the seat of the partisan army.

  • Titos Cave

Tito sought refuge after Nazi troops tried to kill him in Drvar, and in 1944 he spent time in a cave (equipped and remodeled to provide a safe and comfortable stay for one of the most powerful people in the world at the time). Here he set out to meet Winston Churchill and Stalin.

  • Titos Cave

Commander-in-chief of the Yugoslav People's Army, Marshal Josip Broz Tito, centre, and members of staff on the island of Vis. Summer 1944.

  • Aerodrom Vis

Aerodrom got it’s name after a nearby WW2 air field in Plisko poje that was used by the Allies. The nearby fields were leveled to become an airport for US and British flying fortresses in the final months of the war. Later, wine making returned but the signal posts are still there keeping the memory alive. Now, Aerodrom is a perfect place for getting a chilled glass of Vugava (local white wine) along with Komiska pogaca (a classic Croatian bread from the island of Vis that is filled with a herbed tomato sauce and anchovies).

  • Aerodrom Vis

Aerodrom during WWII .

  • Aerodrom Vis

Aerodrom is fancy. In a retro, "lost in the 1930s" type of way.

  • Aerodrom Vis

Interior is beautiful. Decorated again in the style of the 1930s, it keeps telling the story of once great wine making tradition of Vis island.

  • Aerodrom Vis

After WWII airport was not in use and it was turned to vineyards.

  • Aerodrom Vis

Vis airport during WWII.

  • Aerodrom Vis

Vis airport during WWII.

Vis airport during WWII.

  • Aerodrom Vis

RAF Second World War memorial.

  • Aerodrom Vis

A small group of British Second World War veterans have reunited on the Croatian island of Vis. They are some of the last survivors of an Allied combined garrison of Royal Navy, Royal Marine Commandos, Army and Royal Air Force personnel who took over the Island in 1943 and held it until the end of the War. Above, Flight Lieutenant Freddie Nicoll DFC lays a wreath at an RAF memorial. During the Second World War the soldiers harried Axis Forces in what was Yugoslavia, providing supply drops to the Partisans and, at one point, refuge for Marshall Tito when he was nearly captured by German Forces.

WWII Veterans return to Croatian Island of VIS for the final time.

  • Vugava

Vugava (local white wine) vineyards.

  • Eleonoras Falcon

In May and June up to 20 Eleonora's Falcons can be seen feeding above WWII airfield.

  • Eleonoras Falcon

Eleonora's Falcons - dark morph.

  • Cricket on Vis

On a remote Croatian island, cricket is thriving alongside vineyards, and sometimes in them.

It all began with Captain Sir William Hoste, who spent several years on Vis and celebrated a famous victory there when outnumbered by Napoleon's warships in 1811, during which he coined the cry, "Remember Nelson!" When not harassing the French in the Adriatic, Hoste encouraged his men to play cricket, establishing a club and noting in a letter home that "when we anchor for a few hours, it passes away the time quite wonderfully".

With the island's year-round sun, he had certainly found an ideal location. There is no evidence that Hoste was a great player himself, although he harboured hopes that the game would capture the locals' imagination. While some did, in fact, take to the sport, ultimately these hopes remained unfulfilled, and when he set sail for England for the last time, in 1814, the cricket left with him.

One has to fast forward to the Second World War for a renaissance, when Vis was selected as a strategic air base by intrepid British adventurer and officer Fitzroy MacLean, who was a friend of Ian Fleming and is popularly believed to have been one of the inspirations for James Bond. Marshall Tito also settled here for a time, working closely with MacLean while directing Partisan operations from a mountaintop cave.

The island's sunshine and wide open spaces were a treat for idle servicemen, who inevitably turned to cricket to pass the time. MacLean and Tito must have witnessed these matches, and, though apocryphal, the idea of the original 007 smiting Tito for six on Vis is not without appeal.

  • Konoba Gusti poja

We will have lunch at charming small tavern that has found its place in the heart of Vis Island, surrounded by the scent of pine trees. The tavern is located in a building from 1950 and the whole property has that nostalgic and romantic atmosphere of some bygone times. Decorated in a retro style, it exudes a casual atmosphere and is a real haven. It offers tasty local delights. Every detail tells a story starting from the charming rustic interior where everything contributes to the domestic feel, all the way to the menu.

  • Pritiscina

After lunch we will visit some of Vis gorgeous beaches. This is Pritiscina Bay.

  • Pritiscina

Pritiscina Bay with crystal cleaer sea.

  • Srebrna

Srebarna Bay - This is one of the most beautiful and popular beaches on the island of Vis, covered with large white limestone peb- bles softened by the sea and scattered across carbonate rocks. The beach is surrounded by south-facing stone slabs perfect for sunbathing. Intact in these rocks are large de- posits of rudist shells preserved at the exact location where they grew some 90 million years ago.

  • Srebrna

In Srebarna Bay, one can see traces of the quarrying which took place 2,400 years ago to supply stone blocks for con- struction of the ancient Greek colony of Issa. The Greek colonists arrived from Syracuse in Sicily in the early fourth century B.C. and chose this site for the quarry, since ships could be moored in the bay for a seven-mile transport to Issa (today's Vis). Since then, the sea-level has risen by two metres and the oldest part of the quarry is now submerged. The quarry extends in a north-south direction along the present-day beach. It may have also supplied other Greek colonies such as Faros (now the town of Stari Grad on the island of Hvar) and is one of the oldest quarries in present-day Croatia.

  • Fort George

Fort George - Hidden in the forest of pine trees and cypresses that create cozy shade in summer days and romantic scenery, the fortress will surely invite everyone to peek behind its walls.

  • Fort George

After the Royal Navy’s victory at the Battle of Vis (1811) the British built a series of fortifications on the island, the largest and most important being named after the British King, King George III. The British garrisoned Fort George with an international force of free-Italians, sharp-shooting Corsicans and Swiss Guards once loyal to the French King, not forgetting the red coated 35 Regiment of Foot who arrived after a long and bitter campaign in north America.

  • Fort George

Until 1797, the island was under the rule of the Republic of Venice. Britain occupied the town at the end of the Napoleonic Wars, then ceded it to the Austrian Empire under the Italian name Lissa. After the end of World War I, it was under Italians again, and in 1920 ceded to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

  • Fort George

Fort George is famous for its sublime sunset views which light the sky in an array of colours. Whilst it may happen every day, a sunset over the Med never loses its allure.

  • Fort George

Entrance to Fort George.

  • Konoba Bako

We will have dinner on a terrace just above the sea, the friendly beachside Bako restaurant provides some of the fancier meals in Komiža while exuding a relaxed atmosphere. There is gorgeous beachside seating, with tables intermingled with pine trees and tall lamps. Inside, sit amid ancient Greek and Roman artefacts recovered from the deep by the restaurant’s founder, Tonko Borčić Bako, who dove here for decades.