Search

Travel: Step back in time on the island getaway of Vis, Croatia

14:41 27 December 2014

Vis Town from high in the mountains

Vis Town from high in the mountains

Archant

I daresay most discerning travellers are au fait with the delights of Croatia’s Dalmatian coast by now.

Travel info:

Villa Tempera****

Family Siric , Milna-Zenka 50, HR 21480, Vis, Croatia

E: info@villatempera.com

W: www.villatempera.com

Mob: +385 99 601 7720

Prices from €400/PN till end May, €575/PN later, €1075/PN high season full occupancy.

Flights

For the best value flights from London to Split, try:

www.easyjet.com

www.norwegian.com

www.croatiaairlines.com

www.izzair.com

Ferries

www.jadrolinija.hr

www.krilo.hr/en/

Car Hire

Navigator

T: 00385 98 812645

W; navigator.hr/agencija/english/

Hvar, at least, seems to be where everyone from my office is going on holiday (obviously I’m at pains to tell them I first went years ago).

But in neighbouring Vis you have a beautiful island which, due to a well-documented accident of history, really is like stepping back in time.

The reason? Well, during the turbulent recent history of Croatia (then part of Yugoslavia) Tito, the people’s dictator, used Vis as a military base.

As a result, the place was closed off from foreigners, and even domestic visitors, from the end of World War II until the early ‘90s.

The magical Srebrna BeachThe magical Srebrna Beach

A fantastic legacy of this is the myriad military installations and tunnels scattered throughout the island, including a Thunderbirds style naval base buried deep in the rock, where boats can literally sail in and out of the island.

While the hordes of tourists are slowly creeping back, Pomalo still looks likely to retain its laid-back nature.

Pomalo – a Croatian word which roughly approximates as a combination of easy, slowly, no problem, maybe tomorrow, relax, and so on – really sums up the feel of Vis.

The people are of few 
words, but incredibly helpful; witness my search for some painkillers as an example. The only shop for miles around didn’t have any, so a man in the queue invited me to his house to borrow some. I ended up staying for a cool beer and a chin wag in the late afternoon sun.

Villa Tempera had every conceivable comfortVilla Tempera had every conceivable comfort

Right from the off, the easy-going pace is evident. Disembarking from the boat, there’s no one touting to sell their apartments or taxis.

In fact, the place was devoid of anyone apart from an old gentleman enjoying a beer on a bench.

Even the two main urban conurbations – Vis Town and the picturesque fishing town of Komiza, have an intoxicating, gentle pace of life that’s most infectious.

In fact, struck by this lazy way of life, we barely left our villa for the first couple of days.

The famous underground Naval base on VisThe famous underground Naval base on Vis

Tempera, in the south east of the island, is beautifully furnished and came with every conceivable amenity: air con, cable TV, a huge barbecue, sun deck, private beach, etc.

It really felt like a home from home – particularly when the amiable housekeeper started plying us with the rich, delicious local red, cured meats and coffees.

In fact, Croatian wine is worth another mention – a Government decree limits the export so we hardly see it in London, which is very much our loss.

Luckily one of Vis’s best konobas (small restaurants in family homes that litter the island) was a stone’s throw from our digs.

The lamb is the speciality, but you need to order that hours in advance, so I took one of the villa’s push bikes to this magical wooden shack in the hills to place our order before returning with the wife later on.

The slow-cooked, tender, smokey, wonderful rack was accompanied by lashings of 
deep local red wine and topped off with a lift home from the grandfather of the house. The whole evening was slow, friendly and delicious - words which I instantly associate with Vis.

When we finally felt up to dragging ourselves from the villa’s luxurious sun traps, we found car hire basically essential, as the attractions are spread around the 90 square kilometre island and public transport is virtually nil.

Luckily the friendly staff at Navigator car hire delivered the vehicle to our house and provided the lowdown on what to do and where. Driving around is an experience in itself – on the wrong side, always a challenge, the roads consist of hairpin bends and narrow one-way passages up mountains with sheer, terrifying drops on the other side.

But once we got the hang of it we were sweeping through old vineyards, gazing down amazing vistas and generally having a whale of a time.

Srebrna (silver) beach is beautiful: shiny grey pebbles twinkle in the sun as the water laps at our toes in the virtually deserted bay. And the drive across the Island to Komiza is stunning, especially at sunset, as is a lazy stroll through this charming old fisherman’s town of cobbled streets and old churches.

For the more adventurous, a trip to the vivid blue caves by speedboat – or the various military installations, including labyrinthine tunnels through the island, missile silos and hidden bunkers – is on the cards.

Budihovac Island, with fresh Lobster cooked by Captain Andro, is a new celebrity haunt apparently and a short boat trip away. But other than that it’s wine-tasting, strolls through vineyards, traversing the island at your own pace. Eating fresh lobster at harbour side cafes or enjoying congenial lunches at the plentiful konobos for a slice of family life.

It’s no place for an adventure holiday, but if you really want to get away from it all and spend the week feeling as though you’re the only people on earth, interacting with the quiet but incredible friendly locals and drinking some of the richest, most flavour packed wine on the planet, then head to Vis.

Hard to believe it’s just a two hour flight away.

Latest Islington Stories

09:00
Islington Gazette: August 29, 1986

Daredevil Gooners seeking a bird’s eye view of Arsenal games were warned they were dicing with death.

Yesterday, 09:00
Peter and Alan Arthy at the Mears Group HQ in Caledonian Road

“I was 14 and the career officer came round. He said to me ‘right you’ve got three options; making women’s handbags, a dustman or a painter and decorator’.”

Friday, August 26, 2016
Fabric nightclub in Charterhouse Street. Picture: Polly Hancock

Two 18-year-old boys who died after taking ecstasy at Fabric had bought the class A drug from strangers inside the Farringdon club, where substance abuse is rife and security lax, an explosive report today alleges.

Friday, August 26, 2016
Emergency services and displaced commuters outside Caledonian Road and Barnsbury station (Picture: Sam Gelder)

A commuter has described his horror at seeing a boy attacked on a bus in Caledonian Road, in an incident believed to be linked to a stabbing on a nearby Overground platform.

Friday, August 26, 2016
Marco Polo: An Untold Love Story at the Shaw Theatre

The Philippines and UK celebrate 70 years of diplomatic relations, and the Shaw Thearre’s Marco Polo charts the explorers journey

Friday, August 26, 2016
John Ball, pictured on January 31, on the balcony of the second floor flat in which he died

Firefighters called to a housing block three times could not have saved the alcoholic found dead in his soot-covered flat the next day, a coroner has ruled.

Friday, August 26, 2016
Middlesex bowler Tim Murtagh

With just a month of the season remaining, Middlesex appear better-placed to become county champions than at any time since their last title 23 years ago.

Friday, August 26, 2016
Watford midfielder Etienne Capoue

The match stats team at bettingexpert pored over the recent history of league contests between Arsenal and Watford – who meet at Vicarage Road on Saturday – and discovered that, while the Gunners secured a 3-0 win in the corresponding fixture last term, all of their goals came in the second half.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

You could win £15,000 to spend on either their mortgage or a deposit towards the home of their dreams

Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a period of time when you simply don’t have to worry about finding the money each month to pay your mortgage? When you don’t have to put money aside from your monthly income, or worry about having to afford other essential outgoings?

Which book character do you share cleaning habits with?

Whether you have more in common with put-upon Cinderella, emotionally turbulent Jane Eyre, or easily distracted Mole, you’re sure to appreciate that one lucky winner will receive four sessions of free cleaning. Enter our quiz for your chance to win. All runners up will get £10 off their first clean when making a repeat booking.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now