For such a small island, Vis has a remarkable history, and much of this is due to its prominent and strategic location in the Adriatic, and the island has been a magnet for seafarers and invaders alike for thousands of years.
The first accurate historical sources date back to the 4th century BC with the founding of the colony of Issa, where present-day Vis Town was founded by Dionysus the Elder from Syracuse. It soon became independent, coining its own money, trading throughout the region and even founding its own colonies, and in a taste of things to come the wines of Issa became famed for their excellence.
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Things to do
With a fascinating history dates back thousands of years, Vis has had many masters over the years, which have left their mark on this beautiful island. It is good news for tourists, as there is lots to see and do uncovering the secrets of the past, while enjoying the natural beauty and goodness of the present day. Here are five things not to miss.
- British Heritage
Of all the foreign occupiers, perhaps the ones who left their mark most significantly were the British - and not just in one visit. Many of the splendid fortified buildings on the island are of British origin, and British influence is behind the island's biggest sporting curiosity - the oldest cricket club in Europe outside the UK! British involvement on Vis returned during the Second World War, and the Allied Cemetery is a vibrant reminder of the sacrifices made liberating Europe.
- Military Tour
Vis is arguably the most strategically-located island on the Adriatic, and as such has attracted considerable interest over the centuries. Tito closed the island to visitors, and submarine bases, rocket launching sites an other military tunnels were built. They are no longer in use, but function well today as a tourist excursion to learn more about the island's fascinating military past.
- Wine Tours
The wines of Vis have been sought-after for thousands of years since their popularity with the Ancient Greeks. During the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the island's wines were much prized in Vienna and contributed to significant economic growth on the island before the devastating phylloxera of the 19th century caused mass emigration. The wines of Dalmatia are undergoing something of a renaissance, and a tour of Vis wineries is a great way to experience the fruits of the island's soil in a great ambiance.
Despite being such a small island, Vis has some of the best beaches in Dalmatia, with Stiniva cove being for many the best of the them all. Don't miss some time socking up the sun in the relaxed atmosphere of the Vis waterfront. Not sure where to go? Here are some tips (JAN INSERT LINK TO VIS BEACH PAGE)
- Blue Cave
One of the most popular tours in Dalmatia, and just a stone's thrown from the island the Blue Cave at Bisevo is a stunning natural phenomenon, as the bright sunlight through a crack in the rock turns the water in the cave a spectacular view. Swim in its waters and marvel at yet one more natural beauty in this incredible region. There are plenty of tours all over the island which offer this excursion.