We spent one of our Nomad Life months out in the beautiful country of Croatia and had the chance to take a weekend trip to The Island of Vis! Vis is one of Croatia’s most beautiful destinations. For the longest period, it was inaccessible and off-limits because it operated as a Yugoslav military base from 1950 until 1989. With its secluded, untouched, quiet, and low-key ambiance, the island feels otherworldly.
Why Did We Choose Croatia?
Croatia is a complete paradise. The water is the brightest blue I’ve ever seen, and it’s absolutely transparent. The natural beauty here is incredible, and it makes me feel like I’m in a travel magazine.
However, besides those obvious reasons, we chose to come here because Croatia is not in the Schengen Zone. Since we are living a Nomad Lifestyle right now and traveling full-time, we have to keep our eye on how much time we are spending in the Schengen Zone as foreigners, which includes 26 different European countries. Since Croatia is separate, it means that we can travel here and not have it count towards our 90 days in the Zone! Yay!
Additionally, we were both really interested in visiting Split, Croatia because we had heard great things, so that’s where we were home-based for the month. I personally think it was a fabulous idea! Split is beautifully located. Not only is the Old Town spectacular, but you can head to the port and catch a ferry out to the islands so easily.
However, the most important reason we chose Croatia was Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again was filmed in this beautiful country! Aka my favorite film of all time!
- Why Did We Choose Croatia?
- Why Did We Visit Vis, Croatia Specifically?
- Vis, Croatia Travel Logistics? I Got You Covered!
- How to Get to Vis:
- Where to Stay on the Island of Vis?
- Vis Town:
- My Choice: Komiža
- Perspective on Choosing Where to Stay:
- Payment Methods:
- What to Bring:
- Restaurant Recommendations:
- The Main Things to Do in Vis:
- My Favorite Fun Fact About Vis:
- In Summary…
Why Did We Visit Vis, Croatia Specifically?
I learned that the backdrop portraying the island “Kalokari, Greece” in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again was not actually in Greece but on the Island of Vis in Croatia. And therefore, it was only a 2 hours ferry ride from where we were staying in Split!
We did a 3-night stay in Vis as a side trip during our time in Croatia and it was truly one of the biggest highlights of our entire month. Vis has such stunning colors, there’s such a beautiful island culture and community, and our entire trip there just felt divinely orchestrated. It was magic.
Vis, Croatia Travel Logistics? I Got You Covered!
However, I do have to say, figuring out the logistics of traveling around Vis was quite tricky – as there are pretty limited resources online, especially when it comes to seeing the Mamma Mia filming locations. They don’t have group tours for it or anything so you’re pretty much on your own!
We were able to pull together information from a variety of sources, and (thank God) our Airbnb host linked us with people who could help us organize transportation so that we could visit all we wanted to see.
For your convenience, I’ll break down everything you need to know about planning your vacation and getting around Vis. This post will contain all of the information I wish we had received before we went!
NOTE: Even if you are not a Mamma Mia fan, traveling to Vis is beyond wonderful. This article will be more focused on travel logistics, whereas the next article will be more focused on Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again filming locations. So either way, stick around because this will definitely be helpful!
How to Get to Vis:
Traveling to Vis is actually quite simple. The easiest way to do it is to take a Ferry from Split, Croatia to Vis, Ferry Port, which is coincidentally a Mamma Mia filming location itself!
The website we used to book our Ferry Tickets was GetByFerry and they were only 6€ – 8€ each way! The ride on the Ferry was 2.5 hours. SUPER affordable and very easy. As of May 2022, the Ferry we took was titled Jadrolinija and it was a car ferry – so not only were people traveling on it but there were cars, trucks, Vespas, etc. in the lower portion of the ship.
The layout was very similar to that of a cruise ship – there were snack bars with food and drinks. There were huge rooms with tons of tables. There were benches everywhere and people were laying down and taking naps.
If you went up to the top deck, you were able to experience the beautiful views (and oftentimes wind) of the open Adriatic Sea.
On our way back from Vis, we took the ride at 6 PM on Sunday evening, and they actually had us in a Catamaran. The Catamaran was only 1.25 hours so it was much faster. It was still a gigantic ship but much smaller than the Ferry and it was all indoors.
Where to Stay on the Island of Vis?
This is the biggest debate and the hardest choice we had to make during our planning process. Every internet article you see goes back and forth because frankly they are both good and you’ll enjoy either! However, after being there, I have a very clear and defined answer to this question, and I am happy to share it with you!
There are two places where people recommend staying in Vis and that would be either in Vis Town (specifically Kut) or Komiža.
I’ll talk about Vis Town first – This is the main area where the ferry lets you off. It is much more spread out and the buildings stretch out farther than other areas on the island. Kut is a specific section in Vis Town that has good places to stay, restaurants, etc.
The advantages of residing in Vis Town include the possibility of having better accessibility because it is larger and closer to the dock. For example, more tours leaving from here or a wider variety of rental car options. The marina for boats was a lot bigger too. There were a bunch of restaurants and overall Vis Town is very beautiful!
However, it did not charm me the same way Komiža did.
My Choice: Komiža
We stayed in Komiža and I am genuinely so happy we did, I wouldn’t have it any other way and think I would have kicked myself if we didn’t stay there!
Komiža is the smaller of these two locations. When you drive in from the mountain, you can see the whole entire town. It looks like a movie set and even feels like one too – you run into the same people over and over and everyone has their “thing” that they do. (Whether they’re a fisherman, in hospitality, work in a restaurant, etc.) Everything you need is right in one spot. The main area of town is centered on the boat docks. From that area you can get to any restaurant or shop that you need! It feels like another world – everything is simple and you’re really on “island time.” I was in love.
Perspective on Choosing Where to Stay:
If seeing Mamma Mia Filming Locations is your jam –
When you get off the Ferry and arrive directly in Vis Town, there are three Mamma Mia Filming locations right in that area!
However, I put on my perspective hat and thought about if we decided to stay in Vis Town for that reason, we would have only gotten an afternoon in Komiža, which I truly don’t think would have been enough time.
Komiža actually has a restaurant that was a filming location. (Remember when Harry fell out of the arched window tied to a chair before they headed to Sophie’s party? Yep, that’s the one!) So if you want to go there for dinner and have a bottle of wine, the plus of staying in Komiža is that you won’t need to drive home!
So ultimately, we decided to hit Vis Town during the afternoons of our arrival and departure. We truly felt like we had plenty of time to explore and I felt beyond satisfied with our choice. Plus, filming locations aside, I just preferred the vibe of Komiža as a whole!
Of course, we were only here for three nights so I can only recommend where we stayed. We booked through Airbnb and stayed in an adorable studio apartment. It had a perfectly convenient location and it was clean – that’s all we really needed! The only downside is that the Wi-Fi was not very strong so just keep that in mind!
Since this was a go-go-go trip, we didn’t spend too much time in our Airbnb and really only wanted something simple. We felt so lucky that this place was only $50 a night* – it was exactly what we needed!
Here’s the link to our Komiža Airbnb!
NOTE: The majority of Airbnb’s on Vis require a minimum 3-night stay*. (Some even had a minimum of 5-nights!) We initially thought we would go out to Vis for a day trip but then it turned into a whole long weekend, and I am so glad it did. Although we didn’t love that requirement at first, it ended up being a total blessing.
Also, our host was fantastic. Her name was Zrinka (although the host on the listing says Darko) and she manages about 20 properties in Komiža. She is extremely passionate about the island and sat down with us and went through the entire map – giving us restaurant recommendations, explaining all of the transportation options, and answering our questions. Truly, she was the reason we were able to do everything we did because she connected us with the people we needed to meet!
Having a good host in a place like Vis is so incredibly helpful because anyone who is local to the area is the best point of contact you can have. They will have insight that you won’t receive from a generic tourist office.
Transportation was the other piece of the puzzle that was so tricky for us. Since we are traveling full-time, we really try to limit our transportation costs. However, when traveling to Vis, transportation was necessary and we had to invest some money here. The island is just not fully accessible by foot.
Here are the transportation options that are available on Vis:
There is only one bus that goes from Vis Town to Komiža (and back) a few times a day. It typically revolves around the workers’ schedules as well as the Ferry times. Check the bus schedule, but this option is very convenient and cost-effective. It was only 20 HRK one way (about $3.00).
However, once you get out to Komiža, to get around and see the island, you will need some other sort of transportation – especially if your focus is to see the Mamma Mia Filming Locations.
Rent a Scooter:
Scooters are the most highly recommended by the locals and the most affordable way to get around the island, however, you do need a scooter license and experience. This was a no-go for us, as they feel too dangerous in my perspective.
Rent a Car:
Renting a car, I think, is the way to go. However – If you are traveling from America, you need to specify that you want to rent an automatic car! In Europe, most people drive manual and that is the majority of what gets rented.
From what we found, there weren’t automatic cars available to rent in Komiža. However, we connected with a man named Mario in Vis Town and he was extremely kind and helpful. The rental process was very easy. We just needed our valid driver’s license, payment, and to sign the rental agreement.
The price for 1 day (24 hours) on a weekend at the end of May 2022 was $75, which when we split that by two people was well worth it. And driving around the island is very easy and enjoyable! The roads are paved and there are some windy parts but we never found ourselves in sticky situations on the side of a cliff or anything. (compared to our road trip in Ireland, this was a breeze) We felt very safe!
Also, there is only one gas station in town and it is right by Mario’s rental office! We barely used any gas since the island was so small, which was great!
Rental Car Contact in Vis Town: Mario | +385 98 812 645
There is NO UBER or ride-sharing service available on Vis. Cab fares are obscenely high, because transportation is necessary to get around the island, so while this option is available it is extremely costly. It would have cost the same amount of money for one round trip ride to Srebrena Beach from Komiža (and back) as it did to rent a car for one full day. Just take our advice and rent a car if you can.
Boat Contact: Ivo | WhatsApp: +38598740315
One final way (and arguably the most fun way) to see the island is to take a boat tour. The group tours are much more affordable but there is also the private boat tour option! Our Airbnb host hooked us up with the absolute best guide (and rate) for a private boat tour – His name was Tony and he and his boat actually helped out during the filming of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again when the filming took place in Vis! The Universe truly aligned in this moment and going out on the boat with Tony was my favorite part of our time in Vis!
Boat Contact: Tony | WhatsApp: +385 98 9299 746 | TripAdvisor Link
Although some places take card and Apple Pay, make sure you bring cash. A lot of places on Vis are cash only. The currency in Croatia is currently the Croatian Kuna, however on January 1st, 2023 it is changing to Euro. There are ATM’s on the island if you don’t have enough cash. And our main tip – DO NOT accept the conversion! That way, you will only be charged a $5 processing fee instead of some outrageous ATM conversion rate.
But like I said, restaurants and rental services and bigger purchases typically take credit cards. If you are looking for a good travel credit card with no international transaction fees, try out Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve. The travel rewards are GREAT and I truly cannot imagine traveling without this card!
What to Bring:
If you are doing a short little trip to Vis like we did, you are going to want to pack light but also have everything you need!
Bringing a small rolling suitcase is probably your best bet. I use my Away “The Bigger Carry-On with Pocket” and I love it for little side trips like this. I also detached the smaller backpack from my giant Osprey Travel Backpack, which was perfect to use around the island for adventures.
Other crucial items to bring:
- A Bathing Suit – Because Croatia has the clearest water you’ll ever swim in.
- Flip Flops or Water Shoes – The beaches in Croatia are full of rocks. They are so hard to walk on so make sure you have some sort of waterproof shoe you can wear at the beach and in the water!
- Bug Spray – You’re on a beautiful green island, and with that comes bugs. We didn’t get bit up, but bugs were buzzing all around us. I would’ve felt better if I had bug spray on to keep them away!
- Face Moisturizer with SPF – Along with sunscreen every dermatologist out there will beg you to wear a daily SPF! And you do not want to forget that on an island like Vis. I specifically love using Cerave moisturizer which has SPF 30!
- Chapstick with SPF – More underrated, but keep your lips protected as well! I love Super goop! Lip Screen or PLAY! for this.
- Camera, Battery & Charger, Memory Card, and Tripod – Vis is one of the most photogenic places I’ve ever been to in my life so make sure you have all of your photo/video essentials ready.
We went to four restaurants in Komiža while visiting Vis: Fabrika (Breakfast), Konoba Bako, Konoba & Villa Jastožera, and Konoba Barba.
I am going to create a separate post of these restaurant reviews. Once it is live, I’ll link it here so you can read more (and see some food pictures!)
Stay tuned 🙂
The Main Things to Do in Vis:
Besides Mamma Mia filming locations, Vis has its special little list of things to do on (or around) the island. Here are the top things recommended by the locals:
- The Blue Cave – This is the more popular and impressive of the two caves! In mid-June, we did a full-day tour out of Split which included a visit to the Blue Cave and it was just as stunning as it seems in the pictures. This miraculous cave was found in the 1800s. Due to a gap in the base of the cave, the sun shines onto the water and that reflection turns the interior completely blue! Just be aware that visiting the Blue Cave is extremely weather and tide permitting, and the entrance is very low so be prepared to duck! TIP: If you want a photo of yourself, go for a flash photo on your iPhone!
- The Green Cave – When you arrive at the Green Cave, you transfer into a smaller boat and they take you into a beautiful cave. There is a small hole at the top where the light shines through to create a shimmering reflection in the water. Some people find it to be underwhelming but I thought it was gorgeous – I had never been in a cave like this before! TIP: Make sure you go during daylight so the sun is reflecting into the cave since that’s what makes the Green Cave “green!” There was also a small fee to get inside. (cash only)
- Stiniva Bay – Everyone will ask if you made it to Stiniva Bay, which is voted one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Europe. This is actually where Young Donna and Young Sam’s boat scene was filmed. The beach is completely surrounded by gorgeous cliffs and the water is spectacularly clear and blue. There are only two ways to get here: by boat or by hiking! We got off our boat and took a dingy to shore (by pulling a rope) and sat on the edge for a long time admiring the beauty of it all. The beach was covered in rocks but there was so much sea glass, which I loved! This is a definite must-see.
- Military Tour – Up until 1991, the island of Vis was a military base. The tourism scene here is relatively new compared to other islands! It has underground tunnels, caves, and storage facilities that are eerily amazing. You can’t really go into the tunnels alone because you will get lost, as they are intricate and built to confuse people. This isn’t a total must for me personally but if you’re interested and have time to do a tour, they’re definitely intriguing to see! Here’s a military tour option for adrenaline junkies!
- Winery/Vineyard – Lastly, everyone will suggest going to a winery! There are tons all around the island. It’s not a total must but if you have time, they’re so beautiful to check out! Make sure to check the hours and/or call ahead because a lot of them are family-owned and people tend to run on “island time” in Vis. (aka not a strict schedule) We went to the winery for Senjanović, which was the wine we coincidentally ordered all three nights because every waiter recommended it! We arrived and it literally looked like we were stumbling into someone’s house – but it was just a family-run business! The grandparents owned the home/vineyard, and then the daughter-in-law showed us around and gave us a wine tasting. Their house was still under construction but they were so happy to welcome guests and tell us about their business. We also bought bottles of wine which were only $10 each. (in the restaurants they would go for closer to $35) Their rosé particularly was fantastic – we didn’t try that at the restaurant and I’m so glad we had the chance to here!
My Favorite Fun Fact About Vis:
There are cats everywhere! Seriously. I felt so excited to see one when we first arrived and then quickly came to the realization that they were all over the island! Most of them were super friendly and some would even come up for pets! But they were truly living their best island lives and I hope in my next life I come back as a cat on Vis.
Vis is amazing. I hope this post is super helpful if you’re planning to travel to Vis, or maybe you’ve never heard of it before and now it’s on your bucket list!
As I mentioned (a million times) the next post will be focused completely on the Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again filming locations – so come on back for that! Sign up for my email list below to be notified of when it’s live.
Until then… see you next time! 🙂
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