There are many spots worth visiting on and around Vis, and if our travels take us to Croatia again, we’ll try to spend a week just on this one island. Not having the luxury of that much time during this trip, we tried to pack in all the highlights into a one-day tour, taking a speed boat around the island. With flawless weather and much calmer seas than we had on our crossing, we spent the day racing around the Adriatic, visiting a couple of beautiful beaches as well as two grottos located on smaller islets, with a stop for lunch on another speck of an island.
First, we docked at tiny Bisevo, transferring from our small speed boat into an even smaller motor boat, which barely fit through the entrance of the famed Blue Cave. One of the inner walls of this grotto extends only a few inches below sea level, producing a curious light effect for a couple of hours each afternoon. The sun’s rays filter in through the incomplete wall, bathing the cave in spectacular blue light. It is a beautiful sight, though so many visitors queue up to see it that each boat only spends a few minutes inside the cave. Blink and you might miss the tour.
From the Blue Cave, our guide took us to Stiniva, better known to visitors as the keyhole beach. We dropped anchor some fifty meters offshore, just outside two imposing limestone walls that allowed a narrow opening between them. On the other side of this natural entrance, the sea water spilled into a crescent bay that gave onto a pretty pebble beach. The bay was too shallow for the speed boat to bring us any closer, so we swam ashore. Just to be extra safe on our sea crossings, S had bought a life vest for Munchkin, and it came in very handy. The vest has a buoyant pillow that automatically forced him to float face up, allowing us to gently lower him into the water and then swim with him water-polo style.
Next, we set course for Ravnik, a small rocky island that harbors the Green Cave. A natural skylight in the dome of this cavernous grotto lets in a thick ray of light, which frolics on the surface of the sea water inside, turning it various translucent shades of green. The effect pales in comparison to what we saw in the Blue Cave, however. The Green Cave is considerably more spacious, and the sunlight caressed only a small part of its waters; the smaller Blue Cave, on the other hand, was completely lit up by the reflected sun rays.
Ravnik lies just a stone’s throw away from Budikovac, another Adriatic islet that would have been forgotten by time if some enterprising family had not opened a restaurant there to cater to tourists. We asked in vain for the menu; there wasn’t one. Eventually, the owner came to our table and gave us a rundown of what was on offer. We weren’t expecting much, thinking that we were mostly paying for the view, and were pleasantly surprised that the food was excellent. The grilled fish, in fact, was the best of the many similar dishes we tried during our two weeks on the Dalmatian coast.
We ended the tour at Smokova, a secluded sandy beach that is only accessible by boat. Munchkin had had enough sea water by this point and started fussing at the sight of his life vest, so S’s mom volunteered to remain on the boat with him while the rest of us swam ashore. After all of the rocky beaches we visited, Smokova — with its fine yellow sand and narrow bay of clear turquoise waters — seemed like a slice of heaven, and we lingered there, returning reluctantly to the boat only when our guide signaled that it was time for us to head back to Vis town.