Thursday, 28 November 2019

Why Ownership of a Holiday House (Even on Vis) is No Longer Fun

November 28, 2019 - Life as the owner of a holiday house in Croatia used to be a lot easier, even on Vis, says longterm Visophile Miles Robinson.

In 2003 my wife fell in love with Vis during a chance visit and by November we were the proud owners of a structurally sound (except the roof!) 200-year-old house in the centre of Kut.

We were lucky. There was only one owner to deal with and we were quickly introduced to a builder who had been ‘broken in’ to English tastes in internal decoration and fittings by two other kindred spirits.

The house has two floors above the konoba, plus a roof space, and originally had four bedrooms, etc. However, in talking to friends at home we were advised “you can never have too few bedrooms” so we removed the upper two bedrooms. This created a large open plan sitting room (which my wife rather grandly calls the ‘salon’!) which has a view over roofs to the bay on one side and roofs to the hills over Kut on the other.

The house was finished and occupied in 2005 and has proved a comfortable, relaxing bolthole for the two of us plus, occasionally, another couple. Fairly soon we made local friends and discovered that the duties of guide and meals in house can take the edge off the pleasure of additional good company after the novelty wore off. The advice was definitely sound!

After a year or so we discovered that other foreign owners were letting their houses when empty. Obviously, this benefitted both the island with extra tourist revenue and more than covered the running costs of the house for the year.

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The island authorities, in line with their laissez-faire ‘pomalo’ attitude to island life in general, seemed to be relaxed about our activities

No. It couldn’t last! But now, from the sublime to the ridiculous, the bureaucratic form-filling has got too much, in addition to problems with our bank.

Some of the problems we have brought on ourselves, by asking the authorities what rules, regulations and taxes we were subject to. Big mistake! We should have just kept our heads down.

First, it was the eVisitor system, which requires the owner of ‘every’ rented house to log the full name, date of birth, and nationality, plus arrival and leaving dates, of every person occupying the house. This seems to be exactly the same system that applies to hotels. We got over this by employing a local agent (for a commission) and giving him our personal login and password to access the system!

However the big body blow came in 2017 when we were told that not only was our rental income subject to 13% VAT, backdated to 2015, but that monthly returns needed to be submitted (including zeros) for every month from January 2015; and that these returns needed to be filed by a tax accountant. The only accountant on the island quoted 650 Kn per month, but we found someone in Zagreb who would do it for 450 Kn, plus 25% VAT of course!

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And then Splitska bank was sold to Hungarian owned OTP. The transfer of accounts was done without problems, but we were soon told that the only way we could access our accounts was via their mobile app. In the meantime, we had accepted rental deposits from foreign tourists renting our house which were due repayment in their own currency after they had left without damage. OTP told us that their internal rules prevented them from allowing non-resident account holders (us) to make any payments to foreign bank accounts.

Attempting to speak to someone in authority via their “helpline” proved impossible, so I contacted OTP’s Deputy General Manager in Hungary who, eventually, put me in touch with their Complaints Department in Zadar. That was in August.

I have recently received confirmation that they will not lift these restrictions on non-resident account holders, which I have now reluctantly accepted.

It is now finally clear that OTP has no interest in offering a full banking service to non-residents.

When we return to Vis next May I shall see whether the only other bank on the island, Erste, also adopts the same restrictions on non-resident account holders.

I wonder if any of your other non-resident readers have experienced similar problems and are also becoming disillusioned with the obligations of holiday homeownership?


Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Croatian Electric HEP: New Solar Power Plants on Adriatic Coast

Renewable energy sources are increasingly being harnessed on the Croatian coast, where there is ample wind and sun. In addition to wind power plants, which are multiplying every year, the construction of solar power plants is also on the rise.

There is one plant in Istria, which became operational in 2018, and three more will produce electricity in early 2020: on the islands of Cres and Vis and near Vrlika according to Morski on November 26, 2019. With investments of HRK 80 million, Croatian Electric Company (HEP) will add four new power plants to their network with a total capacity of 11.6 megawatts (MW). In the long term, they plan to complete solar power projects with a total power of 350 MW by the end of 2030.

The Kaštelir solar power plant has a capacity of 1 MW and an expected annual production of about 1.5 million kWh, which will meet the electricity needs of about 500 households. The power plant is equipped with solar panels manufactured by the Solvis company in Varaždin. This plant has been operating since December 2018. It has a contract with HROTE (Croatian Energy Market Operator) as a preferred producer within their incentive system. Here is an aerial video of the plant.

The location permit for the Cres solar power plant was obtained in June 2018 and that plant is being developed by the County of Primorje-goranska. The location of SE Cres is about 2 kilometers north of the settlement Orlec on the island of Cres. The power plant is 6.5 MW with an expected production capacity of 8.5 million kWh per year, which will meet the electricity needs of about 2,500 households. The total value of the investment is HRK 41 million. Preparatory work on the site is underway and the power plant will begin operating in 2020. Here is a simulation of the Cres power plant.

The Vis solar power plant will be located on the hill of Grizova Glavica, near the village of Žena Glava, about 3.6 kilometers southwest of the town of Vis and about 4.8 kilometers east of Komiža. HEP purchased the project from Končar-Obnovlji izvori energie (Končar Renewable Energy). The expected annual output is 4.2 million kWh, which will meet the needs of about 1,400 households. This investment is valued at HRK 25.3 million. The power plant is under construction and is expected to be operational by February 2020.


The Vrlika Jug solar power plant represents the completion of the first phase of planned construction in the southern part of the Kosora working zone in the town of Vrlika. The power plant will have 2.1 MW of power and an estimated annual output of about 2.9 million kWh. Construction will be completed in the first half of 2020, according to HEP.

For more information on HEP solar plant projects, check out their website here.

To keep updated on renewable energy projects in Croatia, follow our Business page here and our Lifestyle page here.

Thursday, 17 October 2019

Rich History of Vis Regatta: From Just Six Crews in 1934 to Over 1,000 Sailors Today

October 17, 2019 - The Vis Regatta kicks off this weekend for its 75th edition, but much do you know? A closer look by TCN contributor Valentino Komusar. 

More than 1,000 sailors and more than 150 crews from all over Europe are expected at the 75th edition of the Vis Regatta this weekend. The Labud Sailing Club from Split will gather the best Croatian and European sailors. The most prestigious Croatian regatta will provide sport and entertainment this year, both to the participants, their friends, and their guests, while many celebrities will not only attend, but also participate. 

Since the 1st of July 1934, the Labud Sailing Club has organized this unique event. On that day, only six crews participated and they competed in sailing in maestral and western wind, and even during the night because, thanks to the favorable wind, the regatta was completed in one day. The first-ever trophy was won by the helmsman of ‘Zuluma’ - Vinko Reić. It’s an interesting fact that the trophy was transitional, and the only way you could own it permanently was if you would win the regatta three times in a row or four times with interruptions. 

In 1936, the Vis Regatta grew significantly more popular due to one decision - a sailing boat larger than 9 meters was allowed to participate. There was even a prize for that category, which was a silver plaque made by the wife of the president of the Labud Sailing Club, Mrs. Delfina Dešković. Two years later, for the first time, an Italian sailboat participated, while in 1940 was the last pre-World War II Vis Regatta. 

From 1950 and 1999, there were 48th editions of the Regatta, since the event was cancelled due to the Croatian War of Independence in 1991 and 1993. Despite having the first-ever edition of the Regatta in July, since the 1950s and just like today, this prestigious event takes place in October for three days at the end of the sailing season. 

For many years, the Vis Regatta changed its destination. Thus, one year, you would sail to the port of Vis and the next to Komiža. Extraordinary friendly relations with both of the destinations created and for generations preserved, excellent cooperation. However, many times, at the end of the 1980s and beginning of the 1990s, bad weather and storms would damage anchored boats in the port of Komiža. Therefore, the Labud Sailing Club decided that during the Vis Regatta, sailors would sail only to the port of Vis, but stayed in a great relationship with Komiža because they decided to organize Komiža Regatta, which had its 28th edition in May of this year. 

For the past 20 years, the Vis Regatta became one of the strongest Adriatic offshore competitions, which is sailed in two stages from Split to the island of Vis and back. It is more international than any other and it often welcomes skippers and crews from many different countries. Just like previous years, this weekend, more than a thousand sailors will take over beautiful Vis. 

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

Friday, 11 October 2019

75th Edition of Famed Vis Regatta Gathering 1,000 Sailors from All Over Europe

October 11, 2019 - The Vis Regatta this year marks an anniversary not many sports competitions can boast - for 75 years, the Labud Sailing Club from Split has gathered the best Croatian and European sailors.

Dalmacija Danas writes that this year's Vis Regatta is the most popular yet, as more than 1,000 sailors and more than 150 crews from all over Europe are expected.

According to the dynamics of the applications so far, there is considerable interest, and an increasing number of applications from professional crews, and the applications indicate that the interest of international competitors is increasing as well. Crews from around ten countries are expected. While we can’t predict the weather, we are sure that the jubilee edition of this Adriatic regatta will require the crew's maximum knowledge and experience.

The most prestigious Croatian regatta will provide sport and entertainment this year, both to the participants, their friends, and their guests.

Many of the celebrities reported again include actor Vedran Mlikota, musicians Marijan Ban and Jurica Pađen, as well as famed Croatian basketball player Zeljko Jerkov, Josko Berket, owner of Marina Kastela, Zvonko Kotarac, Dalmatian builder and owner of Split hotels Atrium and Amfora Resort, Niko Dešković, owner of the German online car trading company Instamotion, Darko Smrkinić, owner of Zadar Radio 057 and Saša Keković, Montenegrin construction contractor.


"From this year, we are starting to make new strides in organizing and positioning the Vis Regatta, first of all, to reassure its sporting and exhibition character. We, therefore, invite sailors, as well as all lovers of the sea, wind and the island of Vis, to join us and celebrate this unique sailing event and jubilee 75th anniversary of the Vis Regatta,” said Ante Mlikota, president of the Labud Sailing Club. 

At the very start in Split, on Friday, October 19, the breakwater of the Split harbor, ACI Marina, and Sustipan will once again act as a natural amphitheater to monitor the start of the regatta. The people of Vis will enjoy the regatta on Saturday on Vis, as well as the many other entertainment programs prepared by the organizers for the competitors, guests, and locals.

On Friday from 3 pm in Vis, the traditional feast of beans and brudet for the participants of the regatta will take place, followed by cakes courtesy of O.Š. Vis.

On Saturday, the regatta begins at the Vis port, which always attracts many spectators. The day continues with banquets and tastings organized by the Vis Tourist Board and the town of Vis, starting at 6 pm, by awarding the winners of the regatta at the Vis port, and the banquet held by the students of S.Š. ANTUN MATIJAŠEVIĆ Karamaneo - VIS. 

The events in Vis continue with native varieties of wine, brandy and liqueur, and other Vis specialties (at the square in front of the municipality). 

On Sunday, October 20, the regatta starts at 9 am, and the winner will be received in Split around noon on the large pier of the ACI marina.

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Thursday, 29 August 2019

Property of the Week: Luxury Apartments in Komiza on Gorgeous Vis

August 29, 2019 - Continuing our look at the real estate offers on the Croatian coast, a trip to delightful Komiza on Vis.

It is one of the true treasures of Croatia's Adriatic coast - the island of Vis. Closed to the world as a strategic military base during the Tito years, Vis has remained reassuringly far away not to attract mass tourism, and it has become a haven for those looking for a little more quality and the authentic Dalmatian experience as it once was. You can learn more about the charms of the island in the Total Croatia Vis in a Page guide

And now you can own your own luxurious slice of this gorgeous island, with our friends at Trgostan explaining how:


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It is our pleasure to present to you  a unique offer of exclusive apartments in the center of Komiža, a magical place on the island of Vis. Komiža is a new hit destination on the Adriatic! Beautiful landscapes,  intact nature, stunning beaches and the atmosphere of an untouched island, is waiting for you amidst the Adriatic Sea. Even the producers of the planetary popular movie ‘Mamma Mia! Here we go again’ recognized the magic surrounding Vis and shared its magical exteriors  with the world!

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Villa comprises 12 fully equipped and stylishly furnished apartments that can satisfy the needs of even the most demanding customers, especially those who want to become the owner of a luxurious holiday space. Every potential owner will definitely be attracted by the fact that when he becomes the owner of the apartment, he can enter it immediately, as in the hotel room and use it freely! The villa is planned to be fully finished in summer 2020.

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The difference between this business model and others is offering maintenance services of your property when you do not use it or when you want to rent it and make additional income. When you arrive, the apartment will always be ready for you. The island of Vis is considered one of the most beautiful islands in the Adriatic Sea. And not without a reason!

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Due to the preservation and variety of nature, visitors from all over the world come flock here all year long to enjoy the scents, the views and the sea. Because of its relative isolation, ancient architecture throughout the island has also been preserved.

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​1st floor to the left
77,30 m²

​1st floor in the middle
97,30 m²

​1st floor to the right
95,47 m²

​2nd floor to the left
54,80 m²

​2nd floor in the middle
82,50 m²

​2nd floor to the right
79,07 m²

​3rd floor to the left
82,94 m²

​3rd floor in the middle
87,21 m²

​3rd floor to the right
81,69 m²

​4th floor to the left
83,02 m²

​4th floor in the middle
81,70 m²

​4th floor to the right
80,14 m²

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• The LIVING ROOM, linked with a dining room and a fully equipped kitchen, also has a large dining table, a sitting area, and a state-of-the-art TV set.

• The BEDROOM is home to a large double bed, a fitted wardrobe and two comfortable armchairs.

• The BATHROOM is equipped with top quality ceramics and sanitary ware made by renowned manufacturers.

• THE SPACIOUS TERRACE provides a pleasant outdoor stay. It is partially covered and features a large outdoor dining table, an outdoor shower, and a sitting set for a relaxing break from sun and sea.

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Apartments are equipped with all the necessary equipment to be categorized with 4 stars *

•    Air conditioning heating / cooling
•    Washing machine
•    Extendable couch
•    Wireless Internet
•    Internet
•    Bed sheets
•    Towels
•    Hairdryer
•    Baby cot with upfront arrangement
•    Ironing board and iron
•    Anti-theft doors
•    Video surveillance

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•  Stove
•  Coffee machine
• Dishes and cutlery
• Refrigerator with a freezer compartment
• Toaster
• Cooking utensils
• Dish cloths and table cloths 
• Dishwasher
• Oven
•  Microwave
• Floors covered with Class 1 large format tiles
• Dining table

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• Sitting area with the possibility of extension for sleeping
• A table
• A TV set

• Massive parquet flooring
•  Double bed
• Nightstand
• TV set
•  Built-in closets
•  Bed sheets

• Large-format high-quality tiles
• Shower
• Sink, bidet
• Bathroom cabinets with mirrors
•  Towels
•  Hairdryer

• Mini pool
• Outdoor shower
• Seating area on the terrace
• Dining table

• Two TVs
•  Internet
•  Satellite / Cable TV
•  Garden

For more information and to book a viewing, visit the official listing.

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Testing Naval Myths: Do Women on Board Bring Bad Luck?

 August 13, 2019 - A snapshot of a sailing holiday around the island of Vis with new TCN writer, Dear Leader Joe.

I still clearly remember the advice my old mother gave me before I went sailing: “Eat a lot of cabbage so you don’t get scurvy!” Namely, everyone from my parents' sh*thole village is an expert in sailing. Magellan is nothing comparing to them. I could not explain to her that I wasn’t going on a trip around the world, just on a three-day cruise around Kornati. This year, she was sustained. “You eat at fancy restaurants, you sail and we’re supposed to starve! I mean who is paying for all that?” Father replied: “The CIA, woman! The CIA! They have destroyed half of the world, they will destroy him too!”

We decided to redo the entire Kornati trip, but this time we would sail for five days. The only thing we didn’t count on was the fact that this was the busiest nautical season ever on the Adriatic and it was nearly impossible to find a sailing boat for ten people. Four days before departure we still did not have a boat. I prayed to God and Allah to help me in this impossible mission. One of them must have heard my prayers because I accidentally stumbled upon a site and a charter agency Vishe Radugi. I contacted them immediately and got a very nice Russian owner Anna on the line. I don’t know why, but I immediately asked her how come she came to work in Croatia when everyone is running away and how did she even get here. She said: “What do you mean how did I get here? On a plane, of course.” She asked me for my name and I proudly said Josip. She said: “Ohh, comrade Stalin!” I replied: “Nope, comrade Tito.” I apologized right away for my country being an EU “errand boy“ and for introducing visas for the Russians and she gratefully said they had one more boat with only four cabins HANSE 445, but it could fit two more people at the saloon and that we could take it if we reserved it right away.

The boat was docked at the Kaštela harbor so we changed our route and chose Vis archipelago instead of Kornati.

From the first day we decided that there would be no discrimination on the boat. In that spirit, I allowed Ivana of Vishe Radugi Sailing to board my stuff. I knew there was a reason for the women to get equal rights. My job was to make sure all of the hard labour was done properly and I pointed out all those who were slacking.

(Ivana is boarding my Keilwerth saxsophon and B&O Beolit 17 speaker with a smile on her face. My job was to make sure all of the hard labour was done properly and I pointed out all those who were slacking.)

As soon as we entered the boat, I thought of an old village saying: “Women on board bring bad luck!” If that was true, we were heading for a Titanic type cataclysm because we had five women on board (SOS – PMS). We boarded all the stuff and sailed to the Stončica cove on Monday.

I was taking photos the entire time and when you’re on a rocking boat, looking at the camera screen is more dangerous than going to Syria for a summer vacation. I got sick after ten minutes. I heard a murmur in the background: “He’s got one foot in the grave!” My friends tried to comfort me by singing: “Knock-knock-knockin’ on heaven’s door…” I thought these might be the last photos I would ever take.

I started with an intro about women bringing bad luck. Along with my nausea on the first day, that theory was confirmed by the fact that in this crazy heat we lost all our water reserves on the boat. Why? Glad you asked. Someone (read: a girl) didn’t close the shower all the way and the water just poured out. We decided to go to Vis on Tuesday and fill up the tank. We ate some breakfast, swam a bit and arrived in Vis at 11 o’clock.

The beauty of the island was overshadowed by the fact that we were late to the harbor because they poured water only until 10am and told us to come tomorrow. If Keith Richards can drink wine the entire day, so can we. We didn’t let the lack of water on the boat ruin our good mood.

(The lack of water on the boat did not ruin our good mood.:) Photo:

I did not strangle my colleague Krešo, also known as the king of anticorrosive protection, because of the lack of water, but because of the fact he provoked me with his new SEIKO wristwatch. I wanted to buy one for myself before heading to the coast, one that can go under the water, perfect for sailing, but I didn’t have the time and now I was stuck being jealous at Krešo like a true Croat and almost strangled him at one point.

After the crew has separated us, there was no choice left but to take a swim and for that we have chosen a beautiful port Biševo. We have decided to sleep over at this gorgeous cove and went to the restaurant for some pancakes before sleep. The owner has said there were so few people on the island outside the season that he goes around the houses in the mornings, checking if there is smoke coming out of them. If there isn’t any smoke, he knows that yet another islander has passed away.

That is my colleague Goran jumping on the photo below. He is a designer and an owner of the company ENDEM.HR. Naturally, he did not pay me for this advertisement, but you know, I am a good person so I thought I’d publish the man’s occupation.

On Wednesday, we sailed to the Blue Cave. Unfortunately, we were left under the impression that the whole field trip to the cave was a “TAKE MONEY AND RUN” thing. I mean, the cave was really beautiful and worth seeing but for 70 kuna per person, we expected a bit more. We didn’t swim in it nor take enough photos because the guide kept hurrying us so that the other boats waiting in line could get in. It was just a plain “fast food” experience.

After the Blue Cave, we traveled to Komiža which we were, unfortunately, only able to observe from the deck and afterwards we went to the cove Zakamica to take a swim.

In the evening we anchored in Vis. We weren’t able to reserve a table for 10 anywhere because that was the day of the Yachting week event and everything was booked. We got drunk on the boat and skipper Neven drove us to the nearby bar in a dingy. Another confirmation of women being bad luck on a boat was his girlfriend Ana who took a romantic dingy ride with him when suddenly, in the middle of the channel, they ran out of fuel. Naturally, they didn’t even have a light. That was more stupid than Captain of Titanic’s decision to say: “Full speed ahead! F*ck the ice!” They were lucky to be noticed by a skipper who was also Neven’s acquaintance. He saved them in the last second.

On Thursday we sailed from Vis to the cove Milna to take a swim. We looked around the cove Rukavac, Mala and Vela Travna and the cherry on the top was a nice swim at the most popular cove of the island of Vis – Stiniva. The cove is around 600 m long and surrounded by tall and unreachable stone rocks. Towards the end of the cove, there are a few uninhabited fishermen houses which are, along with the cove, protected as a natural resort. The cove was as full as a Dear Leader's labor camp, but in spite of the numerous tourists and boats, this was one of the most beautiful places on the Adriatic which you must certainly visit.

In the evening we anchored in a lagoon of the Mali and Veli Budikovac island where we proved once again how women aboard are bad luck. Just before going to bed, the rope which we tied to the beacon has snapped and we almost hit another boat. If we were in the medieval ages, someone would surely be burned on a bonfire. Unfortunately, we are civilized people. I got up the next morning at 6 o’clock and jumped in for a swim. I swam to the nearest island and did my “number two” in the shallows when suddenly, a goat approached me. I thought to myself: “If I get up now, butt naked and with a goat in front of me, someone will accuse me of zoophilia.” Luckily, the goat left and I swam around the boat for an hour like an idiot because everyone was still asleep and the ramp wasn’t down so I couldn’t climb up on the boat.

On Friday we went to the cove Stončica, more accurately the restaurant Konoba Stončica. They did not have any bluefish available even though it was on the menu, their seafood was frozen, the soup tasted instant like and the waiter was extremely unkind. The general impression was more than desperate, but I will compliment on the meat which was very nicely prepared.

I had my saxophone with me, but I had no chance to play it. We have assigned music playing to my new B&O Beolit 17 Bluetooth speaker which I have bought specifically for this trip. Conchita Wurst has never sounded so good. We partied like those lively folks down at the retirement center.

We partied along the Bang and Olufsen Beolit 17 Bluetooth speaker.

The last evening of the trip we stayed at the Nečujam cove on Šolta. We got drunk on mojitos and other alcoholic beverages and celebrated our five-day trip in great style. Once again, as we were heading home, we proved that women aboard are in fact bad, bad luck. After we returned the sailing boat, the scuba diver found a plastic bag tied around our propeller and we had to pay a hundred euros extra for the cleaning. Actually, we went pretty well because the damage could have been even bigger.

All in all, it was an unforgettable experience and we are definitely coming back next year. I have to praise our lovely Anna and her employee Ivana who was always available to us. If you are interested in spending an unforgettable summer at the Adriatic and see all the beautiful beaches and islands, sailing is the right option for you and I can definitely recommend Vishe Radugi. All of the info you can find on their web page

We proved that a woman aboard brings bad luck and five women…well that is a cataclysm. On the other hand, if they weren’t there, who would have washed all the dishes? EVERY CLOUD HAS A SILVER LINING.

You can read more from Dear Leader Joe on his website, 

Monday, 5 August 2019

Konoba Senko on Vis: A Restaurant Like No Other

Dobra hrana (Good food), Jutarnji list's foodie magazine, brings us the story of Konoba Senko, a restaurant on the southern side of the island of Vis, a restaurant like no other, which is at the same time a place to have amazing food and to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Senko Karuza is one of the greatest Croatian modern writers, a master of the short story, who has decided to dedicate his life to a restaurant he created in a bay on Vis. The bay is called Mala Travna and is mostly visited by nautical tourists. And meeting Senko, whom people sometimes nickname "The Robinson of Vis", is an experience on its own. Often in a bad mood, seeming to hold a lot of contempt for the guests who arrive to "his cove" in high heels, with loud music and the "do you know who I am" attitude, if you show respect for him and his lifestyle, he'll prepare the most perfect seafood dishes of your life.

In the past, he used to tell guests to leave any electronics on their boats, as there's no electricity or GSM signal in the cove. These days, there's a generator (although not a really reliable one), but still no signal, so if you want to bring your mobile phones, you're allowed.

If Senko decides he wants to make food for you, first you'll get several of his awesome rakijas, then a soup made from the ingredients Senko had on hand to cook, then you'll be served a pasta dish, then a brujet (which is how a dish Italians call "brodetto" is pronounced in this part of Croatia) made with numerous types of fish. And then you'll be served with fish from the grill, the freshest kind of fish you'll find anywhere, taken from the sea that day, smoked while on the grill with the local herbs. The food is based on the traditional recipes, although modernised, and the authors of the review swear that what Konoba Senko offers is better than what most restaurants with a Michelin star in Croatia do. Of course, none of it is expected to go down without Vugava, a local white wine variety.

Make sure to follow our dedicated travel page for much more.

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Blue Cave 2019: Wait in Midday Sun or How to See Island Vis as Well

June 12, 2019 - The Blue Cave of Bisevo near Vis is one of the top day trips in Central Dalmatia. What you need to know to avoid a long wait in the midday sun, and how to maximize your day from Hvar to see the island of Vis as well.  

Like many tourism jewels, the Blue Cave is a lot more popular than it was even ten years ago. Back then, apart from day trips from neighbouring Vis and a little from Hvar, there were hardly any tours. Fast forward to a booming Split, and these days there are many daily tours from Hvar, Brac, Split and other destinations. The result?

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Yes, you guessed it - what can be a fairly lengthy wait in the hot midday sun as the queue of boats in front of you slowly gets to this wondrous natural treasure. The last time I was on Vis a couple of years ago, several of the locals told me it was almost like watching a motorway in the channel between Vis and Bisevo. And the sad reality is that in order to get the most from your Blue Cave experience. Tash Pericic wrote a typically honest and impartial piece on the Blue Cave experience from the point of view of a yacht hostess for TCN a couple of summers ago, which I heartily encourage you to read if you are planning a visit. Check out the August vibe in the video below, from 2017.

The key to getting the most out of your day is to get there before the crowds. Not only will there be less waiting time, but you will also have less time in the hot sun, which can be a real issue in the peak summer months. And bear in mind that if you are starting from as far away as Split, you are going to join a reasonable sized queue. Some agencies sell the tour, and the wait is part of the package, while others try and use the opportunity not only to get to the Blue Cave early when it is cooler and less congested, but also then to make much more of the day by including the wonders of the magnificent island of Vis in the itinerary, as well as a visit to Palmizana on the Pakleni Islands. 

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Starting and finishing in Hvar Town, just an hour by speedboat to the Blue Cave, the Hvar Tours Blue Cave tour starts at 08:00 from Hvar Town, leaving plenty of time for the Blue and Green Cave, a swim at the famous Stiniva beach, before an outstanding tour of Secret VIs with local experts, before an hour on the Pakleni Islands and home in time for an evening out. 

Certainly beats sitting in a queue in the midday sun! Here is what is on offer.

Experience an island that is the birthplace of European cricket outside the UK. An island which has had huge British military impact over the centuries and houses Allied cemeteries, soldiers who paid the price for the strategic positioning of Vis in the Adriatic which has attracted visitors – friend and foe – since time immemorial. An island which was closed to foreigners until just 25 years ago as it was home to the largest missile base in former Yugoslavia with its own submarine base and secret military installations – all these you will visit. An island which hosted the first sailing regatta in the world. An island of fabulous wine, food, tradition and history, reassuringly far from the mainland, and one whose second town has more families living from fishing than tourism. An island of outstanding natural beauty, of traditional stone Dalmatian stone villages and fertile fields contributing to the healthy and natural Mediterranean diet. 

And an island that many tourists visit only for a famous beach, Stiniva, which was voted the best in all Europe, as part of a visit to neighboring star attractions, the Blue and Green Caves, but missing all of the above. It is like visiting Paris but missing out on the Eiffel Tower, or Venice and San Marco Square. Stand out from the crowd and join us on our private tour of Secret Vis, one of the most fascinating islands of all. Join our local experts to explore the island's rich military history, bizarre sporting claim to fame and fabulous food and wine, including its indigenous white wine gem, Vugava.

Two tours for the price of one, and wait until you exchange your Blue Cave and Vis stories with other tourists who spent much of the day queuing... 

This is a group tour three times a week – Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Tour description:

Of course, it would be foolish not to visit those popular attractions above, but in order to get the most out of them, it is advisable to do them first, before the crowds – two amazing caves and the best beach in Europe for a little swimming. Not a bad way to start the day before we discover Vis away from the crowds. 

Suggested itinerary – please note that an earlier departure is possible – even advisable given the growing popularity of the caves. It should also be noted that crowds at the Blue Cave may delay the schedule somewhat. 

08:00 Hvar town departure and straight to the Blue Cave. The early bird gets the worm, and enjoy the relative peace and lack of queues, unlike other tours which arrive later in the day.


09:00  The Blue Cave  is a water-logged sea cave located in a small bay called Balun (Ball in the local dialect), on the east side of the island of Bisevo and about 4.5 nautical miles (8.3 km) from Komiza. The grotto is one of the best known natural beauty spots on the Adriatic and a popular show cave because of the glowing blue light that appears at certain times of day.


09:40 Stiniva bay – hard to spot with its cliffs protecting its location, Stiniva is divine, a small ray of heaven which is collecting several international accolades, the latest of which was voted the best beach in Europe by European Best Destinations. Enjoy the moment with a dip in true Dalmatian heaven. 

10:15  Another cave, another colour, including time for a swim at the Green Cave, which is not as popular as its Blue cousin, but well worth a visit. The Green Cave (called Želena Spilja by the locals): a small opening in the ceiling of the cave lets the sunlight pass through, creating an image very similar with a flashlight cone in the night. The cone is also visible in the water and you can clearly see the spot where it hits the seabed. 


11:00 Collection by Pino Vojskovic and our Vis team for the Vis Inland Tour. Discover the role the British have played over the centuries on Vis, with their forts, Allied cemeteries and role in refugee evacuation to the Sinai Desert. And as fascinating as those stories are, Vis is famous for its submarine base (you will visit), as well as its tunnels and ramparts built into the hills by Tito, as well as a missile loading site. Imagine a current tourist island which was closed to the world just 25 years ago.


2:00pm Arrival in Vis Time and free time to explore until 4pm. Alternatively, you can book lunch at Roki's estate, a veritable feast of Dalmatian peka, and the sitting of one of the most remarkable stories in Dalmatia, for your host Roki was solely responsible for continuing one of the island's more unusual claims to fame – the oldest cricket club in Europe outside the UK. With regular international games and tournaments on the edge of the military airfield which played such a crucial role in World War II, the stories and setting are a match for the excellent gourmet experience. Please note that this lunch must be booked in advance, as do two other additional options, wine tasting at Lipanovic of Roki's. 


4pm departure for the Pakleni Islands, the island jewels of Hvar tourism.   

5pm Arrival at Palmižana, the most popular spot on the largest of the Pakleni Islands, St. Clement, where among the other unusual attractions, there is an arboretum and art gallery and peacocks freely roam. 


6-6:30pm Return to Hvar.

For more information about the tour, visit the Hvar Tours website

To learn more about the magical island of Vis, check out the Total Croatia Vis in a Page guide.

Monday, 27 May 2019

UNESCO Heritage of Croatia - Vis Archipelago UNESCO Global Geopark Croatia

May the 27th, 2019 - taking a closer look at beautiful Vis and its UNESCO heritage.

On the 17th of April, 2019, the UNESCO Executive Board approved the designation of eight new Global Geoparks which demonstrate the diversity of the planet’s geology. Croatia's Vis archipelago got this recognition. This article will take a closer look into some natural heritage from the stunning Vis archipelago.

9. Port of Komiža Photo creator Ivo Pervan

The Vis archipelago covers the island Vis and the surrounding islands and islets Biševo, Sveti Andrija, Brusnik, Jabuka, and Palagruža. The archipelago is the area that has the oldest and youngest geological formations.

Some parts of the archipelago are made from volcanic rocks while most of the Adriatic islands are made from sedimentary rocks. Sailors and fishermen were always aware of this specific geological area. They knew when they would sail close to volcanic islets of Jabuka and Brusnik as their compass would divert from the north, potentially putting them in danger. Vis island has parts where the foundation is volcanic rock, which created several water springs. These springs created fertile conditions, so it's no wonder the ancient Greeks chose Vis about 2,400 years ago as the place to found their first colony on the Adriatic.

4. Budihovac Island Photo creator Ivo Pervan

The Vis archipelago is located off the coast of Croatia, and there some of the oldest rocks in the Adriatic sea, formed 220 million years ago, can be found. Sedimentary rocks are the base for most of the Vis archipelago. The origin of these rocks comes from the lithification process of sand, mud, and sea organisms.

The north-eastern region of the archipelago includes large sand deposits formed in the Ice Age which created unique forms and caves. Before the sudden rise of the sea level 12000 years ago, these islands were much larger and extended more than twenty miles. In this extended area called Mala Palagruža, an archaeologist discovered flint quarries that served for the production of early tolls believed to have been made by the islands' first inhabitants. 

The Vis archipelago is formed around Vis island and includes a number of nearby uninhabited islets: Ravnik, Budihovac, Veli Paržanj, Mali Paržanj, Greben, Host, Veli Barjak and Mali Barjak and the open sea islands among which the most remote are the island of Palagruža, inhabited only by lighthouse keepers, and the magmatic island of Jabuka, some 30 nautical miles west of Vis. The surface of this maritime area covers almost 6000km2 and also includes Sveti Andrija, Brusnik and the island of Biševo which, is the only inhabited island.

In this area, the largest number of ''monuments of nature'' in Europe can be found – Blue Cave, Monk Seal Cave, the volcanic islets of Jabuka and Brusnik, Stiniva Cove, and the Green Cave on the islet of Ravnik.

The Vis archipelago is a small area, but it boasts a wide range of significant landscapes and protected monuments of nature, some of which attract a lot of visitors.

1. Brusnik Island Photo creator Matko Petrić

The Blue Cave

In 1884, the Viennese painter baron Ugen Ransonnet introduced the Blue Cave on the island of Biševo to the world. His discovery marked the beginning of tourism in Dalmatia, and the Blue Cave has since become a must-see tourist spot in the Adriatic. The Blue Cave has been a protected geomorphological monument of nature since 1951. Visitors can go to the cave from Biševo Mezoporat. There are people all over the world visiting this unique cave every summer.

16. The Blue cave Photo creator Ivo Pervan

The Monk Seal Cave
The Monk Seal Cave is the longest sea cave in the Adriatic – 160 metres. It is a protected geomorphological monument of nature from 1967. The name comes from the Mediterranean monk seal which once lived here.

Jabuka islet

Rising above the sea like a black pyramid, the island is 30 nautical miles from Komiža, is 97 metres high, and is a protected geomorphological monument of nature from 1958. The island is composed of deep crust magmatic rocks, the magnetite of which interferes with seafarers’ compasses making navigation in conditions of poor visibility extremely difficult when near it. The underwater area is rich in fish and crabs, which is why fishermen from Komiža go to Jabuka in winter and risk their lives going to the island, which has no docks.

Jabuka doesn’t have a natural bay and doesn’t provide shelter from the wind. Anchoring a boat is a difficult task due to the deep sea around the island, and its smooth rocks polished by the sea make it impossible to tie the ship around them. There are as many as twenty toponyms here, and these are the only human traces on this further insular frontier of the eastern Adriatic. The island is made from volcanic diabase rocks and is home to the endemic black karst lizard and two endemic plants.

2. Jabuka Island Photo creator Matko Petrić(1)

The Green Cave on the islet of Ravnik

This cave is a protected geomorphological monument of nature from 1967, and the islet itself is a significant landscape. The Green Cave has two large openings to it and it doesn’t give the same type of blue light effect as the Blue Cave, but it's entirely unique because it has a small opening in the middle from where sunlight breaks into the cave and lights up the sea bottom like a spotlight in the darkness. The blackness of this cave enhances the intensity of this miraculous spotlight.

17. The swimmer in the green cave Photo creator Ivo Pervan

Stiniva bay

Stiniva bay has been classed as a significant landscape since 1967. This narrow and long bay ends with a stone ''gate'' leading into a small cove with a pebble beach surrounded by layered rock walls. Once, Stiniva was a karst cave and it probably collapsed several thousand years ago. In 2016, Stiniva was named the most beautiful beach in Europe.

10. Stiniva cove Photo creator Ivo Pervan

Ravnik islet

Ravnik islet is a significant landscape of nature and is located off the eastern coast of Vis, boasting its green cave.


Brusnik is the protected geomorphological monument of nature and is located thirteen nautical miles from Komiža. Brusnik and Jabuka are the only islands in the Adriatic formed from igneous rocks. It is 23 meters high, and both Brusnik and Jabuka are made of subvolcanic diabase formed by the crystallisation of magma on its way from the deep magmatic core up to the surface. Brusnik island is far more complex than Jabuka, however. Brusnik has paleo beach pebble conglomerates which can be found on the top of the island.

In the middle of the island, there is a ravine with a depression filled with seawater used by fishermen from Komiža, in which they made larger pools to keep their captured lobsters. There are also the remains of fishermens' cottages built from large rocks. These small homes were in use for salting fish in barrels and to keep the fishermen safe from the wind and sun. Brusnik has been a protected area since 1951 and it boasts a special structure – as most of the islands have a limestone base.

8. Fishermen.jpg

There are several geo-trails in Vis archipelago, here are a few handy links to them:

Geo trail Komiža:
Geo trail Biševo:
Geo trail Vis Rukavac:
A list of geological locations can be found here:

With this geological area, there are naturally a lot of local traditions and pieces of heritage worth knowing about. Some of the most valuable are Gajeta Falkuša, Suhozid – dry stone walling (another piece of Croatia's intangible UNESCO heritage), The local Vis dialect, Gajeta Falkuša, which is a traditional historical fishing boat. Fishing has been the traditional main occupation of local men from Komiža for centuries. Komiža fishermen are well known as the first to catch fish on the open sea and to face a lot of dangers due to poor weather conditions and pirate attacks.

Local inhabitants lived off the sea and were facing different threats. To fight the open sea and the risks that faced them, fishermen needed to have small and quick boats which could carry a lot in them too. To survive these rough conditions, they made falkuša – a unique traditional fishing boat from Komiža. It is made for fishing, sailing and cargo carrying. The name comes from the word falka, or the sideboards of the ship which enabled the boat to be used for different purposes.

7. Falkuša boat Photo creator Ivo Pervan


The people of Komiža are proud of Gajeta Falkuša, but it almost disappeared as the storm on Biševo island wrecked the last Gajeta Falkuša named Cicibela.

This terrible damage was repaired by professor Joško Božanić and Velmir Salamon who carried out research on Falkuša for eleven years and all of the aspects essential for this boat, including halieutic, cultural and anthropological interpretation, which included language, lexicon, literature, fishing history, toponymy and anthroponymy, shipbuilding, the art of sailing, traditional weather forecasting, the art of fishing, and even gastronomy.

In 1997 this traditional boat was saved in the form of ''Comeza-Lisboa'', the first falkuša built after many years, as part of the research project of the Cultural Association Ars Halieutica from Komiža. ''Comeza- Lisboa'' was presented at the world expo in Lisbon, Portugal. This launching was a historical moment for Komiža, where old fishing traditions, knowledge and skills were revitalised and presented to locals. Today we have four Gajeta Falkuša boats: Comeza-Lisboa, Mikula, Palagruža and Molo.

Molo is a smaller variant of Falkuša on which children used to learn fishing skills.

Dry stone walling

This piece of UNESCO heritage is an art of its own and is an old tradition which continues to be nurtured on numerous islands and in coastal Croatia, but it's especially interesting on the island of Vis. This type of rural architecture is part of the Vis landscape and has a different form than the rest. The story of dry stone walling is a story about survival, where peasants used their skills in rocky landscapes and securing smaller fertile areas to grow their vineyards and deal with other types of agriculture. 

15. Stone drywall Photo creator Ivo Pervan

On Vis, the village of Dragodid near Komiža is very well known for its dry stone walling heritage and remains a place for dry stone workshops to this very day. 

13. Stone drywall Photo creator Ivo Pervan (2)

The Cokavian dialect of Vis

This is another piece of intangible heritage of Croatia and the oldest Slavic dialect in the Eastern Adriatic. It is unique in the fact that it preserves the lexicon from the lingua franca idiom, which is characteristic for the maritime and fishing world. Here is an example of the traditional cokavian dialect of Vis:

U śpȍmen nȍni Juvãni
Śvãku jȕtro
cîn bi źorâ źarudȉla
cîn bi źvȍna źaźvonȉla
ol śnâ bi śe vãrgla
pôk bi źavōpȉla
Ôva Marȉja
śvãki dôn źa pūlnê
kal bi śûnca grûźd śaźrîl
a iź kanpanȅla śe źvûn jōvîl
ol śtolâ bi śe dvȉgla
pôk bi źlãmen
krīźâ ucinȉla
Ôva Marȉja
ondâ jȍpet u śutûn
źajȅcol bi źvûn
a nâ bi pośôl dofinȉla
pôk bi śȅla u kantûn
krȕnicu molȉla
glōvûn obandovãla
kriźȉć buśivãla
i źãrno po źãrno
prȉko pãrśta voltovãla
Ôva Marȉja
i ȍto tãko je nȍna
iś Gūśpûn cavarjãla

trî pūtâ nã don
na plãc źvȍna
molȉtve olpivãla
i da śe nî śvȁ
u molȉtvu pritumbãla
do glũhe źemjê
da nî prĩgla śȉju 
śigûr śon
jȍś bi vãvik
Ôvu Marȉju 

- Vinko Kalinić (From the collection of songs)

SOURCE(S) (text and photos): UNESCO, Geopark Vis

Find out more about Croatia's incredible UNESCO heritage by following our dedicated lifestyle page.

Thursday, 2 May 2019

First Croatian Avocado Plantation Planted on Island of Vis!

As Morski writes on the 2nd of May, 2019, the very first Croatian avocado plantation has been planted on the Dalmatian island of Vis. The pear-shaped fruit can typically be found growing in Central and South America, it's very rich in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients essential for the health of the organism.

It seems that the warm Mediterranean climate bodes well for the growth of avocados because those growing are advancing well and generally give generous yields. To make the story of the very first Croatian avocado plantation even more unusual, it was kickstarted by two Americans from Wisconsin, the Repanich couple, who, despite their advanced years, have some great business plans under their belts. Perhaps because they eat avocados each and every day.

John and Patricia Repanich, a lively couple in their eighties, replaced life in America with the birthplace of John's grandfather. Back when they lived in the US, they had nut plantations in California, as well as flocks of sheep, and when retirement age came around, out of all of the places in the world, they chose no less than the beautiful island of Vis as their new home, as was reported by HRT. For years and years before that, they'd already spent plenty of time enjoying Vis's stunning Brgujac bay.

''Once a farmer, always a farmer,'' says John. Pensions aren't for rest, it's best to keep your hands busy. Their avocado experiment was fruitful. Ten years ago, they planted their first tree.

When that very first plant ended up ''giving birth'' to hundreds of the avocados, the entrepreneurial American spirit was awakened in Repanich. From Sicily, the couple brought 150 plants to the Croatian island of Vis and started the very first avocado plantation in the whole of Croatia, the first fruit of which is due this autumn.

Avocados otherwise originate from the South and North American rainforests, where, at least according to numerous archaeological discoveries, they were eaten 8,000 years ago. The first avocados were utilised by the Inkas, the Olmecs and Maya peoples, who considered it a magical plant that nourishes the body from the outside and from the inside. It is very rich in good fats, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients essential to the health of the body.

Among other things, it benefits the heart, reduces blood sugar, helps with arthritis, and even helps people to lose weight. Experts think it is the top food for brain health because of its high share of omega-3 acids and vitamin E.

Avocados are diverse and can be eaten raw or be thermally processed in many ways, and perhaps the most famous avocado dish of all is Mexican guacamole. Thanks to Repanich's, the first Croatian avocados have become an attraction, so more and more people have been coming to Brgujac to see the premier Croatian plantation for themselves. Along with its olive oil and its wine, the island of Vis could easily also become a Croatian island known for its tropical fruits.

Make sure to stay up to date by following our dedicated lifestyle page for much more.


Click here for the original article by HRT

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