Croatia is to the traveler the dream-like epiphany that makes the painter jump out of bed in search of his painting brush and canvas. Or, if we take the analogy of a poet, it’s that line that hits the poet while on a stroll by some bubbling brook— deep in a canopied forest—which he tenaciously holds on to, in fear that another sound or sight may make him forget. Croatia is insanely beautiful and packed with many delightful activities for each season.

Famous for walled towns that are centuries old, rolling ridges of dense, luxuriant forests, stunningly beautiful beaches set against the iridescent blue waters of the Adriatic Sea, many beautiful lakes, spell-binding topography, and numerous islands, Croatia is the stuff of dreams. Just like many countries have popular travel destinations that are sold out as the country’s main jewels, Croatia has its share of them. But here’s the truth: there are many other amazing attractions spread out all over the country that to ignore would almost amount to aesthetic sacrilege. One such place is the Vis Island situated 28 miles from the Croatian coast—and—as we’ll see, hauntingly attractive.

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The Enchanting Beauty of Vis Island

When the musical romantic comedy film Mama Mia! Here We Go Again—was released way back in 2018, it was an instant hit. The Guardian’s Chief Film Critic Peter Bradshaw termed it as “weirdly irresistible.” The charts would immediately agree. The film is all about holiday romance in a dream location far away from reality. In the background is a set of musical hits by the Swedish pop group ABBA.

Of course, the film’s light-hearted fun is incredibly infectious. But the film’s geographical setting alone would pique anyone's interest. Even those hard to please, like the ones holding the designation of “Chief Film Critic.”

The film’s story is set on the breathtaking Greek Island of Skopelos. The actual setting, however, is Vis Island off the coast of Croatia in the Adriatic Sea. Here’s the truth. Identifying the geographic setting of a blockbuster is not a stroll in the park. Producers painfully look for only the best, particularly those that’ll perfectly blend with the film’s theme, tone, and setting. And Vis Island, for its mind-blowing attractiveness as a romantic get-away, perfectly fits the bill. Even if you don’t like that genre of music or the comical plot, who doesn’t work an escape to some remote island—for love or leisure?

Related: 10 Epic Day Trips You Can Take From Split, Croatia Gorgeously shaped like a trapezium, Vis is mysterious, quaint, uncrowded, and yes, weirdly beautiful. For its fame, the island is relatively small, just about 11 miles long—and only 5 miles wide. But don’t let this size deceive you, Vis is a time stealer with many beaches, caves, and history at every turn. However, the film “Mama Mia” featured three primary locations: Vis town itself, Komiza on the western side, and Barjoska beach. In Vis town, the harbor is one conspicuous place in the movie. There’s the ferry that almost everyone missed after some animated conversation with the officer in charge of border control. The harbor is right at the heart of Vis town.

The environment around the port is usually a bee-hive with several fancy eateries, kiosks, coffee bars, and fast food joints. Just a few meters from the ferry port, is Dionis Vis, another location that features in the blockbuster. This hotel offers nice views of the harbor and is only 10 meters away from a fresh foods stall where you can get something for yourself or just enjoy the market-like scenes. For its location, this place is perfect. And to add to the awesome views around, you can see the ruins of an old Greek town called Issa, about 700 meters from this hotel.

In Komiza, the film features a famous seafood restaurant known as Jastozera. It’s located on the far end of the Komiza harbor and lies only 1.7 kilometers away. This hotel is famous for its mouth-watering fresh, living lobsters, but the ambiance definitely adds to the incredible appeal. At this place, the bay is beautifully spread out before your eyes, against an awesome landscape that features rugged hills and the blue, wrinkled waters of the Adriatic Sea. The views around are anything but dull. Komiza is also the transit point to the Blue Cave—on the island of Bisevo— which is about an hour’s ride on the water. You will enjoy the iridescent color effect inside this cave just before midday.

Then there’s Barjoska beach, beautifully carpeted with small, soft pebbles—on the westernmost point of the island that appears severally in the movie. But Stiniva beach, the most beautiful in Croatia, is where the world dramatically comes to a standstill. And it’s not just the most beautiful in Croatia. It has been Europe’s best. The spectacular high cliffs around this beach are an attraction in themselves. However, the beach itself offers views of some dreamy paradise that’s literally incompatible with human stress or anxiety. It’s careless, perhaps aesthetic negligence, to visit Croatia and leave out Vis. If “Mama Mia” is anything to go by, Hollywood producers can tell us something about the elements of a dream destination.

  • Best Time To Visit Stiniva Beach: Early morning hours or late at sunset, are ideal times to visit Stiniva Beach. During these times the beach is uncrowded.