On Monday 28th August 2017, I escaped to Vis for the day with good friends and it turns out – a day in Stoničica Bay was just what the doctor ordered.
Last week I worked on a charter yacht for the week as a hostess, I was excited to be back on a boat and do what I do best – share my passion for Croatia with others. Unfortunately for me, the group we had, weren’t interested in exploring the islands or destinations – which I completely understand because they just wanted to relax… but, my heart did break just that tiny bit when they decided to forfeit island Vis.
The longer I am in Croatia, the more I fall in love with Vis. When you first visit (hopefully you come to Croatia more than once), you will find yourself in awe at the old town of Dubrovnik, wandering the laneways of Diocletian’s Palace and caught up in the glam and nightlife of Hvar… but eventually, the breeze will take you to Vis and you will completely lose yourself (or find yourself).
There is something about the island Vis that just makes you stop and breathe, I mean really breathe. Time slows down, in fact, it feels like taking a step back in time. Even though I have written about the madness of Stiniva Bay, for some reason, Vis town has managed to keep an air of peace and tranquillity. No matter how many boats are lined up, Vis town never feels rowdy, crowded or overwhelming; maybe it is to do with being closed to the public until the 1990’s. Whatever it is, Vis has kept its authentic charm and I hope it never loses it. Komiža on the other hand, is a darling town that has a life and energy all of its own – but for today I am going to focus on Vis town.
Yesterday I caught the 9 am ferry from Split to Vis and arrived just after 11 am to spend one night in my favourite destination with good friends. We had planned the trip weeks ago, but as I had just come off the yacht in the weekend, I had to skip a day but decided to join them last minute for one night. It was only 28-hours, but so worth it.
The second I stepped off of the ferry, my soul felt at peace and I could feel a smile waiting to burst across my face.
I dropped my things off straight away at the apartment as we didn’t want to waste a minute. We walked back into town in search of a water-taxi or taxi to take us to Stončica Bay. While there are so many activities you can do on Vis, from wine tasting, renting a scooter, hiking or biking to a Military tour of the island… we were all in ‘need zen’ mode. So, a day on the beach it was.
I was curious as to the price of getting a water taxi to Stončica or Smokova Bay, but after stopping into one of the tourist agencies, they advised that a water-taxi would cost around 1,000 kuna, while a taxi should be around 250 kn return. We were grateful for her honest response and opted to get a taxi to Stončica.
Pleasant surprise #1
Here was our first pleasant surprise for the day – a friendly taxi driver and almost zero traffic on the road. After my horrendous experience with taxi drivers in Dubrovnik and the ridiculous traffic the roads between Split and Dubrovnik have seen this summer, this drive was a real joy. The taxi driver chatted away and I happily replied while watching the shifting landscape and rich vegetation pass by our window.
We arrived at Stončica in around 15-minutes, the driver kindly informed us of the best way to walk down to the beach and gave us his card to call him for the return journey. When I asked about payment, he said – ‘no worries, you can pay on the return’. I am 100% sure this wouldn’t happen in any other destination.
As we stood above the bay gazing down, we noticed a lot of boats anchored. The first word that came to mind was – ufff. I was ready to be upset by another overcrowded beach and jewel that lost its sparkle. But I was wrong.
Pleasant surprise #2
Yes, there were a lot of boats anchored, but their passengers didn’t venture to the beach, they simply swam around their own boats. Majority of people on the beach were families and locals.
We easily found a spot to set up camp before jumping straight in the water. It was a real treat to wade into the sea and not look like a fool, falling over all the rocks thanks to Stončica being one of the rare (and stunning) sandy beaches.
As I sat back down on the beach and looked around, I was reminded of why I love Croatia so much.
Children innocently playing, a cute beach-shack-cafe with no hint of pretension, palm trees, crystalline waters and a warm summer breeze…
It got to around 3 pm and our stomachs told us it was time for lunch; there was only one restaurant in the bay, so I immediately assumed it would be average food with zero service, charged at a premium rate.
Pleasant surprise #3
Konoba Stončica serves fresh food at reasonable prices and we received genuine hospitality. Think about this for a second, prime location, gorgeous beach, no other restaurant around, the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the situation, yet, they don’t. Thank you.
The restaurant is nestled in amongst trees overlooking the bay and the smell of smoke fills the air from the open fire. We decided on a light lunch, so we ordered sardines, cheese, olives and tuna pate.
Small note: if you want an authentic Croatian experience, order sardines – but be sure they are grilled…
I got too excited when I saw sardines on the menu and didn’t realise I ordered salted sardines, which are not in the same realm as fresh, grilled sardines.
Pleasant surprise #4
Rather than being pissed, the waitress genuinely apologised (even though it was my fault). We weren’t fussed and were in no rush, so ordered grilled sardines and spent the afternoon grazing and sipping on gemišt…
Pleasant surprise #5
Regardless of articles to the contrary, there is still charm, authenticity and hospitality to be found in Croatia.
This day may not seem like much, but to us, it was perfection.