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VIS AND BISEVO (THE BLUE GROTTO)   (map)

The island of Vis was inhabited by Neolithic tribes. In later times (4th c. B.C.) the island was colonized and became an independent city state, even forging its own money. An ancient Greek cemetery lies on the island and there is evidence of Romans, early Slavs, and the English.

In its modern history, Vis was a militarily strategic location. It served as Tito’s headquarters in the event war, thus the island is full of bunkers, foxholes, machine gun emplacements, and uncovered manholes. From the island’s caves, Tito directed the partisans (a Yugoslavian underground resistance army) during the end of World War I. Today, 5,000 inhabitants populate the 13 settlements on the island. Vis was not open to foreigners until 1989.

5 km southwest of Vis is the island of Bisevo, 5.8 square km in size. Though beautiful in itself, having a fertile center and a pine forest in the north, Bisevo is most famous for its Blue Grotto, or Modra Spilja. At noon, with a calm sea, sunbeams penetrate through a submarine opening and reflect up from the white bottom floor. The cave then glows an iridescent blue. Objects in the water shimmer silver. The cave is accessible only by small boat. If you wish, you may swim in the haunting colors of the cave.