Geopark Vis Archipelago

Mediterranean’s heavenly oasis

The island of Vis and its surrounding islands of Biševo, Sveti Andrija, Brusnik, Jabuka and Palagruža form a single geographical area with various sites and landscapes, and are the second UNESCO geopark in Croatia, along with Papuk.

The Vis Archipelago holds a very particular geological allure with its rock formations of interesting geological origin. Unlike other Adriatic islands with a sedimentary structure, the Archipelago, especially the area surrounding the Adriatic’s black pyramids Jabuka and Brusnik, as well as the inland of the island of Vis, was formed 220 million years ago from volcanic rocks, which are the oldest of their kind in the Adriatic.

The Monk Seal Cave on the island of Biševo is the longest semi-submerged sea cave in the Adriatic, while the Blue Cave is certainly the most visited one.

Other geomorphological monuments of nature of the Vis Archipelago include the volcanic islets of Jabuka and Brusnik, the Stiniva Bay and the Green Cave on the island of Ravnik. Jabuka lies only 30 nautical miles from Komiža and is composed of magmatic rock. It is fairly unsafe to sail in these waters because of the magnetite in rocks that interferes with compasses, and the deep sea and the lack of bays make it difficult to moor. Nevertheless, this island is home to an endemic black karst lizard species and numerous endemic plants.

A little closer to Komiža lies the island of Brusnik, also a magmatic formation known for its slightly alien appearance. The beaches of Brusnik are covered with grey pebbles of different sizes, and in the middle of the island there is a ravine filled with seawater that the fishermen of Komiža turned into a pool in which they keep caught lobster. The farthest island of the Archipelago, Palagruža, is especially intriguing as it is the place where a unique mineral – pelagosite – was discovered for the first time.

A long and narrow bay surrounded by rock cliffs – the Stiniva Bay – is thought by many to be the most beautiful beach in existence. It is protected as a significant landscape, as is the island of Ravnik, where the beautiful Green Cave is located.

The Vis Archipelago is one of the last ten Mediterranean’s heavenly oases. Along with the islands of Mljet and Lastovo it forms the Adriatic Blue Corridor – the zone with the largest biodiversity in the Mediterranean. It is the habitat to 126 bird species, including not only the characteristic open-sea species such as Eleonora’s falcon, Scopoli’s shearwater and the Yelkouan shearwater, but also a species that was afforded special protected status – the common bottlenose dolphin.