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Island adventures - Komiza

Unsure where the days to come would lead, we hopped on a bus from Munich to Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, determined to ditch the clouds and chase the sun.

Late that night we arrived at an inn style hostel to the chatter of travelers excited to compare the beaches they would be bussing to the next morning.

Between everyone’s varying suggestions, we let one piece of advice make our decision for us — “The farther you go from the coast, the less developed the islands,” the hostel owner said as if he had said it a thousand times.

We let our next four days ride on his seemingly wise advice. Luckily, he proved to be as reliable as he sounded.

After bussing from Zagreb to Split, we hopped on a ferry to Vis, the farthest island from shore.

Wanting to travel as far from the coast as possible, we took a short fifteen minute bus ride across the island to the small fishing town of Komiza.

As we arrived the sun began to set, illuminating the beige stone buildings in shades of gold. Beams of changing light trickled down the narrow alleyways that zigged and zagged their way through the town.

A wild goose chase for accommodation taught us a valuable lesson — when traveling to a remote island town during high season, always book ahead. Thankfully, the travel agencies in town were extremely helpful in helping us find a place for the night.

Settled in and ready to explore, we strolled through Komiza’s intertwining alleyways, only to discover one of the town’s most popular attractions — its wine.

Small wineries set on the ground floor of family homes are scattered throughout the winding laneways.

But be warned, you'll have to decide for yourself whether the local wine’s notoriously high alcohol content is a blessing or a curse.

Here’s a local tip we learned just a few glasses too late: dilute the wine with water for better taste and less headache.

After tasting and buying some wine, we headed to the docks, perched facing the water and enjoyed the same beautiful view as everyone sitting in the overpriced restaurants that line the piers. By the end of the trip, we realized we had unintentionally made this a nightly routine.

One of Komiza’s less known attractions is its hidden beaches, which are accessible by water.

If you’re like us and owning a boat is simply a far off dream, kayaking to the beaches is a cheap alternative.

In front of Hotel Bisevo, the only hotel in town, lies a small pebble beach where kayaks are available for rent.

But before you start envisioning a hot and sweaty day on a shaky piece of plastic, think again. Every kayak has a waterproof barrel fit for storing food, sunscreen, cameras and more. Also, your water, beer and popsicles can be easily stowed in the attached cooler, which comes stocked with ice. This is just one of the many ways the Komiza locals are one step ahead of the rest of us.

Ranging anywhere from twenty minutes to an hour by kayak, there are up to ten secluded beaches tucked along the coast, making it easy to paddle, rest and repeat.

Exhausted from a combination of productive paddling, beating sun and cold beer, we returned to shore and found ourselves appreciating the island’s slow pace.

Many believe islands have a way of slowing life down. One way Komiza highlights this is through its signature dish ‘octopus under the lid.’

Available at almost all seafood restaurants in town, octopus under the lid must be ordered hours in advance, seeing as it takes two hours to cook.

If you’re wondering what the dish consists of, think no further, it’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s a slow cooked medley of octopus, potatoes, carrots, onions and other various vegetables.

Two hours of simmering flavor comes together to create a truly unforgettable and cultural meal.

Whether it be a product of food coma, sun daze or wine buzz, islands do seem to find a way to nudge you into their easygoing atmosphere. And with her stunning scenery and natural warmth, it’s nearly impossible to resist Komiza’s temptation of relaxation.

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