Military tunnels of Vis

The island of Vis is placed among the favorite destinations on the entire Mediterranean. It is probably strategically the most important island in Adriatic Sea. With crystal-clear waters and winding roads, the island of Vis appears as a perfect Adriatic vacation.

Vis, the furthest inhabited Croatian island from the coast, was isolated from the outside world from the 1940 until 1991 when Croatia became independent.It was used as a military base with 20 km of underground tunnels, mines, caves and storage facilities. Vis was intensively fortified from early 19th century, first by UK, then by Austro-Hungarian Empire, Greeks, Romans, Venetians and everybody else who controlled the island.

During World War II, Vis was at one point the main hideout of Josip Broz Tito, the leader of the Yugoslav partizans. Realizing the strategic importance of the island and the usefulness of its many caves and coves from his years there fighting the Germans, Tito kept a tight grip on Vis, making it one of the main naval bases of the Yugoslav People’s Army. This effectively turned the entire island into a closed military zone, out of bounds for both Yugoslav civilians from the mainland, and foreigners. Many areas were prohibited even to the island’s residents. Preparing for war with Vis as the front-line, the Yugoslav navy burrowed and excavated for decades, turning the island into a maze of caves, underground tunnels, bunkers and submarine hideouts.

Josip Broz Tito become the leader of Yugoslavia from 1953-1980. These secret locations are now an attraction for tourists who have the chance to see places out of bounds 20 years ago and explore the tunnels that the Yugoslav National Army once guarded as secret lairs.

You will find the labyrinth of underground tunnels, see the remains of cannons and abandoned warehouses.

For 50 years, the island followed a policy of isolation and was inaccessible to tourists. When Yugoslav army left the island in 1992, Vis left as a ghost town of former army barracks which serve as a haunting reminder in the minds of Vis residents. Stranded in this remote outpost among a population that resented their presence, the Yugoslav Navy left peacefully almost overnight, leaving behind empty barracks, caves and tunnels they had tended for almost half a century.These secret, underground tunnels; underground labyrinth was constructed and linked at various defense points around the island.

Secret army tunnels carved into the remote Croatian island of Vis by the Yugoslav army have become a draw for tourists and locals alike since opening to the public.

Many of the tunnels have already been adapted for civilian uses, with some converted into wine cellars.

When the military left the island, life has opened up and residents of Vis look to tourism.

Beautiful beaches, preserved nature, ecological agriculture and preserved traditional architecture are unique advantages of this unique island. Explore Vis and Komiža, experience its history, try to discover all the beauties of the island of Vis.

Location on map