If sailing, sun, crystal clear water and vegan ice cream sound like the perfect recipe for your summer vacation, look no further than the picturesque Croatian islands of Vis and Hvar. They’re both an easy ferry ride from Split and are established enough for your time there to be comfortable. Plus, they’re not nearly as crowded as the mainland hot spots of Split. By the way, you can check out my vegan thrift shopping guide to Split here!
You can reach Vis Town in 2.5 hours on a direct ferry from Split for around 45HRK (around €6). Hvar is closer, so the ferry only take 1.5 hours and costs around 40HRK. We took advantage of the only ferry that sails from Vis to Hvar on Tuesdays during the summer months, so that we didn’t have to go back to Split and before heading out to Hvar.
Vis Island – Vis Town and Komiža
Vis Island has an interesting history as an old military base, and has more recently been used to film Mamma Mia – Here We Go Again. Since Vis Town is pretty small, you can easily explore the promenade and the adjacent alleyways in a day. Most of the vegan options on Vis are in this area, but before we get to eating out, let’s discuss groceries.
If your accommodation has a kitchen, I highly recommend making your own food. Especially for breakfast and some lunches. When you arrive by ferry you’ll immediately see the Studenac grocery store, and this is a great place to grab the essentials. Konzum is also very close, just 1 minute walk away. Both stores have ‘Gran Cereal’ biscuits, spreads, pasta, sauce, canned legumes and usual amenities like produce that is charged by weight. You can also get delicious seasonal fruit at a pop up stall on the promenade. There’s also fresh bread from the local bakery, just look for the big building that says, ‘Pekara’.
There aren’t many options for vegans on Vis, however there are more than Happy Cow would have you believe. We stumbled upon a couple of lovely places just by walking down the promenade and inquiring with the staff.
Vis Town and Stončica
Pizzeria Charly has locations in both Vis Town and over in Komiža. We found their staff to be very helpful and we got the vegetariana without cheese. It was 65HRK (around €8.80) and pretty satisfying with mushrooms, corn, green peppers and a nice thick tomato sauce.
Pranamana can make all the items on their menu vegan, and they have a super tasty selection of smoothies and platters. We got the hummus and pesto platter and were very impressed. The hummus was fresh and had turmeric blended through to give it a lovely golden colour. The basil pesto was easily one of the best vegan pestos I’ve had, and the bread and fresh veggies were also great. Just be aware that the portions are not super filling, so it’s most appropriate for a light meal.
Pa Ti Odoli is an ice cream parlor at the far end of the promenade. They advertise that they have vegan ice cream on their chalkboard outside, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding it. Just be aware that they may only have one flavor available for vegans, when we visited it was strawberry.
My last recommendation is 15 to 20 minutes drive from Vis Town, on Stončica beach. Konoba restaurant doesn’t label anything on their menu as vegan, but they do actually have a few options. We had delicious potato wedges and shared two portions of the salad and grilled veggies for lunch. Just be aware that there is a big grill that is almost constantly cooking meat. We waited a while for our grilled veggies, but that was because they were waiting for a gap in the orders so they could grill our vegetables by themselves.
If you’re staying in Vis town, Komiža is a nice day trip that is well worth your time. Surprisingly, there seemed to be almost as many vegan options as in Vis town. As I mentioned, Pizzeria Charly also has a restaurant in Komiža, if you feel like a big filling meal.
There are a number of ice cream stalls along the promenade. When we visited the second one had vegan options. Just in case that changes, all you need to do is ask which ice cream doesn’t have ‘mlijeko’ (pronounced “mil-yeko”). I loved the passion-fruit flavor as well as the detox flavor which was grapefruit, ginger and beet.
You’ll see Riblinj listed on Happy Cow, and it is the best option for vegans in Komiža. Everything was clearly marked as vegan or vegetarian. I got the risotto but I’d recommend getting one of the other options instead. The risotto was quite oily, but the tofu pasta that my friend chose was lovely.
Hvar Island – Stari Grad and Hvar Town
Now, let’s talk about Hvar! We opted to stay in Stari Grad, mainly because we could get better value for money accommodation, but also because we were more interested in sunbathing than partying. Like Vis, there aren’t loads of places to choose from, but there definitely are more. As always let’s quickly discuss the best grocery options before digging into eating out.
If you opt to stay in Stari Grad like we did, the local Tommy supermarket is your best bet. You can stock up on oats, plant milks and other basics like pasta, bread, beans and rice. They do have a produce section which is great if you’re in a pinch, but there’s a open air market just outside that has fresher and more local goods.
If you stay in Hvar town, you have more options. There’s a big Tommy supermarket about 10 minutes walk from the promenade, it’s located behind the football field. There’s also a relatively big Konzum and a number of Studenac stores.
Now, let’s talk about eating out in Stari Grad and Hvar Town!
There are three listings on Happy Cow, but we didn’t eat at any of them. Porto Culinarium was closed temporarily when we visited, but according to the latest reviews the new menu is awful for vegans. We also stopped by Fig, and the staff were very friendly, but we weren’t that excited by the menu. Kod Damira sounds good, but we never ate there.
Blue Doors was the first place we ate at in Stari Grand, and it has a nice zucchini burger that can be made vegan. It comes with fries and the waiter was very nice, and told us all about how his wife is vegetarian. We assumed the zucchini burger would be a patty, but it’s actually fried zucchini pieces! (Pictured above)
Mola Podloža has a ‘vegetale’ pizza you can request no cheese and add another topping to replace it, I got pineapple and my friend got onions. The pizza has a nice base, sauce and fresh vegetables. The staff were great, they were very helpful and were clearly aware of what vegan meant.
There are more places to eat out in Hvar Town than in Stari Grad, Happy Cow lists nine in total but there are more.
Hanibal and Spice have the same owner so you can order from both menus, which is pretty cool. There are a number of vegan options including a vegan burger with tofu cheese, spring rolls and pad thai that can be veganized.
We found Icy Bar through Happy Cow are were so impressed! It has incredibly tasty vegan ice-cream options and is conveniently located on the main promenade. Everything is well marked with what is made with cow’s milk and what is made with plant milk. The flavours change but I had dark chocolate orange and passionfruit and it was some of the best I’ve ever had. (Pictured above)
Thanks for reading my vegan guide to Vis and Hvar, I hope it was helpful! I’d love to hear from you, so feel free to leave me a comment.
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