Villa Viganj

Viganj, Dalmatian Coast, Croatia Book from £400

Reviewed by Jane Foster
Renovated 16th-century stone villa with a pool and spectacular sea views, on the Peljesac peninsula in Dalmatia (sleeps 4-10)
Peljesac peninsula is known throughout Croatia for its excellent red wine (Dingac), and its fresh oysters and mussels, served in local restaurants. Here, the sleepy village of Viganj, looking onto the narrow Peljeski sea channel and island of Korcula, comes alive each summer as a top windsurfing destination. On a south-facing hillside a 10-minute walk from the seafront, Villa Viganj - a 16th-century stone building, semi-abandoned until a decade ago - has been lovingly restored and brought back to life to make a peaceful upmarket holiday rental, complete with 21st-century comforts.

Ideal for a family or friends in search of a rural retreat close to the sea, it has 5 bedrooms (3 doubles, 2 twins), a big open-plan living room and dining area, a well-equipped modern kitchen, a spacious sea-view stone terrace with barbecue, and a garden planted with fragrant rosemary and lavender. Better still, there's a lovely turquoise pool to laze around. Nearby are excellent watersports facilities (notably windsurfing and scuba diving), mountain paths for hiking, authentic seafood eateries, and of course the local vineyards where you can buy quality wines direct from producers. There are also regular daily boat connections to the lovely island of Korcula, well worth a visit.

Highs

  • Peaceful south-facing hillside location, with fantastic views across the water to Korcula
  • A beautifully reconstructed traditional Dalmatian building
  • Lovingly landscaped grounds, planted with cherry and fig trees, cypresses, rosemary bushes and irises, plus a secluded outdoor pool
  • A 10-minute stroll from the beach and great eateries
  • Family friendly

Lows

  • Getting here is a bit tricky without a car - a bus journey from the airport, then 2 boat trips. Much better to drive from Dubrovnik - a 1hr 40 minute journey to the villa
  • Only 2 of the bedrooms have ensuite bathrooms; the other 3 share a bathroom
  • Perhaps not as stylish as prices would warrant, but it is a great location (secluded yet close to the action) and well-equipped
  • 7-night minimum stay in High and Peak Season
  • A bit secluded, though there is plenty going on in the village through summer

Best time to go

We recommend staying at the villa in either either May-June or Sep-Oct, when the weather is sunny, the sea warm enough to swim, and local tourist facilities up and running but not overworked. Dalmatia gets very busy in peak season (Jul-Aug), though that’s fun too, with plenty of local cultural events and a lively nightlife.

Our top tips

When you visit Mali Ston, be sure to have lunch - the restaurants are renowned for serving the best oysters and mussels in Dalmatia.

Great for...

Beach
Family
Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Private Villa
  • 5
  • Self-catering (+ walk to restaurants)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
Room:

Rooms

The ground floor has an open-plan living and dining space, plus a kitchen, with stone floors throughout. There’s an open fireplace in the living room, with several colourful kilim rugs, 2 comfy dark-brown leather sofas, an Oriental-style divan with scatter cushions, plus a small plasma TV, DVD and CD player with an iPod setting. The dining area has a long wooden table seating 10, wrought-iron chairs, and an exposed stonewall with an archway leading through to the kitchen.

From the living room, wooden stairs lead up to the first and second floors. The bedroom decor is rather spartan - functional rather than stylish, but clean and spacious. On the first floor are 2 kingsize double bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms (one with a tub, one with walk-in shower, Molton Brown toiletries throughout); on the second floor are 3 rooms (1 double, 1 twin, and 2 bunkbeds) sharing a funky blue-and-white tiled bathroom with walk-in shower.

All rooms have wooden floors, wrought-iron bedsteads and sea views (except for the bunk room), and the rooms on the second floor, under the roof, have wooden sloping ceilings and dormer windows. We slept amazingly well in a double room on the first floor, thanks to the country air, total peace, an excellent mattress, Egyptian cotton sheets and luscious feather pillows.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Barbeque
  • Cd player
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Dishwasher
  • Drinks fridge
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Fireplace
  • Food blender
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hairdryer
  • Hob stove
  • Ipod dock
  • Iron
  • Oven
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Toaster
  • Toiletries
  • Washing machine
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet

Eating

You get a light and spacious fully-equipped kitchen with a high-pitched wooden beamed ceiling. Facilities include a cooker with a big oven and 6 gas rings, an ample fridge with a small freezer compartment, kettle, toaster, filter-coffee machine and dishwasher, plus a vast selection of pots, pans, crockery and glasses. Upon arrival, you’ll find a bottle of local wine for booking through i-escape, plus essentials for your first breakfast - fruit juice, coffee, tea, milk, bread, butter and fresh fruit. You'll also find some basics: washing up liquid and sponges, bin bags, salt and pepper etc.

On the sea-view stone terrace out front there’s a long table and a big built-in barbecue, perfect for cooking fresh fish over charcoal on a balmy summer evening. At the bottom of the garden, you’ll find yet another stone terrace with a dining table by the pool. There's also a long wooden table indoors, which seats 10.

In Viganj, there’s a small Mareta general store (with fresh bread daily), and several locals offer homemade wine and olive oil for sale. You can buy fresh fish from local fisherman on the seafront in Viganj, though you’ll need to get up early - the best catch has already been taken by 7am. Alternatively there’s a fish market in Orebic (6km east along the coast) where you’ll also find a bigger choice of supermarkets (including Konzum), plus a greengrocer, butcher and baker. You can also have your groceries delivered before you arrive; enquire when booking.

If you fancy being spoilt, the owner can arrange for a chef to come in and cook for you: think calamari, seafood risotto, local smoked ham and figs and grilled just-caught fish.

For eating out, we recommend family-run Vrgorac in Perna (4km away, between Viganj and Orebic) for genuine home cooking, an informal atmosphere and views across the water to Korcula - they do a heavenly octopus salad, which goes down a treat with a glass of chilled white wine. In Viganj itself, there's the small informal Konoba Karmela, which has a wooden terrace built out over the water, and is great for drinks and a simple meal of Dalmatian dishes. Further afield, in Mirci Bay near Loviste, on the western tip of Peljesac peninsular, try Konoba Bili Dvori for delicious fresh fish - there’s a pebble beach out front, and sailing types moor up their yachts here and come ashore to eat.

Features include:

  • Chef on request
  • Children meals
  • Coffee tea making
  • Food blender
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hob stove
  • Oven
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Shopping service
  • Toaster
  • Welcome hamper
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Bathe on the beach: Viganj has its own stretch of fine pebble beach (a 10-minute walk away). For a bigger, sandy beach try Trstenica in Orebic (6km), or to escape the crowds, hire a boat and find your own secret pebble cove

  • Hike the rugged heights of Mt Ilija (961m), which rises behind Viganj - a network of clearly marked paths lead to the summit, giving superb views down onto the islands of Korcula, Lastovo and Mljet

  • Try windsurfing or kitesurfing lessons with Maritimo Surf in Viganj - the 2011 Central European Windsurfing Championship was held here

  • Explore the underwater depths with a scuba-diving trip - Adriatic Mikulic in Orebic give lessons and their dive sites include a wreck and sea cliffs covered with sponges and corals

  • Join an organised mountain biking or snorkelling day trip with Sokol adventure sports agency - they’re based on Korcula, but do pick-ups in Orebic

  • Go wine tasting on Peljesac - top vineyards with cellars open to the public include Bartulovic in Prizdrina, 13km southeast of Orebic; Matusko in Potomje, 15km southeast of Orebic; and Milos in Ponivke, near Ston

  • Catch the local boat (foot passengers only; journey 15 min) to Korcula Town to explore the lovely pedestrianised old town. A cluster of stone houses built on a peninsula protected by medieval walls, its top attractions are the fine Gothic-Renaissance Cathedral and the house where Marco Polo is said to have been born

  • Visit Ston and Mali Ston (66km), medieval villages connected by 5.5km of 15th-century walls, constructed by the Republic of Ragusa (today’s Dubrovnik) to control land passage onto Peljesac. The entire complex is on UNESCO’s tentative list

  • Spend a day exploring the splendid medieval town of Dubrovnik (117km). Walk a circuit of the city walls, check out the 15th-century Rector’s Palace (housing the City Museum) and see the latest photography exhibition at War Photo Ltd gallery

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Kitesurfing
  • Mountain biking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Scuba diving courses
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Windsurfing
  • Wine tasting

Kids

Families are welcome and this would be a lovely place to bring kids of all ages. We'd particularly recommend it for 2 families holidaying together.

Children will enjoy playing outside, using the pool and having barbecues, while teenagers will love exploring nearby beaches and trying out watersports. The village is safe for children (10+) to visit on their own for ice creams.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

This villa is ideal for 2 families, with 2 ensuite doubles for parents plus a bunkroom and shared bathroom for kids. An extra bed is available and the ensuite bathrooms have a bath tub.

Babysitting:

An English-speaking sitter is available from the village - she's a family friend of the owners and has 2 children of her own. See Rates

Baby equipment:

  • Travel cot
  • Baby bedding
  • High chair
  • Night light

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

The villa is self catering and the kitchen is well equipped, with a blender, fridge and cooker. There are child-friendly cafes and restaurants nearby and shops within walking distance.

Kids Activities on site:

  • Fenced swimming pool with shallow end
  • Outdoor playground
  • Farm animals nearby

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Windsurfing and kiteboarding lessons
  • Bike hire
  • Tennis courts

Families Should Know:

There is a lockable gate at the top of the steps leading to the path to the pool. There is a drop off the terrace around the pool.

Distances:

  • Airport: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Doctor: 10 minutes
  • Hospital: 10 minutes
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

10/
Rooms
9/
Service
9/
Value
10/
Overall

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Feedback is only from guests who have booked and stayed through i-escape

Rates for Villa Viganj