Once upon a time Split was the destination of royalty. In fact, the majority of the old town is now based in the old Diocletian’s Palace. Don’t go looking for fancy buildings – its now a warren of streets, markets, and apartments – but do go exploring. Also, keep an eye out for the huge statue of our friend Gregory of Nin.
Sometime more recently it fell from the favor of kings and queens and wasn’t so much a destination as a port of call en route to somewhere better. Now, its back to being a popular spot for travelers in Croatia (in fact, its the second biggest tourist city after Dubrovnik) and we can see why!
Despite picking up a nasty cold, we persevered and make the most of the sunny days, swimming spots, and beautiful Adriatic waters. Our biggest disappointment, beyond all the beauty, was the lack of free walking tours, which are our favorite way of learning about new cities.
Despite the lack of tour, here are a few tips to help you on your visit:
Bakeries, Bars, and Ice cream vendors aplenty.
On the cities main promenade, Riva, you’ll find an endless supply of places to sit and relax with a coffee, beer wine or some other kind of treat. Pull up a seat, grab something refreshing and watch the sunset across the Dalmatian coastline.
Don’t forget to try the fish.
With direct access to all the delicacies of the Adriatic sea, make sure to get some locally caught and prepared seafood in your diet. We tried grilled seabass and it was divine!
Put your card away.
Croatia is largely an affordable destination, and while cash is often preferred we haven’t had much trouble paying for meals with our card. Split proved different, as cash is King around here. Make sure you come armed with Kuna to avoid any angst.
Expect wall-to-wall visitors when the cruise ships visit.
Split is a popular spot for the cruise ships to stop for a day. This means if you can see the boats in the harbor you’ll probably be seeing lots of passengers in the old city. If that stresses you out, try and plan your site seeing early in the morning or later in the afternoon.
Take a boat, a bus or a train.
There are lots of options for excursions from Split. You can hop a bus to the crazy popular Dubrovnic or the waterfalls at Krka or Plitvice national parks. Otherwise, hop a ferry to Hvar or Brac from the ferry terminal. The boats are fast and comfortable and the views are pretty sweet too.
Split has a wide selection of beaches, from the busy but centrally localted Bacvice where you’ll find locals playing picigin, to the further away and better hidden, Jezinac and Kasjuni beaches below Marjan hill. All of the beaches have easy to access amenities and crystal clear water. While the water was a little chilly we loved seeing our feet and the fish swimming around them!
Whether you visit the old town, with its maze of streets or go climbing Marjan hill, Split is a very walkable city, so there is no need to worry about public transport. Just watch out for wet patches on the smooth marble paths, it can be very slippery!
Will we come back?
We loved Split for its relaxed vibe, sunshine, beaches, and ice cream. If we come back, it will only be to get on a boat and travel out to the islands for some real R&R!