When you mention Croatia to friends, the first word that comes to mind is Dubrovnik, however the lesser known city of Split is quickly growing in popularity. The bustling port on the Adriatic holds a rich history and is also the perfect place for island-hopping across the stunning Dalmatian coastline. It’s UNESCO-listed old-town and magnificent forest park are amongst the many gems, along with a wide array of cafe bars and galleries…
How to get there:
Direct flights are available direct from several UK airports, but we flew EasyJet from London Gatwick. Be aware that if you’re catching an early flight from Gatwick, then you could be waiting round for a while, potentially overnight with transport connections to the airport.
Where to eat?
Riva – Head down to the waterfront and you’ll find the boardwalk filled with a line of up-market restaurants and patisseries, all hosting outdoor seating under the swaying palm fronds. You’ll find many fresh seafood and steak dishes, just be prepared to pay that little be extra for the view.
Plazas – There are several open square plazas which are often bustling with tourists, this means that the restaurants are reflective of this passing trade and are evidently aimed at such with judging by the burgers and pizza on offer at a slightly hiked rate. Although they are great places to enjoy a drink and wile away the time with people-watching.
Laneways – From every square there are a number of narrow alleyways leading off, initially you’ll find a couple of small fast-food style eateries that offer pizza slices and wraps on-the-go, but as you delve further into the labyrinth you’ll uncover a whole host of eateries hidden from the crowds, offering fine dining with much more authenticity.
Outskirts of town – Dare to steer away from the provocative architecture and you’ll find good hearty food at cheaper prices. Dinner for two can be found for 130 kuna, but we paid almost double for the same in the centre of the old town. There may not be the same scenery, but the hosts are just as friendly and mixing with the locals you’ll get a feel for the real culture.
Diocletian’s Palace – Located centrally within the heart of the old town is a well-preserved UNESCO complex dating back to the 4th century. From the marvellous muted tones of the palace above, to the hidden secrets of the underground tunnels, there is plenty to marvel at.
Marjan Forest Park – A large recreational parkland located on the tip of the Split peninsula, it is a bit of a climb to reach, but you can break up the scale with a stop at Cafe Vidilica. From here you can gain marvellous views across the harbour, city and mountain backdrop.
Riva – Take to the waterfront, considered the gathering place to sit and relax with a coffee in sun, or something stronger as darkness starts to fall. The palm-line boulevard is the ideal place to unwind and take in the one of the city’s magnificent sunsets across the Adriatic.
Old Town – Lose yourself in the beautiful labyrinth of laneways that link several open squares through this historic part of the city. Explore the many boutiques and eateries that are scattered between the beautiful old walls, or pay a visit one of many local museums.
Activities and tours:
Depending on your length of stay or purpose of visit, you may want to roam further afield and explore the rural expanse beyond Split’s UNESCO heritage. Try out a few of the following for a real taste of the landscape and lifestyle along the Adriatic Sea.
- Plitvice Lakes & Krka Waterfalls National Parks
- Island-hopping: Vis, Brac, Hvar and more
- Cross country into Bosnia and Herzegovina or Montenegro
Where to stay:
Dioklecijan Hotel & Residence is 4-star accommodation, located a brisk 15 minute walk outside of the old town. Our price included a double sea-view room with balcony and full access of the spa facilities, including rooftop pool. Choose room only, B&B or full-board. Our package included half-board, which included breakfast and dinner.
If you’re keen to remain closer to the key sights then there are a great range of local apartments and boutique hotels tucked away between the alleyways and back streets of the old town.
Currency and climate:
The local currency is Croatian Kuna, which I found to be a fair mark to the British Pound during my stay. The price of items did not seem particularly cheap or any more expensive than if I were to purchase them at home. Euros are also accepted in the hospitality sector but did not appear to be openly welcomed and you’re unlikely to receive change. I stuck with the local currency throughout my stay and even then smaller notes were often preferred.
Weather can vary dependent on the time of year. Despite visiting in October, at the far end of the tourist season, I found it maintained a pleasant average temperature of 20 degrees during my stay. However, be warned that the area is prone to wind and the warmer climate can also give way to thunderstorms, both of which I experienced, very atmospheric. It was a mixed bag of sunshine, cloud and light rain showers, but I suspect the good weather is more sustained if you’re planning to visit during the summer months.