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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Things to Do and See in Split (The Heart of Dalmatia) in Croatia

Split can be listed among the most solemn cities of Croatia. Split is located in Central Dalmatia in the center of the Croatian coast, between Zadar and Dubrovnik, separating Dalmatia into two parts.

The city was originally built around the Diocletian palace (a palace/fort built for the retired Roman emperor Diocletian) where the locals sought refuge centuries ago. Despite initial appearances, however, the city is not a small tourist town, and extends over a large area well beyond the ancient core. With over 300,000 people in the wider bay area, it's the economic hub of the eastern Adriatic shoreline (the unofficial "capital" of Dalmatia). Wandering the historic center of the city you can still clearly see the Roman walls, squares, and temples.

Because of its ideal climate, with 2,800 hours of sunlight each year, local people have a few nicknames for Split: "The most beautiful city in the world" and "Mediterranean flower". Many famous Croatian athletes are born in Split, so locals often nicknamed their city as "The sportiest city in the world".

The name – Split – derives from the word “Palatium” which means “a palace”, since the city was founded on the spot where approximately in 295 AD the palace of Roman emperor Diocletian used to stand. At the time the building was surrounded with thick walls, so when in the 8th century Avars and Slavs came to ravage the territory local people could hide within the palace.

Diocletian's Palace

Later on the palace turned into a military fortress with a city inside it, and nowadays this is one of the best-known city attractions. The palace walls are 2,5 meters thick and 15-20 meters high. Scientists say the construction included 16 towers, however, there were only three of them left. The whole ensemble consisted of a hall, temples, a mausoleum for the emperor’s family and other structures. The palace is listed among the UNESCO World Heritage Monuments.

The main city square is called “People’s square”, adorned with the Split Town Hall – a very beautiful building with three pointed arches. Nowadays the building houses an Ethnographic museum that displays a wide collection of traditional dresses, cloths, ceramics, household stuff etc. Another city attraction is a Benedictine Monastery built in the 16th century. There is Grgur Ninski (Gregory of Nin) statue standing next to the monastery. The person immortalized in the statue was a bishop who introduced the Croatian language in the religious services. Rubbing the statue's toe is said to bring good luck.

A Landmark not far from Split is the ancient city of Salona (2 – 4 centuries BC). Unfortunately, great parts of Salona was destroyed in the invasions of the Avars and Slavs. You will be captivated by the Maritime Museum, located in the 17-century fortress. The museum displays a vast collection of maps, photographs and varied nautical equipment. Mestrovic Gallery contains a collection of works by this renowned sculptor. One of the oldest Croatian museums - Archaeological Museum – is situated at the Zrinsko-Frankopanska street. Major part of the museum’s exhibits are discoveries from Salona – sarcophagi, mosaics, ceramics, jewelry.

Split is not only famous for its history, architecture and famous athletes; it is also a popular Croatian resort, with numerous modern hotels and picturesque lagoons. From here one can easily reach wonderful Dalmatian islands of Brač, Hvar, and visit three national parks – Krka, Kornati and Plitvice Lakes.

The best time to visit Split is summer, when Split Music Festival is held, followed by Split Summer (Splitsko ljeto) theatre festival. Summer is also excellent for sunbathing. As mentioned above, there are lots of beaches here. Plus to this, many restaurants, taverns, cafes and bars are found right at the sea-front. Local dishes are mostly prepared of fish, mollusca, lobsters etc., which go well with local wine.

Getting to Split:

By Air:

Split Airport (SPU) is, after Zagreb Airport, the most important in Croatia. Scheduled services fly to major European cities, with summer charter flights from more. The airport is about 25 km west from Split, near the city of Kaštela. It has free WiFi internet. Airport buses run from the terminal to the city and stop at the eastern end of 'Riva'. A single ticket costs 30 kn. Local buses run from the road outside the terminal -- walk through the parking lot and go to the bus stop on the other side of the road.

Find Cheap Flights from USA to Split, Croatia

Cheap Flights from London to Split, Croatia

By Train:

Trains run between Split and Zagreb, Split and Perković (where you can change for Šibenik). Timetables can be found from Croatian Railways website [61]. Trains are generally slower but slightly cheaper than buses in all of Croatia.

By Bus:

Frequent buses run to and from Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Sibenik, Zadar, Rijeka etc. There are also regular buses to and from Mostar (125 KN, buses start leaving Split at 06:00) and Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina) (210 kn), Belgrade (Serbia), Trieste (Italy) and major cities of Germany and Austria. You can get detailed information on [AK Split [62]] about departure and arrival times.

In the summer season there are more lines then off-season, for example in June-July-August, daily night buses to Banja Luka and Gradiska, north of Bosnia, as well as buses to Niš, Serbia twice a week.

On most intercity buses you pay a fee for luggage. This fee of about €0.5-€1 (7 KN, July 2013) per piece of luggage is paid to the driver upon boarding. Some drivers are rather picky about being paid in exact change in the correct currency (sometimes a local currency, at other instances requesting to be paid in Euros) and sometimes also refuse to be paid in too small coins - so keep some change ready!

By Boat:

Ferries run three times a week across the Adriatic to and from Ancona and Pescara (Italy). There is also a large ferry that runs twice a week up and down the coast between Dubrovnik and Rijeka, stopping off at a couple of islands along the way.

For more information on ferry schedules to Split visit www.directferries.com/

By Cruise Ship:

Split is a popular stop on a lot of cruise itineraries. Larger ships tend to anchor in the bay and tender passengers to shore very close to the Old Town. Occasionally, if there is room and the Captain is willing/able, cruise ships will squeeze in to dock at a spare pier in the main port, removing the need to tender to shore. If this happens on your cruise, allow about a 15 min walk to reach the Old Town.

Where to Stay in Split:

Heritage Hotel Antique Split

List of Trip Advisors Top Five overall Hotels in Split, Croatia:

  1. Cornaro Hotel
  2. Hotel Luxe
  3. Marmont Hotel Heritage
  4. Royal Suites
  5. Hotel Peristil
Top Five Budget Accommodations in Split:

Getting Around:

Central Split is quite compact and most sights can be easily seen and best experienced on foot, but there are frequent local buses to outlying attractions and the airport.

By Car:

It is possible to rent a car, during high season prices may be high (or cars unavailable) so consider booking before arrival.

By Bus:

Public transit is organized by Promet [74]. Most of the city buses in Split are new AC and low floor. Tickets can be bought at kiosks or from the bus driver. Only single-journey tickets can be bought in buses at the driver.

  • Single ticket (bought in bus) - 11 kn
  • Single ticket (bought at kiosk) - 9 kn
  • Ticket for two journeys ('Pojedinačna karta za dva putovanja') - 16 kn
  • Set of five double tickets ('Pretplatna Karnet karta') - 75 kn
  • Monthly ticket ('mjesečna pokazna karta') - 290 kn

When you board the bus you must validate your ticket in the yellow machine or give it to the driver for validation if there is no yellow box.

By Bike:

Rent a bike and enjoy beautiful biking along Split's waterfront (Riva), continue to Marjan hill (approximately 7 km), climb to the top of the hill for great view on the Split town and surrounding islands. You can bike to the east side, along the coast to nearby village of Stobrec. Another great option from Split is to take a day tour to nearby islands of Solta, Brac, Hvar or Vis. You can take the bike on a regular ferry (they leave approximately every couple of hours in the summer season) and bike along quite roads and charming villages, explore great beaches and restaurants and return in the evening to Split.

Things to See in Split:

  • Diocletian's Palace (UNESCO heritage site) - The historic centre of Split is built around the remains of this Roman palace. You only need to wander around to experience it but you can also pay to visit the excavated remains of the basement of the palace. The palace has well preserved main streets cardo and decumanus. Roman palace is enriched with some gothic and reinassance buildings which makes a perfect match. Palace has 4 monumental gates Porta Aurea (Zlatna vrata, Golden gate), Porta Argenta (Srebrna vrata, Silver gate), Porta Ferrea (Željezna vrata, Iron gate) and Porta Aenea (Mjedena vrata. Bronze gate). It is probably the best preserved Roman palace in general.
  • St. Duje's cathedral - Originally built around 305 AD as a mausoleum for the Roman emperor Diocletian (the oldest cathedral building in the world). The Cathedral is also a very beautiful mixture of Roman temple and Catholic church. It also has a beautiful belltower which provides you a great panoramic view of Split, nearby islands and Marjan hill.
  • Varoš - one of the oldest parts of town. A place where lived most of the city peasants and fishermen. Charming streets and and beautiful small houses.
  • Archaeological Museum - the oldest museum in Croatia (1820.), about 20 min walk north of the old town (entry 20 kn). Many artefacts and monuments from Roman colonies Salona and Narona.

Things to Do in Split:

Bačvice, Split, Croatia

  • Sunbathe and swim on the beach at Bačvice. To reach this beach walk south along the waterfront from the bus station and then follow the road that crosses the railway line. There are many cafes and places to eat ice cream. This is certainly not the best beach in Croatia (it is packed solid most of summer), but it will give you a feeling of 'real' Croatia as the vast majority of people who go there are from Split. There are also beaches around hill Marjan. Most popular are Kaštelet, Kašjuni and beautiful pine forest beach Bene. On Bene beach there is a restaurant and a recreation centre. Bus No. 12 travels there.
  • Climb the campanile bell tower next to the palace mausoleum. The stairs cling to the inside of the tower, and in places the steps cross the large open window spaces. The ascent is certainly not for those with vertigo, but the views from the top are marvelous. It costs only 15 kn to go up the bell tower.
  • Visit the Green Market (Pazar). Split's Pazar is the place to go for a variety of wares such as fruits and veggies, clothing and other odds and ends. Lots of local colour and excitement.
Green Market in Split

Eating in Split:


The most famous local delicates is Soparnik. It originates from nearby Poljica region (formerly known as Poljička Republika or Republic of Poljica). It is a crepe-like dough filled with Swiss chard and onions and baked on fireplace. On top comes olive oil and garlic. You can find it on Pazar (green market).

Italian influences dominate on Croatia's coast, amongst the best are; 

Risotto with tender white scampi or black calamari, a dish beloved by all Croatians. 
A wide selection of salumi, magnificent Istrian and Dalmatian hams (Dalmatinski pršut - comparable to Parma or Speck) and cheese from the island of Pag, are well worth trying, as are the large varieties of excellent Croatian wines and beers.

Do not miss Dalmatian pašticada s njokama (Gnocchi).

Nightlife in Split:

Vanilla Club, Split

There are many clubs on Bačvice beach.

Imperium Restaurant & Lounge Bar, Gat Sv Duje bb (Ferry terminal) - Nice high-end interior with acceptable prices and spectacular view on old town of Split. House music, world known DJs and parties .

O´Hara, Uvala Zenta 3, Rock and pop music on two floors.  

Vanilla Club, Poljudsko šetalište. Fancy place by the swimming pool with popular domestic and international music.  

Hemingway Bar, VIII Mediteranskih igara 5,. Extremely fancy club. 

Quasimodo, Gundulićeva 26. Rock and Underground music. Mostly full with local alternatives. 

*Do not go to striptease bars because they are a tourist trap.

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