There's a lot to do in and around Split. The jumping off point for many of the popular Croatian islands and a vibrant city with lots to offer in itself.
Croatia's second largest city and the largest of the Dalmatia region. Split-Dalmatia county has a population of around 450,000 so when you arrive here from Dubrovnik, as we did, you're immediately aware of its size in comparison.
We didn't really arrive with a plan but that didn't matter as everything is pretty accessible, and easy to book at short notice. Whether you want to venture out to one of the many islands, visit one of the beautiful national parks, local towns and villages or just immerse yourself in the city of Split itself, there's plenty to do for all tastes and budgets. Here's a little peek at just what you can get up to during a few days stay in sunny Spilt!
SOAK UP A LITTLE TRADITION AND HISTORY
A good place to start when exploring Split itself is with a wander around the Diocletian's Palace that forms the buzzing heart of the city and is considered one of the most remarkable of Roman ruins still standing today.
The labyrinth of streets that make up the complex of the old palace are filled with lively shops and restaurants. If you're looking to get to the heart of the city then this really is a good place to start - although it will be a busy expedition as it's obviously an extremely popular spot for visitors day to day.
We enjoyed taking a moment to look around the sizeable remains of the palace and explore within the boundaries of the palace walls. Including taking a somewhat hot and hefty climb to the top of the tower that forms part of the Cathedral of St Domnius. Originally built as Diocletian's mausoleum, this is a spot from where you can take in some astounding views of the surrounding old city, the harbour and the beautiful blue sea lapping calmly at the shore.
HOP ON OVER TO EXPLORE ONE OF THE LOCAL ISLANDS.
As noted in my intro, Split is a great place from which to head off and explore the many islands sat invitingly in the Adriatic Sea. Two of the best known are Brac and Hvar which are both large bustling towns and worthy destinations within themselves.
There are many ways to navigate your way over to your island of choice, whether you use the local ferries, hire your own boat or elect to take part in one of the many tours departing daily.
We were tempted into jumping on board a Catamaran to experience a days tour to visit the island of Brac. Partly because the idea of being on a Catamaran seemed like a new and worthwhile experience to us and also because we were visiting just out of season so we were going to be part of a much smaller group than you might be privy to during the summer. It was a very relaxing trip and a great way to navigate the Adriatic, soak up some sun, take a little dip and enjoy exploration time on the island.
Our visit included a full day on board the Catamaran with stops along the way to dive into the sea and take a swim in the peaceful blue waters. Lunch, drinks and snacks (including beer on tap much to my husbands delight!) and a stop at two different points of the island with time to explore or simply relax on the beach. We also took a trip up to the highest point of the island to take in the stunning view of Zlatni Rat, or Golden Horn as it is often referred to - a unique beach in the town of Bol that moves itself from side to side depending on the tide.
Our tour was taken with Summer Blues and we would certainly recommend them as a unique and relaxing way to take in the coast. It's not a party boat, there are plenty of those around, but it is great fun and relaxing in equal measure, providing you with a pretty fuss free way to enjoy the sun, sea and sand that Croatia has to offer. Just don't forget to pack that all important sunscreen!
EXPERIENCE A LITTLE OF TRUE DALMATION CULTURE
There are a number of museums and galleries in the city of Split that are well worth a visit.
One notable trip that we took was to look around the beautiful Meštrović Gallery that is about 15-20 minutes by foot from the main centre of Split, the riva.
Ivan Meštrović was a prolific Croatian sculptor and this collection of his work is housed within his own personal residence where he lived between 1931-1939 and was planning to retire before emigrating permanently to the USA at the end of the second world war.
Renowned as one of the greatest sculptors of the 20th century, this beautiful collection of marble, bronze and wood masterpieces is just stunning and the house and its gardens provide a peaceful afternoons break from the buzz of the centre of Split.
EAT - AND ENJOY SOME OF THE BEST LOCAL FOOD AND PRODUCE!
When in any new country it's always a pleasure to experience the local cuisine when trying to get a grip on what a place is really all about.
Along the Dalmation coast, with Split being no exception, there is an abundance of beautiful fresh fish and seafood to sample and enjoy and the best way to do so is to seek out a local Konoba (tavern) and get them to share with you their very best catch of the day. Alongside a crisp, cold Croation white wine of course!
One of the very best places that we found to do this in Split was Konoba Marjan, a gorgeous little place tucked away from the main hustle and bustle of the heart of the town where the knowledgable staff know exactly what you need and take great pleasure in making sure you have the most delicious of meals.
Fresh, succulent fish, cooked simply in a little oil with vegetables and potatoes alongside a clean and delightful glass of wine, perhaps with a little freshly made bread to soak up every last morsel. Just perfect and highly recommended!
So that's just a little of what tickled our fancy in beautiful Split. I hope you've enjoyed escaping with me back to Croatian shores and until next time, have a great day and a very happy week!