Split is the second largest city in Croatia and the largest city in Dalmatia. Its oldest area dates back to the 3rd century BC and the city has been ruled by many emperors, the most famous of which is Diocletian. Split has survived many battles and stood tall even in the hardest of times. With so much history, there’s plenty to see and do so today guest blogger Ashley Colburn shares her inside knowledge of the city with a guide on how to spend a day in Split.
In the morning
Whether you’re arriving into Split by boat, car or plane, one thing is certain – all roads lead to the Riva. Known as Split’s ‘living room’, the Riva is the favourite walkway and coffee spot for locals. Enjoy a coffee with views by the seaside and take a look at the latest fashion trends (Split women are known for their beauty and style).
If you’re in the mood for breakfast at this popular spot, visit Brasserie on 7. It has an international breakfast that can please even the pickiest person. From all sorts of omelette to the full English breakfast, you won’t start your day hungry. This isn’t your only option as Split is full of charming little bakeries and pastry shops that won’t break the bank. You can find Tradicija bakery on the first street up after the Marko Marulic statue. This statue is located in a little passageway right next to the Riva – search for PBZ bank and keep it on your left as you go find Tradicija.
Now that you’re all set and awake, take a short stroll through the streets of old town Split and explore the UNESCO World Heritage site of Diocletian’s Palace. Make sure you walk through the Peristyle (central square) and take a picture with one of the Roman soldiers for a taste of ancient times.
Head up high
Then look up to the sky and search for the highest building around. That’s the belfry of Saint Duje, commonly know as St. Domnius. It is 57 metres high and its construction went on for 300 years until completion. The climb is not for the fainthearted, but it will certainly be one of the best things you have seen that day. Make sure you don’t skip visiting the Cathedral of St. Duje, one of the best-preserved ancient Roman buildings standing today (cathedral USD $5, belfry USD $3). Once you’re there, take a 2-minute walk to the statue of Grgur Ninski, made by the famous Croatian sculptor Ivan Mestrovic. Rub Grgur’s toe and make a wish – you never know, it might come true one day!
If you loved the look of this statue, go visit Galerija Ivan Mestrovic and marvel at the extraordinary talent of the then-child prodigy who dedicated his whole life to making sculptures (USD $5).
Not that into art? Rent a bike and head to the forest-covered hill of Marjan instead. Here you can go on scenic walks, relax on Kašjuni beach or check out the viewpoints for stunning vistas of the sea.
After all this you’ll be hungry so make time for lunch. The best dining options are back in the old town of Split so grab a taxi. If you’ve still got the energy you could always cycle back into town. Once there try Mazgoon Food restaurant for memorable dishes that you won’t find elsewhere. Further out of town is Konoba Matoni for Mediterranean food served in a modern way. Another great option, and new addition to the dining scene in Split, is Perivoj restaurant. It’s known for its variety of tasting menus and divine cakes.
In the afternoon
The rest of the afternoon should be dedicated to Bačvice beach. This is Split’s favourite beach and is filled with bars and sunbeds for you to enjoy. Relax in the sun or go for a swim in the deep blue water of the Adriatic. It’s also a great spot for people-watching – you’ll see locals playing a game called ‘picigin‘, which will look like belly flops into the water while hitting around a ball.
Drag your leisurely afternoon out until sunset and make sure you’re at Sustipan in time to watch the sun go down. This old graveyard is located on the southwest cape of Split harbour and is the most popular spot for sunsets amongst the locals. It’s also perfect for a little wander so arrive here with plenty of time to spare before sunset.
Dinner on a terrace sounds lovely, doesn’t it? If you agree, take your evening meal at Bistro NoStress, one of the most-loved spots for both locals and tourists. Located in the heart of the old town, it does get busy. If it’s a little too crowded for you, try Bokeria instead where you’ll find a mix of traditional and urban food made from fresh, local produce.
Feeling like the night is still young? Visit Fabrique bar and dance until the early hours of the morning. Split’s nightlife is a real attraction and expect to go out around 10 or 11pm and stay out until the sun rises. Locals will often go to Vanilla Club for traditional music and everyone often ends up in Central Club, right in the heart of the city.
If you find yourself with more time to spare in Split, try these recommendations too:
- Have ice cream at Luka Ice Cream and Cakes.
- Go to the market right next to the Riva and shop for some souvenirs.
- Go see the Poljud Stadium, the soccer field of Croatia’s oldest soccer team – Hajduk Split. If you’re a fan, try to catch a match.
- Take a taxi to Klis and see the fortress of Klis, a popular Game of Thrones filming location.
Ashley Colburn is a California native who spends half the year living in Croatia. Ashley began her career as a host, producer, and writer for Wealth TV in 2009 and has since won awards, including an Emmy, for her travel shows. She now runs her own production company, www.ashleycolburnproductions.com, and is teaching a Travel Journalism course. You can follow Ashley on Instagram @ashley_colburn.
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