Split is the first stop on any Coastal Croatia itinerary! With so much to see (even in shoulder season) here are 5 things you MUST do in this ancient Roman city!
Toasting our spectacular view of the Alps as Lufthansa flew us into Split Resnik Airport (SPU), Boyfriend and I could barely contain our excitement! With his tenure as a bank consultant in Brussels finally over and my first request for a full manuscript received and responded to, we were ready to kick off my birthday week with a BANG.
Split was the perfect place to begin our Croatian road trip. Gracing the coast like a pristinely preserved antique ornament, this city wows with every stone step. Within its high white walls you’ll feel like you’ve stumbled back in time — as long as you keep looking up, of course! Much of the old city is composed of the remains of Diocletian’s Palace that still dazzle over fifteen centuries after their construction. And as night descends the city glows, warm and inviting, ethereal and romantic.
Have a stroll, have a dance, have a drink, have another! However you choose to see it, this pretty city won’t disappoint.
And if you only have one day like we did, here are Five Things You MUST Do in Split while you’re there:
1. Explore Diocletian’s Palace
When Emperor Diocletian abdicated his position as head of the Roman Empire in 305, he moved into this beautiful palace. Luckily for us, it’s since been taken over by shops, restaurants and even residents, which allows us to wander through it for free!
For an extra fee you can visit the cathedral, baptistery and crypt, or climb the bell tower of St. Domnius Cathedral, the oldest Catholic Church in the world. But the best place to be at the palace is in Peristil Square at night, beer in hand, listening to an acoustic guitarist serenading the crowd gathered on the cathedral steps below the sphinx.
Yes, there’s a sphinx!
2. Get lost in Old Town
This pretty ancient Roman city is full of surprises just waiting to be discovered. Little local oil shops, lavender carts, clothing boutiques, markets, cafés and wine bars… they’re hiding around every corner. It just takes a little getting lost to find them!
3. Eat a little of this… And a little of that… And a little of this…
Boyfriend and I have a sliiiight love affair… with food! And we had a great time eating around Split. The restaurants are adorable with great atmospheres and tasty Mediterranean bites. Try Uje Oil Bar or Bokeria Kitchen & Wine Bar for yummy appetizers, Zinfandel Food & Wine Bar for Italian dishes and live music, or just wander around and have a seat at any of the small konobas for a fresh grilled fish straight out of the sea.
[Tip: The food here is pretty pricey, which is why we opted for small plates in a few different places rather than sitting for a big meal in one restaurant. Plus, fun!]
4. Go yacht-gazing on the Riva waterfront
Lined with palm trees and cafés, this waterfront walkway is a great place to take a stroll in the sun, have a cocktail, and people watch. It’s also the place you’ll find tour boats with snorkel trips to the surrounding islands and mega yachts from all over the world during high season. And, if you’re lucky, you might just happen upon a festival or concert going on in the area!
5. Be a day tripper
Split, beyond its own beauty, is the ideal jumping-off point to onward Croatian travel! Tour buses leave to the nearby Krka Waterfalls under which, unlike those at Plitvice, you can actually swim. Local buses transport you to the quaint medieval city of Trogir, or the Game of Thrones filming location, Klis Fortress (known to fans as Meereen, the place Queen Dany “KILL[ED] THE MASTERS”). Ferries at the port connect Split to the islands of Brac, Hvar, Vis, Korcula, or even mainland Dubrobnik.
[Tip: Because we traveled during shoulder season, our bus and ferry options were significantly more limited. While we still highly recommend visiting in the shoulder season for a much more authentic Croatian vibe, be sure to check transportation times as soon as you arrive places to be sure you have the most recent information.]