Split - once under the rule of the Roman Emperor Diocletian - is today one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Mediterranean state. Croatia's second largest city offers the right balance of tradition and modernity. You can stroll through Diocletian's Palace, one of the most impressive Roman relics on the UNESCO World Heritage List, linger in some of the dozens of bars, restaurants and shops, go shopping or choose a day of swimming in the sea. The unique location, surrounded by striking mountains and the Adriatic coast with its turquoise blue water, provides the perfect backdrop and your perfect day.
It is best to start your split day early in the morning with a visit to the Diocletian's Palace, before whole busloads of tourists claim the ancient building complex for themselves. The old residence of the Roman emperor, built in 305 AD, is Split's nucleus, old town and main attraction in one, since 1979 UNESCO World Heritage Site and is considered one of the best preserved monuments of Roman antiquity. Be sure to visit the underground vaults and immerse yourself in Split's past. The ancient cellars convey the real dimensions of the former palace. Cultural events also take place here on a regular basis. On the east side of the palace there is a daily market, and local farmers sell fruit, vegetables, honey, sheep's cheese, bread and Dalmatian ham.
Would you like to have a break and a coffee? Just a few steps from the gates of the old town is the waterfront. Take a seat in one of the countless cafés and order a "Krempita", a puff pastry vanilla slice. Split's harbour promenade has been basking in a new look for a few years now: an elegant pedestrian zone has been created with benches, palm trees and rosemary beds. Even if the modern awnings did not meet with the enthusiasm of all citizens, they meet here on Sunday mornings, chatting and watching the ferries, which connect the Dalmatian city with numerous islands, with Dubrovnik and also Italy, docking and casting off.
Back in the old town, one reaches the magnificent peristyle, a rectangular courtyard surrounded by columns, from the waterfront through the lake gate. Right next to it rises the Sveti Duje Cathedral and its medieval bell tower decorated with round arches. Continuing straight ahead, an alleyway leads to the Golden Gate, the northern exit, guarded by the eight-meter-high bronze statue of Bishop Gregory of Nin, a work of Croatia's most famous sculptor and architect Ivan Meštrović. If you touch the bishop's toe, good fortune will be with you, says the vernacular.
Fancy a bit of shopping? The best place to go is the main shopping street Marmontava Ulica. Here you are sure to find a souvenir for your loved ones in addition to the usual offers: a rich selection of olive oils is available at "Uje", along with pesti and jams. Chocolate fans rave about "Kras", a more than 100-year-old chocolate factory. Others praise "Aqua": Here you can find children's fashion, swimwear and home accessories in a blue and white striped look. The fish market in the middle of the elegant pedestrian zone offers freshly caught sea bream, sardines and tuna. If you want to make a real bargain, from 12 o'clock onwards the fish prices are usually reduced by half.
Apart from the many sights, a jump into the cool water is also a must. Split and the whole Balkan state Croatia impress with crystal clear water, over 200 sunny days, miles of beaches and pine forests. A dream for all sun worshippers. Accordingly, you will also find a number of great beaches in Split: The pebble beach Kasuni, beautifully embedded in pine forests, offers you the perfect ambience to spend a relaxing afternoon by the sea. For all those who do not have a car at their disposal, the beach section Kastelet not far from the port is a good alternative.
To enjoy the setting sun, it is recommended to head for the peninsula of Marjan. Not only on Sunday afternoon the locals are attracted to the hill not far from the port. Through the old fishermen's quarter Veli Varos the way leads to the panoramic terrace with probably the most beautiful view of Split. The path continues to the top of the hill Telegrin, 178 meters high. From there, visitors look out over the Adriatic Sea, on which sailboats are cruising, and in the distance they recognize the islands Brač, Hvar and Čiovo.
Now it's time for a delicious dinner. If you want to try typical Croatian dishes, you should visit the restaurant "Fife" and try braised beef with gnocchi. If you prefer fish or seafood, order the black risotto with squid in the "Nostromo" at the fish market or delicious mussel risotto in the "Konoba Varos".
Ending the day, you can do that in Split and in many places: On Bacvice beach there are several bars and restaurants - here you can also find some of the hippest nightclubs of Split. If you want to spend the evening in a more relaxed way, the Legends Bar is the right place for you; the bar entices with a music mix of jazz, blues and rock n' roll and an atmosphere from the 80s. Or you can just buy a few bottles of beer and drink it together with the locals on Ovcice beach.
That'll get you there:
with your own car or non-stop with Edelweiss
How long am I supposed to go:
Weekend - can be combined well with round trip to Croatia
Overnight stay tip:
Best time to travel:
Summer half year
Diocletian Palace, Riva, Marajan Peninsula
Nostromo, Fife or http://konobavaros.com