Welcome back to the City Break segment where I look at less obvious destinations to escape to for that long weekend to recharge and explore somewhere a little different. In this post we head to the spectacular coastal city of Split in Croatia.
Split is the second largest city in Croatia and sits on the eastern side of the spectacular Adriatic Sea. It also serves as the main hub to the Croatian islands and has become prominent more recently due to the TV series “Game of Thrones” having been filmed here.
Arguably the most famous landmark in Split is Diocletian’s Palace. A World Heritage Site, the palace was built for the Roman Emperor Diocletian back in the 4th century and the palace actually takes up around half of the old town due to its sheer size.
Split has had a vast history due to it having changed hands so many times. It was founded as a Greek colony, then was taken over by the Romans only for it to become Byzantine before finally being seized by the Venetians so when you’re walking around Split you do see the Italian influence in the architecture and decor, not to mention the food. I respectfully likened Split to a cleaner version of Italy as a result.
Being right on the Adriatic Sea means that Split can boast some of the best and freshest food in all of Europe. The obvious draw here is the seafood and let me tell you the calamari here is superb as you’d expect. All of the seafood is super fresh and available in just about every restaurant. If you prefer to cook your own there is also a fish market within the old town that’s very good too. I found Croatian cuisine to be very good generally with some influence from Italy and other Balkan countries found in the cuisine. There certainly wasn’t a bad meal during my time here and my personal favourite place in Split would have been Black Cat Restaurant close to the port.
Split is very well connected transport wise too. The obvious method here is the ferry and it’s a good network with other Croatian towns such as Zadar, Dubrovnik and the Croatian islands all accessible as well as Italy which makes travelling by ferry a popular option. Coupled with the fact that the Adriatic Sea is incredibly calm it’s really quite a smooth way to travel in a scenic way.
Another great part of Split is the pedestrianised Riva area. It’s a long paved section that follows the waterfront the length of the Old Town that continues all the way to the port. There are loads of cafes and bars along it and it’s a brilliant place to do a bit of people watching or just take an Aperol Spritz and while away a few hours in the glorious Croatian sunshine. I did notice lots of locals out and about during the day, the Croatians value socialising highly which was great to see.
Now it would be remiss of me to write about Split and not make mention of the nightlife so if this is what you were wondering about then I have to say – IT IS BRILLIANT! I was recommended a backpackers bar in the old town called Charlie’s which was great fun and a massive laugh! There’s an area in Split down on the beach past the port called “Bacvice” which is a two storey building that houses 4-5 nightclubs and bars all next to each other and where the locals like to party. I made friends with the Charlie’s staff where they offered to show me Bacvice after their shift finished one night and it was a great night. The Croatians really know how to party and the set up by the water, like Riva, was phenomenal. I had such a good time I went back the night after. Split really resonated with me and it was certainly hard to leave after my 4 days there.
So there you have it. If you’re looking for a weekend full of culture, originality in a top location without breaking the bank – try Split! You’ll be glad you did!