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Ultimate Guide to Split, Croatia

Split-Karlaroundtheworld

 

Time to Split!

I wasn’t able to appreciate just how small Croatia is until I visited their second-largest city. Called “Split”, the city is also the largest city in the Dalmatian region. Aside from being a popular tourist spot in itself, Split is also known as a transport hub for the rest of the Adriatic islands. That means it hosts a lot of people every year — but it’s such a small place!

With an area of a little less than 80 square kilometers, Split is one of those rare tourist spots where you can walk to any place you wish and visit anything within a couple of hours. There’s not even a need to bring a map! But I spent 4 days in this wonderful city, and by that time I was able to appreciate the must see attractions in Split.

How t get there

Split is accessible via international flights through the Split Airport. It was pricey, though, so I opted to fly in from Brussels to Zadar via Ryan Air. It cost me about 30 EUR (17 EUR plus my bags). I landed in Split later via bus, which took approximately three hours of overland travel.

It is also possible to fly in from Zagreb or Dubrovnik, but the bus system in Croatia is also really good.

Here are some must see things in Split, Croatia:

Day 1: The Lay of the Land

The Diocletian Palace

I spent the first day walking around the town, which was a pleasant experience. Split has an ancient origin, traced back to the construction of the Diocletian palace back in 350 AD. Today, this palace still stands as one of the most famous tourist spots in the area. It remains one of the most significant architectural achievements of the old Roman Empire.

Cathedral of St. Duje

This is the town symbol, which is seen on the city’s flag. It was built in honor of St. Duje (Saint Dominus), who served as the first Bishop of Salona. Salona is the ancient capital of Dalmatia, where Split is now located. The bell tower is more than 80 meters high, and the view from the top is just majestic!

Game of Thrones Walking Tour

It turns out this part of the world has been extensively used in filming the series. I personally didn’t take part in the tour, but I saw a lot of fellow travelers who did. Most of the spots are easy to find anyway (it includes the Diocletian Palace). However, if you are a fan of the series, it might be a good deal to see exactly where Mereen and other locations are!

Day 2: Life’s a Beach

Bacvice Beach

Our second day was particularly beautiful, so I and the other tourists in the hostel went to Bacvice beach to relax. This is the town’s main beach and is close to the other urban spots. It took us an hour to get here and we passed a couple other beaches on the way. It was really beautiful! I recommend bringing food, as the resto is only active during peak season. We had wine and ham sandwiches, for a perfect day of relaxation. We stayed there until the lights of Split lit up the evening.

Marjan Hill

We also dropped by the “lungs of the city”, Marjan Hill. It is covered with lush vegetation, and the air is noticeably cooler here! It also offers amazing views, aside from a smattering of churches (some of them hidden!) and cultural monuments.

Day 3: Krka Waters

 

Krka Waterfalls

On the third day, we visited the Krka National Park, which encloses the Krka river and the eponymous waterfalls. It had been a national park since 1985, and the sights are just so pristine! It’s a haven of flora and fauna, and the perfect place for a stroll. The Skradinski Buk area within the park is a definite must-visit!

Day 4: Driving To The Mountains

Plitvice Lakes National Park

After a long ride, we finally made it to Plitvice. I heard it was easier to get there from Zagreb, Croatia’s capital city, but I didn’t go there. Instead, we drove to one of the oldest national parks this side of Europe, in one of the more mountainous regions of the country. The blue lakes are lovely! I came here during the offseason, and it was not too crowded. The only thing is that trips to this place don’t leave every day, greatly depending on the number of people. Also, if you wish to swim, I suggest waiting at least until June — the swimming waters of Plitvice and Krka are both closed until then.

Where to stay

 

Photo credit to Tchaikovsky Hostel

We stayed at the Tchaikovsky Hostel (book here), which has a really great location. It is close to most of the tourist spots in the town and is located just right behind the Croatian National Theater. The rooms are really spacious, with generous locker space! Best of all, the rates are affordable.

The hotel has a small common area where the guests can bond together. I met some cool people while I was there, mostly French and Argentinian. Of course, the service is also great! Staff is friendly and informative, and the hotel is always kept clean (especially the bathrooms).

Where to eat

I did not get to splurge much on nearly everything here is expensive. Not as bad as Dubrovnik, where I felt like I can’t even eat out (that’s another story!), but pretty draining on the wallet. I find that Croatia is the most expensive country in the Balkans, at least among those places I’ve been to.

 

Photo credit to TripAdvisor

 

Photo credit to Sexy Cow

But I did get to satisfy my cravings (mainly for Asian food) when I visited That’s All Woks and Sexy Cow. The latter is a must-try! The menu is full of wraps, and they also serve vegetarian dishes. We all loved the food and the price — just 50 Kunas (7 EUR)! Definitely one of the better, cheaper restos out there.

Something to go back to

During my stay in Split, the water was not good enough for me to cross. That’s why I wasn’t able to visit some of the islands off the coast. But I really enjoyed Split, and these islands are great reasons for me to go back! Split is a charming little town, with its own magic — it’s definitely a must-see if you’re around the country.

 

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