With over 10 miles of
Conquer this coastal town
With over 10 miles of
Discover the charms of Split, with an idyllic combination of seafront scenery and mesmerising history. Whether you kick back on the beaches, take a boat trip across the azure waters or venture through the labyrinthine streets of the city – Split is a utopian summer destination.
Within the walled centre you’ll find the impressive Diocletian’s Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and dozens of bars, restaurants and shops that spill from the atmospheric old town. For more of a glam “beach club” vibe, hop on the hourly shuttle boat to Kasjuni beach on the Marjan peninsula. Take in the spectacular views from Marjan Hill or hire a bicycle and discover the hidden beaches of the Dalmatian Coast. Take a daytrip to glamorous Hvar or idyllic Korcula, two of the islands that make up the Split archipelago. Book flights to Split and soak up Split’s glorious sunshine, while sipping Croatian red wine along the Riva or play traditional ball game, picigin, on Bacvice beach.
There’s plenty to discover on your Split holiday. Pick your way through spectacular ancient ruins, immerse yourself in local art or sample some unique wines and gastronomy. There’s no shortage of ways to experience this sun-kissed, scenic coastal city.
1. Split’s Old Town is dotted with distinctive bronze statues by Croatia’s most renowned 20th-century sculptor Ivan Mestrovic. Look out for his statue of Grgur Ninski, the 10th Century bishop who did much to bolster national identity, and rub the statue’s toe for good luck. To learn more about the artist and his work, call in to Galerija Mestrovic, his former seaside villa on the Marjan peninsula. As well as its permanent indoor collection of 200 sculptures, the gallery has an inviting sculpture park strewn with cypress trees, and the villa’s stone balcony gives splendid views over Brac and Hvar.
2. Visit a Game of Thrones fortress. Klis Fortress is an imposing medieval fortification just outside Split. It doubles up as Meereen, a key location in season four of Game of Thrones. Klis’s history dates to the 2nd Century BC, when it was founded by the Illryians before being taken over by the Romans. It later came under Ottoman and Venetian rule, and even Napoleon for a brief spell. After checking out the GoT display in the gunpowder chamber, take in the spectacular views of the surrounding valley from St Vitus Church at the very top.
3. Discover the ancient ruins of Salona, the most architecturally important ruins in Croatia. Once a key administrative centre in the Roman empire’s Dalmation province, home to 60,000 people, it was sacked by the 7th Century. Today a significant number of ruins remain including numerous sarcophagi, a basilica, the remains of a spa, public baths and a 2nd Century AD amphitheatre that once seated 18,000.
4. Picture a piece of ancient Rome at Peristil. This attractive colonnaded courtyard sits right at the heart of the Diocletian Palace. This square was the spot where Diocletian addressed his subjects.and the red granite denotes its ceremonial function. By the 14th Century it was superseded by a new square which saw it transform into a key religious centre. Today it’s the perfect place to linger over a coffee, best taken sitting on red cushions on the steps. Look out for the 3,500-year-old granite sphinx looted from Egypt which keeps a watchful eye on proceedings.
5. Taste some Dalmatian wines. Call in at Paradox, a stylish wine and cheese bar with a cool rooftop terrace, for a personalised introduction to some of the region’s 80 varieties. Here the knowledgeable sommeliers will prescribe a suite of wines to suit both your personal preferences and the time of year. Expect a thorough overview of Dalmatia’s wine culture accompanied by some tasty cheese platters.
Split’s Old Town is essentially comprised of the Diocletian Palace. The UNESCO-listed walled palace was built in the 4th Century as the Emperor’s retirement home, though he only lived there for a decade before being assassinated. Many of the palace’s buildings are still standing today, now housing numerous museums, shops, restaurants, cafes and even private residences. Take time to explore the Cathedral and Bell Tower of Saint Domnius, one of the world’s oldest operating Catholic churches. Pass by the unfinished Temple of Jupiter and marvel at the Vestibule – the formal entrance hall where only the most important guests were welcomed and where today you may be greeted with a performance by a ‘klapa’ singing group. Don’t miss browsing the stalls at the Podrum Underground Market in the bowels of the palace, on the site of a former prison. The Ethnographic Museum is also worth several hours.
Podstrana is a small upscale, scenic tourist town just five miles outside of Split, well known for its wine and olives. Podstrana comprises five villages: Gornja Podstrana, Strozanac, Grljevac, St. Martin and Mutogras. There’s four miles of pebble beaches with small sandy stretches offering family-friendly spaces with crystal clear waters to splash around in. The town is something of a gastronomy hotspot with numerous taverns, restaurants and pizzerias serving traditional Dalmatian cuisine, such as black risotto, peka, pasticada and prosciutto, served with cheese from the nearby island of Pag. The town is also rich with archaeological finds, including megalithic blocks of the original Pituntija walls, a section of a Roman mosaic in the old cemetery of St. Martin, Illyrian castles in the old town, remains of a Roman stone olive mill and the torso of Roman deity.
The Makarska Riviera is one of Croatia’s key tourist destinations. Located between Vruja and Brela, in the north-west, and Gradac in the far south. The Makarska Riviera is a 37-mile stretch of coastline known for its long pebble beaches, beautiful scenery, cultural heritage, comfortable hotels and rich cuisine and wine. The imposing Biokovo Mountain overlooks the coast. The area is famed for its beautiful, pine tree lined beaches and secluded bays. Some key towns on the riviera include Brela and Baska Voda, prized for its beaches, popular holiday resorts Podgora and Tucepi, Makarsa itself and Gradac.
Solin is a small inland town popular with families. Visit the 18th Century Gaspina Mlinica watermill, the Jadro River and Our Lady’s Islet, a small islet housing the 19th Century St Mary’s Church and the remains of a much older church from the 10th Century. There are also some modern interactive sculptures by artist Ivan Tokic just outside the town. By far the major draw here though are the remnants of the Roman town Salona that was once the Dalmatian capital and the birthplace of the Emperor Diocletian.