To complete the Croatia trifecta, we finished off our adventure with a stay in Split, the second largest city in the country. Immediately upon arrival not only do you notice there is a lot of hustle and bustle around “old split” but that “old split” is steeped in rich history waiting for you to explore.
Split Walking Tour
A walking tour of Split is a must because you will quickly realize that the streets you are walking are all within Diocletian’s Palace built in 293 AD. Though within the old palace walls most of the current buildings were not constructed 1000 plus years ago, there are plenty of original structures still standing.
One such structure is the Vestibule, a large domed structure in which Diocletian himself used to greet visitors. Now the dome’s top is partially open and if you are lucky you will catch a Klapa group taking advantage of the incredible acoustics and singing traditional folk songs.
If you are a game of thrones fan, you will want to make your way down into the palace basement, where the dragon dungeon scenes were filmed. For those who have never seen an episode of the hit show in your life, you will still be able to appreciate all of the exhibits and stalls lining the passageways.
This basement, though clean as a whistle now, was not always that way. Back in the middle ages the basement was actually used as a dumping ground for sewage and trash for years. Lucky for us the trash is not only gone but actually helped preserve the structure of the basement and kept it in pristine condition. Archeologists have been able to use the preserved basement to help guide the blueprint of the upstairs apartments which no longer exist.
General Recommendations For Split, Croatia
Havar and Dubrovnik are your beach cities. Split is one where we would recommend opting for a room in the heart of Old Split rather than a place by the water. The lively restaurants and shops in the city center are a can’t miss and are the essence of what makes this city so special. In fact, many residents who own property inside the palace walls leave for the summer and rent out their places to tourists looking for an amazing place to stay. That’s right, you have the opportunity to stay inside the walls that make up the foundation of Split itself.
Not only does Split have a plethora of restaurants with authentic Croatian cuisine to choose from both within the palace walls and outside the walls, but they also have shops for you to explore.
Yes they have big brands like Zara, but they also have a number of locally owned book shops, clothing stores, curated art and so much more. I would recommend leaving yourself some time to peruse the shops and find all the treasures that Split has to offer.
Krka National Park
A bus tour to Krka National Park is the perfect day trip for anyone staying in Split. Your guide will fill your hour and fifteen minute ride with tidbits of knowledge on both Croatian history and Split history, before you get off and explore the wonders of Krka National Park.
The leisurely hike through Krka’s scenic trail to the Skradinski buk waterfall can take between 1 to 2 hours to complete. Though it is tempting to rush to the breathtaking views of the falls, enjoy the journey! Krka National Park is filled with beautiful views and windows into the lives of Croatian wildlife, every step is filled with something beautiful.
You can spend the day at Krka hiking, biking and exploring or you can take a ferry to Skradin, a medieval town located about 20 minutes away. This small ancient town dates back to 34 BC and was highly sought after for years because of its location. Because of this, there is now a fortress right in the town center for people to climb which will give the best views up and down the river.
You can’t go wrong when visiting Croatia, and although hitting Dubrovnik, Hvar, and Split might be stereotypical travel plans for tourists, it’s common for a reason! Each town is so unique and packed with its own history and adventures, you have to visit them all. Next time you are making travel plans, move Croatia to the top of your list because it is a can’t miss!