I don’t know what made me love Croatia so much. It’s so vibrant, chilled, diverse, beautiful – I could go on. Split is stunningly located between mountains and sea. It’s filled with Roman ruins, museums and cathedrals along a modernized seafront promenade Riva. It mixes modern and the medieval well. I visited Split twice, once with my friend as a final destination of our interrailing trip – fell in love with it and came in the same year (2015) but with my family.
Things to do
The beauty of Split was really to not have an itinerary as such, but to relax and just wonder through the streets. That’s why I was tempted to do this blog in a ‘thing to do’ format rather than an itinerary. From the two times I came here, I found that these are the best things to do in Split:
1. People watch at the Riva
As mentioned, the Riva is a bustling part of town used exclusively for strolling, people watching and from sheltering from the heat. It was the fine details of this street that I appreciated – like the white umbrellas, shiny floor tiles, the plush armchairs and the grey crumbly walls of Diocletian’s Palace. It is also serves as a first entry into the old town. During the day, you can find small stalls and lots of colorful lavenders – which fills the street of a pleasant flowery scent. In the evening, there will be street performers that add to the atmosphere. I can sit in the cafes just people watching all day.
2. Climb the hill for a panoramic view.
You cannot visit Split without going up Marian Hill and taking the all-important panoramic view. You can access this from the western end of the promenade and offers outstanding scenery from start to finish. From up the hill, you can truly appreciate the fascinating details of its tall cathedral spires, orange haphazard roof-tops and puzzling narrow passageways. We went just before sunset – just after the hottest part of the day which is the time I recommend going. It is effort to get there – but is a little hidden paradise that you can’t miss.
3. Walk around Diocletian’s Palace
The Diocletian’s Palace is 1700 years old Roman ruin that dominates the city. It is in the heart of the town that is filled with streets and restaurants. It has plenty of attractive ancient columns and steps. A bell tower completes the centre piece which can be climbed for roof top views. It’s amazing that the last time this structure was renovated was during the Middle Ages. It’s almost as if the city was built around the palace as it was like the heartbeat of the city. Even though there are tours talking about the history, we just wanted to walk around and appreciate its beauty.
4. Go to Bacvice beach
Split has a beautiful crystal clear turquoise sea. In all honesty, we spent a huge chunk of our time here just relaxing. One thing to note while sunbathing is to look out for the lively ball game picigin – this is where group of Croatians spend hours smacking a small ball back and forth while remaining knee deep in sea water. It’s a bit like hot tomatoes ball game but in the sea. My family and I did try playing this, but gave up after 10 minutes as we were not great at it, and spent most of the time swimming to pick up the ball. You should give it a go!
When I came here with Hannah as the last stop of our InterRail trip, we decided to use it as a way to refresh ourselves before heading back home. By this point, we had partied in every country we went to. Looking forward to it, we just stayed on the beach soaking in the sun. As always, we ended up being persuaded to go to a pub crawl around Split. It started off in a party boat which was really cool and then ended up in a club overlooking the sea. It was the best night out we had. After the club finished – around 4am – we decided to run into the sea, fully-clothed and go for a little dip. A number of other party-goes followed us. The party scene here is pretty impressive.
Where to stay:
- For backpackers 0 If you are going with a friend, I recommend Grand Hostel Lero
- Address: marjanski Put 7, Split, Croatia
- I stayed here 1 night from 28th to 29th June 2015. We stayed in a standard twin private room because by this point, we just wanted to be anti-social and have our own room. It’s not a hostel in the typical sense – he owns a few apartments of which you stay in one of the bedrooms – but we felt right at home immediately. It was conveniently located around 10 minutes’ walk from Riva, which was perfect.
- For families – I recommend Apartments My Place
- Address: Jadranska 12, 21000 Split, Croatia
- It was so clean and only 200 yards from Bacvice Beach. It is perfect location, perfect apartment and a really lovely host! We rented a car and so it had a free private parking on site which was convenient for us. I would definitely stay here again if visiting Split.