As a child, I associated the name Split with a fruity-sweet stick of passion fruit flavor and a vanilla core. This ice cream sweetened many of the summer months in my Black Forest homeland. Decades later, the city of the same name drives away the winter blues. I packed my things in the motor home and followed the heat like a migratory bird. Now I’m sitting in the sun on the Dalmatian coast at 15 degrees and get a sunburn on my nose. What a delightfully sweet life they have here in Split!
Apart from the shallow sandy beach Baˇcvice, Split has other bays, and those to the west are better suited for swimming.
If you really want to drive your vehicle towards the city centre, we recommend the large car park at the train station. Once you’ve made it through the narrow curve of the entrance, you’re safe here, but also expensive.
By bus to the old town
Today’s Old Town life takes place within the walls of Diocletian’s Palace. This reflects Split’s complex role in history. In the year 305, a magnificent complex including a mausoleum was built within just ten years, which served as a retirement home for the Roman Emperor Diocletian. To this day you can guess how stately the property must have been with thermal baths, two freshwater springs and underfloor heating (!).
World Heritage Diocletian’s Palace
Even after the death of Diocletian, Roman emperors lived in the building until it was later expanded as a fortress and served the population as a place of refuge from the Avars and Slavs in the 7th century. Over the course of history, the Roman mausoleum became today’s cathedral. In 1979 UNESCO declared Diocletian’s Palace a World Heritage Site. Even if the palace’s heyday is long gone and the use of the rooms and buildings is constantly changing, it is still full of life today. The people of Split say themselves that where Roman soldiers used to guard the palace, now well-fed cats are the secret rulers of the sacred walls.
The four city gates, which are simply called the Golden, Silver, Bronze and Iron Gates, help with orientation in the old town. The Golden Gate with the soldiers’ corridors and the guard room above the archway is the best preserved to this day. If you happen to be there, just walk the few steps in the direction of the park. A monumental statue catches the eye from afar. This shows Gregory of Nin, who plays a special role in Croatian history as a bishop and cleric. According to legend, stroking the statue’s big toe brings good luck and health.
Relax with a Croatian Veliki Macchiato
After so many first impressions, you should do what most Croatians do in the morning: take a leisurely break in a café. For example, opposite the Cathedral and the vestibule at Cafe Lvxor. It’s worth taking a look inside, as the restaurant is located in the middle of the Roman Temple of Venus. But I want to enjoy the sun, so I sit outside and drink a Croatian Veliki Macchiato (a kind of stronger cappuccino).
As I sip the specialty coffee, I notice how harmoniously tourists and locals work together in Split. There are hardly any restaurants or cafés where only one or the other goes. A black sphinx sits majestically opposite Café Lvxor. A total of twelve of these Egyptian figures stand in the old town, with only the Sphinx next to the cathedral still having a head.
In the evening, we recommend a walk towards the marina. Because when the sun goes down, a unique spectacle of colors takes place there. Split then enchants with alpenglow on Mount Mosor. On particularly windless days, the skyline with Diocletian’s palace is also reflected in the sea. The sweet reward for an eventful day. What more do you want?
There is a lot to discover in the city of Split and in the region around it.
CETINA Agencies offer guided rafting tours or rental kayaks
STADIUM HAJDUK Internationally famous football club
CITY BEACH BAˇ CVICE Flat sandy beach near the old town
DIOCLETIAN PALACE Historical complex from Roman times
CATHEDRAL Imposing church with an eventful history
TEMPLE OF JUPITER Well-preserved structure from the Roman period
MEŠTROVI´C GALLERY Art museum in honor of the sculptor
KAŠJUNE BEACH Picture-perfect beach at Marjan Park
ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM Exhibitions on the prehistoric, ancient and medieval periods
PROMENADE AND PORT RIVA Numerous cafes and restaurants
VESTIBULE Dome-shaped anteroom to the former imperial rooms
MARJAN PARK Green lung and recreational forest of the city
GREGORY OF NIN Famous statue near the Golden Gate
CITY MUSEUM Exciting museum on the history of Split
ETHNOGRAPHIC MUSEUM Exhibition on the culture of Dalmatia
You can camp here
Zvonimira 62, 21218 Seget Vranjica
Open from April 14th to October 31st
Hrvatskih žrtava 121, 21219 Seget Donji
Open from April 1st to October 31st
Šetalište Stjepana Radi´ca 56, 21223 Okrug Gornji
Open from March 26th to November 4th
Uvala Duboka bb, 21223 Okrug Gornji
Open from May 1st to October 15th
Sv. Lovre 6, 21311 Stobreˇc
Open all year
Vukovarska 7, 21310 Omis
Open all year