Hello again! It’s time to talk about the second stop on our Croatian road-trip: the city of Split! This is the largest city on the Dalmatian coast and the 2nd largest in Croatia. It’s known for it’s long promenade along the harbor, stunning islands off the coast and a Roman palace downtown.
Upon arriving by bus from Zadar, we had quite the adventure locating our Airbnb. Since house numbers aren’t very clearly marked here, we actually ended up going inside some Croatian woman’s house before realizing it wasn’t the right place. She was very sweet about it and called her neighbor for us.
Our Aibrnb was very small. The location and price ($33 / night) was amazing so we couldn’t really complain about the size. We also got a few good laughs in the close quarters together.
Our first mission in Split was to get downtown and check out Diocletian’s Palace. It was built for the Roman emperor Diocletian in 305 AD. This area is particularly wonderful at night because of the live music in the square and seats along the steps. The bar next to the palace serves drinks in the plaza. Our last night in Split we caught the tail-end of the performance!
After spending some time wandering around Diocletian’s Palace, we decided to climb the church tower (seen in the picture above). It costs 20 Kuna ($3.50) to climb to the top of St. Domnius tower. It’s 176 steps and definitely not for the faint of heart. Unfortunately, I could only make it to the first level of this tower.
I waited patiently in a nice window, admiring the view, while Mark climbed to the top. After the first level, the stairs become see-through and that’s a big problem for me. I don’t recommend trying this if you’re afraid of heights.
After our rendezvous with the bell tower, we headed out in search of Marjan Hill. It’s quite the hike to get all the way to the top, but if you’re not feeling as adventurous, there’s a nice path that leads to a view point over looking the city. This is as far as our tired legs would carry us, even though we had originally planned to go to the top.
We made it the viewpoint as the sun was starting to set over Split. The city was glowing.
After all that walking–we were in need of some dinner. Since we were on a strict budget for our Croatia trip, we had done a little research and found a nice take-out place not far from the bottom of Marjan Hill. Katun Paulina is mostly known for it’s sandwiches (burgers, sausages, chicken) with a spicy tomatoe sauce served on a big bun. There are a few benches outside the restaurant where you can eat. We had originally planned to walk back to the promenade with our sandwiches but people watching outside Katun Paulina was just as nice. The most famous sandwich here is Cevapi (small sausages made of minced meat, served with onions and peppers).
For our second day in Split, we wanted to visit Klis Fortress (set high in the mountains overlooking the city). One of our main interests for visiting Klis had to do with the fact that some scenes in Game of Thrones were filmed here. It cost 40 Kuna (roughly $7) to visit and it’s actually pretty easy to get there by bus (Line 22 outside the National Theater). Since it was a holiday in Croatia the day we wanted to visit Klis however, the busses weren’t running! We ended up meeting a British couple at the bus stop who also wanted to visit Klis. We split an Uber with them there and back (costing $10-15 each way).
It was very hot the day we visited Klis and there is limited shade / shelter there. We ended up spending 1.5 hours exploring the fortress before heading back to the city. Stay tuned for more about Klis in our Game of Thrones blog post coming soon!
Due to the heat, we spent the rest of our day at a beach that was 20 minutes walking from our Airbnb. Croatia has some of the most stunning coastline I’ve ever seen, but the beaches in Split aren’t exactly the nicest beaches. Most of the area is man-made and shore space is limited. If you’re looking for impressive beaches–you need to head off the mainland and to the islands of Brač and Hvar.
The following morning we did just that–headed for the islands with a boat cruise through Summer Blues. We were blown away by how fun this boat trip was to the island of Brač! To read more about our day trip, check out our previous blog post Brač Island.
For our final full day in Split, we decided to take another day trip to Krka National Park. Even though TLC warned us not to, we couldn’t help but chase more waterfalls on our Croatian adventure. (See our previous post about Plitvice National Parks here). This place is so stunning, we are writing our next post about it!
For our last evening in Split, we went to a nice restaurant called Konoba Lučac. We had found this place during our walk to the beach and noticed the name from our research. We highly recommend the wild boar stew with gnocchi–amazing flavor! They have a nice outside seating area in the back as well.
Overall, Split wouldn’t be our number 1 recommendation for a trip to Croatia. It’s a great home base for some day trips (to the islands, Krkra or even Plitvice). Our highlight here was definitely our time spent on the island of Brač off the coast. If we were ever to return, I think we would prefer to stay on the islands, rather than in Split.
Check out this video blog about our time in Split & Brač, and stay tuned for our next post about Krka!