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Split is in the superstar shadow of Dubovnik, but its budget food and lodgings, coastal setting and maze-like Diocletian’s Palace give it a gold star.
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It certainly has an unusual but also memorable name for us, English speakers. Our first cruise port on our 7-day Mediterranean cruise last June was Croatia’s second largest city, Split. Located on the country’s Dalmatian coast, this was our first glimpse of Split from the ship. With majestic mountains standing behind the coastal city, we couldn’t wait to see what it had to offer.
We didn’t set up a shore excursion with the ship. From previous cruise experiences, we knew there were going to be many tour companies waiting for passengers outside the port gate. They’re also usually cheaper than the ones offered by the cruise ship.
It was a bit overwhelming to see all the tour guides and companies when we came out.
Planning a trip to Croatia? It’s likely that Dubrovnik is on your itinerary. Everyone knows about Dubrovnik, what with its whole Game of Thrones connection.
So, when I tell people I’ve spent the last month in Split, I’m met with some entertaining responses. Some are along the lines of what the hell am I doing and when am I coming back to ‘reality’, but others, the ones that concern me most, say something like: “What could you possibly be doing in Split for that long? It’s just a stop-over on the way to Dubrovnik.”
I mean, I guess if you’re not into exploring 1,700 years of history, indulging in truly fantastic (and underrated) cuisine, buzzing nightlife, and gorgeous coastline everywhere you look, then sure, it’s just a stop-over.
With the rugged Dalmatian mountains as a backdrop and the azure Adriatic Sea lapping its shores, Split is emerging as one of the must-see cities of Europe.
Come for the scenery and fall in love with the people who know how beautiful their city is and are proud to show it off.
It’s a magnificent blend of antiquity and modernity, with the relics of its time as part of the Roman Empire celebrated as much as the al fresco wining and dining that tourists expect.
Don’t miss the islands dotting its coastline; they’re easy to get to from the mainland – even for a day trip – and truly stunning.
1. THE RIVA, SPLIT
There’s always a buzz on this wide, palm tree-lined promenade abutting the Adriatic but it certainly ramps up come late afternoon.
Vibrant Split, stunningly located between mountains and island speckled sea, is one of Croatia’s most diverse and alluring cities. Roman ruins, museums and cathedral’s rub alongside flashy terraces and a thriving Riviera, creating an enticing fusion of modern and medieval. At its centre are the remains of UNESCO World Heritage Site, Diocletian’s Palace and atmospheric old town, filled with small bars, restaurants, boutique shops and natural wonders at every available twist and turn along the cobbled streets and courtyards of the fourth century. There’s little wonder why travellers stay longer than their ‘stop-over’ intentions, enchanted by the magical sights and beautiful ambience. Here are five very good reasons to visit Split.
World Heritage Sites