Do you remember when Samm from The Inspiration Highway won a holiday at the icelolly.com #blogatthebeach event back in April? Well she chose Split, Croatia, as the destination and asked me to accompany her (YEAH!), and what a great choice it was. We returned from our long weekend last week and I couldn’t recommend the beautiful Croatian hotspot highly enough. If you are looking for beauty and history all contained within one walkable city, then Split is for you!
Split is a popular destination for cruise ships, in fact we saw a minimum of 3 docked every day, and it’s easy to see why. However, as a cruise ship passenger, your time is usually limited to just one day, which is great as an introduction to Split, but, having spent 4 full days there, I can confirm that there is enough in this compact city to keep you occupied, interested, and happy for a lot longer.
After arriving in Split the previous evening, we simply grabbed a quick drink and hit the hay. Following a great night’s sleep, we were ready to explore Split to its fullest. We had a a walking tour of the city booked for 10:00 am, so we set off from our apartment, allowing ourselves what we thought was plenty of time to meet our tour guide. Having traversed many a city, I can honestly say this was the most difficult to find my way around, even Google Maps wasn’t helping the situation. This, together with the fact that we kept getting stuck behind massive groups on their walking tours down the narrow streets, meant that we were a tad late to meet our tour guide, Josko. Luckily for us, we were the only people on his walking tour, therefore not holding a group of people up. I hate people who do that, so I was panicking, thinking that I was going to be THAT person!
The walking tour was a great way to familiarise ourselves with the city, passing through the farmers market, the promenade, many of the old streets and even into the basement of the Palace which the city is built upon. I am so pleased we took the walking tour on our first day in the city, as it allowed us to make a mental list of places we wanted to return to during our stay. Although I will be honest, some of the things we saw we never visited again, simply because we couldn’t find them 🙂 Our walking tour ended at the Ugostiteljski Obrt cafe where we enjoyed a couple of local beers and a welcome lunch of salad, cheeses and bread. We then enjoyed a slow walk back to our apartment in the lovely late afternoon Croatian sun, where we got ready for the evening’s entertainment.
With a wine tasting session booked, we were conscious that we had no idea where we where going, and we were sure the city’s walls where moving, maze runner style. So we set off with plenty of time to get there with time to spare. Of course we got lost, but what’s worst than getting lost? Getting lost in the rain! Yep, it chucked it down and would not stop. I was livid that Yahoo Weather had not warned me of this, and by the time we got to Diocletian’s Wine House, I resembled a drowned rat. Once inside, we tried some wine and ate more cheese and bread. It was lovely, but over way too quickly and left us wanting more lovely Croatian wine. We therefore headed to Pjaca – Narodni Square, where there are lots of bars and restaurants, and indulged in a bottle (or two).
Working full time can be stressful, all those early mornings and not many opportunities to unwind – sound familiar? So we decided to have a Beach Day. Granted, Split is not famed for its beaches, but it has got a couple, and we were determined to hunt one down. And hunt one down we did. Following our map that Josko had drawn our route on on the previous day, we found Bačvice beach. I will be honest, it wasn’t the cleanest or most beautiful, but it was a beach none the less. It was extremely full of people, but we managed to hunt down two available sun loungers and plonked ourselves down on them. Within seconds we were being charged 50 kuna to use them, and the loungers were marked with a purple sticker accordingly. Throwing your towel down on the sand and lying on it is, of course, free to do.
After a lovely day of relaxation, we decided that a proper meal was in order. Having survived off predominately salad and cheese since we arrived, we decided to find a nice restaurant to sit down and have dinner at. So, showered and changed, we hit the streets of Split on the hunt for hot delicious food. We checked out a few menus before deciding on a restaurant in Pjaca – Narodni Trg Square. Sometimes you just need a pizza, and this was one of those times! Hot, cheesy and massive – perfect, accompanied by a lovely bottle of Croatian white wine and followed by 3 White Russian cocktails as dessert!
At the end of our walking tour on day 1, Josko marked some places of interest on our map for us, one of which was a viewing point where he promised we would find amazing views over Split. Therefore, we grabbed our morning smoothie from one of the many stalls on the main promenade, and followed the signs to Marjan. We then walked up the (what felt like a million and one) stairs to the viewing platform. Boy, Josko wasn’t wrong – the views over Split were phenomenal, so much so that the photographs do not do it justice.
Next stop on our list was Been Beach – a hot spot for locals. It’s located at around 20 minutes walk from central Split. Here we found people swimming in the crystal clear waters, and sun bathing on the rocks – we, of course, joined them. In fact, it was nice to get away from the throng of the city for a couple of hours. With our stomachs rumbling, we wandered back into town along the waterfront and past the marina before choosing F-Marine as a great spot to grab lunch – a couple of salads and a couple of lemon beers, all enjoyed in the sunshine.
After lunch we continued our walk along the waterfront and back into town to explore further. We headed straight for the North Gate of Diocletian’s Palace and the statue of Gregory of Nin, a medieval Croatian bishop of Nin who strongly opposed the Pope and official circles of the Church which made Christianity stronger within the Croatian kingdom. The statue now has one gold toe where people have rubbed it over the years for good luck. We, of course, joined in! We explored the city further, stopping to admire the cathedral on our way back to our apartment.
That evening (our last) we enjoyed a great meal at Tinel Trattoria which is located on Tomića Stine 1, a part of town that we had not yet had the pleasure of visiting. Predominantly a seafood restaurant, we thought that we – one vegetarian and one non seafood lover – would struggle to find something to eat on the menu. But that was not the case. We happily tucked into amazing food, drank great local wine, and chatted the night away.
It was our last day and we didn’t want to waste it by sitting around all day waiting for our airport transfer. Therefore we hit the beach again in a desperate attempt to absorb a few more rays of sunshine before heading back to England. As the hours passed in what felt like seconds, we realised it was mid afternoon, and we should probably grab something to eat before we headed home. We chose one of the restaurants on the main promenade – Bobis. We both ordered delicious vegetarian wraps, our favourite lemon beer, and, as I had not had chocolate for over a week and it was our final meal in Split, I even treated myself to a cookie and chocolate ice-cream dessert – it was amazing!
Split is a great city that I think many overlook in favour of Croatia’s capital, Dubrovnik. There is plenty to do and see in Split that will keep you entertained for days on end, together with more restaurants and bars than you can shake a stick at. With September temperatures reaching the high 20s, it was pleasant to wander about the city and also to relax on the beach. Also, temperatures didn’t drop much at night. However, it did rain, and I mean RAIN, every night bar one during our stay, making the limestone paving throughout Split like an ice rink! Therefore, I recommend wearing sensible shoes at all times! I personally would love to return to Croatia with Mr ESLT, and hopefully we will be able to fit it in at some point next year.
- I visited Split, Croatia, as part of the holiday that Samm from The Inspiration Highway won at Icelolly.com‘s #blogatthebeach event earlier this year.