They sell it as "the Mediterranean as it once was", which is quite an advertising campaign hook, quite unrealistic in my opinion. In any case, the Dalmatian coast is a beautiful place to visit and a good way to explore it is on one of the small cruises that run through it. These boats have a limited number of berths (about 15 or so) but this made us build a really good rapport with the other passengers. During the day you can sunbathe on deck and in the evenings you make stops at Dubrovnik, Korcula, Hvar, etc.. One of the most interesting places was the famous Zlatni Rat beach or Golden Horn and, although the ship cannot dock at the shore, it is well worth it.
Historically, the port of Split was nothing more than a dock and a pier for the boats passing by. But trade gradually grew and, as Split expanded, it became one of the main ports of the Mediterranean in the seventeenth century. However, between wars with Candia in 1645 and Morea in 1685, and the endless struggles between the Venetians and Turks for control of the city, its glory didn't last forever. Today it is a major port with daily ferries heading to the nearby islands. It only costs 2-3 euros to take the ferry on foot, but it can get more expensive if you bring a car.
It is impossible to miss the enormous Grgur Ninski Statue that welcomes you at the entrance to the walls of Split. People touch the foot for good luck, so you can see that the big toe of the statue has worn to a golden color from people following this custom! Gregory of Nin (Grgur Ninski) was a tenth-century bishop, known for standing up to the Pope and conducting Mass in the Croatian language. Prior to that, it was only said in Latin, and a largely illiterate population had no idea what was being said. Before the Second World War, this statue used to stand in Diocletian's Palace, but the Italians took it down during the occupation of the city.
The Cathedral of St. Duje (or San Domnius, in Croatian, Cathedral of St. Svetog Dujma) is a Croatian Catholic cathedral that belongs to the Archdiocese of Split-Makarska. Originally the mausoleum of Emperor Diocletian, it was later made into a cathedral in the 8th century and makes up part of Diocletian's Palace, and is considered now a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The Riva is the main promenade of the city of Split. I like it because on one side you can see the walls of Split and Diocletian's Palace, full of small shops and bustling activity, while on the other you can see the harbor with pleasure craft and ferries going to the nearby islands. This is where people go to have an ice cream, but all day you'll only see tourists here: the locals know that the heat is just too much to come here for a walk! There are lots of restaurants here with outdoor seating and while none of them offer cheap food, the quality is good. Go downtown if you're just after a slice of pizza: here you'll find white linen tablecloths and silver cutlery. During the summer you'll see street markets, festivals and performances along the Riva.
One of the most amazing things you can see in Croatia is the Palace of Diocletian, built nearly 2,500 years ago. The incredible thing about it is that this palace has been merged into part of the city, and more than 2,000 people live there today. Inside you'll find homes, pharmacies, shops...it's amazing how well-preserved it is, as you'll see as you stroll through the streets. Only one drawback: the huge number of tourists from large cruise ships, which makes it lose much of its charm.
The Golden Gate, or Porta Aurea, is one of the main entrances on the eastern half of the Split city walls. In front of the door is a huge statue of Grgur Ninski which has become an emblem of the city. Residents touch his toe for good luck. The entire old town is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and there are four entrances to the palace. But you're not entering a ruin: this is the way into the old city, and what was once an exclusive palace is today lived in by ordinary citizens. A wonderful example of living history.
The peristyle is a monumental courtyard, which was formed on the northern entry point to Diocletian's imperial apartments. Now it is the heart of the palace, which is still very lively with tourists of course, but there is also a bar where people come to enjoy drinks, a bank, and tourist information desk. The peristyle used to offer access to the mausoleum of Diocletian, which is now the cathedral Sv Domnio of Split, and three temples on the west. Two of them were destroyed, the third is now a baptistery. The door through which you could enter this part of the palace was the most magnificent, the golden door. It is a magical place, surrounded by birds, it is truly unique. There is Roman and Greek architecture, the peristyle was a place with columns surrounding a courtyard, a place of life most of all, where people gathered to talk, teach and sell their stuff. The entire is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Without doubt this bar has the best views of the ancient city of Split! It's up on Marjan hill the green lung of Split. It's amazing because when we got to Split we only saw large buildings everywhere but this beautiful and green hill appeared in front of us. We loved going up there to have at drink in the bar at dusk.
The beers cost you 1.50 or 2 euros, offering snacks, like most restaurants on the Croatian coast, there is a strong Italian influence in the food, for example pizzas and other Mediterranean tapas. But most of all you have to go for the views. The name of the bar, as you can see in the pictures, is in Hebrew, so you'll have to look for it, luckily there's only one. It's at the top of the stairs rising from the center of the city.
It is the part that starts next to the peristyle of Diocletian's Palace, in the center of the town of Split.It is very well preserved, with Romanesque arches, and now hosts a market of souvenirs and local products. Diocletian's apartments were just above this structure. They tried to fill this part with cement to cover it, but protection agencies landmarks saved it and now it is a lovely place that combines history with modernity. With the shape of the arches, we realize we were above the flat spaces of the emperor. The rest, you already know. The typical souvenir market with postcards, sunglasses, useless objects, some with white stone from the region itself is beautiful, and that the early morning till late.
The eastern gate of Diocletian's palace, which is called the Silver Gate, was a tribute to Saint Apollinaris, a saint who was around at the beginning of Christianity throughout the Mediterranean region. The imperial palace was converted, during the late antiquity, probably during the 6th Century, into a church where St. Apollinaris supposedly protected, with his fantastic powers, the city from invasions, and people entering the palace grounds. A part of the walls and the door were incorporated into the structures of the different buildings around. This was the case for example of the Church of the Holy Innocents, which was later destroyed during the Second World War. Through the silver door, we enter the heart of the palace, towards the mausoleum, the peristyle and the underground, the ancient public baths of the city. On the other side of the door there was a vegetable market. It is not accessible if you come on public transport or car, when visiting you have to go through the gateway to enter.
This market is a beautiful, very lively place with many colors. Croatian food is generally very good, the fruit and vegetables are delicious, it is a very fertile land and sunny so it was logical to visit the site. The market starts right at the golden gate, when you leave the imperial enclosure of Diocletian's Palace. The fish market is on the other side of town, in a purpose built building, but this market is of vegetables, fruit, cheese and honey, outdoors there are other stalls that close each day at the hottest hours, and re-open at 6 o'clock. Prices are very low, and if you are lucky enough to be able to buy some do not miss the delicious cheeses of the region, a large cheese costs 10 euros or so and they are exquisite, the most famous is the one on the island of Pag, it is more expensive, 15 euros per kilo. The fruit does not cost anything, peaches, figs, melons are mostly found in this July market. Interesting market place to visit, where you can enjoy a great variety of things.
The tourist information office is in an old church in Split, the Sveti Roka, next to the porch of Diocletian's Palace. They were very friendly and helpful and helped us plan the rest of our trip to the is Dalmatian coastal islands. A very small office, another example of how the Roman monuments of the palace have been transformed into business premises and offices. Despite the size, it can provide you with a lot of information. Outside the office, there are computer touch screens giving you general information about the city, the culture, the traditions, where to stay, and where and what to eat, the typical dishes of the area, where there are travel agencies ... it works 24 hours a day, this is very convenient if the tourist office is closed. They organize guided tours of the city and in particular Diocletian's Palace every day, costing 90 kuna, which is 13 euro. They can give you the times of the ferries to the islands of Hvar and Korcula, saving you a round trip to the harbor, a half hour walk from there, and people ve, perhaps, speak less English.
By day or night, this great, modern street in Split is full of people walking and eating ice cream or one of the delicious pizzas being served to go. During the day, there are many shops offering international and local brands generally inspired by Italian fashion. Honestly, the prices seemed quite high and though I expected to find some cheaper things, everything is of a good quality, like leather shoes, mostly summer clothes, everything else was imported and was more expensive than in Spain. Marmontova Street is part of the second old town of Split located outside the walls of the palace. When planning for a real city began, and businesses developed with Venicians and Turks, it was necessary to expand the city. The old village then became a major city.
Karepic Palace is located next to the municipal building in Narodni Square, one of the liveliest places in Split, especially at night. Built in the revival style, it was once home to the Karepic family, one of the great merchant families of Spilt who came from Trogir in the fourteenth century to take advantage of the expansion of the city. It is one of the oldest palaces in Split, but what you can see today dates to 1564, during the time of Ivan Karepic, the last of that family who lived here.
Night falls on Diocletian's Palace in the old city of Split. People come to the peristyle, near the cathedral, where the ancient Roman emperor rests in peace. Gulls and other birds circle in the sky. And the Luxur coffee shop is packed. It is not a normal coffee shop, it is another example of how people in Split got used to life round the ruins. You can sit in the stands of the peristyle of the palace, and you will be served drinks! For a bit more comfort, there are cushions, marking out "tables", but in reality, you eat and drink whatever the waiter brings. The Luxor could not have a terrace because of its setting, but used the ruins with cushions to serve people. The place is not very expensive, and at night there is a pianist ve comes to play. Viewing the sunset from there is a magical moment.
Split, like most towns on the Adriatic coast, was an autonomous city at the end of the thirteenth century well into the fourteenth century. At the time, laws were written by the council, and the oldest surviving specimen of one of these dates all the way back to 1312. At this time, the city grew rapidly, with a well-designed network of streets springing up to connect the houses of rich families. The urban area stretched out, with the new public square, Platea Sancti Lorenti, being built. It was mentioned for the first time in a text from 1255.
At the end of the sixteenth century, trade and political relations between the Venetians and Turks settled down so Split became an important business center for Muslims who had no access to the sea. Daniel Rodrigo, a Spanish-born Jewish businessman, started the project to construct these warehouses, where weapons, spices and products from across the Venetian territory and the world were stored. Marco Polo was born near Split, on the island of Korcula, so you can see how important the city was. Here customs, banks, shops and quarantine buildings were also constructed. Today they have become jewellery and souvenir shops.
Considering its status as a UNESCO declared World Heritage Site, it comes as no surprise that there are a wealth of things to do in Split. One of the most important attractions in Split is Diocletian's Palace, a monument built by order of Emperor Diocletian between the third and fourth centuries AD. It is very well preserved and is recognized as one of the most beautiful architectural sites on the Adriatic Coast.
Nearby, you'll find some of the other top Split attractions like the Temple of Jupiter of the Cathedral of Saint Domnius which houses the mausoleum of Diocletian.
The boardwalk, Republic Square, and the Romanesque Cathedral of Saint Lawrence are a few of the other most popular places to visit in Split.
Finally, don't forget to include museums on your list of stuff to do in Split. A good starting point is the Archaeological Museum, one of the oldest in Croatia and built in 1820. But remember, part of Split's charm is found in its ancient streets and picturesque squares, so save some time admit all your Split activities to simply get lost and soak in the city's atmosphere.
For more ideas on what to do in Split, have a look at the recommendations from real travelers on minube. After all, there's no shortage of things to see in Split, it's just a matter of finding the time to see it all!