One Perfect Day in Split

cityscape

Only one day in Split? This bustling Dalmatian city can seem overwhelming at first but with good planning it’s possible to soak up the best sights, cafes, restaurants and shops in one relaxed day.

Start the day on Split’s alluring harborside promenade, Riva, where you can best appreciate Split’s medieval center tucked between the mountains and the sea.

splitpromenade

This pedestrian walkway is cool in the morning light. Pick up a city map in Split’s tourist office at Obala Hrvatskog narodnog preporoda 6 along Riva and then sit down for coffee in Cakula, Obala Hrvatskog narodnog preporoda 6  Check out the beautifully frescoed interior.

Head along Riva to Obala Hrvatskog narodnog preporoda 22  and enter Diocletian’s Palace through the cavernous basement halls, admiring the grandeur of the vaults and cupolas. The palace was built as a residence for Emperor Diocletian and then used as a summer residence for succeeding Roman rulers before being abandoned. Locals began moving into the walled residence in the 7th century and it has been continuously occupied up until the present day.

Palace-Basement

Go to the end of the basement cellars and climb the stairs to the Peristil.

peristil2

Can you just imagine Emperor Diocletian in that central doorway (above)? It was constructed to frame His Majesty as he emerged from his private apartments. This ceremonial court is now a popular meeting place, lined with shops and often the site of street entertainment.

Duck into the octagonal Cathedral of St Domnius built as Emperor Diocletian’s mausoleum. Amid the many artistic treasures within, note the frieze of the emperor and his wife, Prisca. Climb the bell tower for a sweeping view of Split and the outlying islands.

Back down on Peristil, stop in Atelier Perajica, a fascinating photographic studio that’s been in operation since 1949. It’s a good place to view photos of old Split and pick up interesting souvenirs.

From Peristil turn right onto Poljana Kraljice Jelene and leave the palace through the Srebrena Vrata (Silver Gate). Outside is Pazar, the Split outdoor market.

DSCF2242market

Perhaps pick up some fruit for a snack? Or some local brandy? Locals come here to buy and sell their products from old clothes to homemade jam, wine or olive oil.

Re-enter Diocletian’s Palace again using the Silver Gate and keep going across using Kresimirova. After Peristil on your right on Bajamontjeva is Konoba Trattoria Bajamont, the best place in Split for eating like a local. This tiny bar-restaurant cooks up fresh dishes daily, often drawn from the sea, and serves them to an enthusiastic crowd of regulars.

Konoba Trattoria Bajamont

 After lunch, continue in the same direction and and leave the Palace through the Iron Gate. You’ll come to Narodni trg, which was the center of medieval Split. The oldest buildings are on the eastern side, most notably the 15th-century Romanesque Tower. Also on the square is the Ethnographic Museum, worth a stop for the mementos of Old Split which include embroidery, musical instruments and tools (closed Sunday).
From Narodni trg take Zadarska, turn right on Obrov, follow your nose and you’ll come to Kraj Sv Marije, site of Split’s indoor Fish Market  housed in a handsome Secession-style building. Head to the sea via the attractive pedestrian Marmontova, a wide boulevard of designer shops and jewelry stores.
Cross Trg Republike and take Sperun, following it as it turns into Senjska which will take you through the Vari Varos neighborhood which was where the humble folks lived from the 17th century onwards. Today, it’s the site of much private accommodation.
Veli Varos, Split

Climb the stairs of Senjska that ascend up forested Marjan hill, often called the “lungs of Split”.

Stop for a coffee-and-cake break at Cafe Vidilica, a terrace bar popular with locals and drink in the fabulous views over the city and port.

Explore the trails of Marjan Hill further or return via the same route.

Time for dinner!

Split’s dining options are delightfully varied (see a selection of the best Split restaurants). At the foot of Sperun is the restaurant of the same name, a reliable choice for reasonably-priced fish, meat and vegetable mains. Not far away on Trumbiceva 11 is casual Buffet Fife, perhaps a little self-consciously “local” by now but still a good place to get a fresh, filling meal.

Sperun Restorant

For a more elegant dining experience, return to the fish market and Nostromo for Split’s most scrumptious fish and seafood.

After dinner, have a nightcap at relaxing Lvxor right on Peristil an only-in-Split kind of place that takes full advantage of Roman history in its stunning decor. Live jazz and occasional art exhibits draw a discriminating crowd.

It’s easy to bar-hop within the walls of Diocletian’s Palace, or take a romantic seaside stroll to Split’s other nightlife center in Bacvice. See a selection of Split’s best nightlife.

For other ideas, check out this Split walking tour, Split sightseeing, and this comprehensive Split guide.

Croatia’s Best Beach Clubs

Summer  is when I think beach and in Croatia there are lot to choose from. (See a selection of Croatia’s best beaches) If you live in Croatia, of course you have your beach equipment already sorted out: towel, beach shoes, chair, umbrella. As a visitor however, it’s easier to let others handle your comfort. That’s where beach clubs excel. Nothing is more relaxing than being shown to your lounge chair with the umbrella turned just so while a beach staff waits to provide you with a snack or a fruity cocktail. Ah, summer on the Adriatic! And here are the best places to pamper yourself the length of the Croatian coast.

DUBROVNIK

Banje Beach Restaurant Lounge and Club

Banje-Beach

Only steps from Ploce, Dubrovnik’s eastern gate, this beach club on Banje Beach offers sun-baked relaxation during the day and a trendy lounge bar when shadows fall. Gaze across the azur waters to Lokrum Island or treat yourself to a massage. Thai, Swerige, Hot Stone and more are available. Prices are 200Kn for two lounge chairs and an umbrella. See the Banje Beach website or see more on Dubrovnik beaches.

Coral Beach Club

coral-beachclub

Staying in Lapad or Babin Kuk? There’s no reason to trudge to Banje for a private beach. Coral Beach Club is next to the Hotel President and overlooks the crystal clear waters of Dubrovnik bay. It has a quieter and more local vibe and the bar turns out smashing cocktails. See the Facebook page or see more on Dubrovnik beaches.

HVAR

Carpe Diem

carpdiem-beach

The legendary cocktail lounge, Carpe Diem, ferries beachgoers out to Stipanska Island where a beach club awaits on the edge of a pine forest. The decoration is a summer dream of bamboo, teak and straw and the views over Stipanska bay are luscious. Relaxed and unpretentious, the beach club also hosts a pool and crepe bar. See the Carpe Diem website or see more on Hvar town.

Bonj ‘les bains’

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Prefer not to stray too far from Hvar town? Bonj ‘les bains’ is for you. The white stone colonnade outside the Amfora Beach Resort Hotel provides an elegant setting to wallow in luxury. Lounge on mattresses in a private baldachin or take in the stunning views on a comfortable beach chair. Enjoy a relaxing massage and finish the day with a meal at the excellent restaurant. Prices start at €35 a day. See the Bonj ‘les bains’ website or see more on Hvar town.

SPLIT

Radisson Blu Beach Club

Radisson Blu Beach

You can rent a chair and umbrella at Bacvice beach in Split, but for the ultimate luxury head out of town to the Radisson Blu Hotel in Trstenik. There you can have use of the indoor and outdoor pools, sauna and showers for 150Kn. A beachside chair is an additional 40Kn but get there early as they tend to fill up! See more at the Radisson Blu website or see more on Split beaches.

NOVALJA, PAG

Noa Beach Club

Noa-beachClub

Here’s the place to follow sunbathing with the wildest party scene on the Adriatic. Located on world-renowned Zrce beach in Novalja on Pag Island, the Noa Beach Club is a village unto itself. Work on your tan during the day on lounge chairs bordering a shallow, sparkling sea. Try a massage or a workout in the open-air gym. Then have cocktails in the After Beach area while waiting for the party to start, often featuring Europe’s best DJs. See more at the Noa Beach website or read about Novalja and Zrce beach.

ROVINJ

Mulini Beach Club

mulini

The newest entry on the Croatian beach club scene is the stunning, minimalist Mulini Beach Club located on Lone Bay between the five-star hotels Monte Mulini and Hotel Lone. The service is impeccable here and the views of Zlatni Rt Nature Park are mesmerizing. It will cost you 450Kn for two lounge chairs and an umbrella. See more about Rovinj.

Dinner in the Sky, Split

Beat the Heat on the Croatian Coast




Croatia is experiencing a wave of blistering heat. At 33° (91°F) in Dubrovnik, 35° (95°F) in Split and 34° (93°F) in Pula, frying your eggs on the pavement is a real possibility in most of the country. Of course, you could head to the beach, but here are some other ways to keep your cool Beat the Heat in Dubrovnik Onofrio Ice Bar After a walk around Dubrovnik’s walls, duck into this small ice bar next to the Onofrio fountain and get your chill on. Facebook page. Dubrovnik Boats No need to trudge around town or wait for a bus. … Continue reading →