Revealing Split, a True Gem of the Adriatic
Split is the second largest city in Croatia and the unofficial capital of the coastal region of Dalmatia. As the focal point of Croatian tourism, this beautiful Mediterranean city is adored by tourists for its scenic beauties, pleasant climate and a friendly atmosphere.
The city’s most important landmark is the Diocletian’s Palace, built as a retirement mansion of the Roman emperor Diocletian in the fourth century AD. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site (it was included in 1979) and one of the greatest examples of Romanesque architecture in the Mediterranean. The ruins of the Palace now house souvenir shops and can be explored freely. Other notable cultural monuments include the Cathedral of St. Domnius, patron saint of the city, the Roman imperial Peristyle, built in the third century AD, and the statue of Gregory of Nin, a historical Croatian bishop. The abundance of historical buildings made the city a shooting location for the HBO hit series Game of Thrones.
The centre of life in Split is its seafront promenade, locally known as Riva. It’s a pedestrian zone filled with restaurants, bars and cafes. Often used as a venue for open-air concerts, plays or exhibitions, the Riva is a vibrant, lively place perfect for an evening walk or a drink. In fact, having a cup of coffee at one of the Riva cafes is an essential part of Split culture and a favourite ritual of locals.
Recent years saw an increase in numbers of younger tourists coming to Split, as the city’s nightlife became richer and diversified. There are plenty of nightclubs and beach bars. Varying in the genres of music they play, they turned the city into a great party destination. This paved the way for some large festivals as well – the most popular being the Ultra Music Festival Split. Held annually in July at Poljud Stadium, it attracts tens of thousands of party-goers.
Like most of Croatia, Split bases its tourism on natural beauties and beaches. Pebble beaches such as Bacvice are highly popular among locals and tourists alike. Safe, clean and child-friendly, they are the staple of a classic Split holiday. If you wish to spend some time among the greenery, head to Marjan Park. Known for its jogging paths and cycling trails, it’s the usual destination of all sports enthusiasts.
How to reach Split? The city has an airport located some 25 kilometres westwards of it, and there are frequent flights from most major European cities, especially during the tourist season (June to September). Buses then take the passengers from the airport to the city main bus station. One can also opt for an airport transfer to Split for a more convenient and shorter ride. If you’re traveling to Split from any other place in Croatia, the best way to do so would be by bus. There are buses several times from virtually any Croatian town, especially in Dalmatia.
Split has a train station, and there is a line to Zagreb and a town called Perkovic (there you can change trains and reach Zagreb, Rijeka, Sibenik or the interior of the country). Trains are somewhat cheaper, but slower than buses. As Split is the centre of the Dalmatia region, ferry lines from and to Croatian islands of Brac, Solta, Vis, Lastovo and Korcula are numerous as well. The city is connected to Pescara and Ancona (Italy) as well; there are ferries three times a week.
Split is undoubtedly one of the best Croatian destinations. Its unique relaxed atmosphere (called a “Split state of mind” in the rest of Croatia), a great mix of cultural landmarks and natural beauties, plus plenty of tourist-aimed entertainment options make it a true Mediterranean jewel.