An amazing city that you simply have to check out!
This is a magnificent, modern city that still manages to maintain tight links to its rich past. In this article, you’ll find out what makes Split so unique and significant.
The fact that Croatia knows how to enchant us is no longer a secret. We are simply falling in love with natural paradises, such as Plitvice Lakes and Krka National Park. Today, I would like to introduce you to another jewel of Croatia, a city like no other. Historic and modern at the same time, impulsive and dynamic, characterized by significant buildings and a colorful lifestyle: Split is so full of energy, sparkling with historical and modern nature. And for this reason, Split is often considered the capital of Dalmatia, although it is, strictly speaking, only the second-largest city in the region. But I don’t want to torture you any longer. I’ll now put the cards on the table and show you what makes Split so special.
Today, we have the Roman Emperor Diocletian to thank for Split’s luxury and wealth. It was he who built an elaborate palace to mark the occasion of his retirement. It was the beginning of a large development which took place over 1700 years. Following the trails of years gone by and past significant historical buildings, a visit here will be an unforgettable experience. With a fine blend of contemporary history and modern life, Split is particularly popular amongst culture lovers, as well as lovers of good taste and those who enjoy holidays by the beach.
Split under the magnifying glass
But we should all have one thing in common: the curiosity to see the palace, which brought the city to life – especially since Diocletian’s Palace is still in very good condition.
“Even some Game of Thrones scenes were shot in Split”
During the emperor’s lifetime, the palace served not only as a residence of the ruler, but also as accommodation for his servants. The original building, divided into north and south, smoothly provided accommodation for both workforces, without them getting in the way of one another. The Palace lies almost untouched before your feet. Each ruling emperor brought in their own personal touch over the years, adapting the palace, according to their own preferences. Did you know that some of the scenes from the hit series, Game of Thrones, have also been filmed in Split? Thus, Diocletian’s Palace was used for some scenes which took place in the city of Meereen. You can find all of the exciting filming locations for Game of Thrones in my Travel Magazine.
Four magic gates
Aside from the palace, there are also four gates, which are characteristic of Split. You will find these in different locations across the city. The passage through the Golden Gate, for example, was denied to the people. Only the Emperor and his family were allowed to walk this path, to enter their palace. Today, millions of tourists, as well as locals, flock through this gate in memory of the majestic times. Not so important, but still a true tourist magnet, is the Silver Gate. Renovation works meant that this gate was out of action from the Middle Ages until 1952. It was only after these were completed, that visitors were given the opportunity to stroll around the cobbles of this ancient world.
Over the years, however, the Iron Gate has stood strong, which is why people speak of it as the city witness. So only the Bronze Gate is missing from the list, also known as the Imperial emergency exit. Its function is pretty self-explanatory.
From the Bronze Gate you can easily enter the basement rooms of the palace. Many guided tours make this their first stop, before entering the palace.
This gate provided a direct escape route to the sea, in the event of a land attack. The most central place outside the palace, as it still is today, is the central square, named Peristil, where the Emperor spoke to the people. In memory of this history, the square is still used today as a kind of stage, in order, for example, to present historical re-enactments.
Enjoy life in Split
After you have followed the traces of the past, you certainly mustn’t surpass the opportunity of embracing the modern Split lifestyle. To answer the question, ‘where exactly is the best place to go in Split?’, there is only one answer: to the famous promenade, the Riva.
“There’s always something going on at the Riva promenade!”
Along the palm-fringed promenade of the harbour, there are always different events taking place. There are also lots of delightful restaurants and cafes here. But the Riva is no longer a hidden gem – it is now considered a landmark of the city, so there’s always something going on here. West of this area lies Republic Square, also known as Prokurative. So if you cannot find a place in the cafes and bars along the Riva (it can get very busy), you’ll definitely find something here. But it’s not as if there’s nothing going on at Republic Square. Events are also frequently held here, such as ‘Split music festival.’ There could hardly be a better setting, which is suited to every type of event. The square is surrounded by three arcaded buildings. Only the south side of the square is open – it offers a beautiful view of the harbour and promenade.
Idyllic Matejuška Harbour
No less touristy is Marmont street. Although the historical aspect is once again the main focus here, restaurants and boutiques have also settled next to cultural and artistic exhibitions. For those of you who want to catch a glimpse into the life of the locals, you should plan an afternoon at Matejuška harbour. Fisherman like to meet here for a good glass of wine. It’s not unusual for them to throw their freshly caught spoils straight onto the grill, and round off the evening with each other. It feels as if you are far from the hustle and bustle of the city, because here you can enjoy a truly peaceful atmosphere.
You will also be rewarded with some sublime nature in Split. From the historic old town, it is only a short walk to one of the first sand or pebble beaches.
Just grab your beach towel or your picnic blanket and look for a nice spot in one of the green parks or at the beach. What could possibly go wrong under the warm Croatian sun? ;-)
Here you can cool down in the blue sea, which overlooks the historical backdrop of the cultural city of Split. Sustipan Park was the first cemetery in the city, but today it serves as a green oasis in the middle of the city. It’s only the stone pavilion, which remains of the former cemetery, so don’t worry. If you feel a bit uncomfortable at the thought of bygone times, you can also take a walk to Emanuel Vidovíc Park. Families, children and students always visit this park to enjoy some downtime in the green countryside.
Near city beaches
The temperatures climb high on the thermometer in summer, attracting both locals and tourists to the beaches of Split. Bačvice, Bene, Trstenik and Kašjuni to name a few, are all excellent for (sun) bathing. Facilities such as changing booths, showers and small beach cafes, all contribute to a great atmosphere, and give you the perfect holiday feeling.
A holiday like no other
If it so happens, that the feeling of boredom overcomes you (although I highly doubt it will), I have a few more special tips for you. Around the world, the concept of Escape Rooms is booming at the moment, and you can even experience this little adventure in Split. Within 60 minutes you have to solve tricky tasks and puzzles to free yourself from a locked room. Another highlight is the semi-submarine: take a leisurely boat trip and explore the underwater world. ‘Boat Marijeta’ is well submerged in the water at 1.5 metres deep. As a result, you’ll get an insight into life under water through the windows, or enjoy a view of the city sights up on deck. A great idea, right?
Split is a really impressive city, a true cultural hub with beautiful beaches. Of course, I can only show you a selection of sights in my Travel Magazine. It’s now up to you to explore the beauty and variety of Split. If you’ve already visited Split and have any more tips and highlights, then let me know!
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