When planning our trip to Croatia there were two places I knew I definitely wanted to visit which is why we booked hotels in them – Dubrovnik and Split. The plan was to stay in these beautiful towns using them as our base point for day trips to several islands and national parks, then enjoying their nightlife in the evenings.
However, after spending the first five nights in Dubrovnik our time in Split wasn’t one of my favourites. That’s not to say that Split doesn’t have it’s own charm, because it does, it just didn’t compare to Dubrovnik in my opinion.
If you’ve read my Dubrovnik post, I spoke about how alive the Old Town is both in the day and at night. From the moment you go inside the town walls it feels as though you’ve been transported into another era and you can really get lost in the architecture’s magic.
A lot of Split’s ambience however laid on the promenade (Riva). Here there’s row after row of cafés, bars and restaurants, many of which have outside seating. There’s also crepe stands and tourist boards by the marina where you can buy day trips to Split’s neighbouring islands. Then as you get to the end of the promenade you’re greeted with markets and shops. Now don’t get me wrong, I did very much enjoy evenings spent sipping cocktails on the promenade, and there’s an excellent açai bowl stand down the far end of it, it’s just that this whole part of Split has been so commercialised that it felt like Benidorm.
Moving onto the town itself, we didn’t have time to see everything Split has to offer such as Marjan Hill, Sustipan Park and the City Museum, but what we did visit was the Bell Tower and Diocletian’s Palace, as well as walked around the town and down it’s alleys.
The Bell Tower was the absolute highlight of Split for us. It cost no more than £5 each, there’s spectacular panoramic views at the top, and it’s an experience in itself challenging yourself to climb 57 metres high up some pretty scary see through steps.
There’s beautiful views of Split’s original architecture through every nook and cranny.
The stairs up to the top of the Bell Tower were pretty terrifying at times and we passed several people that didn’t want to continue to the top. Each step had a gap onto the next one which meant that you could see the ground directly below, and the rails were also on the shaky side. But I love heights and this just made it more exciting.
Tip: Don’t buy tickets into Diocletian’s Palace basements
When wondering the streets of Split you’ll pass many, many ruins of what was once Diocletian’s Palace, and next to every ruin you’ll also find a information board with a brief history as to what you’re standing upon. In fact you’ll find this all throughout Split which in my opinion is part of the town’s beauty. You’ll also stumble upon an underground market when exploring the paths next to the Bell Tower. Now take a good look at your surroundings in this market – the walls, the texture, the bricks, the floor… because this is exactly (if not more) than what you’ll see when you pay go inside Diocletian’s Palace basements (located right next to the underground market).
We didn’t know too much about Split before visiting, but when we saw that you could visit an extra part to the palace upon payment we assumed that it’ll be worth it. However for those that don’t already know, all that remains of the actual palace are some ruins across the town and these empty basements, pictured above.
There’s one information board at the entrance that explains how the palace had the exact same structure to the basements, and what each room may of been used for, but that is it. There’s perhaps an extra one or two information boards dotted around, but no more than this.
I was rather disappointed as it felt very poorly executed. There’s so much more potential to this museum but it’s been laid out for tourists to wander around confused of what they’re seeing. We met another English couple in these basements who were equally as disappointed and confused with what they purchased tickets for.
Our Favourite Dining Spot
Not to end this post on a downer I thought I’d share our favourite dining spot in Split – Roof 68. Although Dubrovnik was our favourite place we visited in Croatia the prices in Split were a lot cheaper, sometimes even half the price. We loved Roof 68 because it had that high-end appeal you look to treat yourself to on holiday, and also boasted incredible views onto the marina. Something we also noticed during our travels in Croatia was that many restaurants gave you a complimentary starter of hummus and bread. Don’t mind if I do.
Have you ever been to Split? I’d love to hear what you thought about it.