Dalmatian Life: Top Things to Do and See in Split

August 22, 2016

The stunning Croatian city of Split has so much to offer. From beautiful beaches to the picturesque Plitvice Lakes, Tanya Shiels lets us in on how to make the most of your time here.

On the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea, the narrow stretch that makes up the Dalmatian coast offers a rich experience of over 1000 islands. The enchanting, warm waters of this area offer glorious getaways such as Dubrovnik, Zadar and Split.

Acting as an economic and cultural hub of Croatia, the city of Split has been widely regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in Eastern Europe, as well as being an ideal holiday destination for individuals, couples and families. The Roman heritage and architecture in Split makes it a truly unique city in both history and aesthetic.

This city has long been a sought after destination for almost every kind of traveller; those seeking history and culture, those looking for a party and those purely hoping to relax on some tranquil beaches. Split has it all. But with so much on offer how can you maximise your time in this stunning part of the world? Tanya Shiels has all the answers, from exploring the many stunning beaches to admiring the city's amazing vistas from a height. 

1. Bathe at the Beautiful Beaches

Bacvice beach in Split, Croatia

Split's set to a slower pace, constantly 'on holiday' and Bačvice beach is the epitome of this laid-back lifestyle. Discover what draws tourists from near and far as you lap up the sun’s rays on this pristine beach with a cocktail in hand. It's the most popular of the main beaches in Split so it’s always best to get the first ferry across from the harbour and arrive there as early as possible.

If you’re traveling with children then Firule beach and Znjan beach are ideal for some family seaside fun. The white sands are met with shallow water so the kids are safe to explore and there is plenty of parking if you choose to drive yourselves.

Further along the coast is Duilovo beach, perfect if you’re traveling with your four-legged friend. The final grouping of beaches is found near the Zrnovnica river mouth. This group is a mixture of pebble and sand beaches and there is a secluded area for naturalists.

2. Plan a Visit to Plitvice Lakes National Park

Green lagoon at Plitvace Lakes, Split

Just two and a half hours by car (three and a half hours by bus) from Split is one of the most staggeringly beautiful national parks in the world, Plitvice Lakes. The collection of terraced lakes is a wonderland of water as rushing waterfalls pool into beautiful turquoise lagoons and the lush green vegetation provides the perfect cover from the day’s heat.

You can explore the untouched springs, caves and canyons by following the paths of wooden bridges which lead you on a walk through nature. Go at your own pace to soak up the sounds of birds and trickling streams and make use of the ferry trip across one of the larger lakes (included in the ticket price). You can occupy yourself for hours in this natural wonder so allow yourself between four and six hours, depending on how quickly you choose to walk.

Trams run every 15 to 30 minutes so even those who don’t wish to overexert themselves will be able to experience the grandeur of this natural wonder. 

3. Explore Split's City Sights

City view of Split, Croatia

Split is built on the ancient ruins of everything which came before it, creating a beautiful marriage of old and new. A walking tour of Split is essential; spend your day meandering through the cobbled streets seeking out historical sites and savouring every delicacy along the way.

Diocletian’s Palace is an architectural complex with impressive Roman architecture and includes the Temple of Jupiter, the palace cellars and St. Duje Cathedral. The bell tower adjacent to the cathedral provides the most stunning panoramic views of the city, the harbour and Marjan Hill and is a must-see in any weather.

Take a leisurely stroll up Marjan Hill, a 15-minute walk and enjoy the view of the striking red-roofed houses at sunset. Enjoy the vistas of nature and architecture while relaxing at the restaurant, Teraca Vidilica, on top of the hill.

4. Live Like a Laid-back Local

Split waterfront, Croatia

Make the most of your time in Split by experiencing the sights (and smells) of the various markets. The Green Market is a feature of every local’s daily routine and you’ll find the best prices for fresh produce, cheeses and even a souvenir or two. The Fish Market (Peskarija) is another unmissable aspect of life in Split; the catch of the day is brought in every morning but the real joy of this market is the ability to interact with the local fishermen and to hear their stories.

The beauty of the Riva, or waterfront, is undeniable. From sunrise to sunset it is packed with locals meeting friends or selling their wares and tourists sampling the best cuisine Split has to offer. Watch the sunset go down from the harbour wall with an ice cream in hand or while sipping on an espresso at one of the many cafes.

To party like a local, there really is only one place to go - Charlie’s Bar attached to Hostel Split. This hostel and subsequently the bar, is where all the Contiki and Busabout crews and passengers congregate and is sure to be a rowdy time. From hourly drinks specials to frequent dance-offs and rap battles this is the place to truly let your hair down.

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Tanya Shiels South African born, Tanya went on her first overseas trip when she was 16 months old and hasn’t stopped since then. She has combined her love for dance with her passion for travel and has worked on several contracts in India. She is constantly planning her next destination.