I didn’t really know what to expect when I first visited Croatia. My expectations were definitely not all that high, and to be honest I actually had some reservations. I think my biggest fear was being met by a region completely over-run by tourists, devoid of anything pleasant and/or authentic. Luckily the beautiful Croatian coast and sunny Split rewarded my low expectations with a wonderful visit, full of great experiences and many memorable moments.
Split is located on the Dalmatian coast of Croatia, cradled by the clear turquoise waters of the Adriatic Sea. The country remained relatively undiscovered for decades while neighboring countries like Greece and Italy attracted most tourists looking for a care-free beach break.
Since then Croatia has become extremely popular with tourists. It’s actually difficult to find anyone whose grandma’s best friend hasn’t been there at least twice. Still, Split remains surprisingly authentic and fresh.
The picture-perfect promenade in Split has a distinctly riviera atmosphere, with colorful old buildings and lively outdoor cafés in the shade of the palm trees. Everything about this city is beautiful.
Split is full of great restaurants. One of my favorites is Konoba Atlantida (Trumbiceva obala 13), situated at the western edge of the promenade. They serve simple and delicious, authentic Croatian cuisine. The highlights include fresh seafood and Italian-influenced pasta and risotto dishes. The locals also love shark sandwiches and bevanda, a mixture of red wine and still water. Their motives remain unclear.
Diocletian’s Palace is probably the most famous sight in Split. The fortress-like old town was erected in Roman times and is now designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The area is surprisingly wide-spread, incredibly dense and like a maze. Maps won’t really do you any good, since most of the streets aren’t marked in maps and almost all of them seem to abruptly come to an impasse with no warning. That’s exactly the charm of the place.
The labyrinthine old town is perfect for getting lost in the narrow cobblestone streets, some leading only to a brick wall while others go on to lively squares, beautiful small gardens or surprisingly rowdy bars. I guess it’s true what they say – you have to be prepared to get lost along the way if you want to find the biggest treasures out there.
The extremely popular Bacvice Beach is located at the edge of the city
The city’s old town has a surprisingly wild nightlife