TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN SPLIT
Split has many attractions and fun things all within comfortable walking distance. We have rounded up the top ten things to do and see in Split.
1. Diocletian’s Palace
A visit to Split is not really a visit without meandering through the narrow lanes of the 1700-year-old palace. The fortified palace has a heap of sightseeing attractions and to see the entire palace at one glance, climb up the 57-meter tall Romanesque bell-tower of the Cathedral of St. Duje. At the top of the 13th century belfry, you can enjoy 360-degree views of Split. Once you get down, you will be back on Peristil, an imperial square, framed by a colonnade on two sides where sitting on the ancient steps and watching local life pass by is simply priceless. Grab a spot in the morning when a local klapa a’capella band sings in the Vestibul circular foyer nearby.
2. Overdosing on Caffeine
Meeting friends for coffee is a favorite pastime on the Dalmatian coast and the highlight is a meet-up on Riva, set against the palace’s southern wall. Here, locals get dressed up in high fashion to be seen and stride the length of the seafront promenade before choosing their café of choice, usually Fro, the elite mingling spot. When it starts to get too warm, socializing shifts to the shaded backstreets in cafés like Crème de la Crème (Iličev prolaz 1) for killer coffee and cake, shabby-chic Galerija (Dominisova 9) or nearby Teak (Majstora Jurja 11).
3. The Green Market
Unlike many farmers’ markets in tourist destinations, Pazar caters to locals. Located outside the eastern wall of Diocletian’s Palace, fruit and vegetables, and clothing stalls thrive from sunrise. Pazar secrets; there is a lady outside the butcher shop that sells the most delicious soparnik in the morning, a traditional flat-bread filled with spinach and garlic, and somewhere in the bustling market, a stall sells home-made bread made in a wood-fired oven.
4. The No-Fly Fish Market
Amidst the glitzy designer stores of Split’s main shopping street, lies the main fish market, known locally as Peškarija and referred to as the ”belly button of Marmontova Street.” Come early to catch the action as fishermen shout out their daily offer, a lady fillets the freshest catch, and customers bargain. Fun fact; there are no flies in sight due to the smell from a nearby sulphur spring.
5. Play Picigin on Bačvice Beach
Picigin is Split’s pride and joy. It is a ’sport’ invented by them where two or more speedo-equipped players toss a small ball around in knee-high water. It involves very intricate flips and jumps to save the ball from falling into the sea. The birthplace of Picigin is Bačvice, Split’s sandy beach located a 10-minite walk from Riva. Give it a try between tanning and drinks in the Žbirac cafe.
6. Marjan Forest Park
To the west of Split is a peninsula forest park the size of New York Central Park called Marjan. Marjan has a myriad of walking and bike trails that guide you past quaint chapels before reaching the Telegrin peak at 178m. At the bottom of the hill is a collection of pine-shaded beaches such as Bene. You can also rent a bike for the day at the western entrance and take the grand tour to Vidilica café by the Jewish cemetery, overlooking Split from above.
7. Explore the Nearby Islands
With so many islands dotting the coastline, why not escape the urban jungle and discover the color spectrum of the crystal clear Adriatic? All in a day’s work, take the Blue Cave & Hvar Tour to explore a bright blue cave on Biševo Island, Green Cave on Vis, swim surrounded by towering cliffs in Stiniva Cove and observe the sandy seabed by Budikovac Island. Before returning to Split, soak up the last rays in Palmižana Bay and take a stroll amongst eight centuries of architecture in charming Hvar Town.
8. Eat Local, Drink Local
After all the physical activities that come with experiencing Split, it’s time to indulge in the best of local flavour. Sip on the best Croatian wines in one of town’s wine bars; Zinfandel, Paradox, Diocletian’s Wine House, to name a few. For food, we have rounded up a few must-try eateries tucked into town. On a shoestring budget but want local flavour, try Villa Spiza (Kružićeva 5), run by two sisters who whip up a new menu daily. Pikulece on Dominosova is a tiny tapas joint where a local celebrity chef has crafted a selection of creative bites inspired with local flavour. At the fine-dining end of the spectrum is Restoran Paradigma (Ulica Bana Jelačića 3) who has fabricated Mediterranean cuisine with contemporary flair.
Take a stroll west bound from Riva, passing the West Coast (Zapadna Obala) promenade to reach the Sustipan peninsula near ACI Marina. This clifftop park was once a cemetery and houses a medieval Benedictine monastery. Sustipan (meaning under the pines) is a great escape from the buzz to sit on a bench and gaze over the Adriatic, but also a favourite spot for adrenaline junkies who dive from the cliffs into the sea.
10. Meštrovic Gallery
Continue another 10 minutes west to reach Meštrovic Gallery (Šetalište Ivana Meštrovića 46). Considered one of the greatest sculptors of the 20th century, Ivan Meštrović’s (1983-1963) masterpieces are exhibited in his former summer residence below Marjan hill. The marvellous gallery showcases some 190 sculptures, 290 architectural plans, furniture sets and countless paintings.