Having only ever used Split as a launchpad to sail across the Adriatic Sea, our trip to Croatia earlier this month gave us the opportunity to spend a couple of nights at the recently opened Briig Boutiqe Hotel and explore the town before heading to the nearby islands. While the hotel is great, there are also plenty of things to keep you occupied in this bustling town on the Adriatic Coast. Here’s my short guide to 24 hours in Split…
The main attraction of Split is the old town and Diocletian’s Palace; one of the most impressive and imposing set of Roman ruins on the Adriatic Coast. Emperor Diocletian, who voluntarily gave up the throne of the Roman Empire in AD305, built this palace as a retirement home on the coast, allowing him to easily access his boat and sail along the Croatian coastline whenever he fancied a bit of travel. Not much has changed since and, although the palace is technically now in ruins, there are plenty of streets to navigate in the old town of Split. Incredibly the palace occupies almost 30,000 square meters and more than 3,000 residents call these streets home. At ground level, there is an eclectic mix of restaurants, markets and modern shops that will certainly keep you occupied in the morning. Don’t forget a trip to the waterfront for both the breeze and a good meal.
As the heat of the midday sun begins to ebb away, it is a great time to head to the Split seaside. Bačvice Beach is probably the most well-known of the Croatian beaches and is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. People pick their spot here VERY early so, unless you fancy a fight for a sunbed at 7am, the afternoon is a good time to grab one when the crowds begin to leave. If sand isn’t your thing, head round to the harbour on either side for an excellent choice of cocktails and snacks. Just be aware of the sun as it tends to set behind the harbour well before 5pm, so it is actually quite difficult to get a good view of the sunset unless you are on higher ground.
The old town of Split certainly has a plethora of restaurants to suit every taste but, if you are after somewhere a little more discreet and a little more cosy, then Dvor Restaurant is a great option. Situated just above the coastal path that snakes east from Bačvice Beach, Dvor is a great vantage point to look out to the islands across the Adriatic Sea and has a unique charm to it that wasn’t matched anywhere else in town. Clientele are a mixture of couples, groups and families and every table was full of happy diners all dining under lights strung across the trees in the garden. The fish on offer looked divine, but I went for the local dish of Pašticada which did not disappoint. The flavours were incredible, all washed down with excellent Croatian wines by the glass. Prices are fairly reasonable and the service impeccable.