Split is one of the biggest cities of Croatia. Every year thousands of tourists visit this place, and while most of them go there to party, I went there to experience Croatia’s hospitality, great food and sunny beaches. Chances are your Croatian journey starts in this city, so why not make the best of it? Here are 8 things you have to do in Split.
Because even when you’re not a party person (like me) there are things to do in this – highly touristic – city! Is it a place to spend a week in? Personally I think not. But you can wander around for a day or 2, before visiting Dalmatia’s lovely islands or traveling on to another sunny destination on the Croatian coast. In this small guide I will give you some tips on where to go and how to avoid the biggest crowds.
8 THINGS TO DO IN SPLIT
1. Go to the Bacvice beach early in the morning
At night this beach is a place to party – and so for me a place to avoid – but in the morning you can find a lot of locals going for a swim or tanning while discussing life with neighbors and friends. Bacvice beach is not one of the nicest beaches I have ever seen, but it is very close to the city center and by coming there early, you can actually relax without having to fear too many other tourists. A big plus is the fact this beach is artificial and therefore made of sand, a rare thing on the Croatian coast, which usually is more pebbly or even rocky!
Also you can find a lot of cheap restaurants and bars around the beach. I loved having coffee with a full Croatian breakfast at Karaka restaurant.
Oh how much I hated all the people overcrowding this beautiful part of the historic center. I literally walked through this part in 5 minutes, but it was worth seeing. Besides, it brings you to other parts of the city center, which are more quiet. From there I strolled through the center of Split, seeing all the great buildings, walking the steep hills and stopping for coffee sometimes.
3. Visit froggyland
Froggyland is one of the coolest museums I have ever seen, all because it is so weird! Basically it comes down to this: a museum filled with more than 500 stuffed frogs doing human things, a life’s work for the owner of it all. Because it’s not that big, you can see it within 20 minutes. A must see for people who like quirky stuff!
The collection consists of 507 stuffed frogs of a common European frog species (lat. rana esculenta). The frogs have been stuffed in a very demanding way, using a taxidermy technique through the mouth, which is an extremely complex and time consuming process, so the exhibits are devoid of any external incisions. Comparing the Ferenc Mere’s collection with similar collections made by other authors, it is evident that Ferenc Mere was a master craftsman of taxidermy of small animals.
4. Take a stroll on the fish market
You like people screaming at you? Go to the market. All the fresh caught fish is displayed there for you to buy (or just look at). You can also find the tastiest fruit and veggies for great prices! The great amount of people on a tiny square and all the colorful items make it a must see.
5. Sit yourself down at the boulevard
People watching is the best! Sit yourself down on one of the benches on the boulevard or pick a cafe to have a drink while you stare into the blue Adriatic. Local and touristic life will pass by continiously and it’s great fun to watch.
6. Snack away!
Cevapi is a famous dish in the former Yugoslavian region and there’s no way you’re leaving without tasting it! The spicy, grilled meat rolls come in pita bread and are garnished with onions and avjar, a tasty paprika/eggplant spread. Delicious!
7. Walk up the Marjan hill
Take a walk on the Marjan hill for spectacular views on Split. It is a medium climb, so avoid doing it during the day time. Learn from my mistake and walk up in the evening to see the sun go down over the harbor. I did it in the afternoon, not a great choice in summer. They do have great cocktails at the top.
8. Taste local food
After seeing Marjan why not eat at Marjan? Restaurant (or konoba) Marjan is one of the best places to eat Dalmatian food, like fresh grilled fish and other seafood. The big plus with this restaurant are the prices: so cheap! A must do for foodies!
Another great restaurant is Fife, where you share your table with other people. They serve wonderful – and affordable – Dalmatian and Croatian food, and as a bonus you’ll make new friends in no-time. Both staff and food are excellent!
You can reach both restaurants by walking to or from Marjan. They are located at the foot of the hill.
Split was a great start to a summer holiday for me and although the place is quite touristic, big crowds are quite easy to avoid – when you know where to go! Do you have any recommendations for this city? Please leave a comment below!
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