When it comes to top Croatian coastal cities, Split is a close second to Dubrovnik. While Dubrovnik is without a shadow of doubt the most breathtaking destination, Split is the most surprising and “real.”
Split Croatia Travel Overview
Home to nearly 180,000 people, Split is Croatia’s second-largest city, second only after the capital city of Zagreb.
Although the suburbs may consist of rather ugly concrete apartment buildings, the historic core of Split is astoundingly beautiful. The Old Town is the beating heart of the city.
Highlights in Split
Split’s history dates from the Roman Empire. At the turn of the 4th century, Roman Emperor Diocletian decided to retire from his function and ordered the construction of his retirement palace. After the emperor’s death, the palace continued to be used as a coastal retreat by Roman aristocracy before being abandoned afterward. In the 7th century, Slavic invasions made the local population seek protection in the old palace ruins. They stayed there and established a medieval town amid the crumbling Roman ruins. Nowadays, Diocletian’s Palace still is the center of life in Split.
There are many highlights in Split’s old palace, such as the Cathedral of St. Domnius, a colonnaded square called Peristil and the phenomenally impressive Basement Halls that lie underneath the palace.
Diocletian’s Palace makes up half of the Old Town. The other half is the medieval town that grew just outside the palace’s western walls.
Between the Old Town and the City Harbor lies the superb seafront promenade, known as the Riva. Lined with cafés, restaurants, street food stalls and souvenir shacks, this is an amazing place to go for a sunset walk.
I would suggest that you spend a minimum of two days in Split. You can also stay a bit longer, for there are a number of great day trips from the city, including those to the Dalmatian islands of Hvar and Vis, and to the old harbor town of Trogir, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.