Few places in World bear in-wrought traces of ancient cultures with modern life with such lightness as Split does. Had you ever imagined yourself walking through a grandiose and glamorous Roman Emperor’s palace, simply stroll through the alleys of Split to perceive one in reality. It’s the only Roman palace to have continuously been inhabited throughout past two millennia. Nowhere else may one find embroidery of different architectural styles interlocking each-other inseparably as in Split. Although the city grew to become second largest in Croatia, its historical area is a maze of narrow cobbled streets decorated with stylish cafes, charming restaurants and boutique hotels. While tourism is doubtingly shaping new face of the city, easygoing lifestyle of the locals is still being uninterrupted. Not to miss landmarks include: the Cathedral, Jupiter’s temple, Roman Emperor’s palace & cellars, the Riva seafront promenade, city’s narrow alleys and squares, Marjan hill viewpoint and local sculptor’s Meštrović gallery. Split is a ferry hub to the neighboring central-Dalmatian islands of Šolta, Brač, Hvar, Vis and Korčula, some of which may be visited as day trips.
Revive Roman times in the Emperor’s palace
Not just any Emperor; we’re talking about the governor of the vast Roman Empire. After doing the most unusual thing to Romans – retiring, Diocletian had his grandiose palace built close to his birthplace. Diocletian was famous as notorious early Christian’s prosecutor. After Slavs arrived to the area, they have converted his mausoleum to Catholic Cathedral. The layout of the palace is still preserved riddled with later architectural housing styles. The palace’s cellars are still magnificently preserved just as in the Emperor’s days.
Blend in with locals at Riva seafront promenade
Wear sunglasses, the essential fashion accessory which locals wear through all seasons and any weather condition; stroll under the palm trees or find a seat at one of the promenade’s cafés and watch people walking by. It may seem that people argue a lot, but it’s in city’s temperament that locals speak loud and over gesticulate while they talk. Don’t worry, this is perfectly normal. Riva designates the pedestrian seafront area in front of the palace within the Split bay, but it extends to Western Riva towards the marina. Bus and train stations with a ferry harbor occupy the eastern side of Split bay.
Find your way out of the maze of narrow cobbled streets
The palace area and adjacent historical city center is a maze of narrow streets. The narrowest street named Pusti me proć (Let me pass) is so narrow that you rub shoulders against both street walls while walking. Since the city was for many centuries limited in size by city walls, there was no spare space within the city. Therefore a maze of narrow passages was formed between beautiful Roman, Romanesque and Renaissance buildings, decorated with overhead clothes drying lines. There are charming galleries, jewel restaurants and welcoming cafes hidden to be found & intimately enjoyed.
Nibble & taste at grocery & fish market
Pazar (from Ottoman Bazaar) is the word and the name for a grocery market outside of the southeastern corner of the palace. Vendors bring daily fresh organic veggies form the countryside. When we buy, the essential mantra you will hear buyers ask and sellers confirm is domaće (homemade). Whether it’s a cabbage, potato, tomato, sausage or wine, lemon or apple, it is essential that it is domaće. Part of the market is taken by cheap souvenirs and Chinese pap. Ten minutes walking away on the west side out of the palace is the fish market. It has both an outdoor and indoor part where local fishermen sell the catch of the day. The key mantra to hear here is svježe (fresh). The fish market’s location is chosen not by a mistake; the building next to the market is a spa (the original one stood here in the roman time); there are no flies due to Sulphur gas from the spa.
Feed your soul at Meštrović gallery
Ivan Meštrović (1883-1962) is the most important internationally recognized Croatian sculptor and architect of the 20th century. After the end of World War II, unwilling to live under Communism, he relocated to the United States. His sculptures are set all over Croatia, former Yugoslavian territory and United States where he’s spent a big part of his life. Meštrović gallery is an amazing villa positioned beneath the Marjan mountain, overlooking archipelago of Split. The gallery displays art from all the periods of Meštrović’s life.
Heal your body at Marjan hill
Split is located in the middle part of the peninsula, where the tip of the peninsula is the hill with protected park area Marjan. It is the pine trees area with pebble or sand beaches, and the view point on top offering finest view over Split bay. Marjan is the main recreational point of the city, offering excellent biking and walking, hiking and free climbing possibilities.
Taste local wines
Dalmatia is renowned for wine-making. Some of finest wines within Split area come from nearby Brač & Hvar islands and adjacent Kaštela region. Don’t miss out the opportunity to taste pride samples of local wine production. On request, we can take you to finest cellars to meet the producers and hear their story first hand. Alternatively, there are several good wine bars offering the finest selection of locally produced wines.
Spend the day with locals: cook & eat with a local family in Split countryside
It takes only twenty minute drive from Split city center to reach a tranquil village surrounded with pristine nature. The village of tercentenary traditional stone houses is deserted today, since last villagers have moved out in search of an easier life in the city. One exceptional family decided to follow back their roots; they have rebuilt their heritage house. They prepare traditional meals, smoke their own prosciutto, produce their own wine, make bread from the fire oven and fabulous roasts. Mother is a regional champion of local dish preparation, willing to teach you how to prepare these specialties on your own. Private visits are possible, by appointment only. Let us know if this is something you’d be interested in.