Split, CROATIA – transport back to 305 AD and get a taste for what it’s like to live in Roman Emperor Diocletian’s Palace.
4 days / 5 nights
Our Airbnb was just a 5 minute walk to Diocletian’s Palace and had great views of the city and sea. Since restaurants and bars close at midnight, Split allows for quiet nights especially in our residential area just steps away from the palace.
Diocletian’s Palace – I still can’t wrap my mind around the fact that Croatians still use it for daily life. Instead of making it a restricted area and converting it into a museum, it’s full of private apartments (occupied by locals and tourists) bars, cafes, restaurants, and shops. You can really feel what it’s like to live inside the palace. It’s crazy to me that locals own a piece of the palace and did so for very cheap.
It is one of the most well preserved monuments of the Roman architecture in the world. It wasn’t until the 1970s where tourists starting visiting Split and discovered this historical gem that Croatians had already incorporated into their daily life. I recommend learning more about the Palace and the city of Split with this Airbnb Experience walking tour. Did you know you can attend a university in Split (undergrad) for $1,000 per year?
Saint Domnius Bell Tower – Opt for the combined ticket (45 Kunas) and plan to visit either in the morning or just before sunset. It includes the Cathedral (20min), bell tower (30min), crypt (5min), treasury (20min) and the baptistery/temple of Jupiter (10min). Just outside the Cathedral and Temple of Jupiter, you’ll find two Egyptian sphinx that were brought to Split over 3,500 year ago. Crazy that these guys are just hanging out in the open, with no protective covering or glass. Some tourists may even pass without noticing them, but if you do please respect them.
Explore Local Beaches – the best in my opinion is Obojena Beach. A great reward after the simple hike up Marjan Hill (about 2 hours) or you can walk directly there from the harbor. Pro Tip: buy these water shoes for the pebble beaches and to protect your feet from sea urchins! They were a lifesaver. The water is Croatia is so clean that in some spots we found over 100 sea urchins on the sea floor.
Day trip to Trogir – awarded a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its Venetian architecture. You can visit this historic city as part of a boat tour or via train by yourself. We missed out on this opportunity to visit, but I’m sure we’ll be back!
Sailing Full Day from Split – small group experience of 6 people max with lunch included and a flexible cancellation policy. This was quite a steal for $150 per person. We sailed for 7 hours and visited the islands of Šolta and Brač. The Adriatic is super refreshing and at 3% saltier than oceans (and apparently salinity levels are at the highest ever recorded), it takes less effort to swim to and from shore. It’s much easier to float here, making it ultra relaxing.
**Reservations Required Within Diocletian’s Palace**
Bokeria – top choice! Dmitriy loved the traditional lamb shank and I appreciated the Mediterranean/Spanish flair!
Portas Pizzeria – the cutest garden dining area and great menu!
Zinfandel – really great meal, but kind of pricey. Extensive wine menu. I loved that the waitress asked for our food order first so that she could help pair the best type of wine with our dinner. I didn’t like, however, the expensive wine recommendations. No doubt the were probably quality wine, but you can still find quality Croatian wine at a lower price point.
Gelateria Emiliana – I dream about this gelato. The most popular spot I’d imagine in all of Split.
The Daltonist Craft Bar – FINALLY found an espresso martini. I was surprised that restaurants that serve espresso and vodka we not able to make my favorite cocktail. Just turns out the Split doesn’t have a strong cocktail culture which I can understand given their focus on wine.
Marvlvs Library Jazz Bar – a local favorite, library bar (complete with books) tucked away from the hustle and bustle from central Split.
Lvxor – located in the main area outside of the cathedral where you can sit on the steps and have a drink. You pay for the location, but it’s a nice spot to rest your feet and get a game plan together.
Noor – cozy cocktail bar with mezcal on the menu! Top choices: Smokin Hot (mezcal) and Don Donkey (gin).
Pink Cro Designs – clothing boutique located across from Zinfandel restaurant. I bought a beautiful designer gown!
Nadalina – local chocolates with unique flavors like olive oil and lavender. Perfect gifts to bring home.
Uje Oil Shop – olive oil in Croatia and more specifically the island of Brač is simply delicious.
Next stop, Hvar!