It doesn’t matter if you’re in chilly Melbourne, humid Bangkok or sunny Split, the best way to start any day is with a hot cup of coffee. So with that in mind, get your hit of caffeine at a café at a prime people-watching spot on Riva promenade and watch as styled-up locals strut their stuff against the twinkling blue of the Adriatic. Whilst there, whip out your map and use this guide to help you make the most of 48 hours in Split, Croatia’s second largest city.
Only a short walk from the promenade, the Diocletian’s Palace is a collection of Roman ruins built as a military fortress, royal residence and a fortified town, all connected by winding lanes, shaded alleyways and charming streets. There are 220 buildings within this historic heart and soul of Split, which is home to more than 3,000 locals. So yep, you’re most certainly going to get lost as you amble past bulging cafes, restaurants and – come nightfall – bars, but that’s all part of its charm. Don’t leave the area without visiting the Cathedral of St Domnius and taking a selfie in front of at least one sphinx, imported from Egypt centuries ago.
Food And Forests
After sitting down for lunch at one of the best restaurants in the palace’s grounds, such as Villa Spiza or Konoba Korta, find your way out of the labyrinthine maze back to the promenade, hire a bike, and cycle to Marjan Hill – a forested peninsula known locally as Split’s green lung. Covered in dense pine trees, Marjan is a welcomed respite from the heat (and the crowds, especially in summer) and promises impressive views of the harbour and Adriatic from atop its hill.
A Royal Sunset
As the sun slowly traces its way down the sky, either stay on Marjan for a glass of Hvar white wine on the terrace at Vidilica bar as you watch the historic buildings of Diocletian’s Palace glow all shades of pink and orange down below, or head back down to sea level and grab a sundowner on the promenade as the bars begin filling up. Once the growling of your stomach compels you to leave in search of substantial sustenance, head to Restaurant Nostromo near the fish market and order the house fish platter which is big enough for two.
It’s now the morning of day two, and this means more coffee (and a hearty breakfast of course). But today, we’ll walk 15 minutes west of the historic centre and get our caffeine fix at the Jadran Beach Bar at the ACI Marina near Marjan. Stay for brunch, or pay your bill and spend the morning and early afternoon visiting the Meštrović Gallery and the Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments. If you fancy a swim, walk back down to Jadran’s or head to the other side of the city and lay about on the sand at Bačvice beach. Make sure you pack a spare change of clothes before you leave your hotel for the day. And don’t worry: there are on-site showers to wash off the salty water.
Dine In Style
For your last evening in Split, take a five-minute taxi ride northeast of the city to Klis Fortress, of historical and Game of Thrones fame. You can stop for a sundowner at the little café at the foot of the steps up the hill, or alternatively – and much more easily – walk to Restaurant Perlica for some traditional grub: slow cooked lamb on a spit. Paired with some delicious local wine (ask the knowledgeable waiters for their recommendations) and you’ll soon be sussing out how you can change your flights to stay longer in Split, because 48 hours really isn’t enough time.