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Split: 15 things to see in Croatia’s second largest city

Split (Photo: Spencer Davis)

By Iva Ralica 

Split is the biggest city in Dalmatia, and the second largest in Croatia and is home to around 200,000 people. It is a city with a particular way of life and atmosphere.

Veli Varoš is one of the most picturesque medieval parts of the city with a few houses and churches of the time which hide a long and interesting life story of common people in this coastal Croatian city.

We recommend visiting a few places around the city filled with historical monuments, restaurants and bars, but be sure to take your time, sit and enjoy your coffee while soaking in the history and beautiful sights in front of you.

1. Riva

Split is known for its beautiful waterfront, known as riva, which is lined with palm trees and cafes in front of the blue Adriatic sea. Drinking coffee by the seaside is the most common thing to do here, so when visiting be sure to make it the first thing upon arrival. This is also the place where the latest fashion trends can be seen because, everyone knows, riva could easily be transformed into a fashion catwalk so enjoy some people-watching whilst having a drink. 

Split Riva (Photo: Ivo Biocina/Croatian National Tourist Board)

2. Diocletian’s Palace and its cellars 

One of the best preserved monuments of Roman architecture in the world is right here in Split. It was built as a luxury villa for the Roman emperor Diocletian and at the same time it served as a military camp during the Roman time, particularly 4th century. The entrance is through the Golden Gates to which the main road from the nearby cities led. The city as we know it today developed from this location so it is fair to say that this is the true heart of Split. It becomes more interesting knowing that it was once isolated from the main centre of the time, Salona, today’s nearby city of Solin, but during the centuries the Palace became more and more important.

Diocletian’s Palace

3. Peristyle (Peristil)

This square was once the centre of the Palace and it is where the Jupiter temple was settled. Later, the temple became St. John’s Baptistery as it is known today. Peristil is surrounded with palaces and is one of the most vivid places in Split.

(Photo: Ballota under CC)

4. Gregory of Nin (Grgur Ninski) monument

A famous medieval bishop is remembered as a true hero since he defended the usage of Croatian language as a liturgical language. Besides, you want to come visit him since there is a tradition in which, after you touch his toe, your wish will come true. Pretty convenient, isn’t it?

Rub the toe

5. St. Domnius (St. Duje) Cathedral

The Cathedral settled on Peristil was once Mausoleum of the Emperor Diocletian. Since he died in the beginning of the 4th century, this actually makes it the world’s oldest cathedral. But, since it wasn’t really a cathedral until the 7th century, this spectacular remark cannot be taken into account. Still, it is remarkable to say that, since the emperor was the persecutor of Christians, this is the place that connects pagan, Christian, Medieval and modern times. To enter the main part of the cathedral as well as its famous bells, you will be asked to pay a small entrance fee.

Sv. Duje

6. Pjaca

People’s Square (and since nobody here uses the real name) popularly called Pjaca, is surrounded by the Old Town Hall and is actually the central point of the city life. It was first mentioned in 13th century, as St. Lawrence’s Square, and after the roman life moved to Diocletian palace and its surroundings, this was the first part to be inhabited.

Pjaca

7. Prokurative

One other famous square, with its official name being Republic Square, is named after the arches of  the neo-Renaissance buildings seen around it. It resembles St. Marks Square in Venice and it is opened on one side which offers a view of the harbour and the waterfront. On all of these squares one important thing to do is to sit down and drink coffee for a longer period of time.

Prokurative

8. Voćni trg (Fruit square)

Officially called Square of the Radić brothers, this was once the place where local women came and sell the fruit from their gardens. This is actually the most beautiful square in the city so be sure to visit it. Surrounded by the Venetian tower, fortress, Palace of the Milesi family and the monument of Marko Marulić, famous Croatian writer, the square is a perfect location for many bars, restaurants and shops.

9. Marmont street

For many the most beautiful street in the city, surrounded by Secession buildings and a theatre, Marmont street is also historically important since it was the home for the first library and the cinema in the city.

10. Marjan

This is a famous green part of Split overlooking the town and the beautiful Croatian coast. A hill, forest and a park, this is the ideal place if you wish to wander around the green oasis and visit a few small churches dating back to the middle ages. Meštrović gallery on this peninsula was once a villa of the famous 20-century Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović and today it is a gallery which hides the most significant works of the artist.

View from Marjan

11. Sustipan

The old cemetery full of historical monuments for many citizens is the most favorite part of the city. It is settled on a small peninsula called Sustipan, surrounded by beautiful nature and the remains of an old monastery.

12. Matejuška port 

Drinking beer in this old port and overlooking the seaside is a custom in Split. Also, wine, dine and sing is a tradition you will likely come across while walking around the port, among the dozens of tied up boats and nets while the seagulls watch your every move.

Matejuška

13. Bačvice, Ovčice, Žnjan, Kašjuni, Obojena beach 

The most popular beach in Split, Bačvice, is the right location to play the favorite sport in town – picigin. All of these beaches are a great choice if you wish to take a quick dip before heading back to experiencing the city.

Kašjuni beach (Photo: Zvone00 under CC)

14. Poljud Stadium

Famous for its shell-like construction and settled right by the sea, the stadium is a home to a local first league football team – Hajduk. So, even if not a football fan, the Poljud beauty is one of the most interesting stadiums in the world and definitely has one of the best views. The stadium offers tours. 

Poljud (Photo: Ballota under CC)

15. The Fish Market and Pazar

If you’re looking for the best places to eat a list we have is really long. Since we have to chose we will actually send you to two vivid locations where you can pick the best local ingredients, spiza, and make the best meals you’ve ever tasted. 

Fish

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