As Croatia’s largest coastal city, Split is home to one of the world’s most impressive Roman ruins – the retirement palace of Roman Emperor Diocletian.
Not too long ago, Split was seen as nothing more than a port from which to visit neighboring islands and a sad picture of the former proud city that was once one of the most important outposts of the Roman Empire.
In recent years, the city has transformed itself from frumpy bridesmaid to stunning bride, creating a new energy that has turned Split into an event center. The city now offers a thriving and ever-changing entertainment and gastronomic scene.
For this itinerary I recommend you grab a city map from your place of accommodation or any of the tourist offices around town, the biggest one being on the Riva at Obala Hrv. Narodnog Preporoda 9.
Start at the Ivan Mestrovic masterpiece, the statue of Gregory of Nin. Rub that big toe for good luck and then head inside the Palace through the Golden Gate. As soon as you walk through the Golden Gate keep in mind that you have entered Diocletian’s Palace, the world-heritage listed and UNESCO-protected complex of ancient buildings and marble streets.
Usually you’ll find handsome gentlemen dressed as gladiators guarding this gate entrance, so strike your best Roman pose and have your photo taken.
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Once inside, turn left on Papaliceva for a visit to the Split City Museum. Or walk straight down Dioklecijanova, turn left and find the Peristil, the palace ceremonial entrance court.
From here you can visit to the Cathedral and belltower of Saint Domnius or if the crowds look heavy start with the Temple of Jupiter and the Basement Halls. Directly next to the temple is Split’s narrowest street named Pusti me proc, meaning let me through.
These main sights will probably take you a couple of hours. So I’m thinking you’ll be ready for lunch.
In the last few years Split has blossomed into a foodie haven. Try the famous Mazzgoona (Bajamontijeva 1) or Uje Oil Bar (Dominisova 3). For a weird and wonderful ice-cream (think beetroot and prosecco flavors) it’s over to Luka (Petra Svacica 2). Then try a coffee and a spot of shopping at Prokurative and Marmont Street or a stroll along the Riva.
If the weather is holding out, a dip in the famous Bacvive may be in order. If there are children in tow (or child-like adults) that want to marvel at one of the best taxidermy collections in the world, head over to Froggyland. Taxidermy doesn’t really sound like fun for children but Froggyland is. You’ll be amazed.
In the evening you could take in a performance at the Croatian National Theatre and have dinner. Recommended is Bokeria Kitchen and Wine Bar (Cosmijeva 2). The restaurant carries the name of the famous market in Barcelona, La Boqueriji, and offers excellent food, service and atmosphere.
Another option is Zinfandel Wine Bar (Marka Marulica 2), where you can have dinner or enjoy a glass of wine while listening to the nightly live music.
After dinner, head back to Peristil for a nightcap at Luxor Bar. Grab a cushion, a drink and sit on the court steps enjoying more live music and marveling at the beauty of this World Heritage site.
Day two is more active than day one, so get out those good walking shoes.
This morning it’s up to Marjan Hill. Spend some time marveling at the chapels and churches on route and then head down the other side to the quiet Kasjuni Cove for some good swimming. When coming back into the city, stop at Mestrovic Gallery & Kastelet-Crikvine.
The walk, swimming and visit to Mestrovic will probably take most of the day.
Tonight if you want to party the night away, try Academia Ghetto Club (Dosud 10). It’s a drinking spot that has became known as a gathering place for young locals and travelers with the party spilling out onto tiny streets of the palace. You can always try Bacvice tonight for the beachside cafes and clubs.