Why we were in Split?
As part of our summer in the Balkan’s we were heading from Sarajevo, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, to Italy. We travelled from Sarajevo to Split by bus, a journey that took us 6 hours and cost us 25 euros each. We were in Split for 2 nights, before leaving on an early ferry over to Ancona.
Where did we stay?
We chose this AirBnB, a private room in an apartment, for which we paid £44 per night. It was about a 25 minute walk into the Old Town, which wasn’t that bad. The place was clean and as described but whilst it was advertised with air conditioning, the unit was actually in the lounge which was a common area we shared with another couple. We did try to sleep with our door open after overheating in our room but with the other couple hanging around in the lounge it wasn’t possible.
What did we do with our day?
Split is a very easy place to spend a day because its biggest draw is completely free, Diocletian’s Palace. The palace was built for the Roman Emperor Diocletian, back in the 305AD, and it now forms over half of the Old Town. By 7AD it had been abandoned by the Romans and residents had started to live and start businesses within its walls and that is how it still can be found today.
It is the worlds most complete remains of a Roman Palace and therefore its importance cannot be underestimated and neither can it’s popularity. Adam and I found that it was absolutely overrun with people, although I appreciate we were visiting at peak time.
The busiest place was the Peristyle, a courtyard which used to give access to a number of temples. Diocletian was celebrated as the living son of Jupiter, the God of the Sky, and this peristyle would be the religious centre of the palace
Next to the Peristyle stands the Cathedral of St Domnius, regarded as the Oldest Catholic Cathedral in the world that’s still in the orignal structure (no renovation). Within the Cathedral sits Diocletian’s mausoleum and the cathedral also has a beautiful bell tower, although that was built much later, around 1100.
Narodni Trg, or the People’s square, is a large piazza where you’ll find various places to sit for food or a drink and even one of the oldest book shops in the world. Amongst the beautiful buildings situated around the square you’ll find the Town Hall and the City Clock, which uniquely has 24 digits instead of 12.
Taking your time to wander around the palace leads itself to the discovery of beautiful squares, such as Republic Square, which is very Venetian in its styling. Although it was practically empty when we visited it is a popular space for events throughout the summer.
From the square you can walk along Riva, the waterfront. It’s a beautiful place to walk along, thanks to its wide sidewalks. Take a seat and enjoy the views, whether its out to the blue harbour or back to the historic buildings, built during the French rule.
We did attempt to visit Marjan Park, the hilled peninsula considered the lungs of the city, and a popular place for people to hike, jog and bike. For us it just wasn’t meant to be because as soon as we started to walk into the park the heavens opened and the thunder had arrived within seconds. The rain continued heavily for the rest of the day and we didn’t get chance to return.
Where did we eat?
Food in Split isn’t cheap, thanks to it being a major cruise ship destination. We ate at Toro Grill, a centrally located grill place. We paid 126 kuna for us both to have chicken skewer with rice and an alcoholic drink each. It was simple but delicious so a perfect lunch destination.