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Croatia’s second city is the heart of Dalmatia – a dynamic, stylish part of the country that’s much more than just a jumping-off point for ferries to the Adriatic islands of Hvar and Brač.
Split effortlessly blends culture, beauty and ancient history with exuberance and more than a little glamour. Even in the heavy heat of summer, there’s a gentle buzz in the air as people saunter along the marble Riva waterfront or hang out in the city’s sandy beaches (a rarity for Croatia).
History is everywhere in Split. At its centre stands Diocletian’s Palace, an ancient Roman palace and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built by the Roman emperor Diocletian in the 4th century AD, the palace was left in ruins and was colonised centuries ago by the residents. Now it teems with cafés, shops and apartments filling in the spaces between its graceful columns and stone gates.
But it’s not all ancient allure. Explore Split’s central squares and lose yourself in more recent history. Wander round the cafés of Narodni Trg and see the legacy left behind by the Venetians. Over in Republic Square, meanwhile, the mark of the Austro-Hungarian Empire is all over its elegant neoclassical colonnades and terracotta-coloured façades.
If you plan a Split holiday as a base for day trips, you’re spoilt for choice. The majestic waterfalls of Krka National Park are an hour away by car, the medieval town of Trogir is just 35 minutes, and Hvar island is under two hours away by ferry. Just outside Split is the ancient Roman city of Salona, now called Solin, and an easy bus ride away. Holidays in Split are made for exploration.
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