In AD 293, Emperor Diocletian, who thought himself divine, decided to build a palace worthy of his stellar nature. He chose a peaceful Adriatic bay as his construction site, close to the sea and surrounded by beautiful nature. The emperor died before the grandiose building was completely finished. However, it grew a life of its own and over the centuries turned into the second largest city in Croatia – Split.
His urban Majesty Split has many things to offer curious visitors. From its rich history to its beautiful surroundings, fine dining and bustling nightlife, every step you take on the city’s streets is a chance to experience something new and genuine. Let’s name a couple of places you might want to check out.
Now, about that king – his palace is still here, for you to see and enjoy. Actually, it is the most well preserved Roman palace in the world, and under the protection of UNESCO’s World Heritage program. The entire complex is built as a kastrum –a Latin military camp, with thick walls and defensive watchtowers. Two main streets, cardo and decumanus, dominate the interior structure and lead to many points of interest. One is certainly the monumental court known as Peristyle, where the Church of St. Domnius was built on the remains of the Emperor’s mausoleum. Others include a 3500-year-old Egyptian sphinx (it was already ancient when Diocletian brought it to the palace), the Temple of Jupiter (which was turned into a baptistery as Christianity became the dominant religion) and an underground system of tunnels open to the public. Bottom line- if you don’t visit the palace, you were not in Split at all.
How are we to describe Split’s main promenade, the center of the city’s social life and stage for so many events? Imagine yourself sitting on a bench next to the Adriatic sea, watching the seagulls crying over the waves, as if they were greeting you. Above you are distinctive branches of palm trees, beneath you are white blocks of marble, and some really attractive company flashes you a smile while passing by. Suddenly, the scent of fresh coffee reaches your nostrils, and you simply have to sit down in one of the numerous café bars just few steps away. That’s the Riva. Don’t be a stranger. The only thing missing is you.
What Medvednica is to Zagreb, Marjan is to Split. Like an older brother guarding his little sibling, the mountainous region of Marjan dwells next to Split, providing an excellent spot for a peaceful walk, a joyous sprint or a romantic retreat into nature. Take your swimming suit with you, as one of the Marjan paths leads to the beautiful Inlet of St. Benedict, or as locals call it, Bene. Coffee lovers will enjoy Vidilica Bar, and kids can have fun in Marjan’s Zoo. Walking the southern side will lead you to Sustipan Peninsula, where important things might happen in your life.
4. “Pusti me proc!” (“Let Me Pass!”) Street
A 52 cm wide path inside Jupiter’s temple steals the limelight from its larger architectural brethren. Because of how narrow it is, even one single person can barely pass through. If somebody comes from the other side, it must be decided who goes first. This place has been the site of numerous quarrels and humorous anecdotes. Who knows, if you visit, you might create your own.
5. Luxurious clubs
When night falls, another Split emerges. One of disco lights, loud music, friendly banter and great drinks. Join the heat in one of numerous city nightclubs, starting with Tropic. Located above the sand zone of Bacvice Beach, this glamorous place always greets the morning with a crowd. Another club raising the temperature is Vanilla, boasting 1400 square meters of space, some of which are outdoors. For those who like variety in their nightlife, Imperium offers a restaurant, a lounge bar and a disco club – all in one. Soccer fans will like the stadium of Poljud during the day, but the fancy Hemingway Bar in the vicinity might be a better choice during nighttime hours. Oh, and if you checked our list of great places to drink coffee give f-caffe a chance at night, you might be surprised.
In any case, this is only a short guide to all Split has to offer in terms of culture and entertainment. More things await you, and like we said, the only thing missing is you.