For the first stop in our honeymoon journey, W and I chose the very central city of Split Croatia as our connection to the rest of the Dalmatian coast. A few notes from our stay in Split:
- Split, as I mentioned, is a port city that has boats and ferries out to many of the visitable Croatian islands (Croatia’s nickname is sometimes “the Land of a Thousand Islands” because, true to form, there are 1,426 islands that make up Croatia, though only 46-48 are permanently inhabited.
- Even though Split is a travel hub, there aren’t many ways to get there from the air; we connected through Frankfurt on Croatian Airlines for both arrival and departure.
Split’s airport is teeny; the gate, baggage claim, and customs are all in the same large hall. Outside of customs, there are a few newspaper/convenience stores, a few currency exchange booths, and some tourism kiosks, but that’s about it.
Getting to Split from the airport (the airport is about 45 minutes north west of the actual city) is actually pretty simple; there were a few taxis and private transport options, but we chose the shuttle bus they have to Split proper, located right outside the airport to the right. It’s coach style, and decently priced (about 60 kuna for 2 people, so less that $10 USD total – you pay on the bus, either in euros or kuna). With a relatively large stable of coaches (there were 4 in line to take folks when we arrived), they do a pretty good job with frequency. The bus drops you off at the Split bus depot, which is basically where all tourists enter the city.
- Split as a city has a ton of old, traditional charm. If there’s one thing I learned is that people aren’t lying when they mean everything is walkable. From the bus depot to our apartment/hotel (in the northwest part of the city), it probably was a 10 minute walk, although initially we took a cab not knowing exactly how dense the city was.
- Picture large slabs of stones worn smooth (though not even) from thousands of years of weather and usage. Then picture 20 foot stone walls lining the outside of what was the old city/castle, but this time filled with shops and restaurants. Despite this, you never really feel “enclosed” while navigating the narrow nooks and alleyways of the city.
- Surrounding Split, you have a massive park area to the west, more urban dense industrial areas to the north and east, and the Adriatic sea to the south.
Although there were a lot of dark alleys and paths at dusk, W and I never felt unsafe or uneasy, as pedestrian traffic (motorized vehicles are not allowed within the old city walls) was always present, and shops were always open/lit.
Staying in Split:
- There aren’t many big box hotels in Split; many hotels are individual/local-run apartment-style places located in historic looking buildings and nooks found throughout the city. W and I stayed at the Divota Apartments, very modern and reasonably priced, with very helpful staff (not to mention a huge breakfast spread delivered to your room each morning).
Octopus Salad and Truffle Burger at Bokeria
- We used Trip Advisor to find a lot of our dining options; it was immensely helpful, because every corner you turn in the city, you’ll find some sort of cafe, bar, restaurant, or fast food. Seafood (obviously) is big in Split – the day’s fresh catch, squid, and all sorts of sea creatures can be found. We checked out a few places, of which Bokeria (a wine bar that also specializes in Campari) we highly recommend. Even the more expensive restaurants were moderately priced, with entrees ranging in the 20-25USD range.
- Fast food in Split consists of a few options very frequently encountered throughout the city: pizza, calzones, and meat-stuffed pastries. You should try it as a snack while wandering through the city – you’ll be hungry, and it is pretty darn cheap (like dollar-slice cheap).
Diocletian’s Palace, Split, Croatia
- Exploring the city you’ll find historical aspects throughout the city, including the small markets in the chambers underneath the old city, or seeing the old churches sprinkled throughout the town. The Diocletian’s Palace is well worth an hour or two of your time
- Islands: The best part of Split being the port hub of Dalmatia is that you can take boat tours to many of the neighboring islands. See our upcoming post on Hvar and the Pakleni Islands.
- Plitvice Lakes: a sprawling national park of 7 major lakes and their interconnected series of picturesque waterfalls, surrounded by acres upon acres of forest-covered hills. 4 hour travel time each way, plus another 2-3 hours to walk the many falls; plan on spending a whole day doing this trip.
Stay tuned for the rest of our Croatian adventures! For related posts, please see: