Dobra večer (good evening)! We just split Split, Croatia, and Natalie and I had an incredible full day. So far Split is our favorite port of this cruise. For starters, the Adriatic Sea has been so smooth we were able to spot dolphins from our balcony at 6:30am. We pulled into port around 8am and we were off the ship for the day 30 minutes later.
Again, my friend and Croatian TV star Ashley Colburn hooked us up with her favorite Split travel guide, Lela Jelena Delic (damale3 AT hotmail.com). Lela met us by our ship and we walked through the busy port to Split’s Old Town.
The first thing we learned is that Split is Europe’s third busiest port behind Naples and Piraeus (Athens). She also told us the city of Split has about 250,000 people. Instead of boring you with loads of information, here are 12 things you must do in Split, Croatia, according to Lela.
1. Tour the substructures of Diocletian’s Palace. They were built by the Roman emperor Diocletian at the turn of the fourth century AD and are so incredible for the time, it’s difficult to fathom how they were made.
2. Climb the spire in Cathedral St. Duje — it’s 250 steps.
3. Visit the fish market in the morning to see the day’s catch. It doesn’t smell like most fish markets since it’s built on sulphur beds.
4. Tour the local farmers’ market; it’s now one of my favorites. All the fruits and vegetables are so colorful and fresh. And the locals were friendly. When I tried to buy a single apple the owner smiled and said, “Take it.
5. Climb up Marjan Mountain. It takes about 20 minutes and the walk is beautiful and peaceful. At the top we saw a peacock; I’m not sure if it was part of the zoo that’s up there or not. On the way down you will see a café that has the best views in the city.
6. Enjoy a coffee and a slice of homemade cherry pie in Luxor café. Lela says this place is like her living room and she goes to enjoy the constant change of scenery. Another café she recommends is Teak Caffe.
7. Go to Tradicija Bakery for some traditional Croatian cookies and other sweet specialties.
8. For lunch, Lela recommends Vidakovi restaurant – the oldest in Split. She also recommends Villa Spiza and Fife restaurants. Natalie and I ate at the latter which was good and cheap but they don’t take credit cards so make sure you have some cash (kuna or euros) on you!
9. Walk along Riva, the esplanade along the water, in the evening.
10. Mestrovic Gallery – Ivan Mestrovic Museums is a must, according to Lela. Just the mention of it gives her goosebumps.
11. Buy gifts and souvenirs in the Old Town. The best things to spend your kunas on are red coral, gold, and shoes. Split is very fashion forward.
12. On a hot summer day, walk to Bacvice beach. It’s a five-minute walk from the port. It’s the perfect spot for swimming, attending the daily beach parties, or playing Picigin, which is a traditional ball game from Split. It’s played in waist-high water and the players try to keep the small ball from touching the water.
As you can see there’s so much to do and see in Split, Croatia. We were out for the whole day and still only able do 9 of the 12 things on this list, which means we will just have to come back. What a bummer, eh?
Day 1: Venice, Italy
Day 2: Sea Day
Day 3: Kotor, Montenegro
Day 4: Corfu, Greece
Day 5: Brindisi, Italy
Day 6: Dubrovnik, Croatia
Day 8: Sali, Croatia
Day 9: Rovinj, Croatia
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