IF you want a Mediterranean coast holiday with extra oomph, it’s time to split… to Split!
The city is the third largest in Croatia and has mushroomed in status to become one of the most pivotal ports on the Mediterranean coast – a fabulous mix of old-style architecture, modern hotels, great beaches, fine food and a vibrant, passionate community that gives you a welcome like no other on the Adriatic.
It’s at the heart of the Dalmatia region – and it knocks spots off other Mediterranean resorts as well because it offers real value for money without compromising on anything.
It certainly looks the part. A great port with a marina decked with luxury yachts in all shapes and sizes ringing the entrance to a large, attractive harbour. It is the hub of boat and ferry services to other ports on the coast as well as the islands that lie offshore.
The nearest – and therefore most popular – beach is at Bacvice, a sandy stretch at the heart of Split, but it does tend to get crowded quickly – mainly because of its proximity to the city centre.
For a more secluded sunbathe, try Kasjuni Beach, a short walk from the city centre at the foot of Marjan Hill. The waters are a beautiful azure colour and the scenery around about is superb with pine forests hugging the coastline.
This area is home to the Marjan Forest Park, an area of magnificent beauty and ideal for escaping the city and chilling out for the day walking among towering pine trees along some of the most picturesque trails you can imagine. Climb the Marjan Stairway to get a breathtaking view across the bay.
You can see the island of Brac from your vantage point here and it’s there you’ll find the best beach in the whole Adriatic – the Zlatni Rat (Golden Horn) at the little town of Bol.
The nightlife in Split is typical of any modern city – varied and something for all tastes. Younger party animals head for the more pulsating sounds of the Red Room at the Diocletian’s Palace, Bifora and Planet Jazz.
The other main cluster of clubs and bar is in the Bacvice district, with the Tropic Club Equador the No1 venue. Jazz and rock fill the air at the beachside O’Hara Klub.
Local fishy delicacies include octopus cooked in a traditional Dalmatian cast-iron bell, and brudet, a delicious stew of sea eel, red fish and other sea fish. For a quick snack, try salted sardines served with olive oil, bread and salted capers. Split restaurants really do offer some of the healthiest fare in the world. In addition you can enjoy a wide selection of Mediterranean wines like malvazija, posip, and pinot.
Diocletian’s Cellars is the market for crafts and jewellery. You’ll find plenty to interest you here including reproductions of Roman busts, silver cigarette cases, candlestick holders, wooden sailing ships, leather goods and other odds and ends. Prices aren’t too steep and you might find the perfect lightweight item to fulfil the back-from-a-trip, gift-giving obligations. At Split’s daily market you can buy fruit, vegetables, shoes, confectionery, clothing, can openers, flowers, souvenirs and other products. If you can’t find what you’re looking for in this market, the chances are it doesn’t exist in Split.