Split is the largest city in the region of Dalmatia
and the second largest in Croatia in terms of inhabitant numbers.
It is a city with an ancient history: founded as a colony of Syracuse in the 3rd or 2nd century BC, it later became a Roman city when the emperor Diocletian decided in 295-304 AC to build a sumptuous palace to spend the last few years of his life.
The Diocletian’s Palace. Photo: Sisterscom.com, Shutterstock
Diocletian’s Palace and the old town of Split have been
on UNESCO’s World Heritage list since 1979
Over the years the city has developed around Diocletian’s Palace and the various stages of history are clearly visible: from ancient Rome, the Middle Ages, and up to the present day. A trip to the city reveals wonderful architecture, the Peristyle, small Romanesque churches, Gothic medieval palaces, Renaissance entrances of the houses of nobility and Baroque façades.
The seafront promenade of Split. Photo: Sisterscom.com, Shutterstock
A tour of the beautiful sights of Split might begin with the most important buildings, such as Diocletian’s Palace, as well as the heart of the city, which includes a long seafront promenade known as the Riva.
A wonderful view of the south façade of Diocletian’s Palace and the city port can be enjoyed on a walk along the Riva heading west, passing a series of bars and shops. The road then continues through several city squares, such as Voćni trg (Fruit square) and Trg Republike (Republic Square), and heads towards the well-preserved northern wall of the palace.
Here, for good luck, it is customary to touch the big toe of the foot of the large statue of Gregory of Nin, which faces the imposing Golden Gate. Through the Golden Gate lies the interior of Diocletian’s Palace. Our tour continues along old alleyways and past medieval buildings, including the narrowest lane of the city, quirkily called ‘Pusti me da prodjem’ or ‘Let me pass’ right alongside the Temple of Jupiter, which leads through the Vestibule to the Peristyle, the palace’s central square.
An Egyptian sphinx, constructed 3,500 years ago,
sits in the Peristyle, as testament to the city’s history
An important example of late Roman architecture, the Peristyle is dominated by the bell tower of the Cathedral of Saint Domnius, patron saint of the city.
The cathedral is located in the ancient mausoleum of the emperor, one of the oldest Christian buildings in the world.
The underground halls of the building, once stores for the medieval city and today one of the main tourist attractions where scenes from the famous series Game of Thrones were set, lead toward the Riva.
Don’t miss a visit to the city’s central market, among the colours, flavours and perfumes of Dalmatia and the Mediterranean. From here we again enter the Palace, passing, this time, through the Silver Gate. Here the Decumanus, the principal Roman road, leads to the western gate of the palace - the Iron Gate - where the old clock tower can be found.
The historic center of Split. Photo: Sisterscom.com, Shutterstock
Ahead lies the Pjaca
) with the historic Gothic Old Town Hall
. Our walk continues towards the old fish market
(120 years old) and passes along Marmontova Street
toward the Prokurative
, a square that closely resembles St. Mark’s Square in Venice
. We then cross the old town
and end with a stroll along the western part of the Riva for a break in one of the many bars.
Any further time on our hands can be spent in the pine forests of Mount Marjan, a symbol of Split, which affords a beautiful view of the city and the sea. At the foot of the southern slope is the well-known Ivan Meštrović Gallery, as well as the Kaštelet, a fortress housing other works by the famous Croatian sculptor. Don’t miss a visit to the city’s Bačvice beach, or, in the vicinity, a tour of the islands of Brač, Hvar, Šolta and Čiovo.
Dalmatian Peka filled with meat and vegetables. Photo: Sisterscom.com, Shutterstock
The cuisine of Split,
a combination of different cultures
Both the cuisine of Dalmatia and that of Split are a combination of different cuisines and cultures: Mediterranean, Venetian, Turkish and central European. Split offers the best in Dalmatian cuisine, which is personalised with local, very fresh ingredients.
Among the typical local dishes are: pasta with tomato sauce, minced meat, boiled meat with tomato sauce, lamb tripe, spit-roasted lamb, meatballs with sauce, venison stew with dumplings, steak with sauce, stuffed peppers, fish stew, seafood, crab, and excellent desserts such as rožada (caramel cake), pancakes, doughnuts, kroštule (a pastry), fritule, sirnica (Easter bread) and the Makarana cake.
Text by Nicolò Villa
Copyright © Sisterscom.com
Where to sleep in Split
Split is a welcoming city and offers various possibilities for accommodation.
To find the ideal hotel and the best offers you can do a search for the stars but also for districts or landmarks.
Hotels for stars, differentiated by type of services:
Hotels in the districts
Hotels in tourist areas
Hotels near the airport
Hotels in other cities of Croatia