Apr 09

Split: intense beauty on the Croatian coast

A view of majestic Split in Croatia

The coast of Croatia is a dramatic blend of vivid color and culture that make it one of the more memorable coasts in the Mediterranean area. The azure, almost surreal blue depths of its waters indicate how refreshing and teeming with sea life this area is. The rocky coast with its scattered islands of white stone and brilliantly colored homes are constantly illuminated by the massive amounts of sun that this area enjoys. This coast inspires a great sense of seaside relaxation and tranquility, so it should come as no surprise that much of the coast is dotted with small sleepy villages and even larger cities that have an ancient heritage and a sense of architectural beauty equal to the pristine settings of nature around them.

The promenade by the seaside

One such marvel of beauty among these memorable towns is Split. This city is a well-preserved beach town and harbor with loads of Roman ruins, popular beaches, peaceful parks and relaxing walks. Since the city is a well-preserved ancient town the area of the old city is quite small and easily walkable. The views of the harbor and the surrounding nature make one feel more like in a park than in a large city. The beauty if that the modern city does obstruct the view of this classical town, but merely moves further inland. Split is easily accessible from many points of entry. One can easily arrive by train or by the efficient bus system that connects many cities in the whole Balkan region. The airport serves many destinations as well and travelers from Italy can take a ferry ride from Pescara and Ancona. Split itself is a very reasonable city for meals and lodging. There are many family owned apartments for rent. This is probably the best option to enjoy the sea views and practice your own culinary skills with fresh vegetables and seafood from the market every day. Croatian food is very fresh and much of it is organic.  Many of the apartments come with a full kitchen and a wonderful patio on which to enjoy a meal any time of day.

The white stoned streets of Split

Exploring the old town can be done very easily on foot. Public transport is really only necessary should you want to explore the further reaches of the newer city or to head to some beaches and historical sights a few kilometers outside of town. The old town exhibits much of the ancient heritage that formed this area in the first place. The centerpiece of the ancient city is Diocletian’s palace. This ancient wonder was a seaside resort for the late Roman Emperor and much of it still stands wonderfully preserved. It is one of the best preserved structures of its kind and a simple walk around it will give one the sense that this was a city inside the city. One can also pay for a tour of the excavated basements and storerooms as well. Just attached is another grand spectacle of art and engineering: St. Duje’s Cathedral. This was originally a masoleum for Diocletian and now is a church, so it has a unique Roman Temple and Christian Church style to it, much like the Pantheon in Rome. The walls are simply massive and tower over the whole of the old town.  The attractions are not only separate, many of them have been integrated into the modern streets, squares and public buildings of the city too. Jupiter’s Temple, which was made into St. John’s Church as well as Peristil Square have original walls and foundation stones which are wonderfully preserved and even more skillfully incorporated into the city’s modern design. Much of the city is build of stone, the same white rock which graces these pristine shores. The streets are quite a buzz of activity in the morning and things go more silent by later afternoon. One should especially enjoy a walk on the city’s main promenade known as Riva, it is well lit at night and hosts many fashionable shops. The area of Varos is a very ancient part of the city as well. Here you can see the simple life of the seaside much as it has always been. The streets and alleyways are small colorful and boutique.

The excavations under Diocletain's palace

The great part of Split is that one is never out of sight of the grand and unspoilt nature of the Croatian coast. For stunning views of the cityscape and the harbor head to the Marjan area. This is a hilly terrain set on the West side of the city. Head for a panoramic stroll, a great workout and a real immersion in the splendid sea air of this great promontory. Bacvice is the best beach to head to if you want to be close to town while at the same time immersed in a sea of locals soaking up every inch of sun. A new bicycle renting service provided by the city can allow one to explore some of the coast further outside the confines of the city as well.

The fine squares built off of Roman ruins

There is much to see and explore in the Mediterranean world of seacoasts and the Croatian coast in particular. Many places have their local charms and claims of beauty, but Split stands out among these for being a uniquely historical city, a spot that’s very accessible and being a place that offers captivating culture in a setting of timeless beauty. Split is a great place to relax and enjoy the sea as you’ve never seen it before.



This is the Editorial Board of The Joys of Traveling. We are passionate travel writers who seek to provide objective and accurate accounts of travel experiences by means of written articles, photos and videos.

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