Split

Split is Croatia´s second largest city and is a major tourist destination. Split is centrally located in between the Dalmatian islands and many of the waterfalls and historic towns of the north. 

Split was the embarkation point for my weeklong cruise around the islands. 

May 28, 2021: Diocletian´s Palace

From Dubrovnik, the bus ride to Split took 5 hours which was much longer than expected but still very easy. The longest delay occurred at the double border crossing with Bosnia. 

After arriving in Split, I walked into Diocletian´s Palace in the city center. 

Split has a very unusual history. It was founded by the Roman emperor Diocletian in the year 305. The town was founded to house his retirement palace. The enormous palace is still around, although it has certainly changed shape and function over the centuries. 

The basement of Diocletian´s Palace

By the way, Diocletian was a very influential Roman emperor. He decided that the empire was too big to be ruled by one man. So, he created the Tetrarchy, a system where 4 people would co-rule the empire. 

The palace takes up most of the modern center of Split. I entered the palace in the basement, which is perfectly intact. Some of the dozens of rooms are used to sell souvenirs, but most of the basement is empty and is a museum. 

More rooms from the basement of the palace

Just above the basement rooms is the main square containing the famed Split Cathedral. The Cathedral was built as the mausoleum of Diocletian. It is considered the oldest cathedral structure in Europe. The main cathedral is round and has a very ornate altar. 

The altar of the cathedral

There is also a belltower built by the Venetians that has spectacular views of the city. 

The bell tower of the Split cathedral

Across the square is the baptistry which used to be a Temple of Jupiter. 

View from the Split bell tower

The cathedral also has an impressive museum full of treasures.  

I then wandered the mazelike old town. Part of the old town is the palace and has random Roman arches. But a lot of the old town is outside the palace and is very pretty. 

The main square of Split

For lunch, I got a cuttlefish risotto which was delicious and way cheaper than Dubrovnik.

Cuttlefish risotto. Yum!!

Next, I visited Split´s weirdest attraction: Froggyland. Froggyland is a collection of 507 100-year-old taxidermy frogs that are placed in scenes such as a school or a gym. The collection is bizarre but enjoyable. Photos are not allowed inside Froggyland unfortunately.

Split´s weirdest attraction

Next, I walked up the hill just outside of town which is called Marjan. Walking up the hill is a great workout and the views were nice. Admittedly, I think the views from the belltower of the cathedral are better. 

With that, I felt like I had done everything in Split itself. I walked over to my hotel and met up with my uncle, aunt, and cousins for the first time. We got dinner in the harbor. 

Our view from dinner

When walking back, we stopped in the city center. It is very clear that the town is busy with an incredible vibe during a normal summer. 

May 29, 2021: Trogir

I had a half-day before the boat left, so I decided to visit Trogir. This UNESCO World Heritage Site town is just 45 minutes by public bus around the bay from Split (or just 10 minutes from the airport). 

The bus was very easy and cheap (21 kuna or €3). Once in Trogir, I wandered the stunning old town and its narrow alleys. The highlight was the cathedral and its belltower. 

Inside the Trogir cathedral

I also got some homemade pasta for lunch. In total I spent 2 hours in Trogir including lunch. I then headed back to Split to rest up and catch the boat. 

Trogir

Final Thoughts:

Split is a dream. The town is beautiful and has an amazing vibe to it. Unlike Dubrovnik, Split is a real town with real Croatians and reasonable prices. Split is also a perfect jumping off point for a number of day trips. The tourist infrastructure is strong and there are many tourist agencies in town that can help. 

I greatly preferred Split to Dubrovnik even though Dubrovnik is prettier. 

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