Croatia has been a long-loved destination for sun-seeking travelers due to its pristine beaches and mesmerizing waters. Not only that, the food is delicious and the weather supreme. What’s not to love?
The two most popular coastal cities are Split and Dubrovnik, but many people also opt for the islands located just off the coastline. Everything is just a boat ride away, so wherever you decide to locate yourself, you’ll be ideally situated to explore everything the Dalmatian coast has to offer. We’ve spoken to one of the locals in order to get the best tips on what to see and do when visiting Split.
What’s your favorite area in Split for shopping?
I always tend to go to the old part of the city for shopping, within the walls of Diocletian’s Palace. Always busy, Marmont Street is lined with all kinds of shops and many cafés and restaurants. There are tons of great boutiques and stores along the palace walls, especially if you’re looking for something more authentic and original, like a traditional souvenir or a bottle of quality local wine or olive oil.
What do Croatians eat and where can you buy it?
When it comes to food, the people of Dalmatia like to keep it simple, fresh and grown locally. There is no better place to buy it than at the local farmers’ market called Pazar and the fish market, Peškarija. The market vendors are selling whatever is in season, but you'll also be able to buy flowers, clothes, toys and even kitchen utensils. The market opens around 7am and closes by 2pm, but plan to head there late-morning when it's possible to bargain for slightly lower prices with the vendors.
Where’s good to go for lunch and dinner?
Tavern is a small, family-run restaurant with a great atmosphere and mouth-watering traditional Dalmatian food. The cuisine here is mostly seafood, but they have meat dishes as well. Located in the heart of Split’s Old Town, Uje Oil Bar is a combination of a tapas style restaurant and olive oil/delicatessen shop with a rustic wood interior and a charming atmosphere. It’s the perfect place to taste fresh soft Croatian cheese with fig cake slices and a drizzle of Croatian olive oil.
If you want to combine tasty food with views over the sea, Restaurant Dvor is set in a stunning location. Another restaurant located in the very center of Split is the beautifully decorated Bokeria, opened by the highly appreciated and rewarded Croatian Masterchef Dino Galvagno.
What sort of bars and lounges would you recommend?
My favorite bars are grouped together in the pedestrian streets of the Old Town. Ghetto Club is a bohemian bar with an intimate courtyard lit with flaming torches and art exhibitions. All of this is combined in a bar-gallery space to a soundtrack of rock, jazz, funk and disco. Immediately opposite, tiny Fluid is a cozy, stone-walled, late night drinking den. The Rakija Bar is located in the Palace Area of Split. It’s a great place to explore Croatia’s flavors and fragrances, experience the country’s hospitality and enjoy the warm fuzzy feeling one gets when going Croat. Down the steps, another hip bar, Figa serves drinks at a row of low-level tables outside in summer, with cushions on the stone steps so you can sit out.
Hidden away on a narrow side street off Trg Braće Radića, Galerija Plavca is a laid-back café-bar with outdoor seating in a pleasant courtyard. Here there are also occasional art and photography exhibitions. Luxor is a great place to have coffee and delicious cake in the courtyard of the Saint Duje Cathedral with a cushions laid out on the steps where you can relax and listen to local guitar players.
Where is your favorite beach?
My favorite beach spots in Split are located on the southern slopes of Marjan Forest Hill. Sometimes I want to experience the veritable oasis of untouched beauty, for example, at Labaduša Bay, situated in the south of Čiovo Island, the island linked to Trogir. Also Stiniva Bay, on the island Vis, where dramatic cliffs clasp a pebbly golden cove surrounded by sparkling blue water.
Anything else visitors should see?
Trogir is an ancient Mediterranean town with UNESCO protected status in city core where you can see old historical remains of the ancient and medieval city. Alternatively, go outside and bask on the many clean beaches on Trogir Riviera and Čiovo Island. Don´t miss a trip to the ruins of the Roman City of Salona, only five kilometers from Split. Not far away from Salona, the Fortress of Klis has a phenomenal panoramic view of the Split Riviera, Trogir Riviera and the surrounding islands. The nearby islands Brač, Hvar, Vis and Lastovo, with preserved nature and unique clean beaches, are also ideal location for day trips.
Any day trips you recommend to see some nature?
For an unforgettable experience in a unique natural setting, visit Croatia´s National Parks: Krka and Plitvice Lakes. If you are active and into exercising, you should head to Omis for rafting, free climbing and zip lining to feel some adrenaline and absorb the scenic views of the magnificent canyon of the Cetina River.
We hope Andrea’s lovely local recommendations inspire your trip to Split. For your next Dalmatian adventure, let Radisson Blu Resort & Spa, Split be your base so you can experience the best Croatian wonders. This resort style hotel with spectacular ocean views is steps away from sun-kissed pebble beaches and a short distance to the center. Explore Split like a local but relax and unwind like you are on vacation with Blu.