Split. The city has something for everyone; whether you want to swim in the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic, take a day trip to the island of Hvar or go exploring the ancient Roman Palace of the emperor Diocletian. For our trip through Croatia we wanted to splurge to really make the most of it – and now when everyone asks where our favorite place was – it is at the top of the list.
We took the bus (again booked through GetByBus) from Plitvice lakes to Zadar and onwards to Split.
The drive was intense – such a large bus tackling very tight corners along the cliff side. The views were spectacular – watching the countryside pass by I was surprised to see just how arid and uninhabited much of it was. Of the few houses and villages I did see – many buildings were partially constructed or even abandoned. Reading the history of the country – it is hard to believe the Croatian war of independence is so recent when I have heard so little about it.
Reaching the stunning coastline the communities became more evident and built up. My first sight of the iconic white houses and orange terracotta roof tiles contrasted against the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic really made me excited to explore Croatia.
Arriving into the bus terminal in Split, we were right on the water adjacent the ferries and 2 minutes walk to the palace and the boardwalk. We had splurged and were staying in some newly renovated apartments, Horizon Luxury Suites, just off the water. Dragging our much too big bags up the hill, we walked right past the architecturally odd hotel building until the manager, Ivan, spotted us and flagged us down. He helped us with our bags upstairs and the apartment and the brand new rooms and view of the sea definitely did not disappoint. Ivan was incredible for helping us with anything we needed – from organising trips and giving directions to recommending where to go out – making us feel as if we were staying at a 5 star hotel.
The next day we wanted to do the walking tour of the palace, so we met up with some friends we had met in Munich and found the blue umbrella of Split walking tours by the giant statue with the come hither gesture, Gregory of Nin. Lucia was an excellent guide – taking us through the palace, talking about the history and sneaking in references to where Game of Thrones was filmed. Seeing the artist’s rendition of the palace in its prime really helped put the palace in perspective.
After talking about it all day we had a craving for sushi – and it just so happened Adriatic Oyster and Sushi Bar was one of the top rated restaurants on trip advisor – the place was so popular we even bumped into our friends from the walking tour. The sushi was amazing – so fresh – I recommend the Adriatic plate to get started.
For the first day of summer we wanted to check out the island of Hvar. Known as a big party location we were excited to go and check out some of the bars. Arriving into the port – we had to take another bus (they wait at the terminal for the ferry – 27 kuna each) which actually took us to the town. The drive around made me want to move here – around the cliffs you catch glimpses of beautiful houses each with literally their own personal cove to swim in. We jumped off the bus and headed through the town – again it was like stepping back in time. A castle towers from one of the cliffs above the town, and walking down the square lined with old limestone shops to the stone dock is exactly how I imagined the island.
We figured the clubs must be further around from our beach so we kept walking along the water. And walking. And walking. After a while we realised it must be the other side of the port. Making the best of getting lost, we found a secluded rock pool to climb down to and snap some photos.
Heading back, we grabbed a drink and a panini along the dock and watched the huge yatchs docking (they even had personalized gangway mats) before taking the bus back to the ferry port. Taking the late ferry back to Split, we enjoyed a spectacular sunset over the Adriatic.
For our last few days we just wanted to relax – after traveling so long sometimes you just need to take a break and spend more than a few days in one spot so you can relax, unpack, wash EVERYTHING and plan your next steps.
We did take time out of laying out by the beach to take advantage of the great locations – taking the camera and the go pro and a few outfits we went and played along the waterfront and in the alleyways of the city.
Rejuvenated after a few days relaxing, we decided to pack in some adventure – going sea kayaking along the coast. The office for Red Adventures was just down the road so we booked and jumped in the van out of the city. It had been a while since we had been in “divorce boats” – fortunately we didn’t overturn on our way beneath the cliffs. Going along the coast, we passed some more GOT filming locations and some isolated pebble beaches. Stopping for a break, we had the option to go snorkeling in the clear water or going cliff jumping. We opted for a little of each before paddling back home. Wrecked from our long day of kayaking some indulgence was on the cards – heading down a back alley we ended up at a ‘locals only’ pizza place, Bakra, and ordered our favourite – 4 cheese pizza. Very satisfied, we were ready to pack up and move on.