Updated: Jun 27, 2020
My third stop in Croatia was the city of Split. Due to suffering tonsillitis for the past week, I was finally on the mend, however by the time I reached Split I needed rest.
I hadn't really researched the options I would have whilst here. I made a list of all the sights in the city I wanted to see, but I didn't realise there were several island hopping opportunities here too. When I reached my accommodation, the girl at the check in was super helpful and made a list of all the brilliant things to do in Split, and she marked out a map for me with all of the highlights.
She suggested visiting the three islands off the coast of Split, Brač, Hvar and Šolta. I didn't, as I hadn't researched these previously, I think I made a poor decision. I decided to stick to the city itself, and have a chilled couple of days to fully recover from the tonsillitis, which thankfully I did.
I definitely missed out on the islands, and I regret not visiting at least one of them on a day trip. However what I really would have liked to see would have been the "Blue Cave". There's a cave which a boat will take you to, and provided it's the right time of the day, the cave will be filled with blue light.
The city of Split itself was nice, but the usual problem I encounter in popular tourist destinations cropped up again. Too many tourists!
It may seem hypercritical to complain, being a tourist myself, but the overcrowding of tourist spots is becoming quite a big issue. Not only does it take away the magic, but many don't respect the sights in the way that they should be respected.
If you decide to stay only in the city like myself, which again, I would not recommend. Go to the neighbouring islands! Then there are a few sights to see which I've listed below. I think the impressive part of the city is the city as a whole. Being able to explore the small alleyways and passages was the most fun part for myself, when there are less tourists in the streets of course.
There are four gates into the city of Split, but the Golden Gate is by far the most impressive. Situated to the north of the city, it was originally the main gate that Emperor Diocletian would use to enter the city. I believe that the gate is being restored, as there were workmen there when I visited. There are empty niches where there should be statues, and it seems a little bare in place. I'm not sure if the restoration will be completed by the time you're reading this, but even if not it's worth seeing.
Nearby you'll notice the Gregory of Nin statue and the Bell Tower and Chapel of the Holy Arnir.
Gregory of Nin
A huge statue dedicated to a medieval bishop famous for defying the Catholic church in Rome. You'll find him by the Golden Gate.
The most noticeable thing about him nowadays is his big toe which has turned gold. Many locals have spent decades rubbing his toe as they pass by to make a wish, which many claim to have come true. So, if you pass by him, be sure to rub his toe and make a wish.
I was actually quite confused by Diocletian's Palace, I wasn't sure if I had visited it or not. I was searching the streets for it, but could not seem to find it, only to realise that it makes up part of the streets of the city. Basically, I was in the palace as I was searching for it.
In this area you'll see the Saint Domnius Bell Tower rising high above the cathedral, and a wonderful statue of a sphinx.
What I loved the most about this area was Peristyle Square. This small square gathers large crowds when the sun goes down. Musicians will often sing and play here to the vast audience chilling out in the cool evening breeze. I highly recommended passing by here after dark to see if the music is to your taste, and if so, why not sit and listen for a while?
Once part of the palace, this complex of ground vault halls remain in great condition. I think these would have been fantastic to explore if empty of people and vendors, however it's now an underground market. There are many stalls here selling unique and interesting souvenirs, although a little pricier than elsewhere in the city.
I'd recommend walking through here, but I think a lot of the beauty is lost in the crowds of people and displays of fridge magnets and keyrings.
A bustling waterfront with many over priced restaurants and bars lining it. This is a nice part of the city to take a stroll down during the day or night.
Even though the restaurants are tourist traps, they offer some beautiful views of the waterfront, so it's worth sitting and eating here at least once.
As well as eateries, you'll see many street sellers here too, selling typical souvenirs which you could likely find cheaper elsewhere in the city.
This area is always busy, with tourists and locals alike, walking, cycling or rollerblading along the walkway.
Marjan Forest Park
If you'd like to do some hiking whilst in Split, then there's a beautiful park you can head up to . Walking up hill in the heat can be a little tough, but it won't take too long before you're able to see some great views of the city.
You'll pass an aged little church on the way, and you can keep walking for as long as you like. There are several other churches, tracks through forested areas, and a rock climbing wall. But if you're here for a view, the best place for this is actually quite near to the start of the trail at the Belvedre.