In California, the beaches are relatively the same – sand, sun, surf and stores. The quality may differ at each, but when you break it down, there’s not that much difference between Laguna, Newport, Sunset or Huntington. (Disclaimer: I haven’t lived there since I was 18 so I’m guessing there are a lot of people that feel very differently!)
This does not hold true in Split. For being a relatively small city (less than 200,000 in population) the different beaches feel worlds apart. I’ve been to four beaches so far and each has been very unique. Let’s start with my favorite:
Located on the North side of Marjan Park, this was the first beach we went to last Saturday. The walk through Marjan was beautiful. Click here to view a video of Marjan Park on the way to Bene Beach. (I have to link videos over to Flikr rather than WordPress)
There were tons of locals walking, riding their bikes and roller blading. And it was incredible to see little bits of the bright blue Adriatic Sea peaking through the green foliage. Add in the red roofs of the buildings across the water, white sail boats glistening in the sun and towering mountains in the background and suffice it to say, we were in heaven. It’s only about a mile from the entrance of the park to Bene Beach, but it took us forever to get there because we kept stopping to take pictures. (Marjan Park is only about a half mile from my apartment so I’ve been a frequent visitor since last Saturday)
When you get to Bene Beach, you walk through some tennis courts, a café, gelato stand and little kid’s playground so as you’re walking up to it, it’s not that impressive. But then you walk out to the rocks and it almost takes your breath away.
We pulled together six lounge chairs, grabbed a beer from the café and enjoyed the beauty of Bene Beach for the next six hours. We didn’t initially realize that we had to pay for our chairs but the 30 kuna/$4.50 was definitely worth it.
Landscape: Tucked away in a forested park. Seating comprised of large rocks, or in our case, lounge chairs on a huge, flat rock with small waves lapping underneath us. The water was rougher than I’ve seen in other places and very few people were actually in the water.
Atmosphere: A few locals sunbathing on the rocks, quiet, peaceful
Verdict: Have already been back
On Sunday, Jillian, Sarah and I tried renting paddle boards. We quickly realized that all places were closed on Sundays so we ventured off to another beach. This time, we went to the South side of Marjan, taking the scenic route from Old Town along the water.
This one was much more crowded and no lounge chairs available. So we plopped down on rock and enjoyed another afternoon basking in the Adriatic sun.
Landscape: A pepple-y beach with a few larger rocks to claim as your own, if you’re lucky. Much calmer, shallower water with a few water polo goals set-up should you feel the need to play.
Atmosphere: A much younger crowd with large groups of teenagers in the water and laying on the beach and rocks.
Verdict: If I hadn’t been to Bene Beach the day before, I’d say it was gorgeous. But comparatively speaking, definitely a distant second.
This isn’t technically a beach, rather President Tito’s summer mansion. He was the Yugoslavian president from 1943-1980 and from what I can gather, rather well liked. His summer residence is tucked away just West of Kaštelet Beach.
I stopped here as part of my kayaking tour on Tuesday (more on that in another post). This private beach is stunningly pretty and with Tito’s yellow mansion, it felt like I was at a Mediterranean villa. Which I guess, I technically was.
I sat on the seawall for about half an hour and could have stayed much longer. But alas, we had to kayak back to Bene Beach.
Landscape: Another pepple-y beach, but much smoother rocks that were more gentle on the feet than Kaštelet. Lush greenery, palm trees, and a beautiful mansion on three sides with crystal-clear, turquoise water in the bay.
Atmosphere: Completely private
Verdict: If I had any idea how to get to the beach on foot, I would be there every day.
This is the most well known beach in Split and I wanted to see it at least once as I had heard about this odd game played only in Split, only at Bačvice Beach. And let me tell you, it didn’t disappoint.
The beach is much farther East than the other beaches or even Old Town. As you walk down to it, you immediately see endless red umbrellas with hundreds of people, mostly locals, enjoying the water and sand.
Picigin is a game played in shallow water where old men in speedos attempt to keep a tiny rubber ball from touching the water. There are no rules, no score and no real intent for the game, except who can do the most elaborate dive to save the ball. (watch here)
This guy was the clear winner for style. Not so much for accuracy.
There was also a group of men in speedos playing some sort of water soccer. (watch here)
Needless to say, Bačvice Beach was quite the experience.
Landscape: Very soft, very fine sand. Shallow water with hundreds of people playing. Mainly young children and old men in speedos.
Atmosphere: Like Newport Beach on a hot Saturday in mid-August. Aka, completely packed, loud and kids running everywhere.
Verdict: Glad I experienced it, will probably never go back.