A “Locals” Guide to Split Croatia

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I might be using the term ‘local’ loosely, but I feel after a month in Split, I definitely have a good sense of what to do, where to eat and where to go. So if you’re visiting the area, here is what I’d recommend:

What To Do In Split:

Walk around Diocletian’s Palace: This is kind of a given, but there’s nothing like getting lost in the old streets, discovering small shops and remote corners. See it

Climb to the top of the Bell Tower: For a spectacular view of Split, head up the stairs to the top of the tower. But beware; if there are cruise ships in the harbor, you’ll have to fight the crowds. It’s still wroth it though. Read more

People watch from the Riva: I discovered this is an activity tourists and locals alike enjoy. Grab a seat at any of the cafes and linger over an espresso, cappuccino or beer and enjoy the wide variety of people you’ll see walking along the waterfront. See it

Wander around the Green Market: Behind the tourist market is Split’s gigantic, local farmer’s market. You have everything from large fruit vendors to little, old women selling their day’s fresh spinach and tomatoes, to cheese vendors to florists to nut stands. They weigh everything with an old fashioned scale, the food is delicious and watching everyone talk over their stalls makes you feel like you’re hearing the latest neighborhood gossip. Read more

Visit Marjan Park: When the heat and tourists become too much, escape to Marjan Park. I’d recommend entering on the Northeast side and walking along the path, seeing the Adriatic peak through the forest, on your way to Bene Beach. While you can do a full loop, ending back up in Old Town, the second half of the walk is exposed to the sun and on the road, so it’s not as pleasant as the beginning. See it

Hike to the Flag on Marjan Hill: For another beautiful view, walk to the top of Marjan Hill, where you’ll see the Croatian flag waving proudly. Stop at Vidilica Café for lunch or a drink to enjoy a great view of the city. Read more

Visit a few Beaches; While Basvice Beach is the most famous beach in Split, it’s definitely not the best. My favorites were Joe’s Beach and Bene Beach but there were quite a few that we never made it to. Read more

Where To Eat In Split:

Brasserie on Seven: Located right on the Riva, you get an excellent combination of people watching, a wonderful view of the harbor and good food. The menu leans more towards American food than Croatian, but everything is fresh and has a unique twist that you don’t see at home. And definitely save room for dessert! 

Villa Spiza: I only ate at two good Croatian restaurants the entire month, and this is the first. It’s is a tiny little restaurant with a handwritten, daily menu, changing based on what they have on hand. There are only a handful of tables so be prepared to wait. Or visit for a late-lunch or early-dinner to avoid the crowd. Read more

Zinfandel: And this is the second. Zinfandel is consistently rated the top restaurant in Split. It’s a little pricier than other places, but definitely worth it. Plus the wine list is extensive, which improves everything! There is a live musician at night, which makes for good ambiance, unless you’re seated right next to him.

F De Mar: Simply call this The Remote Experience’s second office. There would routinely be at least one person working at F De Mar every day of the week. It’s located to the West of the Riva so it’s not as crowded. And with the comfortable outdoor furniture, delicious Greek salad, strong WiFi and the waiter’s willingness to bring out an extension cord, this was the dream spot. Remote working aside, F De Mar is a wonderful place to grab a coffee or lunch.

Paradox: A charcuterie paradise. Choose from a wide selection of meats, cheeses, accouterments and wines, with a very heavy emphasis on Croatian varieties. While not exactly typical Croatian cuisine (read, not fish), Paradox is a great way to feel like you’re eating local while still enjoying your meal.

Rizzo: A fancy version of subway. Except with good ingredients. And good bread. This is the best place to grab a quick meal or pick up a sandwich to bring with you on your adventures. Warning, be careful with the sauces, they’re very heavy-handed.

 Luka: The best gelato in all of Split. Honestly, don’t even try any other place. There is always a line, but it goes quickly. And the flavors are fresh, unusual and rotated throughout the day.

Kokolo: A juice bar right in the middle of Old Town. For 25 kuna ($3.70) you can get a refreshing green or fruit juice.

Where To Go Around Split:

Sailing Trip: Booking a sailing trip for the day is a little on the pricey side, but worth every penny. It’s an all day activity with plenty of food and an open bar. You get the opportunity to relax on the open water, see an island or two and swim in the Adriatic. Simply put, it’s paradise. Read more

Island Hop: An alternative to sailing (or if you have the time, in addition) is to visit different islands by ferry. You’ll get to the islands much quicker for more time to enjoy the towns, but getting there won’t be quite as memorable. Hvar is very popular, especially from Split. While I didn’t actually go, Brač is a local favorite. And if you have the time for an overnight trip, I heard Vis is a great island as well.

Krka Waterfalls: As soon as you start researching Croatia, you start hearing about the waterfalls. While Plitvice Lakes is definitely the more famous, it’s a long drive from Split. I would recommend Krka – still stunning and only an hour and a half away. You can easily book an all day tour, but if you have the ability to rent a car and drive yourself, I’d recommend going that route. Read more

Trogir: Get our of Split for the morning and head to Trogir, a quaint town just north. It’s much smaller but has the same old-time charm without the tourists. Spend a few hours wandering through the cobbled streets, relaxing with a coffee on their Riva or enjoying lunch. The ferry is only 2 kuna more than the bus and they both take an hour, so enjoy your transit time and opt for the ferry. But be warned that you will need to walk a half-mile or so from Old Town to the port in Trogir. See it

Croatian Hinterland: I really enjoyed the tour that our local ambassador, Ante, took us on. It was informative, I enjoyed seeing other parts of Croatia and the village/meal is something you’ll never forget. Or replicate! Here’s a link to Ante’s website, we did the Imotski Dalmatian Hinterland Tour. Read more

 

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