Before leaving Hvar the previous night, we went for a final walk around the beautiful town. We took in the midnight views of the island, before heading back to pack our bags. Split was our last Croatian destination, further up on the country’s mainland along the Dalmatian Coast. It’s famous for its beaches and historic fortress complex, the iconic Diocletian’s Palace. It’s pretty easy to reach from Hvar by ferry. The views were pretty as we pulled into Split port.
Diocletian’s Palace, Split
Luckily, we were staying in an apartment pretty close to Split’s port. The city itself isn’t too big, so we dropped off our suitcases and set off in search of the famous Diocletian’s Palace. Considered to be some of the most imposing Roman ruins in the world, it’s Split’s main attraction. We went on a little tour of the palace complex, and came across some beautiful buildings including an incredibly ornate church.
Diocletian’s Palace was erected by the Roman emperor all the way back in the fourth century. Believe it or not, it was once home to thousands of people, with remains consisting of over two hundred buildings. Within the imposing white walls of the fortress, you’ll find courtyards, a cathedral and a plethora of shops, bars, restaurants, and houses. We walked around the maze of buildings we discovered.
Climbing the Bell Tower
For a few Croatian kuna, you can climb up the famous bell tower. I warn you now – climbing the tower is scarier than it looks. It’s very narrow and the flights of stairs never seem to end. Make sure you wear the right shoes and not flip-flops like we did. Also watch out for the bells ringing, they scared the life out of us when they started as we reached the top. As you can see, however, the views are pretty spectacular across Split and beyond.
An Evening in Split, Croatia
Miraculously surviving the Bell Tower, we found this gorgeous little spot for food. It’s called Portas Pizzeria, and is right in the Diocletian’s Palace, surrounded by pretty ivy.
We gorged on gnocchi and tasty seafood pizza. With such an Italian influence on their food, Croatian cuisine is just divine with an abundance of fresh seafood, pizza, and pasta. During our time in the country, we also gained a slight obsession with these amazing lemon beers.
Wandering back to the apartment through the Palace, we passed adorable candlelit restaurants in the ancient building.
We meandered through the ancient streets before booking ourselves on to a trip to Krka National Park to see its famous waterfalls the next day. Later that evening, we stumbled across a beautiful old wine bar, The Diocletian’s Wine House. We stopped in for a couple of glasses and to reflect on everything we’d seen that day.
There’s a pretty vibrant nightlife in Split. It’s not uncommon to pass crowds of rowdy pub crawlers in a juxtaposition of the ancient palace. When in Rome, I suppose. We wandered along Split’s seafront, palm fringed promenade, or the Riva. It’s lined with bars and restaurants, so we popped in for a few drinks and made some friends. As Split’s so walkable, most people walk along tot he sandy beach of Bačvice and its nearby bars, which we did. We were pretty astounded to see people smoking inside the clubs. Eventually, we rolled into our central apartment’s bed, ready for a busy day.
Krka National Park, Croatia
The next day, we set off on our organized tour to Krka National Park. Named after the Krka River, the park is around 10 kilometres from the Croatian city of Sibenik. The most iconic attraction is the area of green waterfalls, including Skradinski Buk falls, which you’re able to swim in. We booked on to the scenic 1.5 hour bus ride to the park. Unfortunately for us, the weather took a turn for the worse and it showered for some of our visit.
We walked around the park to explore different angles of the falls. Apologies for the grainy photos here. In typical fashion, my ‘waterproof’ camera died the first time I took it into the sea when we arrived in Dubrovnik. As a result, we had to settle for a disposable camera, but you get the gist. The only downside to arriving as part of a tour is the hordes of tourists who also turn up. This meant the falls were pretty crowded, but it didn’t stop us from jumping in for a swim.
Visiting Krka was truly a bucket list moment. I felt so lucky to be swimming in these amazing, picturesque waterfalls that you see so often on Instagram. I recommend it a hundred times over.
An Evening on Split’s Riva
When we arrived back to Split from Krka National Park, we made the most of the last Croatian rays we’d catch for a while. We sat along Split’s Riva, sunbathing and enjoying the sun slowly begin to set.
With the sun setting, we hit a restaurant on the Riva for tasty seafood pasta. For afters, we bought gelatos along the promenade and enjoyed them while strolling along the riviera back to our apartment. Croatia, it’s been a true pleasure! Rome, let’s see what you have to offer.
Have you visited Split or Krka National Park? What are your top tips for this pretty area of the Dalmatian Coast in Croatia?