Let’s Split: 5 Extraordinary Excursions around Split, Croatia
Located on the Dalmatian Coast, Split is the second largest city in Croatia, its scenery ranging from palm-lined promenades to ancient Roman ruins. Split became famous in the 3rd century when the Roman emperor Diocletian chose the city for the location of the palace he would eventually retire to. The palace ruins still stand today; they are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
While traveling up and down the Dalmatian Coast, I had always thought of Split as more of a transportation hub than a destination – though I enjoy strolling in Diocletian’s Palace, and drinking coffee along the Riva. After my most recent trip to Split, however, my opinion has drastically changed. There are so many new restaurants, bars and cafés giving Split such a lively atmosphere, that it has become a great base for exploring the surrounding area.
1) Board a boat to Bisevo to see the Blue Cave
One of the most ethereal and naturally beautiful spots on the Adriatic Sea, the Blue Cave on Bisevo Island glows a luminous aquamarine color when the sunlight is reflected into the cave from the sea floor. When the cave is naturally illuminated, any objects floating in the water appear as liquid silver. You can take a 90-minute boat ride from Split to the cave to experience this unearthly phenomenon.
2) Visit Plitvice National Park
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the mountainous karst landscape of Plitvice Lakes National Park is the country’s biggest attraction besides the Adriatic Coast. Only two and a half hours away from Split, the park encompasses a series of waterfalls connecting 16 beautiful lakes. Wooden footbridges wind through the park, setting off its lakes, waterfalls, caves, blossoming meadows, and a gorge that resembles the Grand Canyon. It is absolutely stunning.
3) Go canyoning on the Cetina River
Canyoning is a great adventure – a modern sport that can include hiking, walking, body surfing or sliding down rivers and sometimes rappelling over cliffs – whatever gets you down the river without a vehicle. If you are really adventurous you can do some cliff jumps. And in case you didn’t get your fill of waterfalls in Plitvice National Park, you can hike behind the waterfalls here.
4) Take a day-trip to Trogir and Salona
Trogir is a beautifully-preserved island town west of Split founded by Greek colonists in the 3rd century BC. You can reach it over a bridge that connects it to the mainland. Its medieval walled Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site filled with Gothic and Romanesque churches, palaces and public buildings.
On the way, make a stop to visit the ruins of ancient Salona. Location of a 1st century BC Greek marketplace, the area was conquered by the Romans and transformed into the capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia. Diocletian was born in the flourishing walled city, which had an amphitheater, baths and a covered aqueduct. Early Christians built several churches in the 4th century and were buried in the Manastirine, part of today’s archaeological reserve. In the 7th century, the Slavs and Avars destroyed the city, and the survivors took refuge in Diocletian’s Palace in Split.
5) Taste local products at Stella Croatica
Drive about 20 minutes from Split out to the countryside to the Stella Croatica factory and tasting rooms. Enjoy a tasting of traditional Dalmatian delicacies prepared from the recipes of Croatian grandmothers. Sample olive oils, tapenades and a selection of sweets prepared from figs, almonds and lemons, as well as honey-sweetened snacks. My personal favorite is Arancin, candied orange peel made without any artificial ingredients.
On the grounds you can tour a small ethnographic village where recipes are made over open flames as in years past.
Travel to Split and its environs with MIR
Travel when, where and how you want – that’s what our Custom & Private Journeys are all about. MIR has been handling the ins and outs and special requests of personalized travel in our destinations for nearly 30 years.
To schedule your own Excellent Adventure to Split, Croatia, elsewhere in the Balkans, or in any of MIR’s destinations, contact Lisa or one of our other Private Journey Specialists with a list of things you’ve always wanted to do, see or experience.
- Balkan Odyssey: Crossroads of Cultures – small group tour
- Essential Balkans – a private, independent trip, travel on your own dates using our itinerary
- YOUR handcrafted private itinerary – customized to your dates and interests
Top photo: Waterfront promenade in Split, Croatia. Photo credit: Martin Klimenta
PUBLISHED: December 10, 2015