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Five things... to do in Split, Croatia

Got some time to kill in Split? The city is so beautiful that you may want to spend most of your days just wandering the gorgeous streets, and your evenings sipping a Hugo or two while watching the world go by. However, if you’re looking for something more active, in no particular order here are our top five fun things to do!

 

Froggyland!

You’re in one of the most stunning cities in Europe, what more could you possibly want…? I know – you want a museum that contains the stuffed remains of more than 200 frogs doing various activities including sport, schooling and going to the pub. There are of course proper grown-up museums dedicated to archaeology, ethnography and art (check out the Mestrovic Gallery) which are fascinating and highly recommended, but Croatia has a very good line in random and strange museums which we love. They are honestly worth a visit just for the oddity and Froggy Land is a classic.

 

Diocletian’s Palace

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When I said above that Split is one of the most stunning cities in Europe, my mind’s eye was picturing the view across the Riva to Diocletian’s Palace from the sea. The palace dates from the fourth century BC and was originally built for the Roman Emperor from whom it takes its name; the palace now forms part of the old town of Split, as well as housing the former storage cellars underground which are an interesting place to wander. The Cathedral of St Domingus has a tall white tower which can be climbed for a wonderful view – or have a cocktail in the square below the tower where we danced to live music. Try out the acoustics in the circular vestibule if you have a good singing voice! Truly beautiful and unmissable, the palace is the tourist hub of Split so get there early in the morning for a more peaceful experience – or visit at night when it’s at its most vibrant.

 

Marjan Park

Our experience of Split was shaped by the location of our accommodation, an apartment in the Meje area just down from a winding footpath into Marjan Park. Most mornings we’d take a walk (or a run if we were feeling sprightly!) up the path and through the park which is the green lung of the city and a glorious place to relax and wander. It’s fun to take the little paths off the main lanes, finding the tiny churches including one hermitage built into the rock face. You’ll often see climbers out scaling the cliffs, and it’s possible to have a climbing lesson if you’re feeling adventurous. If you have a day to spare, go over the hill to Bene beach on the north side of the park where you can have a swim and a sunbathe; if you’re too tired to walk back there’s a bus to town.

 

Take a food tour

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The Dalmatian Coast is known for its wonderful food culture, blending the best of the sea and the earth. A food tour in Split is the perfect way to sample those foods you may not otherwise try – truffle chocolate spread on crisps anyone? – and learn about the history of the city. The best tours will take you on a journey through time as well as a journey through food and wine, giving tips on the top restaurants and must-eat dishes. We had a fantastic time with Dino of Split Food Tour sampling pasticada, octopus salad and ice cream amongst other delicacies; there are other tours but choose wisely and read reviews to make sure you’re going to get what you want!

 

Boat trips

There’s something very tempting about all the boats lined up on the end of the Riva, waiting to take you to the many islands off the coast. So many options! We tried two different ways to visit islands for the day; the cheapest was taking a ferry from the port to Vis (where we decided to stay the night and hike, an adventure in itself!) and the most expensive was a group boat trip with Split Sea Tours on which we were well fed and watered and explored places we may not otherwise have seen including the Blue Cave. If you only have an hour or two, take a semi-submarine trip round the coast. However you choose to do it, a trip on the sea is a joy.

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