If you are making a stop in Croatia, the Split Riviera is a must see! Split is located in the Dalmatia region in Croatia. Split is also the second largest city in Croatia and the largest in Dalmatia. This stunning seaside town is home to some of the most beautiful beaches on the Adriatic coast and show cases Roman influences in every corner. I have compiled a list of must see places in Split below!
Diocletian’s Palace: A trip to Split is not complete without going to Diocletian’s Palace. This palace was built by Emperor Diocletian in the 4th Century AD as his private residence after his retirement and served as a military fort. The palace is located right on the Riviera and displays beautiful Roman details and columns. There were once four gates at each wall of the palace, the Golden Gate, Bronze Gate, Silver Gate, and the Iron Gate. The gates themselves have not survived but the stone pillars and arch ways still stand where they once were. Make sure and see the Vestibule, where the once Emperor greeted his guests, the peristyle, the very well preserved basement (where some of Game of Thrones was filmed), St. Domnius Catholic Church, and the Split Bell tower. Make sure and take the 200 plus stair climb up the bell tower for stunning views of Split. There are also a lot of little cafes and restaurants around the Palace to enjoy a nice coffee, drink, or meal while exploring the Palace.
The Riva Harbor: This is the port or harbor of Split. There is a nice walkway adorned by palm trees and cafes along the Riva. You can take a relaxing walk in the morning, mid day (be careful, there are a ton of tourists and people), or sunset/evening. After all day walking around Split, my husband and I enjoyed a nice gelato on one of the many benches on the Riva. It was a relaxing way to end a busy day and enjoy stunning views of the marina.
Jupiter’s Temple: This temple is very close to the Peristyle of Diocletian (the square in front of the Palace) down a very narrow street. The temple was finished in 305 AD and was dedicated to Jupiter (God of sky and thunder). Before the entrance to the temple is one of 12 sphinxes brought to Split from Egypt by Emperor Diocletian.
Statue of Grgur Ninski: This monument to Gregory of Nin was built by the famous Croatian sculptor Ivan Mestrovic (there is a whole museum dedicated to his work in Split). The statue is is 6 feet tall and it is believed that touching his great toe will bring happiness and the realization of all your desires. So whether you believe in superstition or not make sure and rub Gregory of Nin’s great toe and see for yourself.
Republic Square: This is the most beautiful square in Split and has Neo Renaissance influences. This square is adorned by columns on all three sides except the fourth side, which is open to the sea. This square is very popular in the summer for numerous festivals and concerts that take place.
Poljud Stadium: If you are a soccer fan do not miss a match by the Split Hajduk team while you are there!
Split Croatia’s National Theatre: If you are looking for a ballet, opera, or concert than this is the place for you to be! This Theatre was the largest theatre in Southern Europe at one time.
Mestrovic Gallery: Ivan Mestrovic was Croatia’s version of Michelangelo. His work is displayed all over Split such as the Grgur Ninki Statue. His gallery is an art museum on one of the south slopes of Marjan hill.
Fruit Square (Vocni Trg): On the west side of the square rises, the octagonal tower, built by the Venetians who feared the local revolts and the Ottoman raids. On the opposite side of the tower there is a palace named Milesi, with a fascinating Baroque facade. In front of the palace stands the statue of Marko Marulic, father of the Croatian literature from the 15th century, carved in bronze by Ivan Mestrovic.
Marjan Hill: Marjan Hill is nicknamed the lungs of the city, and is the only place where you can find a little refreshment during hot summer days. This small geographical area is very important in terms of diversity of plant species and as well as for cultural monuments. Marjan Hill also hides several important churches that can easily be found while walking through the park. I really loved getting away from the city and strolling through Marjan Hill. At the top of the park are some of the best views of Split, the hike is totally worth it!
Klis Fortress: The hill of Klis is a connection between the Mount Mosor to the east and Kozjak to the west. Over history it has been a target for many nations, from the Illyrians and the Venetians to the Ottomans who considered it the port of Dalmatia. The fortress sits on top of the hill below a village that was once home to the Illyrians, a civilization that has been wiped out. The fortress is about 15 km from Split and is a must see when in the area. This fortress is also famous for the Game of Thrones series, as part of it was filmed there. There is a small Game of Thrones display inside the fortress of fans!
And here is my list of must see places while you are in Split, Croatia. I truly love this seaside town so much that I am returning again May, 2017! I just cannot seem to get enough of its charm and beauty. Stay tuned for another blog post on Split after my second trip.