Croatia

Split and Zadar – the less known, Croatian gems of the Adriatic

We only spent a day exploring Split and had a brief few hours in Zadar. When you compare these two to the likes of the city of Dubrovnik, the island of Hvar or Brac, you cannot really consider them a holiday destination itself. Nevertheless, these two Croatian coastline’s cities deserve a short stop-by and here’s why…

Riva – Split

This is part of the city’s waterfront, where a lot of restaurants and bars with tables and huge umbrellas are located. Stalls by the water offer all kinds of boat tours and we definitely recommend taking part in one (more about that in a future post on our blog). Bars and restaurants are a typical tourist trap with inflated prices and average food. We didn’t have time to look for and eat in a proper restaurant where locals escape the crowds, so we settled for one of the ones on the promenade. I can’t remember what the price of the meal was, but it certainly wasn’t cheap …or very tasty for that matter.

Diocletian Palace – Split

A long time ago, this may have been a palace, but these days it is more a part of the old town rather than anything else– no entry fees, no closed gates; instead, plenty of charming, narrow alleys, restaurants, tiny souvenir shops and small art galleries. This is a perfect place to simply walk around and get lost. Within walls of The Palace, there are several other points of interest.

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Golden Gate, Diocletian Palace – Split

Cathedral of Saint Domnius – within Diocletian Palace

It is still a place of worship and Sunday mass, but for its nice (not great) views of the surrounding area, I believe the bell tower will appeal to travellers the most (just like it did to us). You may also visit the underground chambers and a separate room (The Treasury) filled with Christian artefacts. A real gem for history fans, but don’t expect thrilling entertainment.  Entrance to The Cathedral, The Baptistery and The Crypt is 25 KUNA. Entrance to The Cathedral, The Baptistery, The Crypt and The Treasury is 45 KUNA.

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Bell Tower, St Domnius – Split

Temple of Jupiter – within Diocletian Palace

To an average traveller, this is an optional attraction. Unless you are on a quest, a real history fan or simply happen to be around, I will recommend popping in for a moment; otherwise, you may skip it. Simply put, it’s not going to be the most memorable attraction. This is a free attraction.

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Statue of Jupiter – Split

Peristyle – within Diocletian Palace

A square located in front of the entrance to the Cathedral complex. As I mentioned before, the narrow streets of Diocletian Palace are a perfect place to simply get lost. If that’s true, the Peristyle square is a perfect place to find yourself… drinking a coffee and people watching. You will also have an opportunity to take a picture with a real (Croatian, dressed like a) Roman soldier. This is a free attraction.

Vestibule – within Diocletian Palace

This structure isn’t spectacular, but a nice addition to the palace as a whole. It also makes for a cool photo opportunity.  This is a free attraction.

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Vestibule – Split

Jordan Beach Bar – Split

Not much of a beach at this beach bar, but a decent atmosphere, pretty good view and a nice place to swim. I don’t quite remember how we found this spot and what made us go there in the first place, but if you want to relax, this is a really cool local’s hangout.  There is a free parking nearby, drinks available at the bar and sweet water pool in addition to the seafront one.

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Quey at Jordan beach bar – Spilt

The sunset – Zadar

Not “a sunset”, but “the sunset” and yes it’s one of the most beautiful ones I’ve ever seen. Well worth travelling to, even for that brief moment of watching the light turning into the dark. The palette of colours, the audience (hundreds if not thousands of people) and the sounds of the sea, make it for an unforgettable experience. To save yourself some time (and gasoline) searching for a parking spot, arrive early – we did pay for parking, but most didn’t seem to bother. It’s hard to say if you can get away without paying.

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Promenade – Zadar

After the sunset, the old town will make for a pleasant walk around. There are souvenir shops and restaurants on every corner and you may even come across a lost child – yes, we happen to see a boy of 4-6 years old running around, screaming in search for his mum. It’s quite funny when you think about it, but at the time, it wasn’t at all! We did eat in one of the restaurants within the old town, but we paid in cash and I can’t remember the price we paid.

Our next stop was Plitvice Lakes and you can read all about it next Sunday on our blog.

Make sure you don’t miss it!

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