6 & 3: Split – Six cool things and three not so cool things about Croatia’s second largest city
Split is Croatia’s second largest city. It has a reputation for being a “working man’s city” instead of a vacation destination, but I don’t believe that is a fair representation. Split sits on the Adriatic just like its more popular southern neighbor, Dubrovnik. It has great city-life features just like Croatia’s capital city, Zagreb. It’s also a major ferry port that services the many islands that dot Croatia’s coast line. A vacation to a cool city with an ocean breeze, great cultural events, and luxe yachts sounds great to me! But every city good parts and less good parts. Split fares pretty well in terms of the good outweighing the bad. Overall, I highly recommend an extended visit. To get you prepared, here is my 6 & 3 for Split.
Six Cool Things about Split
- Diocletian’s Palace – Let’s be honest. Whenever a city can be described as existing inside the retirement palace of a Roman emperor, you know that that city is going to be pretty cool. After the fall of the Roman empire, the locals began to claim pieces of the palace for their own. Today, the city and the palace are almost indistinguishable. (You can get an affordable Airbnb right inside the palace walls.) Built in the 4th century AD, the palace is a must-see Split destination.
- Promenade – Coastal promenades are cool. In my opinion, any coastal town that does not have a promenade is a victim of poor city planning. The promenade in Split is especially nice – it wraps around the entire bay area. The main promenade is flanked by the commercial ferry docks and the local marina (yachts).
- Fish Market – Split boasts the largest fish market in Croatia. The catch of the day is sold daily just meters from the sea. Sea bass, sea bream, crawfish, sardines, eel, clams, and mussels are only a few of the varieties available. I highly suggest that you buy your favorite fish and prepare it for dinner at your Airbnb.
- Green Market – Farm fresh food markets always make my “cool” list. Split’s green market is huge and therefore deserves to be mentioned in this list. Not only does the green market offer fresh fruit and vegetables, but it also has stands selling vintage goods, flowers, knick-knacks, and local delicacies. The green market is located just outside of the Silver Gate (East side of the palace).
- Getting lost inside the old city – The old city is small enough to memorize the twists and turns of the roads within a short amount of time. However, if you are visiting for only a day or two, you will enjoy the surprise of finding new hidden corners after every turn. The ancient rock walls mix with modern finishes to create a mesmerizing byzantine maze of shops inside the old city. Leave your map at home and enjoy getting lost.
3 not so cool things about Split:
- The promenade has a sewage smell (in a 100 ft area) – The promenade is one of my fav cool things about Split, but it isn’t perfect. However, the smell is contained to just a small area, and you get accustomed to it after awhile. But, eeewwww.
- Wifi – As Croatia’s second largest city, I really would have thought that the wifi would rival that of Zagreb’s (which is amazing.) It does not. In terms of speed and public availability, it’s a bit lacking.
- Notable lack of chicken bureks – The “burek” is a pastry with a savory filling that is available in various forms throughout the Balkans. Bureks come in a variety of different shapes and fillings (fillings include minced meat, cheese, spinach-and-cheese, and chicken). With all of the time I spent in the Balkans this year, I have developed a hankering for bureks in general. They’re all pretty great. But the chicken-filled burek is the finest of all bureks. It tastes like a gorgeous chicken-flavored egg roll – slightly greasy and wildly delicious. While Split has multitudes of burek shops all over the city selling a variety of bureks, there was only one place where I was able to find the elusive chicken burek. And a few times they had sold out of chicken bureks before I got there. Those were difficult days in an otherwise pretty cool place.
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