In the summer of 2015, three university friends and I decided that a holiday would be the perfect way to finish our education together. We chose Split because it seemed to be the perfect mixture of a city/beach break that we were looking for – we wanted the flexibility of being able to relax on the beach one day and explore a lively city the next.
Luckily our apartment for the week was just one street away from the beautiful promenade area which is home to some great bars and restaurants.
An activity which I would highly recommend is to visit the Bell Tower of St. Domnius Cathedral. It provides fantastic panoramic views of Split and it is breath taking – not only because of its amazing architectural design but just climbing the steep metal grid stairs proved to be quite a scary experience in itself! Having said that, it was completely worth the challenge once we had reached the summit, views of the almost-too-blue-to-be-true sea and tree-lined streets would melt even the coldest of hearts.
My favourite day in Split was spent on a boat, on an absolutely glorious day. We bought a boat tour package from one of the sellers lined along the promenade and I can confidently say it was a perfect day; I can’t recommend it highly enough. The highlight was definitely anchoring out by a quiet beach and being able to jump off of the boat and swim over to land. I may sound like a broken record, but again, here the scenery was so beautiful it felt quite surreal to be there!
One disappointment I found in Split was Bacvice beach. It was the closest beach to our apartment so we hoped it would be our regular spot, however on arrival it was quite underwhelming – extremely small and not much sand. This might sound like a strange thing to say but it was as if a thin layer of sand had been sprinkled over rocks which didn’t make for comfortable sunbathing. A redeeming feature of this beach however was the sea; it stayed shallow for what felt like miles which made it very warm and felt safe to drift in.
We also took a day trip to Dubrovnik. This was mainly due to the fact that we had two Game of Thrones obsessives in our group, but even as a non-GoT fan (sorry everyone) I couldn’t really complain as it was yet another beautiful part of the country. Although it took a 4 hour bus journey to get there, it was certainly worth the wait. (Fun fact: the journey from Split to Dubrovnik passes through Bosnia and Herzegovina so, technically, that’s another place to tick off of the destination list..!)
We took a walk around the city walls and tagged along to various Game of Thrones tours, eating, drinking and strolling our way through what Dubrovnik had to offer. Honestly I wouldn’t recommend visiting for longer than a day or two, as it felt as though we had done everything we could have in the time that we spent there. So all in all, I am glad we took the day to visit Dubrovnik but I don’t think I would choose to go back unless I was passing through the area as we managed to see everything that we wanted to in that short time.
In terms of Split nightlife, I would advise anyone to take a trip to Charlie’s Backpacker Bar. We had read great things about it online so thought we’d see what all the fuss was about – turns out, everything you heard is true! It is truly a melting pot with so many nationalities (including locals) enjoying the evening together. Cheap drinks and a fun, friendly atmosphere make this somewhere that I would love to revisit if I go back to Split. The only change I would make is to extend it and expand the bar area as the entire building probably has a capacity of about 20 people! Of course, part of its charm is the fact that it is tucked away deep in the heart of Diocletian’s Palace and it remains unfussy, allowing the focus to be placed on what they do best; creating a simple and completely unpretentious bar filled with like-minded people who all just want a good night. And plus, the view of party-goers spilling out onto the streets of Split only make it more inviting and as if this is the place to be. There’d be a serious case of FOMO if you dare to spend the evening anywhere else!
All in all, I would be keen to explore more of Croatia – perhaps an island trip to Hvar – as it is a beautiful country with stunning architecture, friendly locals and plenty of beaches for some well-deserved R&R.
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