Split is the principal city on the Adriatic coast and the second city in Croatia. It is a busy university and business town and the main port for travel to the Dalmatian islands. The city has an amazing history growing from the fabric of a huge palace build by the Roman Emperor Diocletian in the third century AD. All along the seafront, cafes jostle for position and you can sip your cappuccino looking at the shimmering sea and sailing yacht passing. The unique thing is your café will be a part of the ancient Roman Palace (now a UNESCO world heritage site) and if you walk a few yards into the old city, you will still be within the walls of this palace, and arrive to the Roman forum with more cafes, art galleries, antique shops and restaurants, 2000 year old Roman columns, and renaissance palaces built on the Roman ground 1500 years later. Beyond that stretches modern day Split with great theatres, music venues, more restaurants and nightclubs. Split is a vibrant town with citizens which adore it above all other places. It is a great town for everyday life, and all visitors benefit from that fact. They will find excellent shops, fish, meat, fruit and vegetable markets, best ice creams and cafes, interspersed with museums, galleries, great walks and parks, and beaches all over the town. The main town beach of Bacvice is full of young people playing volleyball and practising on nearby tennis courts, where famous Croatian tennis players like Goran Ivanisovic learned their craft as youngsters.
A few kilometres up the coast from Split is Trogir, one of the perfect spots on the Croatian coast. A perfectly formed and well preserved medieval town which has been designated a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site but which also a thriving and lively tourist centre with numerous restaurants, bars and cafes. The sheltered harbour and marina provides a haven for yachts and fishing boats whose presence adds to the atmosphere of the town.
The coastline is spectacular. Wonderful beaches and quiet bays have panoramic views to the many islands that lie offshore. Inland the mountains that fall directly to the coastline provide a dramatic backdrop and the sea itself is a crystal clear vivid blue, warm and inviting. The coastal towns of Sibenik, Primosten and Makarska are all rich in history from the Venetian era and all are attractive tourist destinations.
Split is the port of departure for exploring the famous islands of Brac, Hvar,Vis and Korcula. The ferry terminal is in the heart of the city and a short drive from the airport. Brac is the closest inshore and most accessible of the larger Croatian islands. It is an unspoilt island of beautiful beaches, pretty towns and villages and carefully tended vineyards and olive groves all enclosed with ancient stone walls. Supetar, where the split ferry arrives, is a lively harbour town with many shops restaurants bars and cafes. On the coastline facing the mainland the villages of Splitska, Postira and Pucisca are delightful with attractive harbours and excellent swimming beaches close by. On the outer coast the town of Bol with its famous Golden Horn beach is a popular destination much favoured by wind surfers. At the north west tip of the island the pretty harbour town of Milna is a favourite stop over for passing yachtsmen.
The island of Hvar is officially the sunniest place in Croatia and famed for its mild winters. The town of Hvar is a both stunningly beautiful and has a lively atmosphere with many excellent restaurants and a great night life and is much visited by the rich and famous. The town is brimming with great Italianate medieval architecture, 700 years old city walls, dominated by what is arguably the most beautiful ancient town square in Croatia. The square is car-free. Just walking along the sea to the town square with its grand church tower and 17th century theatre is a pleasure. You can sit in one of the numerous seaside cafes, bars and restaurants enjoying a cappuccino, an ice-cream, a cool bear or a lunch of grilled fresh fish and marvellous olive oils and local wines, whilst the world lazily passes by. The group of small offshore islands known as Pakleni Otoci are easily reached by taxi boat from the town centre and have excellent beaches and well regarded restaurants. Other towns on the island of note are Jelsa, Vrbovska and Stari Grad both full of atmosphere and charm and set around pretty harbours much visited by yachtsmen. Hvar is famous for its great fields of wild lavender which scent the whole island and are an amazing purple colour in June and July. Lavender products, such as soap and perfume are available to buy. Equally Hvar olive groves provide excellent local olive oil. Hvar red and white wines are delicious, particularly the red called Zlatan Plavac.
Vis is the most outlying of the Croatian islands. As a consequence it rather more difficult to reach but when you get there it is delightfully peaceful and relaxing. The town of Vis has large and sheltered harbour and a long history. There are some first rate restaurants on the island both in Vis town and the second town of Komiza. Offshore from Komiza the famous blue cave on the island of Bisevo is a an essential outing for anyone staying in the area.
Korcula island is the most southerly of the island reached from Split and is famous for the wonderful town of the same name – a compact walled town on a tiny peninsula with elegant Venetian architecture and believed to be the birth place of Marco Polo. Like the other islands it offers many delightful villages in quiet bays, some excellent beaches and great local food and wine.
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