I recently returned from a trip to Split in Croatia – carry on reading to see my thoughts!
Getting there: Split is the second largest city in Croatia and has excellent transport connections by bus, air, train and sea.
We travelled into Split from Bosnia (Bosnia blog coming soon) by bus. It was simple to get a bus from the Bus Station in Capljina in Southern Bosnia. The bus ride took around 3 hours and 15 minutes and cost around 10 euros. The bus departs from Capljina a few times throughout the day. Information regarding the bus service can be found online or at the bus station itself.
Crossing the border from Bosnia was very simple and the views on the bus ride are absolutely beautiful. There is so much to see as you travel across Bosnia and into Split.
Once we arrived at the bus station in Split we were easily able to walk to our accommodation. Split is a popular tourist destination so there are lots of information points and maps to help you navigate the city. Also most people in Split are able to speak English and are willing to help you if you need it.
Accommodation: There are many different hotels, apartments and hostels close to the city centre where you can stay. We booked our accommodation online and were staying about a 10 minute walk from the city centre. It is worth being aware that Split has lots of hills and some locations (including our hotel) often require walking up steep steps and so may not be suitable for all to access.
Things to see and do: We left our luggage in the hotel and freshened up before heading out into the city centre. The city centre of Split is quite small and can be seen in a few hours. It is a mixture of old Roman architecture and small streets packed with modern restaurants, cafes and shops. The shops vary from traditional shops selling local goods to modern fashion stores like United Colours of Benetton and Zara. Through the rows of shops you catch glimpses of the glistening waters of the Adriatic Sea that Split lies along. The waters alongside Split are bustling with boats, ferries and cruise liners as Split is a popular destination for those who are travelling by sea.
One of the main sites to see in Split is Diocletian’s Palace, an ancient Roman palace built in 4th century AD. Do not expect to go and visit a site or museum, the palace is the heart of the old city and is packed with streets, shops and restaurants. You can explore the palace by walking through the tightly packed streets contained within the 38,700 sq metres of the palace area. The Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Whilst walking through the streets of the palace site you can also see the Cathedral of Saint Domnius, another ancient Roman build that is still standing. The Cathedral continues to have mass on a Sunday and you can buy a ticket to go inside the Cathedral and climb to the top of the narrow steps of the bell tower to see a spectacular view of Split.
Cathedral of Saint Domnius
Those who are fans of the show Game of Thrones may recognise some of the locations from the show in Split. Parts of the show are filmed in Split, including in the basement of Diocletian’s Palace. There is a Game of Thrones walking tour which takes you to all the sites within Split where the show is filmed, as well as a souvenir shop.
There are also a huge number of different activities and excursions including visits to near by waterfalls, beaches and islands. Unfortunately due to the weather while we were there the weather was not suitable to go out on to the sea. If you are blessed to have better weather than us then you can easily find a number of different companies offering trips and excursions for a range of different prices all around the city centre.
Food: We were unable to find any halal food in the old part of Split. I had seen one place online that served halal food, but saw some posts claiming they had shut down. We were not staying close to where this place was and were unable to make our way to see if they were still open or not.
We were stopped by other Muslim travellers who were also looking for Halal food. We made do with the vegetarian options, which was actually not too bad after all the Halal meat we had had in Bosnia. There were many pastries, pies and sandwiches with vegetarian fillings. Popular vegetarian fillings including spinach, potato and cheese. And of course there were lots places selling coffee and cakes!
Currency: The official currency in Split in the Croatian Kuna, but most places are happy to take Euros. It is also worth noting that I found Split to be quite pricey, compared with other places I have been to in that part of Europe.
Weather: When we arrived in Split the weather was a mixture of rain, thunder and sunny spells as you can see from the photos. The best time to visit Split is between May and September – but be aware that during the school holidays it can get very busy.
Islamic Centre and Mosque: The highlight of the trip for me was definitely the Islamic Centre and Mosque! Split has a small Muslim community but in recent years number of Muslim travellers and visitors to Split has been increasing. The Islamic Centre and Mosque is located in the heart of the city, within the walls of Diocletian’s Palace. You could easily walk past the Mosque building as it does not look typically like other Mosques from the outside.
Inside the Mosque is lovely and cosy and is usually only open during prayer times. It is also an Islamic Centre and so has lots of information, books and lovely artwork by the children who attend. For more information about the Mosque visit their website: http://www.medzlis-split.org
Airport: Split airport is about a 20 minute bus ride from the city centre from the bus station. The bus station is easy to find and tickets are around 10 euros. Split airport is quite small but has a number of airlines that fly to and fro the UK including Wizz Air and Easy Jet. Flights in and out of Split can vary depending on the season you are travelling. Our flight back to London Luton cost around £80 per person on Wizz Air.
Final Thoughts: The city centre of Split is very small and can be explored in a short time. We spent 48 hours in Split and felt like we saw the best of what Split had to offer. If you are looking for somewhere for a quick weekend get away to relax, stroll around and be by the sea then I would say Split is for you.