How long should you stay in Split, Croatia?
Answer: As much as you can, of course!
Taste Dalmatia is based in Split, our home town, so it is only natural that first blog on Taste Dalmatia would be about Split. In designing our tailor-made itineraries, we always come across that people are not sure how long to stay in Split before going to some island or continuing down south to Dubrovnik. We always say don't rush it and use Split as a great base but return to it as much as you can.
First some well known facts (always nice to repeat them): Second largest city in Croatia with around 200 000 people living in Split area, more that 17 centuries old, and I say more since just the other day while doing some road repairs workers found remains of what is thought to be Greek remains and that means Split is older than its world-famous Diocletian's Palace finished in 305 A.D., now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Split has a 3rd largest passenger port on the Mediterranean, along with great road connection, and that is an important information since it means that from Split it is easy to get to other locations. Split was once just a checkpoint on the way to the much more famous islands or down the coast to one of the resorts on amazingly beautiful Makarska Riviera. And even though citizens of Split call it the most beautiful town in the world (not ones with lack of confidence and bravado, those citizens of Split) it only just couple of years ago became a "spot" on its own. So, what it is about Split that makes it such a great place to stay?
First... Living History... Sure you have seen a lot of historical monuments if you have travelled through Europe, specially Greece and Italy but they are as I wrote monuments, great to enjoy if you are history buff and amazing to admire to but still can only offer shadow of what it once was. Split is born and grew from Diocletian's Palace and through the centuries people always lived there and never moved somewhere else. So that means that you have Roman houses and on top of them twelfth- and 13th-century Romanesque churches, medieval fortifications, 15th-century Gothic palaces and other palaces in Renaissance and Baroque style. In compressed area basically a cross section of European architecture can be found and more importantly people still live and use that architecture every day.
Secondly... Spirit of the town. Yes it is something intangible and can't be quantified but never the less Split has that Mediterranean little town feel with twist of its own being a large city (in Croatian terms). Combination of both gives unique atmosphere! People live their lives on the street, they socialize, buy their fresh food and fish from the best open markets in Croatia, argue with each other, laugh and cry and all of that Mediterranean Fellini stuff. Being in Split, even for just 3,4 days, makes you a part of the town as well and makes you just wanting to kick back in the evening and enjoying some great food and nice glass of wine.
That brings us to the third reason...Food and wine. In the recent couple of years Split has emerged as a great gourmet destination. Filled with great small restaurants run by talented young chefs and enthusiasts it has created a "culinary scene" which has everything from wine and cheese bars where along with tasting you get a great introduction by educated staff about Croatian wines to great street food, open air food festivals, traditional taverns to modern cuisine prepared in best restaurants in Croatia.