A Brief Intro to Split (the City, Not the Movie)

The second largest city in Croatia, but not exactly what I’d consider big as far as cities go, Split is a coalescence of old and new, history and modernity, blue skies and limestone structures.

It’s a bit of a contradiction to itself really.

You have the looming modern-day ships and ferries docked in the port on one side, and the crumbling centuries-old ruins on the other, the two barely a stone’s throw from one another. Then there’s the mountains and the luscious greenery bordering the city almost every way you look, save one, which is designated to the almost unbelievably turquoise waters of the Adriatic Sea.

Split has a rich history behind it, and has been passed around like a hot potato for years and years and years, from its origins as a Greek colony, to the Romans, the Venetians, the French empire, the Austrian empire, Germany and eventually Croatia which is obviously where we stand today.

Related: In Pictures: 48 Hours in Dubrovnik

Split is definitely not somewhere I expected to be blown away by, yet here I am gushing about it to strangers on the Internet. In case you haven’t noticed yet, it seems that I’m easily swayed by the Balkans; all they have to do is look at me and I swoon. To be honest I haven’t felt this way since I first laid eyes on Aaron Carter way back when, at a time when my six-year old self could barely even begin to imagine what it would be like for him to miss me forever. Sigh.

When I first began putting the cogs in motion for my trip to the Balkans, I considered skipping out on Split altogether in favour of Zadar. I’d read Flora’s post on Zadar, and had spent many an Insta-scroll all gooey-eyed at her photos, and I wanted in.

Then I did a bit of Googling, found out that Zadar doesn’t have any Game of Thrones connections (shock, horror!) whereas Split has a fair few. That, coupled with the fact that Zadar was the only place in Croatia due some heavy rain that week, meant that I opted to stick with Split instead.

I’m glad I did.

And that’s not to say I’m glad I missed out on Zadar, because I’m not. But Ryanair always have super cheap flights from the UK to Zadar so there’s always tomorrow, am I right or am I correct?

A lot more affordable food and accommodation-wise than Dubrovnik, I’d actually say Split had a lot more to offer personality-wise too.

If you take a stroll around Dubrovnik Old Town, it’s blaringly obvious that a lot of its character is a result of the huge tourism industry. You’d be hard-pressed to find a street that doesn’t offer either a souvenir shop or a café/restaurant with menu very obviously geared towards tourists, and you’ll probably hear more English spoken there than Cardiff Queen Street on a Saturday afternoon!

Related: A Day in Kotor Bay

That’s not to say that you won’t find all of the above in Split too (I don’t think there’s a single city in the world that doesn’t have souvenir shops!) but to me Split felt a lot more authentic. It had a much more local vibe than Dubrovnik. There were people milling about, going about their daily business, going to work and doing the weekly shopping, etc. etc.

It’s nice. It felt like I was actually in Croatia as opposed to on holiday in Croatia, if that makes any sort of sense?

I’ve got a bit more to come about Split, including yep, you guessed it, another Game of Thrones filming location, but I just wanted to give a little bit of a laidback intro to what is a very, very laidback city.

 

 

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40 Comments

  1. 3rd May 2017 / 3:51 am

    I’m looking forward to visiting Croatia this year, i hope i have clear weather in Split like you did. The photos are so vibrant! I’ve not heard of Zadar, they must do cheap Ryanair or Jet2 flights there from Leeds too. I still need to prepare for my Croatia trip by watching Game of Thrones!

    • rhiydwi
      3rd May 2017 / 9:57 pm

      You said you’re going around September right? Or did I make that up? I’d hedge my bets on good weather that time of year!

  2. 3rd May 2017 / 5:09 am

    I visited Split and Dubrovnik last year but I actually felt the complete opposite to you! Maybe because I visited Split in the high season and it was teeming with British tourists. I thought the Diocletian palace was amazing and I loved the history but I actually preferred Dubrovnik!
    Excited to read more posts about your thoughts on Croatia!

    • rhiydwi
      3rd May 2017 / 9:58 pm

      Oh I definitely loved Dubrovnik! Just found Split to be a lot more “real” if that makes sense? It was almost as if Dubrovnik was wearing a mask of sorts, especially for tourists. I was super lucky – my whole time in the country and I only came across one cruise ship. ONE! Just one!

  3. 3rd May 2017 / 8:55 am

    I ve never been to Croatia, but it looks so wonderful! All the blue colours and the history behind it really want to make me visit. Doesn t it get too hot?

    • rhiydwi
      3rd May 2017 / 9:59 pm

      I’m not sure on that as I visited February/March time, so it was the end of winter for me! I’d imagine the summer months would be hot though.

  4. LC
    3rd May 2017 / 9:15 am

    You’re making me wish I’d spend more time in Croatia, as I only went very briefly to Zagreb and Pag a couple of years ago. Pag, could take or leave. Zagreb was fabulous. I think visiting in the off season was the right choice – the crowds in the summer were frightening.

  5. LC
    3rd May 2017 / 9:16 am

    You’re making me wish I’d spent more time in Croatia, as I only went very briefly to Zagreb and Pag a couple of years ago. Pag, could take or leave. Zagreb was fabulous. I think visiting in the off season was the right choice – the crowds in the summer were frightening.

    • LC
      3rd May 2017 / 9:19 am

      Also, sorry for posting twice… so much for me correcting my spelling mistake.

      • rhiydwi
        3rd May 2017 / 10:01 pm

        Okay, so now I’m going mad trying to find a spelling mistake?! There is none!
        I’ve never heard of Pag but it looks like Mars! I quite liked Zagreb although it was super grey when I was there. Like, so grey. The sky, the buildings, everything grey.

        • LC
          3rd May 2017 / 11:14 pm

          I wrote “spend” instead of “spent” 🙁
          Oh, really? I went there in the summer and thought it was quite bright and happy! How funny.

  6. 3rd May 2017 / 11:48 am

    We just spent a few hours in Split and then headed off to Hvar! I wish we would have spent more time here…its so ‘Croatia’! Split is a great place to do various day trips as well…will spend at least 3 days here next time.

    • rhiydwi
      3rd May 2017 / 9:55 pm

      Loads of people use it as a base for day trips, but I actually did the opposite and just stayed in the city! Will definitely go back one day to go to Hvar, Krka and Plitvice though!

  7. 3rd May 2017 / 4:13 pm

    Haven’t been to Split yet, but have wanted to og for a long time. Your post certainly did not lessen my desire. i love the Balkans, and Your Pictures from this city were great. I really want to pack my bags and go to the Balkans now 🙂

  8. 3rd May 2017 / 4:39 pm

    A city with both modernities and ruins side by side? That’s awesome! From Greeks to Romans to today, the history looks deep!

  9. 3rd May 2017 / 6:07 pm

    Pretty nice post!! Good compilation of details about Croatia. It seems worth visiting. Thanks for sharing such an informative content.

  10. 3rd May 2017 / 6:30 pm

    By the looks of it, it is swoon-worthy. I cannot wait to go and indulge in swooning fits around the shores of the Balkans. Carter has matured over the years into this lean-jawed fellow. He still stands a chance with you surely?

    • rhiydwi
      3rd May 2017 / 10:01 pm

      Oh no, no no no. He was 6-year old me’s dream man! But 24-year old me? Not my type 😉 Hahha.

  11. 3rd May 2017 / 10:55 pm

    I have been to Split a couple of times and done the flight you are referring to with Ryanair to Zadar, all in summer. I loved both very much especially the food and scenery but the water 🙂 Your post took me back there for a moment and it made me want to pack my bags and jump on a plane now. Enjoy the rest of Croatia

  12. 4th May 2017 / 5:20 am

    You have mentioned good points about Split. I haven’t been to Croatia yet but it’s interesting that you felt more in Croatia here. I’d definitely consider visiting this someday.

  13. 5th May 2017 / 2:35 am

    When I hear about traveling to Croatia, I think about Dubrovnik or Zagreb. But Split sounds like an equally noteworthy destination. You have sold this city to me and I would love to be able to see these sights you’ve captured in photo myself!

  14. 11th May 2017 / 7:47 pm

    Croatia is on my wish list. Could you please guide which is the most famous international airport here? Shores of Balkan is so beautiful and we will make it travel to this place in autumn

    • rhiydwi
      14th May 2017 / 9:04 pm

      The main airport is in Zagreb, but there are also some in loads of other cities too, depending on where you’re flying from! Plus, Croatia is in such close proximity to its neighbours that you could easily fly into any of them (Slovenia, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina) and take a bus or train across the border.

  15. 11th May 2017 / 8:37 pm

    I love that seawall with the palm trees and old building in the background. I can’t believe it doesn’t have anything to do with Game of Thrones! Croatia is high on my list of must-see places and it just got a little higher.

  16. 12th May 2017 / 1:52 am

    I feel like so many people are so excited for Game of Thrones to start. I’m sad it didn’t get the spring start because now I have nothing to watch until summer. Do you know what region of the GoT world Split is supposed to be the scenery for?

    • rhiydwi
      14th May 2017 / 9:01 pm

      Yes, they use Klis Fortress as the setting for Meereen, Diocletian’s Palace as a few scenes where Khaleesi sits on her throne, and there are a few random shots used throughout the city too, although these are more filler scenes I think!

  17. 12th May 2017 / 7:15 am

    We have always been in awe of the gorgeous landscapes of Croatia but weren’t much aware that there is a lot of history to explore too. Interesting to know that Spiti has some Game of Thrones connections too 🙂 Spiti will definitely be on our list along with Dubrovnik and Zagreb whenever we make to the beautiful land of Croatia.

    • rhiydwi
      14th May 2017 / 9:02 pm

      Before I visited I had absolutely zero clue about any of the history, but it’s honestly so rich in it! I’ve found that about a lot of Eastern Europe recently. Because they’re all such new countries, we kind of forget that they actually did exist before they became how we know them now, and there’s a lot of history to be learned about them.

  18. 12th May 2017 / 8:24 am

    Split looks really beautiful, thanks for sharing your pictures of the city. We love Ryanair because we can see so much of Europe for so little money. How great are their £9.99 sales!

    • rhiydwi
      14th May 2017 / 9:00 pm

      Ryanair is the best! Unless the flight is more than 2.5 hours, then they’re the worst because it’s so cramped, we’re like a bunch of sardines.

  19. 12th May 2017 / 2:10 pm

    I really want to visit Croatia and love the idea of escaping the heavy tourism, Split looks beautiful!

    Amy – http://amyevans.blog

    • rhiydwi
      14th May 2017 / 8:57 pm

      I feel like during the summer it’d be absolutely heaving with all the cruise ships! But then I suppose most boat people would stick close to the dock, so venture further in and you’re safe from bermuda shorts and sunburnt bald men.

  20. 13th May 2017 / 2:36 am

    how interesting, a city named Split. Wonder what’s the history to that! And loved that you compared it to another city, it’s always difficult to pinpoint an exact city to go to if you have a short amount of time and you don’t want to see something too touristy but don’t want to miss out either and end up somewhere boring. Good to know that Split definitely offers up a more authentic vibe!

    • rhiydwi
      14th May 2017 / 8:49 pm

      Definitely! I mean, there are places like Rome, for example, where you just can’t avoid getting called in to the “big” tourist attractions, so you end up missing out on a lot of authenticity. I definitely didn’t find Split to be like that!

  21. 13th May 2017 / 5:46 pm

    I seriously cannot wait to visit Croatia! There are so many beautiful cities, and I’m so glad to hear that Split is one of them! Also, I definitely cracked up when you related your crush on Split to your 6-year-old crush on Aaron Carter! I think most people are age remember him 😛

    • rhiydwi
      14th May 2017 / 8:44 pm

      I know, right?! I mean, were you even a girl born in the late 80s to mid 90s if you didn’t have a crush on him?!

  22. 13th May 2017 / 5:49 pm

    That’s an interesting name for a city. But what an wonderful skyline it has! Loved the first photograph with the blue water and the reflections. It has a very idyllic feel to it!

    • rhiydwi
      14th May 2017 / 8:43 pm

      It seemed kind of sleepy and relaxed when I visited, but I guarantee come summer time when the cruise ships start docking, it’ll be buzzing with people!

  23. 13th May 2017 / 10:33 pm

    Haha, I loved the title of your blog. Croatia has been making all the right news off late. Split looks like a calm, quiet place where I could take long leisurely walks. Good to know it’s cheaper than Dubrovnik. I would love to explore both though.

    • rhiydwi
      14th May 2017 / 8:42 pm

      Thank you! Oh yeah, you definitely should explore both if you make it to Croatia. You’d get the best of both worlds then for sure.

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