Split, Croatia—jewel of the Adriatic

Megan Pinckney | 7/26/2018, 11:56 a.m.
This month Croatia made a huge splash on the world stage when their football team made it all the way ...
Split, Croatia Megan Pinckney photo

This month Croatia made a huge splash on the world stage when their football team made it all the way to the final game of the World Cup—the first time in that nation’s history. But as of late, Croatia has become something of a new travel hot spot, seeing a rapid increase in tourists and highlights in almost every travel magazine. The city that is most often chosen as the destination for most travelers is Split, a town found on the country’s Dalmatian Coast. Split is known for its breathtakingly beautiful beaches and the majestic Diocletian’s Palace, a castle and complex built by a Roman emperor and found in the city center within stonewalls.

The city of Split sees a ton of air traffic during the summer months, so getting there by plane is quite feasible. There are more than 30 major airlines servicing the Resnik Airport during the peak months, and the airport is a little more than 10 miles away from the city center. We flew into Split on EasyJet from Paris-Orly and left on Vueling to Barcelona. We paid a reasonable amount for both flights.

Before you choose where you want to stay in Split, you should first decide what kind of experience you wish to have. For our first night, we chose to stay in the brand-new Radisson Blu. The hotel is perfect. It is extremely modern, upscale and comfortable, and provides views and access to the picturesque Adriatic Sea. Almost everyone who works there speaks enough English to help us with any questions we had and the two times we really needed assistance, they went above and beyond to make sure we got what we needed. The only negative to this hotel is that it is located right outside of the city center. We had to take a short taxi ride (10-15 minutes) to interact with the city the way we wanted to.

For the next two nights of our stay, we booked an Airbnb in Old Town, which would be my recommendation for anyone visiting. Sure, there are a handful of hotels located in Old Town, but for the full experience of Split, I would say you would need to be in an apartment. The Airbnb we chose was absolutely perfect. It was comfortable, modern enough and located in the midst of the magic of Old Town. We were on the fourth floor of a building located in a major courtyard. That meant our rooms had a balcony that provided beautiful views of the old buildings that surrounded us, and as soon as we stepped outside, we were a part of the bustling city around us. There were people sitting at the cafes outside of our door, or simply walking around exploring. There was always action, and we felt like we were right in the middle of it all.

Croatia currency is the kuna, which was valued at a little more than six to one against the U.S. dollar while we were there. That meant most things, especially food, were pretty affordable. We had several great dining experiences during our stay. The first place I would recommend is F De Mar. It’s a great spot on the harbor that offers views of the boats and mega yachts docked about. You can grab dinner or simply enjoy a few cocktails in their outdoor lounge area. We dined on a quiet Monday night, but our server was extremely attentive and personable. We were traveling with young children, so the next night we ate at Bakra, a pizza and streak restaurant. But don’t let their simple menu fool you; nothing about their food is average. In fact, it was some of the best and most creative pizza I have ever tried. Even before the pizza came out, the starters we ordered impressed us all. Also, you can’t leave without having the Bakra special cocktail. Don’t bother asking what’s in it, because they won’t tell you. Just know you’ll enjoy it! On the last night, we dined at Chops Grill, a fancier establishment than the first two and arguably one of the best meals of our entire trip. The steak was cooked to perfection, and the owner chatted with us for most of the evening. The restaurant was nestled in the heart of Old Town and we ate outside, so we felt like this experience was the epitome of Croatian fine dining.