Tuesday, September 17, 2013

End of the Dalmatian tour in Split

To end our trip in Croatia we came back to Split. We decided to take another route off the coast from Dubrovnik to Split just for a change - and can recommend for you to not to do the same. The roads are not well marked and don't expect any express highways (even though your map might suggest something like that), but it looks like they are building one. But hey, this was a sightseeing trip! We made a quick entry to Bosnia-Herzegovina, passed through the borders and the town of Neum... nothing too exciting there to make us stop.

However we did make a short stop in Omiš on the Croatian coast. It looked like a nice town with (again) a nice beach. Especially the canyon-like Cetina river looked intriguing.. perhaps some time it could be fun to do some rafting there!

So we had two days in Split before heading back home. Last on the agenda was shopping, beach time and visiting the number one sight in Split: the Diocletian Palace. The palace, built by the Roman emperor Diocletian for his retirement home (yeah...) over 2300 years ago, is no longer really a palace but more like an old city. The palace area has been through many wars, has served as a home to various people and over the centuries been rebuilt on numerous occasions, making it more complex and more interesting over time. This is another one of Croatia's marvelous Unesco heritage sites - like also Plitvice and old city of Dubrovnik.

Take your time discovering the palace, there is a great fruit market, lots of restaurants, cafés, bars and shops, museums and right outside also the beautiful (though smelly) harbour side. The waterfront street Riva is especially popular to spend the evening.

Aside from the compact Diocletian Palace there's a big city out there with all of the usual attractions - shopping malls, cinemas, theaters... And of course, since we are on the coast: a beach! We went to one beach a couple kms east of the city centre and the water was just as crystal clear there as anywhere on the coast.

And if you get bored of Split then you can take a ferry (with your car or without) to many of the islands surrounding the coast - this is highly recommended! You may remember what I wrote about Brač for instanceThe Croatian archipelago is quite amazing so make sure you visit at least one island there!

Croatia final notes

If you're looking for crystal clear water, sunshine, good food & wine, historical sites, idyllic seaside villages & cities, rugged mountains or national parks you'll find that you will enjoy Croatia. Coupled with moderate prices (not cheap anymore but not expensive) and lovely people makes it a great destination. There are still some off-the-beaten-track places even though it is fairly touristic during the summer - just look for the little coves dotting the coast and islands. But don't venture just anywhere on your own as the country still have minefields from the recent Homeland war .. though during our trip we didn't come across any and quite likely you won't either. What you'll be more likely to encounter is a fantastic holiday. I know I will be back to Croatia sooner or later, the country definitely left a positive mark on me!

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