South-East Europe roadtrip: Stop #5 – Split

A view at walls of former Dioklecian's Palace in Split.

After Dubrovnik our next stop was Split. The fastest way to get from south Croatia to the north is to go by highway. But we decided to go with a road that has much better views – coastal road nr 8. It goes from Montenegro border, along the whole coast, all the way to the border with Slovenia. On almost its whole length one can see some amazing mountain views on one side of the road, while having breathtaking views on the sea and the coast on the other. Because it’s rather curvy and has a speed limits (going through a lot of towns), the trip time is much longer than with the highway, but if you’re not running tight with the schedule – we highly recommend D8.

A view from D8 road.
A view from D8 road.

Remembering our problems with accommodation in Dubrovnik, we decided to find the camping and set our tent before we go to Split for sightseeing. We didn’t have anything booked, so we stopped in Omiš and went to one of the many campsites there. It wasn’t anything particularly special in that campsite, apart from the other guests: firstly – we were the only ones sleeping in a tent, secondly – we were the only ones that didn’t speak German as a mother tongue, and last thing – we were far much younger than any person there. We talked to the owner (she turned out to be Austrian) and found out that the rest of the people are regular guests every year for a very long time. They come to Croatia with their caravans or RVs and spent here most of the summer. Some of them even leave their gear here – only secure it a bit and leave everything on the campsite. Later we found out that they all are very entertaining and kind of party people, and despite problematic communication (our German was like their English) we had some fun together.

Patrycja heating dinner using tourist stove next to our tent in Omiš.
Campsite in Omiš

After setting up a tent and refreshing ourselves, we went to see Split. We could forget about parking for free in the city center. We focused on looking a place in some alleys next to the center. We were quite surprised as it took us much less time than we expected. And we had only 10 minutes walk to the Silver Gate from our parking spot. It was already after the sunset, so first thing that caught our eye was big and illuminated port. Split is the third biggest passenger port in Mediterranean Sea.

A view at the Silver Gate and historical walls surrounding Split center.
The Silver Gate

We passed the port and with a broad pathway strolled towards Diocletian’s Palace. It’s one of the most known monuments of Split and UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Not much is left though, from the palace that was built on a plane with dimensions 175 m x 214 m, in III and IV century. Some parts were destroyed, some are merged with the new buildings. Nevertheless, all looks like medieval city with antique ruins leftovers, surrounded with fortifications. But to better imagine the size of original palace, you have to know that some of its corridors were turned into streets, and currently around 220 buildings (mostly from XVIII century) are standing on the former area of the palace, and are homes to almost 3 000 people.

Nightlife on Narodni Trg square - tourists walking and sitting in restaurants.
Narodni Trg square

We walked from the Silver Gate towards the Peristyle – where sort of “tables” (wooden plank and two pillows for sitting) are created for restaurant guests on the stairs – and we continued to the Cathedral. We stopped in Vestibule to listen to the street musician, that was quite audible due to good acoustics in that place. From there we walked narrow alleys towards Narodni Trg square to see Iron Gate and Clock Tower. Sadly, it was already too late to see the underground part of Diocletian’s Palace, but we were no less impressed by the things we’ve seen that evening. When we were driving back to the campsite, we were discussing which of two cities we liked more – Split or Dubrovnik. Each of us has their own favourite and is not willing to change the mind 😉

 

Practical tips:

  • Croatian highways are paid. The fees are collected for each section, and their prices can be checked on website www.hak.hr.
  • A tent place for 2 persons in Croatian’s campsites is around 15 – 18 EUR for night. The price usually includes: the tent (duh!), place for a car, electricity outlet (sometimes paid and mostly you’ll need the adapter from usual campsite outlet type), water and kitchen access.

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