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Split & Around

Dalmatia’s main port and a vivacious, turbulent focus of commerce and culture, Split is one of the highlights of any visit to the Adriatic coast.

As well as being a boisterous seaside city with a surfeit of pavement cafes and good beaches, Split enjoys the unique status of being the urban outgrowth of a Roman imperial palace.

Roman Split

It was here that Emperor Diocletian chose to retire in 310AD, building an opulent palace that was a self-supporting town in its own right - with a grid of streets connecting palace quarters, servants’ quarters, service areas and military barracks. The palace was subsequently occupied by refugees from Roman Salona, who adapted the former palace to their own needs, turning some imperial buildings into dwellings, and using the stones from others to build structures of their own.

Split today

As a result, central Spit is an intoxicating mixture of Roman masonry, medieval additions and Renaissance town houses, the central precinct of which (still known as the ‘palace’) is surrounded by surviving chunks of Diocletian’s walls. Given such a historical pedigree it is not surprising that Split is a major tourist attraction, with a burgeoning bar and restaurant scene catering for a young and hedonistically-inclined public. Split’s tourist popularity has led to changes in the city’s social structure, however, with fewer and fewer local people remaining in a city-centre increasingly dominated by short-term rental apartments.

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Around Split

Eat Split

Bačvice Beach

Best urban beach

Croatian Maritime Museum

From triremes to torpedoes

Mediterranean Film Festival, Split

Indie films from Southern Europe (Jun)

Orson Welles Statue

The man with the hat

Poljud Stadium

The beautiful stadium

Split Archeological Museum

2000-years ago preserved

Split Cathedral & Baptistry

Pagan mausoleum turned church

Split City Museum

Split through the ages

Split Ethnographic Museum

Folklore & fashion

Diocletian’s Palace Basement

Split’s underground history

St Domnius’s Day (Sudajma)

A spring fair on Split’s waterfront (May 7)

The Daltonist Craft Bar, Split

Craft beer, cocktails & good food (b,l,d; €€)

Text © Jonathan Bousfield

Image by Jonathan Bousfield