Split is a nice, cosmopolitan little city.
I have been here once before, years ago. On that occasion we got on a boat from the port going to some island that I’ve long since forgotten the name of. I remembered Split as a hot, overcrowded little place that I couldn’t wait to get out of, so much so that I almost didn’t bother to stop off here again on my travels this time. And that would have been a shame.
In August it still is a hot, overcrowded place, awash with tourists and their massive pull-along cases queuing impatiently for the boat to take them to their holiday island. However staying here a couple of days you soon find that the city has a nice laid-back vibe about it.
There is a wide pedestrian street alongside the harbour, with cafes, restaurants and kiosks selling crafts and souvenirs. If you take a stroll along here early evening you will find it packed out with people just strolling and hanging out, reminiscent of Las Ramblas in Barcelona.
There is an abundance of fruit and more ‘healthy’ food alternatives. My pet hate when travelling is that I always eat a lot of bread and pizza, because it is cheap and convenient, and return home from every trip 3 kilos heavier (which I then never lose and next trip adds another 3 kilos etc etc). In Split there is no excuse not to eat your ‘five portions a day’.
As you enter the walled city there is a wonderful little juice and smoothie bar, with nice fruit cocktails and all kinds of smoothies and ‘detox’ drinks. The walled city is small and you can’t miss it. They also do Mojitos for 35 kuna; they’re delicious but don’t try to get drunk on them, as I think they just waft the rum across the bottle.
There is a ‘green market’ where they sell some perfect looking fruit and veg. Next to it is a non-food market with cheap clothes and souvenirs. If you like shopping there is a lot of homemade jewellery and other artisan products around, along with the usual tacky souvenirs. However I’m not a great fan of buying stuff (not least because I’ve still got three weeks of this trip left to carry it around with me) and so I came away with just a few postcards and a lavender bag.
I travelled by bus up to Split from Dubrovnik. The journey takes about four and a half hours, although it can be longer if the traffic is bad. There is a small section of the highway that belongs to Bosnia, so you have to stop twice for a somewhat perfunctory passport inspection, so that can slow things down.