Last time we ventured to Split, situated on Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast, was on a cruise aboard the Celebrity Constellation with Pied Piper Travel. This time we are revisiting for a couple of days before taking the catamaran to Brač. We stayed in the old town which we highly recommend. It’s not to be missed, featuring ancient stone buildings, narrow alleys, squares filled with restaurants and bars and, at the heart of this stunning old town, is Diocletian’s Palace, built in the 4th century AD.
Having just come from Prague and Vienna we were keen to check out the local beaches. We heard that Split’s best beach was Kasjuni and we were not disappointed. Pebbly and set in a crescent shape, surrounded by high cliffs and a pine a forest, the beach was just stunning in mid September, with totally inviting, crystal clear, clean water, 27 degree temperature and not too crowded.
Kasjuni also has a nude (somewhat gay) section. Walk to the right as far as possible past the beach cafe and all those expensive sun beds (at about 20€ each per day) until the beach runs out, it takes five minutes. It you want further seclusion take the track up the hill and find your own little rocky grotto.
To get to the beach we caught the number 12 bus from in front of the old town and it takes about 20 minutes to get to Kasjuni. Getting home on the bus can be a little trickier as the bus timetable is bizarre. It tells you when the bus leaves the centre of Split old town and leaves you guessing as to what time it will arrive. However, the walk back into Split is only a very scenic 30 minute downhill wander along a rocky coastline, so this is another option.
The next day we strolled around Split’s port area, through the hordes of tourists disembarking from cruise ships. We decided to try Bacvice Beach. Unfortunately, this city beach is not the prettiest beach in the world. It does have good water quality, loads of sun beds, a few places to eat and is very close to the ship terminal and the centre of town. This is a popular swimming spot for locals and visitors alike but does not have the ‘wow’ factor of Kasjuni.
Split is a hub for thousands of day trippers to various nearby islands and everything blue; blue caves, blue lagoon and blue six island tour. Toto Travel on the waterfront runs half day jet ski tours that sound like fun. Ask one of their very handsome sales agents in the main square to tell you all about what’s on offer. Maybe like us you won’t remember a thing about the spiel because his hot Croatian accent and swarthy good looks will be a total distraction. ‘What did he say?’
We decided to do the tourist bus and walking tour on our previous visit to Split. You can buy tickets at the bus depot near the entrance to the main square. The bus tour includes a short walking tour of the old town, Diocletian’s palace and market place and the whole experience only takes half a day but gives you a lot of valuable information about the history of this incredibly charming, archaic town.
Eating in Split is not a problem as there are hundreds of small restaurants in the old town and on the waterfront. Just to escape the tourist traps we ate slightly away from the promenade at the end of Sperun Street, near the church where there are some cute little tavernas. The green pasta with seafood and the cuttlefish risotto in its own ink at Tinel Trattoria were delicious and we were drooling for days over the grilled fresh tuna steak we had prepared to our liking at nearby Step by Step Bistro.
On the way into Split we asked our taxi driver if there was something unusual to do in Split. He suggested trying the cakes from O’š Kolač Pastry Shop in the old town. Famous in Croatia and winner of many awards, we tried three different cakes from their range and each was sensational. Don’t miss this absolute treat.
We found no gay bars in the old town which was somewhat disappointing as there are hundreds of bars in Split and thousands of tourists and, by our calculations, some must be gay. As mentioned above the right side of Kasjuni Beach is the playground for the nude and gay. We also heard that Znjan Beach is quite popular with locals but by all accounts Kasjuni is the best tip if you’re looking for a gay interlude in Split.
Know Before You Go
- Stay in the old town and book your accommodation early
- Croatia is in the EU and now the Euro is the currency
- Catch a ferry/catamaran to the islands of Brač, Hvar and Korčula from Split.
- Bus transfer from the airport to the Old Town is 30 Kuna, Taxi about 50€, or arrange your own transport from your hotel.
- Bags can be left in lockers at the port if you are checking out but still have the whole day before your plane or ferry.
- We bought a padded beach roll which was convenient to carry and very comfortable on Croatia’s pebble beaches.