Travel Diary – Croatia (Part II: Split)

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Plitvice Lakes – a MUST see

After staying in Hvar for 3 days (you can read about it here), we traveled to Split to continue the latter part of our Croatia trip.  To get to Split from Hvar, take a ferry for about 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Split is underrated IMO – the scenery is just as beautiful as Hvar, has more historic sites, and is about 20% cheaper than Hvar.  Hvar is more popular because of its party scene and vicinity to islands and their beaches.  If you’re more into sightseeing, staying in Split and making a trip to Hvar would be more budget-friendly.

Activities / Sightseeing

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Visit Diocletian’s Palace.  It’s an ancient palace built by the Roman emperor Diocletian and makes up half the old town and city center of Split today.  It’s a short 5 minute walk away  from the pier after you get off the ferry.  The palace is a UNESCO site that was awarded for its historical significance.  These Roman ruins are astonishingly well-preserved considering how long ago they were built.  For more on the palace’s history, you can check it out here.

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Cathedral of Saint Domnius. This Catholic cathedral was built in the Middle Ages and is now a prominent landmark of Split.  The bell tower of the cathedral is the main symbol of the city.

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Book a day trip to Plitvice Lakes National Park (a must!!!).  I don’t consider a trip to Croatia complete without visiting the Plitvice Lakes.  It’s also a UNESCO site (awarded for its exquisite beauty) and the most visited attraction in Croatia with more than 1 million visitors per year.

You can book the day trip at any of the travel agencies in Split’s main square or online.  For tourists, I recommend doing the day trip through an agency because the the tour package includes transportation in an air-conditioned vehicle, snacks, meals, park admission, and a guided tour.  It’s a whole day affair, but I promise you it’s totally WORTH it.  The tour picks you up around 7-7:30am and comes back around 8pm.  The park has hundred of pristine lakes and waterfalls.  They’re well-maintained so the water literally sparkles.  There is also a calmness about the waters, I felt like I was stepping into paradise!

Rather than babbling on about of how freaking beautiful this place is, I’ll show you some pictures I took.  These are raw pictures taken with an iPhone without editing or filters – imagine what this place looks like in real life!!

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Trails are made of these wooden logs for a nature-y feel
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Don’t go chasing waterfalls 😛
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How stunning is this turquoise-colored lake?  The water is clear and shimmering!  
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Panoramic view of the park.  So. much. beauty. I can’t handle it!!
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One of my favorite pictures of the park – just look at the seamless gradient of blue, green and turquoise

Left: steamed chicken breast and veggies / Top Right: Croatian ravioli / Bottom Right: a fish dish

 

Food

Maybe because I only went to the “restaurants for tourists”, I ended up eating lots of seafood, pasta, and steamed veggies.  The pictures above pretty much sum up everything I had when I was there.

Accommodation

We stayed at B&B’s in both Hvar and Split which we booked through Booking.com. The site is the equivalent of Expedia/AirBnB.  We went the B&B route because hotels in Croatia are forbiddingly expensive during the summer since it’s the peak of tourist season.  Booking.com is based in Europe so it has a larger selection of B&B’s in Europe.

Things I didn’t get to do but REALLY wish I did and would totally go back for…

Dubrovnik
GOT fans – does this look familiar?

Dubrovnik.  I actually had to leave Croatia to come back to the US to start my job, but my other friends went there after Split and raved about how beautiful it is.  For all you Game of Thrones fans out there, there are parts of the show filmed in Croatia.

 

yacht week

The Yacht Week.  You essentially sail on a yacht for 7 days and go island hopping, meet others who are also there for Yacht Week, and goto parties on various islands.  The most popular time to go is late June to August because it’s just GORGEOUS.  For more info about booking and the routes, check them out here.

If you’re planning to visit Croatia, I hope you found this post helpful.  If you’ve been to Croatia (esp. Dubrovnik or Yacht Week), please share your recommendations below – would love to hear them!

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