After an epic day in Plitvice Lakes, we drove to Split, our first stop on the Dalmatian coast. Split is a strange city. On the one hand side, it’s the second largest of Croatia, a transportation hub, and the first thing you see when driving in are shabby high-rises. On the other hand side, it’s a historical jewel, a much-deserved UNESCO World Heritage Site. The heart of the old town is the Diocletian Palace, and incredibly well-preserved complex from 305 AD. The whole area is pedestrian-only, and packed with charming cafes and shops, directly on top of 2000-year old marble streets and plazas.
Having done little planning for this trip, we booked a hotel on our phone last minute, as we were driving in, and we hit the jackpot. For under $100, we got the Grisogono Palace Heritage Residence… literally a 13th century palace, renovated with all the modern amenities, while maintaining the medieval walls and the Gothic ceilings. And located right on the main square Peristil, across from the Diocletian Place and the Cathedral of Saint Domnius. At night, it was so blissful to just sit with the large window opened, seeing the historical buildings light up, and listening to the live music on the square.
Before that, we strolled around the old town for a couple hours, getting lost and finding many cute nooks, and also enjoyed some ice cream on the waterfront promenade. We felt like that evening plus an early morning visit to the cathedral (where the 13th century wooden doors are not to be missed) had given us a great feel for Split, so we decided to take the morning ferry over to Hvar island.