When we started to plan our first ever sisters’ trip, we had one requirement. It had to be somewhere in Europe that was new to all three of us. Given I had spent four years living in Europe and taking advantage of cheap flights, our choices were limited. My sisters are no travel slouches either and my younger sister actually spent one summer biking from Amsterdam to Barcelona. Eventually we settled on Croatia and planned a four day trip to the city of Split. We explored Split itself but also used it as a base for day trips to the surrounding Dalmatian Coast. One of the few cities in the world were people still live and work within ancient palace walls, Split is a gem not to be missed on a trip to Croatia. Besides eating gelato multiple times each day, I most enjoyed the summer sun and beautiful scenery.
First off as gorgeously sunny Croatia is in July it is also roasting, with highs around 35 degrees Celsius or in the mid 90s Fahrenheit. I was nothing short of ecstatic that our hotel had air-conditioning in the rooms. We spent all four nights at the Plaza Marchi hotel, right in the middle of Old Town Split, within the walls of Diocletian’s Palace. The basement and foundations of the hotel are from the fourth century A.D. Besides this cool bit of history, the hotel had all the modern luxuries you could ask for and came with delicious breakfast every morning at a neighboring restaurant. It was the perfect base to see the roman ruins that make Diocletian’s Palace a UNESCO site, as well as explore along the waterfront. I definitely recommend for a sight-seeing oriented holiday, if you want your own pool or space for big groups you might think about renting a villa through Airbnb. If you sign up to airbnb through this link you’ll get cash towards your first stay!
As a bit of an art history nerd, I loved being able to walk through a city covered in gorgeous architecture. We got up at early one day to go shoot outside the Split Cathedral and main square of Diocletian’s Palace. At 8:30 in the morning the light was perfect, and we largely had the space to ourselves. When properly touring we went inside the cathedral itself, through the cellars, the Temple of Jupiter and up to a veranda with gorgeous views of the city. Game of Thrones fans, it truly looks like Khaleesi and her dragons could have been around any corner. (You can easily see places they shot Game of Thrones around the city, but I’d steer clear of the ‘shops’ and ‘museums’ who try to charge tourists an arm and a leg). For nearly panoramic views you can take a hike up to Marjan Park, there are a few restaurants up that way if you need an Aperol spritz for your efforts. Be warned the cobblestone path is quite steep on the way back down, so maybe just stick to one!
For one of our day trips we booked a guide out to Krka National Park, famous for its waterfalls and swimming area. There are a few different options, our tour through Get Your Guide took us to the two different sets of waterfalls, a mezze picnic lunch, and finally to the small city of Šibenik. It has its own stunning UNESCO cathedral and plenty more gelaterias for an afternoon snack. The waterfalls alone are breathtaking, and with the tour guide we didn’t have to worry about a thing! Our second day trip was closer to Split and we only spent the morning at the Fortress of Klis. Perched up on a literal mountain, it was another filming location of Game of Thrones (they even had a live band playing the theme song at one point which was truly hilarious). It can’t be beat for views of the coast, while nearby there are a few restaurants that cater to hungry crowds descending from the fortress. Most taxi drivers are happy to take you there and back, provided they can nap while you explore.
My personal must for the trip was to spend an afternoon at the beach. As we stayed closer to Old Town Split, we took a taxi to Kasjuni Beach. There are cabanas and chairs to rent at Joe’s Beach Lounge and Bar or if you bring your own towels there is also a stretch of pebble beach open to the public. We went for a cabana as we didn’t want to get sunburnt and it was a dreamy way to spend the afternoon. Add an umbrella drink and we were well on our way to being bad and beachy! The sea was a lovely, clear blue and the perfect temperature for a swim.
Outside of breakfast at our hotel, we mostly ate lunch and dinner at restaurants along the waterfront without reservations. For our last dinner we went to Fig, which had delicious variety of fusion food at really reasonable prices. I suggest wandering around until you stumble across a place that looks good. A terrace or courtyard is the best for people watching while you eat!
In summertime I recommend packing pretty, comfortable outfits that you can wear from the day to dinner and beyond. Cute little shorts, denim skirts, rompers and sundresses are all pretty common. Churches ask that you cover your shoulders when visiting, and often have scarves at hand. Cute but comfortable shoes are a must, we clocked over 5 miles of walking a day. I wore my pink trainers from Sezane which saved me from blisters and fashion faux pas. A straw sunhat might be a good idea if you burn easily and I always had a pair of sunglasses on me. A small crossbody works perfectly to hold your essentials for sightseeing, clubbing and everything in between! Mostly pack outfits that make you happy, your holiday is not the time to be stressing about a trend you’re not quite sure about or fussing with clothing that doesn’t fit properly. To see more of what I wore when in Split, check out this post!
Split was the major holiday of my summer, and I could not have been happier with our choice. Hope this helps those of you with ‘out of office’ on the brain.