Split, Croatia is the stuff of explorers’ dreams. Situated along the sparkling Adriatic Sea and crowned by the Palace of Roman Emperor Diocletian, its Old Town features maze-like passageways and weathered limestone buildings and lanes. In the Fourth Century AD, Roman Emperor Diocletian had his retirement palace built here.
Emperor Diocletian indeed recognized the good life. In 305 CE, he stepped away from the throne, opting to retire along the Dalmatian Coast in what was then known as Spalatum. He is the only Roman emperor to voluntarily resign. Roman senators would later approach Diocletian and ask him to return to public office. Diocletian, enamored with life in his seaside palace, refused to do so and remained in Spalatum until his death at the age of 66.
Eventually, residents from neighboring areas found shelter within the palace walls, building their own homes and businesses within the palace’s protective shell. Today one can explore these winding, cobbled lanes and spy the remnants of the Roman architecture mingled with a hodgepodge of architectural styles from the last few hundred years.
In the windows of the palace’s 1,700 year-old walls, you might also catch a glimpse of more ordinary sites: flower pots brimming with colorful buds, dogs soaking up the sunshine, or a set of red Snoopy sweat pants drying in the breeze.
Where in the World?
- We’ve spent two winters in Split, finding accommodation in apartments that would be packed during the summer months, but are practically empty during winter. During our first 2.5 months there, we stayed at the lovely Kaleta Apartments (affiliate link) which are located within Diocletian’s Palace. Our studio apartment (called the ‘Diocletian’s Suite’) featured much character, including Roman brickwork, and views of Old Town Split below. Owners Novica and Negri were thoughtful citizen ambassadors too. Two years later, we returned to Split, staying in the charming Varoš neighborhood, characterized by stone homes with hunter-green shutters. For those 2 months, we stayed in quaint studio apartments at the Guesthouse F (affiliate link). We especially enjoyed our tiny terrace and the kindness of our hosts, Anja and Miro. One of Guesthouse F’s apartments was originally a horseshoe maker’s workshop, which previously belonged to Anja’s grandfather. Shawn and I dubbed it the ‘horseshoe cottage’.
- If you’ll be staying in Split for a few days, you might be interested in the Split Card, which gives you free entry to certain museums and galleries, and reduced rates to others. Back in 2014, guests staying in Split for 3 days or more could pick up the Split Card for free, but as of 2016, there is a fee to purchase the card. The link above details the current cost, as well as the participating museums and businesses.
- Need more inspiration? This link contains an index of all my posts from Croatia.
Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.