If you spend enough time in Split, eventually the surrounding mountains will start calling you to explore, and rightfully so…
Two weeks into our stay in the stunning seaside town, we met up with our local friend, Srđan, eager to retreat to the rugged mountains that so dramatically frame the metropolitan area around Croatia’s second-largest city.
On a sun-drenched Saturday morning, we piled into Srđan’s car, rolling partway up the mountain, Mosor, which forms part of Southern Europe’s Dinaric Alps. Parking at a spot that hinted at the extraordinary views ahead, we began our ascent on the rocky pathway. We occasionally bumped into other hikers, but the gentle climb was mostly quiet, allowing us to catch up with our friend, who is a wine connoisseur and owner of a popular wine & culinary-tour business.
During one break from the ascent, we heard a choir of church bells tolling on the hour. We were fascinated to learn that they had originated from the nearby island of Brač. It was incredible that the sound had clearly carried in such a dramatic fashion!
After winding along Mosor’s rocky paths, which were studded with flora featuring myriad textures and green hues, we eventually found our way into what Srđan had dubbed, “the Enchanted Forest.” We stopped at the Umberto Girometta mountain lodge, after being greeted by a lovable donkey with wooly hair. Chilled by the refreshingly-cool air, we downed a cup of steaming tea infused with fresh mountain herbs. At times, the donkey ambled over to our picnic table to say hi. He looked as though he’d just stepped out of the pages of a glossy Visit Croatia brochure.
As morning gave way to afternoon, more hikers arrived. We grabbed a table before the lodge became too packed, and stuffed ourselves with hearty traditional food alongside a green ceramic, wood-burning stove. After hiking in the crisp air, sauerkraut had never tasted so good. Shawn and Srđan feasted upon fažol, a bean stew that’s popular in this part of Croatia.
After lunch, we explored a marshy area around the lodge, strolling past a fiery-orange butterfly catching some rays on a boulder, and a pond inhabited by tadpoles. Before the winter sun began her slumber, we started our descent and ultimately returned to civilization.
- Lucky to have a friend to guide us, getting from Split to Mosor was a breeze. If you’re making the visit independently, see this website for more practical information about Mosor.
- 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, people 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.
- 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, which is 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, a building which previously belonged to Anja’s grandfather. Shawn and I dubbed it the ‘horseshoe cottage’.
- Need more inspiration? This link contains an index of all my posts from Croatia.
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Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.