Before looking into Croatia I didn’t know much about it but I knew I had heard of Split. From Mostar it was just a 4 hour journey across the border to Split and cost £11.00. The journey was incredibly scenic! While inland we went past lots of huge blue lakes and once we reached the coast we spent a good 2 hours driving right along the coast line where I could see the amazing blue and clear ocean, white pebbled coves and some apartments I wish I could be staying in!
I knew Split was going to be a big town and when I arrived it was certainly bigger than any we had driven through in the last 2 hours. I found my hostel fine and then headed onto the harbour and main strip. Instantly I felt like I was on holiday rather than travelling especially as there were pure blue skies and a comfortable temperature in the late 20’s.
It was too late to find a beach to lie on but i thought I’d take a look ready for the next day. From the harbour I headed left to where I could see coves on my map and I was hugely disappointed, there just seemed to be a mass of concrete everywhere with the most tiny pebbled areas (I found out hardly any beaches in Croatia are sandy). At this point I doubted whether i should stay in Split as I had only booked one nights accommodation. That evening I went down to the harbour and although the sun doesn’t directly set there the sky was a beautiful pink colour, I got some dinner at a vegetarian cafe I found and had an ice cream (I was on holiday after all!).
In my hostel that evening a girl said that when I get to the harbour I should go RIGHT and keep following the road down and I would get to some much nicer coves so I decided to give Split a chance and had a very enjoyable next day.
First I explored the old city, which is a rectangular area behind the main strip and this may be one of the best ‘old towns’ I have seen, you can spend a long time walking the narrow paths which are full of nice shops, there are huge ruins of what used to stand there and basically you feel a million miles away from the coast (but you’re only 50 metres).
Next I went for a walk to the RIGHT and after about 20 minutes I did indeed find some nice coves that weren’t too busy and if I ignored the car park behind me and just looked forward it was very nice!! The water was just as clear and blue as I’d seen in photos and although I wasn’t sure about pebble beaches I realised that the one annoying thing usually about beaches is sand going everywhere (!!) so without this it was very pleasant and there weren’t too many people there (maybe they all think that left is the only way to go!).
In the afternoon I took a walk up Marjan Hill which is on the end of the peninsular to get a good view over the town and although I didn’t go all the way up (I blame the heat) after a fair few steps I got to a pretty good view point!
After doing some online research I realised that all the amazing beaches you see in Croatia are coves on islands or just along the coast but not near any big towns as I had seen on my bus journey so without a car or taking a boat trip these are hard to see. Companies like ‘Sail Croatia’ are really popular and I can now see why. I hadn’t planned that into my trip though and I was happy I gave Split a chance and enjoyed my time there and although I didn’t go out the night life is meant to be really good!
Split was more expensive than the countries I had been visiting but I guess this isn’t surprising as its a popular ‘holiday’ destination, for me travelling on a budget it was still really do-able though, I paid £8 for a dorm room, roughly £3 for small meals that weren’t in the main restaurants and took a bit of finding and I didn’t spend any money on trips ect however if you were there on holiday and able to splurge you would find it incredibly cheap- you could eat in the harbour restaurants for £6-8 for a main course, go on a boat day trip for £25 and drink plenty for just a few pounds however I really don’t think that more than a few days here is needed as there are plenty of other places to visit in the country!
And remember to visit the better beaches that are within walking distance go RIGHT!