Monday, September 9, 2019

Split, Croatia - Exploring Diocletian's Palace, Marjan Hill And More

Split, Croatia was the seventh port on our Mediterranean Cruise itinerary.  It was not supposed to be a stop for us when we booked this cruise.  Our original itinerary had Ravenna, Italy as Port 7.  We were excited to see lots of beautiful mosaics and the Basilica of San Vitale there.  We were a little disappointed at first when we were told of the change of plans because we didn't know much about Croatia.  But we researched and started to get curious about all we could do and see in this country.  Now that we have been there, I can tell you that Split, Croatia is in the top three of our favorite ports on this cruise!

There was no need for us to book an excursion here.  We were able to walk off the ship and to everything we wanted to see and do.  I Googled a map of the area before we left home.  We were happy that we purchased a sim card here before we left so that I could also use Google Maps on my phone.   Our map directed us to walk along the Riva, Split's waterfront, to the first sight on our list.

The first place we headed to was Marjan Hill.  It's a steep hill, with steps, to climb but when you make it to the top, you are treated to amazing views of the city below.  There was a cute cafe, Vidilica, halfway up the hill that I thought we might stop in and we did but only to use the restroom.   If we weren't worried about not having enough time to see everything that we wanted to in Split, we definitely would have spent some time there.  The view from their outside dining area was spectacular.

When we got to the top of Marjan Hill, there wasn't much to see but we really just wanted to see the view of the city.  We did find a church which could have been either St. Nicholas or St. Jerome or maybe neither.  There weren't any signs to tell us.

But even if there was a plaque on the church, we couldn't read it anyway.  Like this one above this sink.  It could have said "Use this sink at your own risk."  We didn't know.   Soko was fine after he washed his hands so that's probably not what it said!

The view from the top of this hill did not disappoint us.  It was as wonderful as we thought it would be.

But what I will remember the most about Marjan Hill was the very friendly, very adorable dog we met up there.  He was ready to play with anyone who wanted to play.  He brought his stick over and offered it to me.  We played throw and catch for awhile until he wanted to change the game to hide and seek!

Next on our list was Diocletian's Palace.   It was only an 8 minute walk from Marjan Hill through a cute little town.  We passed two stores that actually had English signage.  The Little Beer Store was a little beer store but we knew it would be before we even looked inside because the sign said so.

The other store was the Car Shoe shop.  Hmm...we could read the sign but what in the world was a car shoe?  Did the people of Croatia put shoes on their cars somehow?  We peeked inside and saw a shoe that looked like it might have been made out of a tire but there wasn't anymore English for us to read to confirm that!

We knew we made it to Diocletian's Palace when we spotted Gregory of Nin (cover photo)t just outside the entrance of the palace.  He's very hard to miss as he is 28 feet tall.  We were not going to walk past him without rubbing his toe.  We didn't want to miss out on the good luck we would have from performing this small act.

We passed through the Golden Gates and into the palace.  Diocletian's Palace is the central hub of Split where 2,000 people live or work.  

We walked on original Roman streets that cut through the palace as we followed Rick Steve's walking tour.  The most important street in the palace, we read, was Cardo.  It connects the main entry with the heart of the complex.  It was here that we would find Nadalina selling dark chocolate using Dalamatian flavors like dried fig and prosecco, an Italian white wine.

The oldest cathedral in the world, Cathedral of St. Domnius, is here also and AAwas Diocletian's mausoleum but then converted into the town's cathedral.  The cathedral's wooden doors have survived since the year 1200.

We were excited to see and hear an all-male a cappella group singing in the Entry Vestibule, the grand entrance into Diocletian's living quarters, but they were not there the day we visited.

What we did get to see, though, was the 3,500 year old sphinx in Peristyle Square.

After exploring the very interesting palace, we went to find nearby Pjaca Square.  

I was dying to see St. Anthony's statue there.  We read that the donor of the statue is seen clinging to the leg of St. Anthony as a reminder that he was the one who made this donation.  It took us awhile to find, but when we did, it was more than we had hoped for.

After taking a quick walk around the square, we walked along Split's pride and joy, the Riva, once again on our way to find the beach.  I got a charm for my Pandora bracelet here in one of the many shops that line the waterfront along with cafes and bars.

It was a little bit of a walk, maybe 20 minutes, to get to Bavice beach.   We thought we would relax there awhile before heading back to the ship.  We read that it was a crowded and lively beach and the only sandy beach in town.  It was crowded and lively but not very sandy.  Most of beach goers were sunbathing on concrete.   We decided that it might not be too easy for us to relax on the concrete so we headed back.

We had some Croatian kuna left at the end of our day in Croatia that we didn't want to bring home with us.   Soko found a beer to spend it on, German because he couldn't find Croatian, to enjoy before we made our way onto the ship.

Croatia was wonderful!  We loved it and would love to return one day.  Hey, we rubbed Gregory's toe.  Maybe he will make it happen for us!  Bye Croatia!  Off to our last port, Kotor, Montenegro.


  1. Fabulous photos! A visit to Croatia is on my bucket list.

  2. What a nice blogpost. Love the little chapel with the bell/clock.

  3. I really enjoyed your photographs! I've never been to Croatia. It looks like you had a wonderful time. And what a cute dog! Thank you for sharing this post with the Hearth and Soul Link Party. I hope your week is going well!

  4. Looks like an interesting stop while on your cruise. Thanks so much for linking up at the #UnlimitedMonthlyLinkParty 4. Shared.

    1. It was one of our favorite cruise ports. We would love to go back one day!

  5. I have friends leaving for a vacation in Croatia today! Up until I read this post, I knew next to nothing about Croatia!

    1. I know! Right? Croatia isn't one of the most popular places to visit in that part of the world. I had no idea it would be such a beautiful country!

  6. I'm glad you like Croatia. I love Split too. Did you visit Trogir? Another pearl very close to Split.

    1. I made a note to check out Trogir if we ever get a chance to go back. We really hope so. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Yes it was really beautiful! Thanks for stopping by!