After spending time in both Kotor and Dubrovnik, I was wondering how much different Split would feel. It was surprising to me just how different the city felt. For starters, there is a walled city, but unlike Kotor and Dubrovnik, the walled city did not seem completely closed in, as it was open in some areas to the rest of the city. Also, while Split had some historical buildings, it had many more modern buildings than the other cities.
Our forecast showed rain on our second day in Split, so we strategized how we could see the city in a single day. That way, when it rained, we could relax in our apartment and catch up on our blog.
Getting to Split
We took the Croatia Bus from Dubrovnik to Split, a route that runs several times a day. I think the oddest thing about our 4.25 hour bus ride was the fact that we crossed through Bosnia during our ride. Before we looked at a zoomed in map of the region, we had no clue that Bosnia had a 20 kilometer (12 mile) stretch of waterfront smack in the middle of Croatia.
It was strange to have a border crossing in the middle of a domestic bus ride, but other than that, it felt just like any other bus ride that we’ve had in Eastern Europe.
Since we always enjoy having an apartment and try and book them whenever we find an option that is within our budget. I was happy when we found Mila Apartment, a studio apartment which was centrally located and had great reviews.
One of the negative things about booking an apartment vs. a traditional hotel is the fact that you have to coordinate your arrival time with your host. It’s somewhat challenging for us since we don’t have a cell phone so if our bus is delayed (or early) we have no way to get in touch with our host. Mila Apartment took away that issue as the entry to both the apartment building and our apartment was by key code. We selected the code that we wanted and were able to let ourselves in on our own. It was a great system and made me wish that there were other places that used the same technology.
Our host, who lived upstairs with her family, greeted us warmly when we arrived. She even had some fresh out of the oven chocolate muffins and fruit for us, a very nice touch which we appreciated.
The apartment was very clean and had everything that we needed. The bed was comfortable and had an exposed brick wall behind it. It was a cool design element within itself, but there was a switch that turned on a light and could be changed to any color in the rainbow.
While the kitchen was not large, it had everything that we needed to create some pretty good meals. One of the best things about the apartment was the very fast wifi. We took the opportunity to load pictures to our Google drive, Skype with our families and download some television shows to watch later.
Like the rest of the apartment, the bathroom was very clean. The shower had great water pressure and there was a decent amount of hot water. The only time that I ran into issues was at the end of my shower the day that Andy took a long shower.
For us the location was perfect. We were in a central part of town but off a main road so it was nice and quiet. Directly across the street from our place was a grocery store which was great for picking up groceries, especially on the day it was raining.
Viewpoint of the City
Our apartment host told us that one of the things that we should do when we were in Split was hike up to get a viewpoint of the city. The first thing that we did was walk 20 minutes from town up to the viewpoint. Once we were there we were rewarded with great views of both the city and the water. After taking a few pictures, we headed back down to explore the rest of the city.
Since Split is located right on the water, we spent some time walking along the waterfront. It had a different vibe than Dubrovnik or Kotor as the waterfront in Split is much more industrialized. In addition to a number of ferries, there is also a large fishing industry.
If you have plans to take a ferry to any of the islands in Croatia, you’ll likely be departing from Split. While we toyed with the idea of visiting one of the islands for the day, we learned it was not possible. In the high season, there are many more ferries, but in the low season, when we were visiting, there were very few options, none of which would allow us to visit the islands without spending the night there.
Cathedral of St. Domnius
One of the main attractions in Split is the Cathedral of St. Domnius. We decided to climb up the bell tower for a cost of 15K or $2.25 to get a view of the city. While we expected it would be somewhat busy, there were only a few other people around when we were up there which made it easy to set up the tripod and take some pictures.
We did not visit the inside of the cathedral as we could not figure out if it was open or not. The only people that we saw coming out and going inside were the nuns.
Wandering Around Old Town
The old town area was cute and we enjoyed spending time walking around, taking in the scenery. Unlike Dubrovnik and Kotor, the historical area in Split was only a small portion of the city. It was fun and we had a good time taking some pictures around town.
Booked Our Tickets to Ljubljana, Slovenia
One of the things that we knew we needed to do when we were in Split was purchase our bus tickets to Ljubljana. I had seen on Rome2Rio that there were direct buses from Split to Ljubljana, but it did not name the bus company which ran the route.
When we arrived at the bus terminal, we went to the international ticket counter to inquire about our route. The woman could not have been less helpful. When we asked for tickets to Ljubljana she said no. We then asked if we could get there by connecting in another city to which she responded “I don’t know”. While I would have pressed more, I knew that this woman was going to be absolutely no help to us.
We went back to the apartment and figured out an alternative routing which would get us where we needed to go. I found that by connecting in Zagreb we would be able to catch a DB Bus to Ljubljana. There are very frequent buses that go from Split to Zagreb so we purchased tickets that would allow for buffer time in case there were any delays. This left us with an early morning bus to Zagreb and a 2 hour connection before we caught our bus to Ljubljana.
Of the 3 cities that we visited along the Adriatic Sea, I would have to say that Split was my least favorite. The waterfront was not nearly as pristine, the city only had a small portion of historical buildings and there were not as many things to see and do.
If you’re planning to visit Split, I recommend only visiting during high season. There were a lot of shops and restaurants that were closed when we were there during low season. Plus, we were not able to take a day trip to one of the nearby islands via ferry. Had we been able to do more during our time there, I think we both would have enjoyed it more.