Travel writer Jack Levitt talks us through his explorations of three major cities in the Far EastWritten by Jack Levitt on 10th December 2017
A Postcard From Split
Travel writer Anna Wise shares her experience of the increasingly popular destination of Split, Croatia.
To many, Croatia is becoming a highly popular destination for young travellers looking for a fun and laid-back holiday with friends. Having admittedly not even heard of the Croatian city Split until relatively recently (as enviable holiday snaps started to flood my Instagram), I was not sure what to expect.
I was very pleasantly surprised by the unique beauty of the historic old town. Lucky enough to be staying an apartment (through Airbnb) in a central location, we were totally immersed in the buzz of the city centre, where the narrow streets are filled with people dining outdoors, shopping, and drinking in the atmosphere. Diocletian’s Palace is the Roman ruins that make up about half of the entire city’s structure. This incredible fact helps to explain the architectural grandeur of the ancient city, made up of marble streets, columns and courtyards. I got a sense of Croatia’s quiet confidence in its historic significance as we walked through the protected heritage sites, where actors dressed as Roman soldiers stand in the streets and happily pose for pictures with bemused tourists.
“I was very pleasantly surprised by the unique beauty of the historic old town
Aside from its cultural appeal, Split has plenty to offer for a group of students on a budget. Cocktail bars are on every corner, with some decent happy hours, and bar crawls take place every night, offering unlimited drinks and free pizza for 200 Kuna (around £25). If a fun night out that will remind you of Fab n Fresh is what you’re after, or ‘the best night you will never remember’ as their slogan promises, then Tower Pub Crawl is the one for you.
When it comes to food, Split is not short of ambient restaurants serving Italian-style dishes and plenty of fresh fish. But do be warned that a few of the restaurants around the centre are looking to scam their customers. One evening ended up with an argument with a restaurant’s manager after we waited over an hour for food, which came out cold, and dealing with a waiter who threatened to call the police on us if we refused to pay. (We didn’t pay, and he didn’t call the police, yay.) A quick look on TripAdvisor before visiting a more pricey restaurant will save you the disappointment that we faced. And for when you’re hungry but not willing to splash the cash on dinner, then check out Croatia’s gift to the culinary world; the Burek, aka cheesy, greasy, pastry goodness.
A unanimous highlight of everyone’s trip was the tour of the Krka waterfalls, a 1.5 hour coach trip away from Split’s harbour. The clear, turquoise waters were blissful to swim in, and the views are so spectacular that the photos will transform your Instagram, #nofilter needed. For the more adventurous travellers, Split tourism offices offer day activities like rafting, diving, and even zip lining. And for Game of Thrones fans out there, you can also go on a GoT tour of Split since Croatia is apparently used for much of the show’s filming.
Split left us feeling happy, impressed, inspired, sunned, and undoubtedly fatter than when we arrived (carbs galore).
Top tips for visitors:
- Be aware that Split is not cheap, especially the closer you get to the city centre, so if you’re on a budget then consider pre-planning as many of your activities and meals as you can. Also, you can get more Croatian currency for your Pound if you withdraw money from your card from an ATM, as opposed to exchanging cash.
- Know your own tolerance to foreign food and drink. Don’t drink the tap water or cheap alcohol if you’re a sensitive soul and are prone to catching illnesses.
- Consider visiting Split not during the height of summer. We went in mid-September when it was bustling but not overcrowded, but it is likely to be considerably busier during summer’s peak.
- It rains in Croatia, and when it does, it’s heavy. So bring a raincoat if you don’t want to get caught in a monsoon in a playsuit.