The locals’ guide to Split

Croatia’s second-largest city is a buzzing haven of heritage, style and well-kept secrets, we find out more from those who know best

 

SHOP IN STYLE

Fashionably suave Dina Vrkic Vucic on Split’s shops and style

What’s your go-to shopping destination?

Probably either of the two biggest shopping malls in the city; Mall of Split or City Center, both located 15 minutes by bus or taxi from the centre of the town.

 The city’s best kept shopping secret?

Zadarska Street in the city centre where you can find dozens of small galleries and clothing shops, and where everything is handmade in Croatia.

To avoid tacky souvenirs, what would you recommend buying as a memento of a visit to Split?

During spring and summer head to Prokurative Square near Riva harbor where you’ll find a fantastic art market. It’s great for picking up local hand made souvenirs in the form of jewellery or art, and you can also buy fine olive oil and grape from local manufacturers.

What’s street style like in Split?

People are very fashionable and quite self-aware. On the street, especially during lunch breaks and in the evening, you’ll be forgiven for feeling like you’re on something of a fashion runway with people donning everything from high end brands to second-hand vintage finds. There’s one fashion accessory that’s a must in Split – high quality sunglasses!

Any local designers we should know about?

Dott. and ID concept stores sell hand-made products by talented local designers, a great place to see talent on the up.

What’s the city’s most stylish restaurant or bar or the current place to see and be seen?

I would most definitely recommend the fantastic Fabrique at the very end of Riva Harbor as well as Matoni restaurant near the well-known Bacvice beach. For the best beverages in town there’s only one place in my book – Sanctuary Bar.

Tell us one thing about Split that only the local’s know?

It’s a haven for those with a penchant for sweets. Head to Bajadera coffee and pancakes bar, or make a bee-line for Dolcemania to feast on amazing cakes, a must-visit for those with a sweet tooth.

A BIT OF EVERYTHING 

Local tour guide Jozo Babic picks his must-see spots

Where should people make sure they go?

If it’s your first time then make sure you go to the Emperor’s Quarters, one of the most impressive Roman ruins in the world, make sure you visit the Town Museum and the Temple of Jupiter. Also head to Bacvice Beach, probably the most popular beach in the region. Expect gorgeous sandy beaches surrounded by lots of greenery and street food stalls where you can try tasty snacks like grilled sweetcorn and Croatian doughtnots.

Where’s a good place for art lovers?

The Gallery of Fine Arts is housed in an old building near Diocletian’s Palace that used to be the hospital and dates back to 1792, which is actually quite modern compared to the rest of the street. There’s old masters and iconic pieces on the upper floors while downstairs there a local connection with artists all being born in or around the Split area at some point.

Where’s to go for a simple wander around town?

A great place for people watching is the Obala Hrvatskog Narodnog Preporda, also known as the Riva waterfront. Right in front of Dicoletian’s Palace and bordered my palm trees, grab a seat at one of the cafes tucked under billowing awnings and watch people wander the promenade as boats bob in the harbor in front of you.

A good picture-taking spot?

The best terrace in the entire city has to be at Café Vidilica, at the top of the evocative Varos quarter. Sit here with a cool drink and see the whole of Split laid out before you and beyond to the islands scattered in the Adriatic Sea. It’s kid-friendly thanks to stonewall guarding the steep drop.

What would make for a good day trip?

Head to Krka National Park or to Plitvice Lakes or make your way to nearby Mountain Mosor for some really great views and little cafes serving delicious local food. 

FOODIE FAVOURITES

 Croatian foodie Kristine Glant on where to get a taste of Split

Where’s your go-to restaurant in Split?

My absolute favorite has to be Bepa, located within the old city walls. If the weather’s nice there’s nothing better than settling down on their terrace in the hearty of Narodni Trg. Dishes are traditional Dalmatian meals with a twist, and all made from scratch. Don’t miss the La Bombaaaaa dessert if you’ve got a sweet tooth.

What’s trending food-wsie in Split?

Split is as fashionable when it comes to food, as it is style.  When it comes to back-to-basics dishes, we’re already ahead of the pack as our meals are always home-cooked, made with local ingredients and can last for hours. Croatian olive oil is world-renowned, head to Uje Oil Bar where you can eat dinner and buy from around 50 varieties of the stuff. Recently, gaping out for breakfast has become a big thing – try Figa Good Bar or La Maison de Sarah.

The hottest area in town?

Probably one of the best areas for visitors to stay is within the walls of Diocletian’s Palace, there’s a bunch of hotels and guesthouses there and plenty to see and do. It gets a little noisy because you’re in the heart of the town but is a great base for exploring.

Must-try local foods?

Cuspajz –  a type of stew – and also soup, we eat soup all year round even in the height of summer. Also don’t miss delicious fresh fish, probably caught that very morning and classic pasticada – a stewed beef dish that the Dalmatian coast if famous for.

The most stylish restaurant?

Paradigma, opposite the Belleveue Hotel, is a sleek oasis that’s definitely one of the city’s most stylish spots. The food is totally amazing, it’s all fresh ingredients and creative dishes paired perfectly with delicious  grape from the region and the surrounds.