Today I want to share with you my experience in two places of the Dalmatian coast (Croatia): Split and Hvar island. Let yourself be inspired and plan a long weekend or just a short break! I went there on 2nd June (bank holiday in Italy) to escape my job (well, yes!) and I found them the perfect destination to unplug and relax between culture and fun. You will admire the beauty of Diocletian’s Palace, you’ll swim in the bays of the Pakleni islands, you’ll tan under the sun of the amazing Dubovica beach and you’ll spend your nights in one of the many clubs in Hvar.
According to your flights, I suggest you to spend one day and one night in Split and two in Hvar.
At the exit of Split airport you’ll find the busses that will take you to the city centre in 30 minutes, at 5 euros. As Split stands on the sea, its centre almost corresponds with the port. So, once you reach the centre, you’ll only have to worry about two things:
1. Leaving your bag in one of the many left-luggage offices, so that you can freely walk around the city. It costs 15kn a day (approx. 2 euros).
2. Buying a ticket for the fast catamaran, operated from the Jadrolinija company, which will take you to Hvar in one hour at 40kn (approx. 6 euros). The ticket office is just a few steps far from the bus stop.
My arrival in Split was really comfortable and not losing time in the “arrival procedure” is always appreciated, in particular during short trips.
Bag left, ticket bought… Let’s go and explore Split! The city centre spreads across Diocletian’s Palace, a real walled city, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site (and it was used as a filming location of the tv series “The Game of Thrones”, let’s say it!). Walking along its charming alleys was pretty pleasant. Once you reach the peristyle, the courtyard with columns, don’t be scared by the steps and go up until the bell tower, which offers a fantastic view on the city and the sea. Close to the very centre of the palace, you can find the local market, where you could have a walk among fruit and flower stalls. I always like stepping out of the tourist path and act like a local.
Along the alleys of the city centre there are plenty of nice places to have lunch. Choose one of them and enjoy your meal. Then, waiting for the ferry, have a walk in the Marjan hill. It’s next to the city and it offers another nice view over the city and the port. Before reaching the top, you’ll also find a café/restaurant with outdoor panoramic tables.
After this nice walk, it’s time to sail for Hvar!
If you don’t bring the car with you, the fast catamaran is the best way to reach Hvar island: it only takes one hour and it leaves you right in Hvar town (Lesina), which is the heart of the island. You will be impressed by Hvar’s elegant alleys, by its trendy cafés and clubs and its overall swanky look. Devote your evening to a good dinner, a walk and a cocktail. You will soon discover that all this glamour air you breathe has its price, but if compared to othe destinations in Croatia, Hvar’s quality is absolutely better.
If you are in Hvar there’s a place you really can’t miss: the archipelago of the Pakleni Islands. To visit them you can either jump on a taxi boat (the cheapest choice), or you can feel the thrill of renting a small motorboat and visiting them on your own (this is the most adventurous and expensive choice, but still affordable if you are a group of people).
I must confess that renting the boat is absolutely worth the price! Furthermore, it is still the best choice if you only have one day to visit the Pakleni islands. No driving licence is required and at 60/70 euros you will be given this small boat and a map. Nothing more! From that moment on you will be the captain of your own expedition and you will have the privilege of choosing where to go and where to stop. Isn’t it fantastic? You may need some time to settle in but then it’s a child’s play.
The best beaches are Zdrilica, Mlini and Palmizana. Water is beautiful anywhere you go!
Looking for a mouth-watering breakfast in Hvar? Nonica is the place you are looking for. Close to the port, with its sublime cupcakes and cakes it will drive you crazy!
I suggest you to spend your second day in Hvar at the Dubovica beach. In fifteen minutes or so by bus or by (rented) scooter you will reach this beach, crossing beautiful landscapes during the travel. The slope to the beach is a bit challenging. Don’t wear flip flops as I did! 😀 But, again, it’s worth the effort. If you have the chance, go there during the low season, this beautiful bay with its beach are like heaven.
If your flight is on the following day, as mine was, you will have to take the ferry in the late afternoon (this time the slow one, which takes two hours from Stari Grad) to go back to Split. But don’t think it will be a “lost evening” because, after sunset, the Diocletian’s Palace gets even more fascinating!
This will be the best way to end your short trip on the Dalmatian coast. I was totally enthusiastic about this part of Croatia!
Want a last tip? If you have an additional day, visit the National Park of the Plitvice lakes or the Zlatni Rat beach, in the close Brac island.