Why You Need To See Split, Croatia To Believe It

Interest in our 2018 Croatia is heating up....and when you take a deeper look into just how amazing Croatia really is, you'll start to understand why. 

Split, Croatia at dusk

Split, Croatia at dusk

By: Tony Beringer

Throughout history, cities have changed hands a countless number of times. These cities hold onto their past while also being adapted to fit the modern feel of the culture that currently occupies the area. This creates a mix of architecture, food, and best of all the people that make these types of places much more special to visit. In these places, we will find the things you expect to find but certainly will stumble upon some things that will leave us speechless.

One of those countries (and many of their cities who have changed hands) is Croatia. Part of a vicious, and brutal civil war, in the late 90's, Croatia is really just beginning to emerge as the 'go-to' destination in Europe, and oddly enough, one of our favorite places in the world.

So, without further a due, I'd like to introduce to you to, Split, Croatia. I am going to do a quick rundown of the history and cultures that have made this area home so bear with me for a bit. Or heck, don’t bear with me and just read it because this is pretty fascinating stuff.  Not to mention, this place is utterly gorgeous, and you'll easily see why if you watch this drone video down below. 

This city has seen its fair share of occupants in the last 2320 years since it was first settled around 300 BCE by the Greeks. After an intense war, it became the capital of the Roman Province of Dalmatia during which time the famed Palace of Diocletian was built around the year 290.

Next in line was the Byzantine Empire (Roman Empire of the East) who then sold it to the Venetian Empire. Under the Venetians, the city became a massive trading center with routes that went to the Ottoman Empire. After 377 years the city was then ceded to the Hapsburg Monarchy for 8 years when then suddenly it was taken over by the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy. Just as quickly as it changed hands before, it was then given back to the Hapsburgs, which were part of Austria, in 1815.

All sorts of crazy stuff, but best of all, Split absorbed the best of each culture, making it better than the last....

The unmistakeable clay roofs of Split, Croatia

The unmistakeable clay roofs of Split, Croatia

Modern day Split is a bit of a different story. As you'll see, the town is fully decorated in red sandstone clay roofing, adorned with white marble throughout the city. It's really quite remarkable, with the crown jewel being Diocletian's Palace, just feet away from the ocean promenade (not seen above). 

And when you begin to look at modern Split, you'll notice an ancient feel of a city, along with a very cool, 21st-century vibe. After WWI the area was known as the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes in which Split was again the most important port city and trade hub for the whole Balkan area. In 1929 the name changed to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and Split was occupied by Italy during the duration of WWII. In the 30 years after WWII, there were many clashes due to all the cultural and ethnic differences among the regions of Yugoslavia, that it eventually led to its collapse in 1991. It was then broken up into the map we see today.

Obviously, after the Civil War, much of Croatia was destroyed and the entire country went through a MASSIVE rebuilding process which you'll see today, but every turn is filled with white marble views, the usual blue sky, temps in the upper 80's, and plenty of foliage, plants, and crystal clear blue sea waters. Which is precisely why this former Venetian Empire was the crown jewel of all the sea-faring trade ports through much of the last millennium. 

And yes....you need to try the seafood here. It is beyond exquisite, and guaranteed to leave you wanting more. Not to mention the prices are SUPER affordable. 

Modern day Split, Croatia

Modern day Split, Croatia

Now, I threw a lot of history at you in a short amount of time and I hope you are still with me because I did that for a reason. When we travel it is important to have fun and learn about what you are seeing but it is also important that you understand why those buildings are there, why the people are the way they are and why the customs are part of their societal norms. Being educated about these things will make you see places in a new and understanding way. There will be times it might seem like a different world and that is how it should be. That is how you should feel. Pictures are so much more than pictures. They're a look back into history, often times going back hundreds or even thousands of years. And part of that is what makes traveling in Europe so damn special. 

Obviously, Croatia and Split have been through a lot over the years and the most influential aspect of a place is always the people. The Croats might seem a little stern at first because of their checkered past, which is not their fault, but it is understandable for them to have to hold their ground and not show their feelings on their face. With that said, in our travels to Split and surrounding cities in Croatia, we have found that once you get to talking to a local for a few minutes they are just as jolly and happy to be living life like the rest of us. They want the tourism, they want to show off what a great city and community they have grown after centuries of not having their own identity.

A view of Split, Croatia's riverfront and Diocletian's Palace in the background

A view of Split, Croatia's riverfront and Diocletian's Palace in the background

During this trip from Zagreb to Dubrovnik we hug the coastline and you know what the means right? Seafood done the way it was meant to be done! The best seafood you can imagine is right here on this trip from octopus to tuna. They also love their meats so lamb, turkey, and sausages are always on the menu but because of the large Italian influences, this is also a great opportunity to grab some Italian food (PIZZA).

Another fun facts are how big of coffee drinkers that Croatians are. The average person drinks up to 5kg a year of coffee so when we are up to get to CrossFit Split or that mountain hike, you will be sure to find a coffee along the way! We will need it! 

Not to mention summer temps are at the highest in the upper 80's (F) and the night time lows are in the low 70's and dip into the high 60's, too.....perfect for those cool nights out. 

Croatia has so much more than amazing cities....the national parks are just as exquisite! 

Croatia has so much more than amazing cities....the national parks are just as exquisite! 

Now, this might not be the most riveting piece of literature I have written but my main goal was to inform the masses about why we hold Split and Croatia in such high regard. I could have written nine more paragraphs but I want to make my history lesson short and our ‘why here?’ concise.

The people of Split have been tossed around for centuries and yet they still come out having hope and working hard not only to maintain their culture but to put it on display for all of us to enjoy. The history of these places should not be lost and by joining us on this adventure through Croatia and the Dalmatian coast, you can see the passage of time for yourself!

Stay Curious or as they might say in Croatia, ‘Ostanite Znatiželjni’……..totally.

~ Tony

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