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Thursday,  June 13, 2024 11:01 PM 

Split: a Croatian sensation

Split: a Croatian sensation
Blake Wolfe

Blake Wolfe is an award-winning journalist and editor, who joined PAX after nearly 10 years in Canada’s newspaper industry. In addition to PAX, his work has been featured in publications such as the Metroland Media group of newspapers and the Toronto Sun.

While Dubrovnik is often the first destination which comes to mind when considering an Adriatic escape, the city of Split has also grown in popularity, drawing increasing numbers of visitors further north along the Dalmatian coastline.

With the Split region recording 19.7 million overnight stays by international travellers between January and October 2018, the city is a hotspot for tourists – so if you have clients interested in seeing it, there’s no time like the present!

Must-see sights

Founded in antiquity, Split is perhaps best known as the home of Roman emperor Diocletian, whose palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979, draws thousands of visitors every year, eager to explore the colonnades and courtyards of a retirement home built for an emperor – one of the few who lived to see the end of his term!

While time-travelling may not be an option (yet), visitors to the palace can experience the next best thing during the annual Days of Diocletian festival, when the city returns to the Roman era with food, festivities and costumed re-enactors welcoming guests and eager to pose for that coveted Instagram shot. Guests can also take part in a VR experience at the palace which recreates the structure as it appeared in Roman times.

For beachgoers, Split’s Bačvice Beach is among the most famous in Croatia, offering a sandy escape on the Adriatic shores, just outside of the city centre.

Island escape

Split also serves as the gateway to several islands, just a short ferry ride away from the mainland.

Known for its party atmosphere in recent years, the island of Hvar is a popular summer destination for yachters on the Adriatic, which welcomed three five-star resorts in 2018.

A lively spot for nightlife, Hvar’s hard-partying reputation drew international attention with the creation of a series of local bylaws in 2017, including the requirement for men to wear shirts while in town and for visitors to refrain from sleeping, eating or drinking in public, infractions which carry fines for 500 euros and 700 euros respectively.

For travellers seeking an Adriatic island experience on the quieter side, other options are available.

Brac Island, the largest of the central Dalmatian islands, boasts several stunning beaches, including Lovrečina Bay and Zlatni Rat, while from Hvar, ferries are available to the nearby Pakleni Islands, which offer secluded beaches and coves.

Split's Days of Diocletian commemorate the city's Roman heritage (photo courtesy of Tourist Board of Split)

When to go

With its Mediterranean climate and geography, it should come as no surprise that summer is the peak travel season for Split (and much of Croatia). For travellers that want to avoid the crowds, however, the weather remains warm well into September and October, allowing visitors to still enjoy the beach.

November to March is Split’s shoulder season and while the Adriatic Sea may be too cold for swimming, both the crowds and hotel rates can plunge as low as the water temperature, making it a great time to visit.

How to get there

Split can be accessed from Canada several ways.

Air Canada and Lufthansa offer flights from Toronto and Vancouver respectively, both stopping in Munich where flights to Split Airport are available from Lufthansa, Eurowings and Croatia Airlines.

The nearby island of Hvar

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