Cruise guide to Split, Croatia

Croatia’s coastal city of Split is a popular Mediterranean cruise destination filled with narrow winding city streets that exude a rustic charm. Despite being the largest city on the Dalmatian Coast, the main sites here can all be seen within a day or two. The city is rich in Roman history and is known for its picturesque waterfront, lined by palm trees and cafes that look out over the pristine blue Adriatic Sea. Whether your cruise itinerary starts or ends, or simply stops over here, Split is a great destination to explore at a leisurely pace, as part of your cruise holiday.

Facts about Split

Split is the second-largest city in all of Croatia, though it feels quite compact once you’re within the Palace walls. The city got its name during the middle ages, for the abundant yellow-tipped Spiny Broom shrubs that grow here. Split was home to Roman rulers from as far back as 244 AD, and is even home to one of the world’s oldest cathedrals. Within the city centre you may find three Egyptian Sphinxes, which appear to be completely unaltered since they were brought into the city by Diocletian. Sigmund Freud vacationed here and even wrote about it in his book The Interpretation of Dreams.

Cruise departures from Split

There are a wide variety of cruises which take in the port of Split, ranging from 7 to 12 nights in length. Some of the major operators navigating through here during Europe’s cruise season include Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises. The two main departure points are from Barcelona and Rome, and include round-trip, as well as one-way cruises that take you past some of Europe’s best sea-side destinations. Cruise dates to Split in 2020 start from early May and run through until late October. Overall, there are ample options that are available and include Split as part of their cruise.

Things to see and do in Split

There’s plenty to see and do in Croatia’s Mediterranean flower to keep you busy, as you enjoy your cruise holiday. We’ve included some of our favourite places below.

Diocletian’s Palace

Diocletian’s Palace is the highlight of Split and perhaps one of the most significant buildings in all of Croatia. Taking up almost half of Split’s old town, the 4th-century palace is often mistaken for a fortress due to its size and architecture. The imposing former Roman residence was built from high-quality white local limestone and marble and features 16 towers. Inside, half of the UNESCO World Heritage Site was used as a residence by Roman emperor Diocletian and the other half for military garrison. As you walk around inside, you will notice two Egyptian sphinxes. Over 3,500 years old, the ancient artefacts remain largely untouched. One can be found on the Peristyle and the other in front of Jupiter’s Temple. The only other surviving sphinx is located in Split’s city museum. Within the palace grounds, you can also visit the Cathedral of Saint Domnius, the oldest Cathedral in the world.

Jupiter’s Temple

Roman Ruler, Diocletian has three temples built within his palace walls, though only one remains today. The temple was built during the ruler’s later years, during which it is well known that he went mad. Thus, it is unknown whether he saw himself as Jupiter reincarnated or simply as his son, though the temple is dedicated to the God nevertheless. Just before the entrance, an ancient Egyptian sphinx that dates back to 1500 BC can be found; one of three that of the original twelve that were brought to Split. Jupiter’s Temple was constructed from 295 to 305 AD and inside you may still find its original barrel-vaulted ceiling and decorative frieze. During the 6th century, the temple was turned into a baptistery and thus the statue of Jupiter was removed. In its place today, you will see a statue of St. John the Baptist. Overall, Jupiter’s Temple is a must-see attraction for history buffs visiting Split as part of a cruise.

Riva Promenade

Meeting for coffee is a favourite pastime in Split and Riva Promenade is the perfect place to do just that. One of the most popular places to take a leisurely stroll, the promenade is lined with restaurants and cafes, palm trees and park benches, as well as shops and vendors. Referred to locally as the living room of the city, the Riva Promenade pedestrian zone looks out over the Adriatic Sea. If you’re not quite after any refreshments then you can simply stroll toward the ACI Marine, where you can see some beautiful sailboats. Riva Promenade is a younger part of the city of Split, as it was constructed some time during the 19th century when the ocean receded and this part of the city was no longer under water.

Marjan Park

Sometimes, all you want to do is walk when you disembark from your cruise ship and Marjan Park is perfect for doing just that. Situated on Split’s western peninsula, the park boasts an abundance of walking trails and is a popular exercise spot among locals who enjoy jogging and cycling. Within the park grounds there is a large botanical garden, zoo and St Jere’s Church, which dates back to 1500 AD. In Marjan Park, there are two beaches you can choose from. Firstly, the no-frills idyllic Kasjuni beach is pet- and nude-friendly, and gives a sense of isolation while you’re just a stone’s throw away from the city. If you’re after a more convention beach though, then Bene Beach fits the bill. It includes ample facility, a beach bar as well as recreational areas for sport. While you’re here, we recommend that you climb to the peak of Marjan Hill, from which you can enjoy expansive views over Split and the Adriatic.

Explore Split’s old town

Surrounding Diocletian’s Palace is the old town of Split. From the central city square to its many narrow streets and cobblestoned lanes, Split is a great charming city to explore when your cruise ship makes port. In the heart of the city, you will find a myriad of cafes spilling out onto the street, contrasting architectural styles where old meets new. As you’re exploring the old town, you will come across a number of crafts and souvenir shops, Clock Tower and City Hall, the medieval fishing village of Veli Varos, and museums, including the City Museum of Split, Archaeological Museum and the Ethnographic Museum. You can spend a few hours exploring Old Town before moving onto the other attractions we mentioned above, making Split a great pit stop destination during your Mediterranean cruise.

Author: Sophie Anderson

Post Date: 24th December 2019

Categories: Ports

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