Getting away and discovering a new country has to be one of my favourite things to do. This year my boyfriend and I headed to Split in Croatia. It’s a city on the coast, based around a port and the old town with stunning beaches and friendly people. Following on from my Postcards from Split, I thought I’d put together a Croatian travel diary.
We booked through Expedia, flew Easy Jet and Stayed in Apartments Cordis, which were a forty minute walk from the old town, nestled by some of the best beaches. The apartment was incredible! Our room was stunning, the bed was comfortable, there was plenty of storage and we had an incredible shower. Outside of the room was a gorgeous lounge area and downstairs we had a pool. I couldn’t recommend this apartment enough. Our host, Sandra was lovely, she was a fountain of knowledge about Split and she was always on hand whenever we needed anything, to the extent that we got coffee and homemade cake by the pool! Apartments Cordis are by far the best place I have stayed anywhere!
Day 1 – The Arrival – We arrived bleary eyed at 10am, with no sleep. Once we had checked in we headed down to the beach to grab a bite to eat and a drink. We then did a supermarket shop and headed back for a nap, which turned into a full on 12 hour sleep!
Day 2 – Old Town Split – We woke up feeling refreshed and decided to walk along the beaches into the old town. After getting a little lost and taking a big detour we managed to find Diocletian’s Palace. We stopped for a drink along the harbour outside the palace before heading in. The basement was lined with cute little stalls selling local handmade gifts, so we had a browse. We then headed out to the square and started exploring. We visited the cathedral, The Crypt, a mini Museum and then the dreaded bell tower. I made it half way up before giving in a retuning to a safe height. I’m gutted I didn’t make it all the way to the top as the views were spectacular!
We found a nice cafe for lunch, I had a delicious seafood risotto, which turned out to be one of many on the trip! We then wandered around the old town, stopping in a chocolate shop before heading to the statue of Nin. After posing for pictures and touching his toe for good look, we stumbled across a live action Roman museum where we dressed as gladiators and did a spot of archery. Sandra had told us about a park where you had panoramic views of the city, so foolishly we decided to treck up to the top. I’ve never been so sweaty or exhausted before but the views were beyond spectacular! On the way down we stopped and had snacks and a Bellini overlooking the sea.
Day 3 – Hvar – We took a local ferry out to the infamous island of Hvar, as recommended by my Grandad. Hvar is one of the better known Islands on the Adriatic, it’s a favourite of many celebrities and tourists looking for a little bit of luxury. The Island itself was stunning!
We discovered the only Gluten Free shop on the trip, so I stocked up on some bread for sandwiches. Before going on a little wander and decided on an amazing spot for lunch. We shared a seafood platter and it was divine! You could tell it was all fresh and it was cooked to perfection. It’s one of my favourite meals of the trip.
Then we took a hike up to the Spanish Fortress nestled up on the hillside. It was yet another sweaty walk with some incredible views over the coastline. After stopping for a much needed drink, we wandered down, back to the harbour and along the coastline in search of a beach. The annoying thing about Hvar is that many of the beaches are owned by expensive beach clubs or you need to rent a sunbed! Eventually we found a nice spot on the rocks and chilled out soaking up the sun and scenery. We headed for the obligatory cocktail whist watching the sunset. The ferry ride back was horrendous though, I encountered sea sickness for the first time! I was so pleased to get back to dry land!
Day 4 – Pool and Beach – After a chaotic couple of days we decided to chill out and hit the pool in our apartment. The weather wasn’t the best in the morning, but when you’re in a swimming pool you don’t mind some light rain! Sandra who runs our apartment even nipped down with coffee and cake, whilst her dad cut us fresh pomegranates from the tree in the garden. It was the perfect relaxing morning. We decided to head to the beach for food in the afternoon and a little chill out session. Lunch was incredible, a Dalmatian platter is a must when you’re in Split! It was a gorgeous afternoon and the weather brightened up which was a plus.
Day 5 – Klis Fortress – High up in the hills lies a small village called Klis, which is where a lot of Game of Thrones was filmed. We took a local bus up to the village before we hiked up to the fortress. I’ve never walked up so many hills in my life before! The fortress was incredible and the views were insane, you could see over Split, out to the coast and the greenery was lovely. We had a quick look in the museum and learnt about the importance of the fortress before going to explore it.
On the way back down we popped into the Game of Thrones Exhibit which showed us the fortress in the context of the show. It was part of Daenerys Palace and formed the major part of the scene where she came under attack from the villagers. After our adventure we headed back to the apartment before going out to Dalmatino for dinner. It was incredible, we had yet another Dalmatian platter and I had the most delicious Risotto, whilst Hamish opted for a mixed grill. All of which came to £25 in english money… insane right?!
Day 6 – Sea Kayaking & Diocletians Palace Basement – Begining with an early start, we headed into the Old Town to catch a bus to Marjam in order to begin our Kyacking Adventure. We booked the Blue Horizon Ciovo Expedition from Croactiv Holidays. It was a whole day trip out to explore a stunning island. Dressed in a pair of shorts and a long sleeve running top I boarded my Kyack and headed out to to the open sea. Our guide Maria was incredible, she was a pro at kayaking and had a wealth of knowledge about the local area. I’m not going to lie, I struggled a lot throughout the whole trip but it was an amazing adventure that I would definitely recommend. The scariest part was being overtaken by some idiots on yachts in the middle of the ocean! But the rest was lovely. We took a couple of breaks. One on a secluded cove, where Hamish went for a swim and the second on a gorgeous beach in Ciovo, where I had lunch and took a paddle. Hamish went out snorkelling and looking at fish for a while too. I intended to but the mask freaked me out too much, not to mention the fish the surrounded my feet! Overall this was amazing. I really wish we had more time to spend up in Marjam Park, as it was breathtaking. On the way home we stopped in the old town and went back to the palace to explore the basement. It was stunning and unspoilt down there, we recognised a lot of it from GOT too. After that we wandered around the old town and headed back to the apartment to freshen up for dinner.
Day 7 – Beach day – On our last day we decided to have a full on day of relaxation. It was definitely needed after the active day before! The morning was spent by the pool and the afternoon on the beach. We sipped cocktails (Jonny Sours are the BOMB!), sunbathed and I went for a swim in the sea. (Which is a major achievement for me as I’m scared of things that live in the sea.)
After a wonderful day, we went out for dinner, taking a walk along the beaches for the last time. We went to Konobo Nevera which was an incredible restaurant. It was one of my favourites. I opted for the local dish of Cuttlefish Risotto to start and a steak garpaccio for main, whilst Hamish chose Steak Garpaccio to start Pasticada with Tuna for his main. The food was exquisite! If you’re ever in Split, I would highly recommend it here!
Day 8 – Home – Another pretty early start for us. We packed the last of our things and said our goodbyes. Sandra was kind enough to give us some local lavender and a bottle of wine as a departing gift. I was surprised and really happy as we had really enjoyed our time at the Apartments Cordis. As we headed to the airport the rain got worse, as did our travel experience on the way home. It was a bittersweet ending as we touched down at Stanstead. I was happy to be home but gutted that we had to leave such an amazing country.
If you’re looking for a holiday next year I would highly recommend Split. It has everything you could ask for, at a ridiculously low price. I’d definitely head back there in a heartbeat.