I absolutely love Croatia for so many reasons – the beautiful beaches, great nightlife, affordable accommodation, friendly people, the list goes on. Last summer me and my friend Ellie spent 4 days staying in Split while on a mini travelling holiday around Europe. We chose Split because it’s right in the middle of everything with all the transport links you could need on your doorstep.
Explore the town centre
Split has a lively, modern town centre amongst well-kept ruins, where there’s always something going on. It attracts a wide range of visitors from travellers to couples to families. Ellie and I chose Split to base ourselves for our trip because it’s incredibly affordable, great for young people and within really easy reach of all the main attractions thanks to the ferries, buses and trains.
There’s plenty of restaurants, cafes, cocktail bars, even juice bars and popcorn stands along the main strip, and if you venture further into the stone-walled alley ways, you’ll find lots of little shops and the main square where there is often a performance or band playing. It’s a really lovely place to wander through with an ice cream (or freshly popped popcorn) in the evenings.
Day trip to Brač Island
Croatia has loads of little islands scattered along its Dalmatian Coast, and one of the largest and most beautiful is Brač Island. Ellie and I took the 50 minute ferry from Split to Supetar (33 kuna each way, approximately £3.50) and then a taxi from the port to the famous horseshoe-shaped beach, Zlatni Rat.
Meaning ‘golden cape’, Zlatni Rat beach was voted one of the best beaches in the world by the Telegraph last year – and I can see why. It’s a haven of totally natural beauty and although it does get busy, there’s plenty of space for everyone stretching 3,600 miles. Its grey-white peddles and rocks mean the water is crystal clear and ideal for snorkelling.
I’d recommend getting up early to secure a good spot and make the most of the beach before it gets too crowded. We spent the whole morning lazing around, soaking up the sunshine and taking in the magnificent scenery between snorkelling in the sea.
Lunch at Mali Raj restaurant
For lunch, our taxi driver told us we had to go to Mali Raj, so we booked a table as soon as we arrived in Bol (the quaint little town home to Zlatni Rat). Just steps away from the beach, this really pretty restaurant is surrounded by flowers and trees, and has a wonderfully calm and cosy atmosphere. There are some very affordable dishes on the menu too, including the shrimp risotto we both had.
This restaurant is very popular, especially being so close to the beach, so try to book in advance. As well as the yummy food and peaceful setting, the service was brilliant and overall I’d highly recommend this restaurant – I imagine it’s even prettier in the evenings too.
Visit Krka National Park
Croatia is home to several stunning National Parks including the picture-postcard Krka waterfalls. In Split town centre there’s plenty of tour operators going to Krka, all offering varying prices, so it’s worth looking around for the best deal. Being so remote, you really need to go with a tour operator so the bus takes you directly into the park with no hassle, even if you do have to pay a little more.
The park is quite a distance away from Split but the bus journey is enjoyable thanks to the amazing views, you also pass a famous castle where Game of Thrones was filmed! Student tickets are available so remember to bring your student ID if you have one.
When you arrive, you have to follow a winding one-way wooden footpath over shallow waters to reach the waterfalls. This walk is about 45 minutes but a brilliant way to see the park and you’ll come across spectacular sights like this…
Unfortunately when you reach the waterfalls, it’s jam-packed with tourists and hard to find somewhere to pitch up close enough to watch your stuff while taking a tip in the water – every rock or mud island was already taken. This is not a beach, it’s more of a pond (there were even swans swimming next to us!) Despite this, I still believe Krka is a must-visit purely to experience its incredible natural beauty.
Got a question about my trip? Please leave a comment or send me a message. For more information about the best things to do in Croatia, take a look at my post on Hvar Island.