Two months in Split, Croatia

Two months in Split, Croatia

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This is my final week in Croatia. Where have the past 2.5 months gone?! Today I wanted to share some of the highlights from my trip, and also tell you about how damn cheap this place is!

Sights
Diocletian’s Palace
This palace was built for the emperor Diocletian in 305AD and is what largely makes up the Old Town today. In my opinion, walking around outside is enough. Don’t bother paying to go into the underground part. 

palace

Beaches
The most popular beach is Bavcice but, unless you want to be surrounded by pasty English people, I’d skip it.

Split6

Bavcice on a rare, quiet day.

Further along, walking east (away from the main part of town), there are a couple of better, less crowded beaches.

Split4

My favourite beach iss the first one west of the old town, Kastelet. It was always quiet here.

Perfect for taking selfies!

Perfect for taking selfies!

Marjan Hill
I can thank this hill for getting me back into cardio.

hill view

I never got sick of the view from the top.

hike with em

Every time I went up there, I felt very happy and at peace. 

split13

Hvar Island
Although it was an absolute mission to get here in the off-season, it was worth it. The island can easily be seen in a day and, although many businesses were closed, I can imagine that it was much more enjoyable to visit in the off-season.

Hvar16

I had the main beach to myself for the better part of three hours, which I can guarantee I would not have had during peak season.

Hvr2

My more in-depth write-up of Hvar is here

Brac Island
This island was much easier to get to. I preferred the beach here, at Bol (which is apparently super famous, but we had no idea when we went), than on Hvar.

brac

brac3

I would have actually preferred to spend more time on Brac Island than Hvar.

brac2

Food
I did not expect to enjoy the food in Split as much as I did, considering I was coming from Italy (AKA the land of amazing food).

The difference between Italy and Croatia is that I can eat the foods here and not feel sick. Eating pasta and ice cream every day did not agree with my stomach, but I did it anyway. Meat, potatoes and pancakes, on the other hand, sit very well with me! And I’ve even be able to lose a few kilos while eating out regularly here.

Although the Riva is pretty, avoid eating at any of the restaurants along the water; stick to drinks instead. I’ve eaten at a lot of restaurants here, but I’ve narrowed it down to my favourites.

Buffet Fife
This is my favourite restaurant in Split. The portions are huge and it is so cheap!

fife

Sadly, they have been closed for the past month or so, so I didn’t get to have one final visit.

fife4

Konoba Hvaranin
This place was literally 30 seconds from my front door, and I somehow only managed to discover it last week. The goulash was so good I had to go back. I can’t decide whether this gnocchi beats Fife’s!

goulash

Zinfandel
This place had a really cool vibe, and there was usually live music.

zins

They serve plenty of Croatian food and wine, and it was the closest thing I could get to a trendy London restaurant outside of London.

My favourite Croatian dish: pasticada!

My favourite Croatian dish: pasticada!

My favourite thing was the shared tier plates: rabbit pasta, salad and lots of meat and cheese!

zin tier

Corto Maltese Freestyle
This place was also super close to my flat, so I went here a few times.

steak polenta

It was traditional Croatian food and, again, very cheap.

polenta

Marcvs Marvlvs Spalatensis
I couldn’t not mention my favourite bar. This place is set up like a library, with books (mostly Croatian, but some English) lining the walls. You even get your bill inside a book! The owner is super cool and very generous with his wine pourings, and it’s one of the only places you can work with a laptop without getting glared at.

library bar

To Je To
This was an expat-friendly bar that is famous for its karaoke on Friday nights. I had some good times in this place – it would be hard not to when you can order a small bottle of wine for €2!

Best bakery
There are bakeries on every corner in Split, but the absolute best is the Bobis in Narodni trg (the People’s Square). Trust me, I tried them all.

You can also get coffee with cream almost everywhere, which is an absolute must.

The thing to do here is bring your own pastry into a cafe, as they don’t serve breakfast. A coffee with cream is an absolute must.

croissants

Hot chocolates
I had been reading about Croatian hot chocolates for some time but didn’t order one until a couple of weeks ago. My friend and I sat down for a drink on the Riva, and were fascinated by the table next to us who were basically eating their hot chocolates. Despite complaining about how much my stomach hurt only seconds earlier, I had to order one – and then go back the next day and try the dark chocolate version too. Best hot chocolate I’ve ever had!

hot choc

This place doesn’t have a website, but you can find them almost everywhere.

hot choc2

Pancakes & Creperie Stari Plac
This place doesn’t look like anything special from the outside, and it seems to be a local hangout spot for teenagers, but it’s gooooood. I mean, can you really screw up pancakes?

palacinke

They have 50-something options on the menu, so I could have gone every single day, really.

palancinke2

There is gelato everywhere, but it’s much of a muchness, really.

gelato cone

Nothing compares to Italy, even if they do top theirs with chocolate here!

em gelato

Gym
I trained at Marjan Fitness, which was awesome. Everyone was super friendly and it had all the equipment that I needed. I can highly recommend it for anyone staying in Split!

I also did dance classes at Centar Plesa, which was directly underneath my gym. I danced three to four nights a week for a crazy low price. What I paid in one month wouldn’t even get me two dance classes in London.

General atmosphere
Split is like a ghost town in the off-season. From May to August, it is a huge tourist destination, but for the rest of the year it’s pretty quiet. A lot of bars, restaurants and hotels close down, the ferries to neighbouring islands drop from four or five times a day to just one, and all the hotties seem to go back into hibernation.

Split3

The first question locals typically asked me why was I was travelling during the off-season. Aside from Schengen reasons, I needed some peace and quiet to get some work done, and also to relax after three months of hectic travelling. I did not care about missing all the pub crawls and party boats but, if that’s what you’re after, don’t come during this time of year.

Split

The locals also bitched about how cold it was, but they have no idea! I realise now this is what I must have sounded like in Perth. Last week, I was still walking around in a t-shirt while the locals were wrapped up in big coats and scarves. Hey, I’m hot-blooded, okay! Yesterday it was 16 Celcius (55F) during the day and it only dropped to 13 overnight.

sunset

Cost of living for two months
Split is, by far, the cheapest place I’ve stayed so far. I “relaxed” with my spending a little more here (in terms of eating out and buying clothes, etc) and I still spent less here than anywhere else. This is my entire expenditure from October 1 to November 30.

Split

Accommodation

€1037 ($1123)

Groceries

€444 ($483)

Dining out

€504 ($548)

Public transport

€22 ($24)

Dance classes

€39 ($42)

Gym membership

€50 ($54)

Clothing

€309 ($336)

Phone bill

€19 ($21)

Plane ticket from Split to London

€115 ($125)

Miscellaneous

€90 ($98)

TOTAL

€2629 ($2854)

Notes:

  • My apartment was in the heart of the Old Town, and the city itself is super small anyway, so I didn’t have to worry about public transport. The only “public transport” I took was my two ferry trips.
  • Groceries here are stupidly cheap. The fact that I only spent about €50 a week on groceries is mind-boggling, considering how much I eat. Mobile phone plans are also insanely cheap.
  • Apparently, I overpaid for my apartment. But it was a studio and I was very happy to have my own private space for about a third of the price for what I paid to rent a room in London!
  • Most of my miscellaneous expenditure was beauty-related things. I paid €20 for a haircut, €10 for a wax, and €35 for an hour-long message. It’s cheap to do girly things here!
  • I spent more money on clothes here than I have in any other city combined – mainly because I had no winter clothes and I needed to get a couple of new pairs of shoes. I should be set for a while now.
  • Obviously, I haven’t left Split yet, but I included the cost of my flight to show you how affordable it is to travel throughout Europe.

susnet2

If anyone is looking for a non-Schengen city to kill some time, I can highly recommend Split. I could easily return to this place every three months (but I’m 99 per cent sure I’m going to Morocco after Paris).

Have you ever been to Split?

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