Split, Croatia: Destination #8
Home of Diocletian’s Palace, Spilt is one of Croatia’s most famous destinations.
Located along the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea less than 30 minutes from Trogir, Split is the largest city in the region of Dalmatia and the second largest city in Croatia (behind #1 Zagreb).
After getting settled in our adorable Airbnb (more details later!), Jeff and I headed for a stroll within the old city walls.
Diocletian’s Palace is so sprawling that it encompasses about half of the old town of Split.
Fun fact: 3,000 people still live in the interior of Diocletian’s Palace today!
We entered via the West Gate (Iron gate) and headed straight to the underground cellars of Diocletian’s Palace.
- The North Gate (Golden Gate)
- The East Gate (Silver Gate)
- The South Gate (Bronze Gate)
- The West Gate (Iron Gate)
After his retirement on May 1, 305AD, Diocletian intended for this Palace to be his retirement residence where he lived forever and ever, happily ever after.
Unfortunately for him, he only lived in his Palace for a few years before his death in 311AD at 66 years old.
Heading underneath Diocletian’s Palace, we toured the cellars made famous by Daenerys and her dragons.
We practically had the whole underground level to ourselves! There was a private 3- person Game of Thrones tour going on and we could hear the tour guide’s descriptions echoing through the stone wall hallways, so I feel like we got a free showcase of where GOT scenes took place. So cool!
After our self tour, we explored the underground souvenir markets then ended up at Konoba Pjaca restaurant near the Iron Gate for dinner.
Jeff ordered a black squid risotto which turned his mouth black! (We were too busy laughing so we forgot to take a picture 😂)
This is the point in our trip that our google searches include “how much cheese is 1 person allowed to bring back to the USA?” 🤣
The next day, we ventured back to Diocletian’s Palace for more exploring, focusing on the historic center, Diocletian’s mausoleum (now the Cathedral of Saint Domnius) and the Temple of Jupiter (now the baptistery).
In 1979, the historic core of Split was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
The above and below images shows a view of the Peristyle, a rectangular open court intended to become the heart of the palace.
This exact spot is where the most powerful Roman citizens gathered— It was pretty incredible to stand where Emporers have stood.
The Palace was also decorated with numerous 3500+ year old granite sphinxes, gifted from Egyptian Kings.
Directly adjacent to the Peristyle is the Cathedral of St. Domnius which is considered one of the oldest cathedrals in the world (formerly the mausoleum of Diocletian).
Short story of Diocletian: He was not a good guy and played a role in the persecution of many Christians.
Saint Domnius was martyred with 7 other Christians by Emporer Diocletian. Upon Diocletian’s death, Saint Domnius became the city’s patron saint and the Cathedral of Saint Domnius was built in the mausoleum of Diocletian himself, the emporer that martyred him.
Christians arrived to Split during the middle ages and converted the mausoleum into a place of worship and removed all pagan images.
They also removed the sarcophagus of Diocletian and threw his remains into the sea.
It is estimated Diocletian is responsible for the death of over 150,000 Christians during the 3rd century.
To this day, the remains of several martyrs have been placed within the alter, while Diocletian got booted from his own burial grounds. Interestingly, this is a rare example of a sarcophagus being used as an altar.
Inside the St. Domnius Cathedral is an incredible sight to take in.
After our tour of Saint Domnius Cathedral and the crypts we headed towards the baptistery of St. John the Baptist (former Temple of Jupiter).
We tossed a few coins for good luck into the fountain and took in the sights of this beautiful roof that was created between 295 and 305 AD during the construction of the Palace.
We made a quick detour to the market outside the East Gate (Silver Gate) before heading to lunch on the Riva.
On the way to the Riva, we started to hear amazing singing… then stumbled across THIS GROUP! (check out the video! 🎶)
This moment is one of my favorite travel moments from our time in Split—- just walking along, soaking in the scenery and stumbling across THIS SOUND! 🎼
For lunch, we ended up at Storija restaurant on the Riva. The bread included balsamic vinegar and olive oils and an assortment of salts that were an incredible combo!
It started to rain after lunch, so we (I) headed back to our place for a nap 💤
Jeff meanwhile ran up Marjan Hill in the rain (yes, he’s a little crazy) for some great views of Split, even with dark clouds in the background.
For dinner we were our own chefs and stayed inside and made our own pesto pasta in the small kitchenette of the Airbnb.
The Airbnb has everything— a small kitchen, comfy bed, old town views, helpful host and great location near the old town and Marjan Hill. Highly recommend this Airbnb in Split!
Link to Amfora Luxury Studio:
The final morning in Split was a Sunday and we woke up to SINGING outside— both birds and humans! What a way to wake up and start your day with the bedroom windows open (after a night of listening to the rain!)
Check out this 30 second video! 🎶 It was the cherry on top to our stay in Split.
3 days in beautiful Split, Croatia was definitely not enough.
It would be easy to spend 5-7 days here alone. We will be back to Split! 🇭🇷
Next Stop –> Destination #9 Mostar, Bosnia 🇧🇦