Nestled in southern Croatia along the striking Adriatic coast, Split had for many years been simply a hub for travelers embarking on a trip to the beautiful southern “Dalmatia Keys.” And while it’s true that islands like nearby Brac and Hvar afford plenty of scenic luxury, not to mention a wealth of exciting adventure opportunities for those in search of something more rewarding than just a nice tan, you needn’t depart from the mainland to find the call of the wild here. Take a minute or two to learn a little bit more about Split’s natural edge and you may just find yourself inclined to extend your stay in Dalmatia’s largest city.
Enjoy hiking? Without leaving the city limits you can tackle the unmistakable Marjan Hill, a favorite weekend pastime of the locals which affords great views of the surrounding city and coastline. Extend your search a bit wider and you start to encounter some of Croatia’s more esoteric major parks, including the incredible limestone mountains of Biokovo to the southeast and the waterfall strewn Krka National Park to the northwest. In fact, if the excitement of waterfalls is what you’re after, you can turn up the intensity with a visit to Velika Gubavica near Zadvarje. Just about everything from kayaking to canyoning to rock climbing is available in this river-carved gorge, making it hard to justify any series of days spent confined to Diocletian’s Palace (beautiful as it is).
If you’re still bent on taking off for the islands though, well… we really can’t blame you. Though there is some diving to be had in the Split Channel, just about all of the worthwhile underwater sights here (wrecks, walls and even a blue grotto) are located around Solta, Vis and Bisevo. Hvar and Brac, on top of being notable party destinations, are also great spots to rent a moped and do a little 2 wheel island exploration. There’s also some great rock climbing potential on Hvar that is just now beginning to be realized, with over 200 routes already established throughout the island. Throw in some great swimming and cliff jumping locales to top things off and you can see why these beautiful islands have become such an appealing adventure destination. And why Split should find its way right to the top of just about every Croatian adventurer’s itinerary.