By all accounts, Split constitutes one of the most dynamic and important cultural centers in Croatia. Known not just for its vestiges of ancient Roman influence, this is a city rich in contemporary life and style, with various festivals and major performances taking place almost monthly. You can (and probably should) anticipate a healthy influx of tourists year-round, especially during the summer months; what else would you expect from the largest coastal Dalmatian city in Croatia and the gateway to the South Dalmatian Islands? Nevertheless locals here tend to be at least a little more open to foreigners than in the more southerly Dubrovnik, so keep your chin up. That said, here are a few things to know when taking in the sights and sounds of Split.
Without question, the two most significant cultural centers in the city are Diocletian’s Palace and, in stark temporal juxtaposition, the Riva Waterfront. The former, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, gives evidence to Split’s ancient Roman legacy together with its Cathedral of St. Domnius and, just to the northeast of the city, the ruins of Salona. You can also experience the history of the region inside the impressive Archaeological Museum, which houses relics dating back to the Hellenistic Age. The Riva, on the other hand, is a testament to the city’s modern appeal: a waterfront walkway used for everything from sipping weekday lattes to hosting major live music performances during summer weekends. Modern design can also be observed architecturally in Split’s University Library building, as well as in the multi-purposed Poljud Stadium which houses everything from soccer matches to weekend raves.
If it’s a festival you’re after, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better Croatian city suited to your preferences. For those with a fondness for the arts, Split has a long line of celebrated composers, authors and actors to its credit; a lineage which takes center stage during July’s Split Summer Festival. And don’t worry, partiers, we’ve got you covered there too. From Carnival celebrations in February and September’s nationally-renowned Film Festival to a summertime filled with Days of Diocletian (August) and the Discotheque Riva (also in August, and touted as the biggest open-air discotheque in the world), there’s plenty of pulse and activity here for you to experience no matter when you visit. Now all you’ve got to do is, you know, visit.