Exploring the Best of Central Dalmatia.
Just last weekend we had an article on Central Dalmatia published by Postmedia, owners of the Vancouver Sun and about 16 other major Canadian newspapers. The article covers our favorite spots in our favorite region of Croatia (for those not familiar with our blog, we lived in Split for all of 2017 and part of 2018).
We were pretty limited on what we could cover in a newspaper article so I thought I would add some additional resources here for anyone interested in visiting Central Dalmatia. It is a spectacular area with more highlights than any other region in Croatia.
These 7 Places top my list of “the best of Central Dalmatia”
The largest city in Central Dalmatia and the jumping off point to all of the islands, it has a lot of points of interest (it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and makes for an excellent base in the region. Split is famous for Diocletian’s Palace, which was built by Roman Emperor Diocletian in the 3th Century AD. The palace is a walled city accessed through four huge gates. Within the walls you’ll find churches, palaces and squares. The main square is the Peristyle which features an arcaded courtyard and looks out over St. Domnius Cathedral and its bell tower. Split also has the “Riva”, the promenade along the harbor, and Marjan Hill, a large park with great views over the city.
The city has many bays and beaches, the most famous being Bačvice beach. But the best and most family friendly beach is Bene beach at the tip of Marjan Park.
For those looking to hike, Mosor Mountain has many trails, the most challenging being to the peaks of Veli Kabal and Vickov Stup. Lesser known, Kozjak Mountain is less challenging and easier to access with the same incredible views over Split.
For lots more on Split: Guide to Split Croatia (with Day Trips)
Views from Marjan Hill
Views of the Old Town and the Bell tower of St. Domnius Cathedral
One of many beaches in Marjan Park
Split has some great hikes. Mosor Mountain (above) is a favorite among hikers.
Less known but as spectacular, Kozjak mountain (above) stretches from the airport (near Trogir) up to Klis fortress
Where to Stay: Heritage Hotel Antique Split is a luxury option, well situated in the old town. Hostel Flamingo is recommended for those on a budget. But the best option for those looking to spend more than a few days in Split is Airbnb – there are many apartment options in Split. Expect to pay in the $40/night range off season and about $120/night June to August.
Restaurants: Bokeria Kitchen & Wine Bar for a fine dining experience. Villa Spiza has excellent, good value cuisine.
Additional information on places of interest near Split:
Trogir is a UNESCO town 45 minutes up the coast from Split. First settled by the Greeks, then conquered by the Romans, most of its highlights today date from Venetian rule (13th to 15th centuries). It is a small town with a huge concentration of attractions for a place of its size. See the St. Lawrence Cathedral and climb the bell tower. Trogir can be seen as a daytrip from Split but it’s worth more than that. Stay a night and walk down the small alleys in the evening – more than any other place in Croatia you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back to Venetian times.
More on Trogir here: A Day Trip to Trogir, Croatia
Views of Trogir from the Fortress of Kamerlengo
Views of the Trogir’s Riva
Where to Stay: The Bifora Heritage Hotel is located in a convenient location across from the old town and close to beaches.
The town of Omiš is unknown to most visitors. 30 minutes down the coast from Split you’ll see it – a small town situated at the meeting point of the Cetina River and the sea. Omiš is dwarfed by huge cliffs and a canyon leading upriver to the mountains of the interior. It’s a very dramatic setting.
The town is known as the Adventure Capital of Croatia. You can do ziplining (you’ll find Croatia’s longest ziplines in Omiš), canyoning, climbing, white water rafting and hiking. Right above town, looking straight down is the Starigrad Fortress. It’s a 45 minute hike and is worth it for the incredible views. A 2nd fortress, the Mirabella Fortress, is in town and is also worth exploring. Omiš has a pretty main square, some Roman ruins, and one of the nicest beaches in Croatia.
If you have a car, drive up the canyon to the Mila Gojsalić statue. It’s a 10 minute drive from Omiš. It will give you a taste of the dramatic interior that lies behind the coastal mountain range.
More on Omiš: A Visit to Omiš, Croatia’s Adventure Capital
Great views from the Fortica, which overlooks Omiš and the Cetina River
Views of the Cetina River and the mountains of the interior
Views of Omis from the Mila Gojsalić statue
Where to Stay: Hotel Plaza is situated next to the beach and steps from the main square.
Additional information on places of interest very near Omiš:
Home to the most spectacular geography in Croatia. It is a small town known mostly for its beaches (among the best in Croatia) and for its location at the foot of Mt. Biokovo, Croatia’s 2nd highest mountain. Makarska is all about nature: lying on the beach, enjoying the scenery, and hiking and biking along the trails around town. Recommended is a drive up Mt. Biokovo – it’s a Nature Park with a 23 kilometer road that takes you past incredible viewpoints, educational trails, and historical attractions. The road ends at Sv. Jure peak. At 1792 m it is the highest peak accessible by road in Croatia.
More on Makarska: Why you HAVE to Visit Makarska
Beach in Makarska
Views on Makarska and Mt. Biokovo
Views from Vosac peak, Mt. Biokovo
Where to Stay: Hotel Park Makarska. A Large modern hotel by the beach with excellent facilities.
5. Hvar Town (Island of Hvar)
Croatia’s party town. Celebrities like Tom Cruise, Beyonce, Jay-Z and Eva Longoria come here. But you’ll mostly see young wannabe celebrities getting drunk and making fools of themselves. That’s what Hvar is know for. But the reality is that Hvar town is gorgeous. It had a pretty harbor, the largest square in Dalmatia, and some Venetian-era churches. There’s a fortress overlooking the town and harbor. Even if just coming for a daytrip you should make it a point to visit Hvar.
More on Hvar: A Daytrip to Hvar
Views of Hvar from the fortress above the town
Bougainvillea on Hvar
Where to Stay: You can’t beat the location of the Riva Hvar Yacht Harbour Hotel for a taste of Hvar.
6. Bol (Island of Brač)
Brač is a beautiful island with a couple of nature spots that have made it famous. Both are near the small and charming town of Bol. The first is Zlatni Rat beach, the most famous beach in Croatia. The beach is an almost-triangular spit of smooth white pebbles that extend out into the sea, the water on either side crystal clear. It’s a beautiful beach. The second natural attraction is Vidova Gora, the highest peak (780 m) in the Adriatic Islands. You can hike up in 2 hours and enjoy perfect views looking straight down at Zlatni Rat.
Bol’s pretty harbor
Smooth pebbles on Zlatni Rat – Croatia’s most famous beach
Zlatni Rat beach seen from Vidova Gora, the highest peak in the Adriatic Islands
Where to Stay: The Bluesun Hotel Elaphusa is a beautiful resort between Bol and Zlatni Rat.
7. Vis Town (Island of Vis)
If you ask a Croatian which is their favorite island many will say Vis. Compared to both Hvar and Brač, Vis is very laid back. Vis town is pretty and extends along a shoreline protected by large hills. You’ll find little bays with beautiful beaches. Pine trees provide shade. If you’re looking for a relaxing Croatian island then this is the best destination on this list.
Lounging around in Vis
Views of Vis
This is our 3rd article published by Postmedia newspapers. If you’re curious, here are the other two:
Have you been to Central Dalmatia? Do you have a favorite spot?
PS. Looking to book flights, hotels, tours, or rent a car? Have a look at our Travel Resources page.