Adriatic Sea hosts a number of dynamic port cities & beautiful seaside with long beach to enjoy the ripples of waves, 2 of which we have the opportunity to visit – Dubrovnik and Split. Although a 3-hour drive away, both cities are as different as day and night, with their individual unique charms worming their ways into your heart.
Our first pit stop at Split is to stroll along the outer perimeter of the Diocletian’s Palace, absorbing the feel of city. Small boats, medium-sized boats and equally huge tankers & cruise ships are all parked at the harbour.
One very unique architecture of Split is the Diocletian’s Palace (considered the fortress which also houses the army) which is so close to the seaside, allowing boats to come directly into the fortress in ancient times. A visit to the Diocletian’s Palace will probably take half a day, taking your own sweet time to explore every nook & corner. The Cathedral of St Domnius is undergoing restoration process, but stands tall in the palace.
Currently, the perimeter along the Southern Gate has been reclaimed & turned into cafes & restaurants, with stalls open for business selling all sorts of knick-knacks. A stroll along the stalls will definitely set you back coins in the purse! The locals have all sorts of cute stuff for you to bring home – lavender satchels, home-made lotion & soaps, olive oil (apparently highly recommended), cute music boxes, beautifully painted arts, anything under the sun that you can think of. Food is one main attraction on its own, especially seafood. Take any pick of the café or restaurant as everything taste good!
Weather is a little unpredictable, cloudy for a while, with the smiling sun quickly coming out, followed by short shower of rain, all within an afternoon stroll. Regardless, a short hike up via the staircases up Marjan Hill provides a view of the city & sea from a higher viewpoint. Lazy bums may just stop half-way, cooling down with a big gulp of the local beer, accompanied with a sweet-tasting strawberry which was in season.
Further down the coastline, Dubrovnik is the more famous city. Entirely walled, best is to walk along the perimeter and absorb the everyday life of the remaining city-dwellers. Most homes are turned into a business of sort – café, souvenir shop, restaurant. The distinct orangey red roof of the houses captures the essence of the city.
Take a sip of coffee or enjoy the cold ice-cream while enjoying the views of the sea. Let the sea breeze blows towards your face (better get it well-protected from the sun & breeze with sun-screen!). Inside the wall-city, taking a leisurely stroll and stopping by to enjoy the food is also great way to spend the day. There are interesting museums along the way.
The Croatian cellist Hauser has a few of his videos filmed at Dubrovnik, and the videos are beautifully shot. My favourite is Pirates of the Caribbean rendition, so apt to be performed at the seaside with cliffs & boats aplenty.
And of course the total craze over Game of Throne, many scenes are shot in Croatia. Ta-dah~ my loot to commemorate this. Croatia has aplenty to offer for the size of the country – beach, mountains, food, everything under the sun!