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Strung out along the eastern side of the Adriatic Sea, just across the water from Italy and not far from the ancient powerhouse of Rome, the Split Riviera in Croatia’s south has a long and storied history. Split, the second largest city in Croatia and the largest in the region of Dalmatia, is a stimulating mix of traditional and modern, bathed in Mediterranean sunshine. Its strategic location has seen the city passed from empire to empire – founded by the Ancient Greeks, it has also been under the rule of the Roman Empire, the Republic of Venice, the French and the Austrians, and was part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia before it declared its independence in 1991. Verdant mountains provide a handsome backdrop and the area’s beautiful craggy coastline is dotted with beguiling islands.
The beating heart of the city of Split is Diocletian’s Palace (now doubly famous for its role in Game of Thrones). Built by the Roman Emperor Diocletian, it’s one of the best-preserved monuments of Roman architecture in the world and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979. Once a military fortress, imperial residence, and fortified town, the palace covers more than 7 acres, and Diocletian spared no expense on its construction, importing marble from Italy and Greece and columns and sphinxes from Egypt. Today, some 220 buildings within the palace boundaries are home to around 3,000 people, and shops, cafés, bars and restaurants sit in colonnaded splendor in its grand courtyards or are hidden away among its labyrinthine streets.
Salona, just outside of Split, offers further opportunities to wander through an ancient Roman city, albeit one that’s past its heyday. In its time the most influential Roman city of the region, it was mostly destroyed by invaders in the 6th and 7th centuries, and today only ruins remain. Nonetheless, this is one of the most archaeologically important sites in Croatia, with a 1st-century Roman aqueduct, remains of thermal baths, ruins of early Christian graveyards and basilicas and remnants of a huge amphitheater that could seat up to 20,000 people just some of the sights to see. A visit to the Archaeological Museum of Split will reveal many more artifacts uncovered in archaeological digs at Salona.
Once you’ve had your fill of cities old and new, this part of Croatia beckons you with its natural charms. Strung along two-thirds of the 45-mile Krka River, the Krka National Park is just an hour’s drive from Split and covers an area of around 50 square miles. The park’s star attractions are the many waterfalls it creates as it rushes through a karstic canyon 650 feet deep, and the best way of seeing the sights is by boat – there are plenty of tours to join. Boats stop off along the way so you can walk along wooden boardwalks spotting some of the more than 200 species of birds that live here and perhaps some of the 18 different species of bat. Other highlights include the island of Visovac – rising proudly above the startlingly blue water, this tiny rocky outcrop was settled by Franciscan monks in the 15th century, and their monastery (rebuilt in the 18th century) contains a number of well-preserved relics. Oh, and you can swim in the park’s lakes too, so take your bathing suit.
There’s more aquatic fun to be had in Brac, the largest of the islands off the coast in this part of Croatia. The island’s most popular beach is Zlatni Rat, at its western end. Stretching out into the Adriatic, the arrow-shaped spit of pebble beach is nicknamed the ‘Golden Horn’ and is a good choice for swimming, windsurfing and kite surfing, as well as a romantic spot to watch the sunset. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could seek out the former submarine pens that can be found in Kruscica and Smrka, to the south of Brac. Built by the Yugoslavian army during the Second World War, these cavernous stone tunnels now serve as swimming spots for the curious, and the best way to get to them is by boat.
Hvar, next door to Brac, boasts the title of sunniest spot in the country and is an upmarket destination popular with A-listers and the yachting set. Hvar Town, the island’s capital, has smart hotels, elegant restaurants, and a lively party scene. Explore further afield, though, and you’ll find a peaceful interior of picturesque hamlets, vineyards and the lavender fields that the island is famous for, and the northern coastal towns of Stari Grad and Jelsa are other more low-key options.
With properties spread along the Split Riviera from Primosten in the north to the Peljesac Peninsula in the south, and some island detours on the way, you’re bound to find your perfect perch on this gorgeous stretch of coast.
The town of Primosten was once an island, but its pretty center was attached to the mainland in the 16th century, providing the ideal place for a scenic seaside stroll. Our Primosten villas offer views of turquoise waters, private pools and in some cases even your own private beach, perched on the rocks at the edge of the Adriatic.
Homes in Split
If you want to be close to the region’s capital yet still feel a sense of expansive space and serenity, then our vacation rentals in Split are just what you’re looking for. Choose from villas with handsome gardens and vine-draped pergolas, or wraparound glass windows with breathtaking sea views. Either way, you’ll enjoy relaxing in beautifully decorated interiors or alfresco under the Mediterranean sun.
Whether you’re looking for the romance of a vacation home built from the island’s traditional white brick or striking modern clean lines, our Brac villas are for you. Sit down to dinner at dusk at a table on a stone terrace under the pines, or lounge next to an infinity pool overlooking passing yachts, and enjoy a sense of utter relaxation.