A Travellerspoint blog

Road Trippin’ in Croatia

Part 1

sunny 32 °C

The next leg of our Croatian journey would take us to the mainland and into the central Dalmatian interior. We left the islands for Split, Croatia’s second largest city, where we would spend the day touring the old town and the beautiful feats of architecture.

Split

Split

Split is a large port city that is mainly used as a hub to get tourists to one of the many Dalmatian islands. Along with a long seafront walkway around the harbour and excursion boats ready to whisk you away to unspoiled islets, Split’s main draw remains Diocletian’s palace in the heart of the city (a UNESCO world heritage site).

A view of the harbour from Split's bell tower

A view of the harbour from Split's bell tower


Ana outside the walled city of Split

Ana outside the walled city of Split

Diocletian was a Roman Emperor (AD 245-313), who had the palace constructed as a place to retire, sparing little expense in its ten year building period. Marble was brought from Italy, sculptures from Egypt, and the white stones from Brač were used to build the palace (the same stones that were used to build the White House in Washington D.C.).

The bell tower in Diocletian's Palace

The bell tower in Diocletian's Palace


Andrew walking around old town Split

Andrew walking around old town Split

The term “palace” is misleading as it refers to all that lies within what remains of the four imposing walls. Along with a military fortress and towers that fortified a town within the walls, the imperial residence, temples and a grand cathedral, the palace covers an area of 31 000 square meters. Twisting streets of marble wind around in a confusing maze of alleyways, full both of tourists and modern little shops found in within the original edifices. Restaurants and coffee shops abound, and courtyards can be found around any bend. We toured these walls all day and only found one of the central courtyards later in the evening, exemplifying the confusion of the labyrinth.

The central point in the palace

The central point in the palace


One of Split's gates and the remaining wall

One of Split's gates and the remaining wall


The clock tower in Split

The clock tower in Split

The four walls each have one gate named after a metal: Gold, Silver, Bronze and Iron. Outside the Bronze Gate the famed statue of 10th century Croatian bishop Grgur Ninski (built by Ivan Meštrović, an important Croatian sculptor), towers before the entrance with tourists lined up to rub the polished big toe of the statue for its apparent luck-giving properties.

Statue of Grgur Ninski

Statue of Grgur Ninski


Andrew rubbing the big toe for good luck

Andrew rubbing the big toe for good luck

The streets meet in a central square from where Cathedral of St. Dominus is found, and after paying a small toll we were allowed to enter the Cathedral that was built as Diocletian’s mausoleum and remains largely preserved. The highlight was the long climb up the bell-tower for the panoramic view of Split. We ended our day with a hike up to the hill above the city (with yet again a seemingly endless set of stairs), and took in the beautiful view while watching the sunset in Split.

Andrew and the remaining wall around Split

Andrew and the remaining wall around Split


Ana and Andrew looking down from the bell tower

Ana and Andrew looking down from the bell tower


Ana and the bell tower

Ana and the bell tower


A hilltop view of Split

A hilltop view of Split


Sunset in Split

Sunset in Split

Early the next morning we set out on our road trip to see two of Croatia’s eight national parks. Driving up the coast we stopped off in the tiny town of Trogir, a world heritage site. Another walled city full of twisting cobble streets, it draws in many tourists and large yachts. Surrounded by moat and fortresses, along with intact Romanesque architecture and a beautiful cathedral, the sleepy Trogir offers many photographic opportunities. We walked the town and took pictures in less than an hour (you can imagine its scale), and then set off again on our road trip. Along the drive we saw beautiful shocks of colour of the Adriatic and at one point had to pull over to take photographs of the picturesque coastal town of Primošten.

The A-Team starting out on their road trip

The A-Team starting out on their road trip


Trogir surrounded by a moat

Trogir surrounded by a moat


Large fortress walls guard tiny Trogir

Large fortress walls guard tiny Trogir


Moat around Trogir

Moat around Trogir


Andrew walking the cobble stone streets of Trogir

Andrew walking the cobble stone streets of Trogir


Central square of Trogir

Central square of Trogir


Andrew concentrating on the narrow winding roads

Andrew concentrating on the narrow winding roads


Primošten

Primošten


Primošten from the highway

Primošten from the highway


The drier interior of the south

The drier interior of the south

We headed to Krka National Park and parked in the town of Skradin, from where we caught a small ferry boat that took us up the Krka River to the first set of falls. As the green, slow waters of the river wind towards the falls, few would guess what awaits them. The torrents of waters rush down any rock crevice available, drowning trees in its wake and plummeting to a large pool full of swimmers basking in the fresh clear waters. Climbing further up river another large waterfall can be heard before seen. Seven times the Krka river surprises with the sheer volume of water flowing over its famed waterfalls. We spent the day hiking to view each one, stopping in the shade to enjoy a picnic. We finished our day in the bottom pool, with Andrew jumping from trees and sitting under small offshoots of the larger falls. Having washed the sweat and dust from the hike away, we spent another couple hours driving to the next large park on our radar. Finding a cute place to lay our heads down, we settled in 9kms outside the gates of Plitvice Lakes National Park.

From Skradin you take a boat up the river

From Skradin you take a boat up the river


First set of falls

First set of falls


Andrew at Krka National Park

Andrew at Krka National Park


waterfall

waterfall


A view from above of the different levels of the Krka river

A view from above of the different levels of the Krka river


The descending pools

The descending pools


One of the seven falls at Krka Park

One of the seven falls at Krka Park


Beautiful colours

Beautiful colours


Ana at Krka National Park

Ana at Krka National Park


Waterfalls

Waterfalls


Impressive volume of water

Impressive volume of water


Andrew leaping from trees into the Krka river

Andrew leaping from trees into the Krka river


Ana swimming under the large Krka waterfall

Ana swimming under the large Krka waterfall


Andrew under an offshoot of the large falls

Andrew under an offshoot of the large falls

More from the parks in the next blog. Love to all,

Xox A-Team

Posted by A-Team 08:41 Archived in Croatia

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