Bačvice & Firule Beach Life
In the summertime, the Splitčani leave their ancient city centre to the tourists and head to the beaches abutting their home suburbs, where they socialise and cool off. A younger crowd returns in the evening for the bars and clubs. The first batch of beaches to the east of the harbour are the most popular.
Coffee at Žbirac
Perched above Bačvice beach, Žbirac is like an open-air living room – a no-nonsense place in which to chug coffee, chain-smoke and catch up on all the gossip.
Sandy Bačvice is Split's busiest beach, lined with restaurants, bars, late-night clubs and a whole heap of concrete. Keep an eye out for people thrashing about in the shallows, whacking a squash ball to each other with the palms of their hands: this is the very Dalmatian sport of picigin, a prime showing-off opportunity for Split's young bucks.
After spending years building a reputation as a neighbourhood tavern in a non-touristy part of town, Zora Bila moved to a prime spot above Bačvice beach. Call in to sample from its ever-changing menu of homemade pasta and grilled meats.
The next bay along the promenade, Ovčice has a little less concrete, a beach bar and a pleasant strip of fine pebbles.
The horseshoe cove of Firule has a slimline sandy beach with a bar down the far end. There's not much space to spread out, but the cliffs and pine trees make for a much more appealing backdrop than Bačvice's concrete jungle.
Dinner at Dvor
When you're done with the beach, head up the stairs to Dvor, an upmarket cafe and restaurant set in an elegant old house and its leafy gardens. It's a great spot for a post-beach coffee or wine – or freshen up and return later in the evening to indulge in its sophisticated, contemporary, five-course menu.
Clubbing at Zenta
Dance the rest of your night away at Zenta, a two-storey nightclub with a waterfront terrace overlooking the harbour of the same name. Big-name DJs occasionally hit the decks in summer, filling in the gaps between regular party nights such as Monday Trash and Friday's Recesija (cheap drinks, R&B, electronica and Balkan pop).
On Foot Bačvice is just a 20-minute walk east from the centre of town.
Taxi A cab from the Green Market to Firule costs around 35KN.
Punctuating the end of the Split peninsula, 178m-high Marjan Hill occupies a big space in the city's psyche, providing both a scenic backdrop and a place to escape the crowds. Meje, on its southern slopes, is Split's most desirable suburb. Sandwiched between the hill's eastern slopes and the old town are the tight medieval lanes of Veli Varoš.
As you stroll along sunny Zapadna Obala, the 'west coast' promenade, stop to read the tributes to Croatia's Olympians set into the pavement.
Passing through the seaside suburb of Meje, you can see why Croatia’s premier modern sculptor, Ivan Meštrović, chose to build a mansion here. Now a stellar gallery showcasing an important collection of his work, the 1930s house and gardens are open to visitors; wander through and imagine the pre-war life of Split's rich and famous.
The gallery ticket includes admission to this 16th-century fortified house, or Kaštilac, set in an olive grove further up the road. It was bought by Meštrović in 1939 and restored to house his powerful Life of Christ cycle of wood reliefs in the chapel. Linger in the lovely quadrangle alongside the large stone sculpture.
Cool off at Kašjuni, near the tip of the peninsula. It's Split's most appealing beach, due largely to its green surroundings and upmarket beach bar.
Marjan Forest Park
Covering the bulk of Marjan Hill, this protected forest park is criss-crossed with fragrant pine-shaded paths and dotted with medieval votive chapels. The views over the islands from the giant cross and Croatian flag at the summit are extraordinary. At the Kašjuni end, look out for the cave dwellings once inhabited by Christian hermits. You might also spot climbers nearby.
Grab a seat on the terrace of this popular cafe-bar, situated at the eastern entrance to the park, for phenomenal views over the old town and sprawling city. Directly behind it is a venerable Jewish cemetery, founded in 1573, with gravestones poking up picturesquely between the trees.
Veli Varoš Seafood Taverns
Take the stairs down through the historic Veli Varoš quarter, Split's oldest suburb. Traditionally populated by fisherfolk, it still has some of the city's best seafood konobe (taverns). Three of the best are mere metres apart; the pick is Konoba Marjan, by a whisker, although Konoba Fetivi and Konoba Matejuška are excellent, too.
- Art galleries
On Foot Walk west from the Riva.
Bus Bus 12 heads from Trg Franje Tuđmana along Marjan's southern shore at least hourly.