Visiting Split With a Small Dog — Part 2
Last week, I had the pleasure of introducing you to the joys of visiting Split with a small dog. In Part 1, we focused on two sections: the amazing promenade and, of course, the vast Roman palace built for Emperor Diocletian.
Today I will take you outside the palace walls. Although the city of Split grew unchecked and in a haphazard way after WWII, the area along the coastline remains worthy of a visit. There is, in fact, more to Split than the Palace.
Beyond the People’s Square
I left you last week at Split’s Old City Hall, viewing its art. You find it as you exit the palace through the Iron Gate on the west side. As you walk on, leaving the Roman walls behind, you enter the heart of People’s Square. It’s here that Byzantine and Venetian influences start to give over to Hungarian and Austrian architecture. Split has such a long and complicated history!
Next, you will find the Fish Market. I really liked this spot. It’s full of smells like you would never believe! There were so many patios too!
Then there’s the long and open Marmontova Street with its fancy shops and theatre at the end. This street is a stark contrast to the old palace. Here, the light is invited in to reflect off the white marble street. It’s very much an extension of the Promenade.
And then there is the Republic Square. Complete with total Austrian palace architecture and fancy posh-posh hotels reminiscent of the days of Empress Sisi.
The real gem though, Dear Reader, is just a little further west as you walk towards the Church of St. Francis. You start to go up into narrow little streets …
Up, up, up the hill you go — Marjan Hill, to be precise! Here, greenery and spectacular views await!
Marjan Hill is on the peninsula of the city of Split. The hill seems to be a sort of protected reserve, and is a popular recreation spot for locals. Few tourists are lucky enough to discover it. And it’s a shame because the hill may well be one of the greatest assets the city has to offer.
The hill is covered in a fine smelling forest and huge agave plants, giving you all sorts of things to explore beyond the joys of being in a park and the view!
There are about twelve historical monuments, a fabulous bike trail, children’s play areas, and some very creative …
… lookouts, beaches, rock climbing, and even Renaissance hermitage caves! Our favourite, though, was climbing all the way up to the tallest point: the Telegrin!
At 178 meters in height (584 feet) with a whopping 314 steps to climb, it would still be a total understatement to say that the view is totally worth the effort. You can drive up, but where is the fun in that? Plus, you have to pay for parking.
The panoramic view allows you a full left to right sweep, which includes the old city, the coast, the marina, beaches, and some of the nearby islands. There is a café at the Telegrin, called Cafe Bar Vidilica (or Teraca Vidilica). It is pet-friendly and offers up some lovely human treats. The patio overlooks the old city and the sea.
If you keep going — and really you should — the stairs give way for a little stretch to an easier stroll that ends at the 13th century St. Nicholas Chapel. It’s a logical choice really given that Saint Nikola, as the locals call him, is the patron saint of fisherman.
Keep going even further up and the stairs start again. All the way up at the top, you’ll find a zoo of sorts. It’s not pet-friendly so we did not enter. And there seemed to be some official-like buildings too. But we just kept on and made our way to the summit!
We had seen the BIG flag that flies on the summit from our first day on the sailboat and I am so glad we hiked all the way up. We met the sweetest nun on a bench there. We chatted for a bit in a hilarious mix of the nun speaking in a mix of Italian and German and Mom in a mix of German and French. We caught our breath there and then made our way back.
Taking different steps on the way down, we realized that Marjan Hill is a vast green space that you could easily explore all day long. We were kind of sad that we didn’t have more time.
In review: Split is an amazing city. Walkable and jam-packed with a violent, complicated, and confusing history. But like all complicated places, Split also breeds a special kind of beauty grown from evolving cultures. Today it’s a place we can recommend to anyone. Visiting Split with a small dog is rewarding and will not only mesmerize you visually with its ever changing architecture and art, but will also entertain your palette with fine restaurants, fun gelato, and other street food. Split is worth more than just a quick stop over. We are very glad we spent a week.