It has turned out to be a wonderful trip till now for us in Croatia. Starting from Zagreb and then moving on to Dubrovnik, it’s been an opportunity to be with beautiful nature and some lovely people for a week. The day trip to Montenegro in between exploring two historical towns, Kotor and Budva was also full of fun and relaxation as we now head to Split, another beautiful Adriatic town of Croatia.
We had come back to Zagreb from Dubrovnik to spend a relaxing day here before moving on because we had loved the peace of this charming city. You could of course travel directly to Split from Dubrovnik as the distance is much shorter. And we chose FlixBus for our destination next from here, because of our previous happy experiences of traveling with them.
Although the journey from Zagreb to Split is almost four hours, the beautiful countryside, green mountains, enticing water bodies and this refreshing break made it seem much shorter, along with our small doses of nap in between.
All this while though, one thought that kept coming back was the weather forecast. It did not sound too good with predictions of incessant rains and thunderstorms and caution for fishermen to stay away from the sea for the next two days. I had dozed off again. When I woke up, I realized it was just about drizzling and we were entering the city.
Sometimes what you visualize about a place and what you experience is so very different. As the bus reached it’s final destination, I was thrilled. Split looked exactly like the original picture in my mind.
As we walked towards our hotel, there was a spring in our steps. It was three in the afternoon and my calculations said we had nine more hours to go before we called it a day.
I looked at her and said, ‘Miles to go before we sleep’. She looked back with a little worry on her face and trying to figure out what I meant. Was I serious or was I joking? ‘Nine more hours is too much for today’, she said. That’s my wife, truly my best half and one who can’t keep up with the hectic pace of a longish holiday that I love and plan for us. But the best part is that she always pulls it through, not willing to miss anything. And so I keep pulling her leg. In good spirits though.
We were now on our last leg of a five minute walk, right in the heart of Split city center promenade moving towards our hotel for the next three nights. It was a heritage property that I had approached directly and when they had heard I was a travel blogger, a level 6 TripAdvisor reviewer with over 75,000 readers worldwide and also a Booking.com partner & Genius level 2 holidayer, they offered me an unbelievable discounted price for the room. The thought itself made be give myself another mental pat on the back as we approached the reception of ‘Plaza Marchi Heritage Old Town’.
Plaza Marchi Old Town was built above the substructure halls of Diocletian’s palace and it borders the remains of St. Mihovil church, the oldest church in Split. Substructure halls represent one of the best-preserved antique complexes of this kind in the world. The medieval church of St. Mihovil was built by the first Archbishop of Split and was managed by the Marchi family.
Plaza Marchi used to be a shelter for children, as the Marchi family ran the foundation for the orphaned and poor children. The building was later donated to the town of Split by the family and by the mid 20th century it housed Hotel Salona. Today, Plaza Marchi returns its original name as a tribute to the family that played a significant role in the history of Split and its citizens. Plaza Marchi is a monument of the world cultural heritage, as it features the well preserved parts of the west wall and the substructure halls of Diocletian’s Palace, which is the UNESCO world heritage monument. The Plaza Marchi, restored under the watchful eye of the conservators, is located in the center of the old town of Split, thirty meters away from the sea on the UNESCO-protected Mihovil Square. Come let’s move. While you take the elevator, let me walk you through to our third floor Deluxe Queen room.
At Plaza Marchi you discover the historical heritage meeting the modern elegance with 24 luxuriously equipped rooms, all with oak furniture, exposed stone walls and frescos of hardwood flooring. There is no breakfast served in the hotel but you can buy breakfast coupons for their next door restaurant or one on the promenade facing the sea. At the very top of the building you can enjoy a terrace view of the entire city, its historic parts, the sea and the islands.
After a quick feel of our room and freshening up, we were set to move and explore this lovely town. And our hotel, the perfect place to stay with the Diocletian’s Palace, promenade and the Adriatic Sea just a couple of minutes walk away.
The forecast turned out to be correct as it was raining all the time, but not too heavy. We kept using our umbrella off and on as we walked exploring a lovely evening in one of the coziest towns that we have traveled to. And me hoping all the while that our 5 Islands tour with lunch scheduled a day later would actually come through despite the travel operator messaging that in most likelihood it was cancelled, unless a miracle happened. For the time being though, the rain has stopped. Come let’s go. We start with what once used to be the Diocletian’s Palace.
Diocletian’s Palace is a fortress like complex built by the Roman emperor in the 4th century. Once home to thousands, it’s sprawling remains include more than 200 buildings. Within it’s white stone walls and under it’s courtyards are a cathedral and numerous shops, bars, cafes, hotels and houses.
Split is the second-largest city of Croatia and the largest city of the region of Dalmatia, with about 250,000 people living in its urban area. It lies on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea and is spread over a central peninsula and its surroundings. Home to Diocletian’s Palace, built for the Roman emperor in AD 305, the city was founded as the Greek colony of Aspalathos in the 3rd or 2nd century BC. It became a prominent settlement around 650 when it succeeded the ancient capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia, Salona. Later it drifted into the sphere of the Republic of Venice and finally the Kingdom of Croatia.
Split. The perfect night for you to walk hand in hand, as we walk back to our room after dinner with our second ice cream in hand.
Croatia. Mesmerizingly beautiful.