This area, known locally as Splitsko-Dalmatinska, extends from Trogir to Ploce in the southeast on the mainland. It also covers the islands of Solta, Brac, Hvar and Vis.
This is one of the most popular tourist areas on the Croatian coast, so, for convenience, we have divided into several sub-regions:
Trogir Rivieras. Trogir is famous for its fortified town and Kastela was a region where rich barons from Split built their fortified houses to protect themselves from marauding invaders. Near Trogir is where you’ll find Split’s airport. The beautiful mediaeval town of Trogir is a very popular tourist destination so the best time to explore this ancient town is early in the morning, out of season if possible. You can understand why Croatian, Italian and German film makers come here to shoot their films. Its cathedral is one of the most beautiful in Croatia and the winding streets boarded by tall stone houses are breath taking. Trogir is listed in the register of UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage but is by no means a museum town. It’s a lively, living, town with pleasant cafes and restaurants and the most fantastic fish market. The bays around Trogir hide beaches offering rest for the body and soul. Trogir, like many towns on the Dalmatian Coast, is a big draw to the rich and famous, and it is not uncommon to see the boat of some celebrity or another stopping off here for lunch or for dinner. It is not hard to see why, as well as being an exceptionally beautiful town it also has, for its relatively small size, a disproportionate number of superb quality restaurants.
Kastela Riviera. The Kastela Riviera has welcomed guests for more than a hundred years. The seven town settlements, at the foot of the karst hills, in the region between Trogir and Split date from the middle ages. Built to defend off the menace of the Turks, by the nobles of Trogir and Split, these fortified homes are surrounded by stone walls and some even have draw bridges. Each has its own story or legend. There are many natural wonders and excursions in the region like the old olive orchard of Stafilic castle, with 1500 trees, the Vranjaca cave, the Jadro river and the fortress at Klis.
Split Riviera. The Split Riviera (Splitsko-Dalmatinska), incorporates the city of Split, the seaside resort of Podstrana, and Solin, the old Roman town of Salona. This region is steeped in history & is one of the most fascinating in Croatia archaeologically. Split is one of the jewels of the Adriatic and is the cultural and economic hub of Central Dalmatia. A city that grew out of the Palace of the Roman Emperor Diocletian, built around 300 AD, where nearly 3000 inhabitants have been installed for 1700 years, now a place where ancient times live along side the rhythm of the twentieth century. Split’s centre is a labyrinth of narrow streets and grand squares paved in glossy white flagstones. A magical world offering historical monuments, a gift from the Romans and Venetians, plus chic shops, cafes, bars and restaurants, lively markets, elegant art galleries and vibrant music. Split is full of little nooks, crannies and curiosities, such as this little apartment below, which is built directly into the old Roman wall of Diocletian’s Palace. Theatre festivals & open-air extravaganzas are the summertime trade marks of Split and the surrounding tourist regions. Split becomes the place on which world renowned operas, ballets, and dramas are presented. The scenic atmosphere created by the natural stages of the promenades, Roman facades and mediaeval palaces is unsurpassable. Set in the heart of the city opposite the sea front promenade, with its lively bars, and palm tree walks, Diocletian’s Palace covers 3.5 hectares of Split’s centre and is one of the most unique constructions in Europe. Its 1700 years of history are now protected by UNESCO but it has always fired the interest of visitors and travellers. It is a fascinating city, having as much to offer as Dubrovnik, yet it is different also. Split people are very keen to point out that their city is a living city, not just a museum, which is very much true. It has to be said that the outskirts of Split can at best be described as utilitarian and one could easily just pass the city by, but don't do that. You have to go right into the heart of the city before it will reveal to you all its secrets.
Sandwiched between Diocletian’s Mausoleum and the Forum, Split's St. Dujmo Cathedral was constructed in the 13th century. Via a spiral stone staircase you can climb to the top of its tower for a spectacular view of Split. Though Christianised since its construction, Diocletian’s Mausoleum still exists in its entirety, including the original vaulted roof. It contains some beautiful early Christian Roman tombs.
Omis Riviera. Omis is a small town which lies at the mouth of the beautiful emerald-green Cetina River. Steep rock faces tower above the town either side of a deep ravine gauged out by the river - it makes for a very dramatic setting. It was actually a pirate state during the latter phase of the Ottoman occupation and although that is now all in the past, it still has a very strong boating tradition. Some beautiful boats are built here which you can see lined up along the quays. The Cetina River is a great source of attraction for many visitors, not least for its beauty and its wildlife. It is also a superb trout river and provides some of the best kayaking and white water rafting you’ll get anywhere. At the mouth of the river, in the town of Omis, there are numerous boat hire centres and you can also take a boat trip up the river and take lunch at a riverside restaurant further upstream.
Makarska Riviera. It is one of the most visited and well established holiday destinations in Croatia, not least because it has more beaches than any where else. It stretches from Brela in the north to Gradac in the south, a sixty kilometre necklace of unexploited & unspoilt towns and little fishing villages nestled amongst dark green cypresses and pines. It offers one of the most dramatic settings in Croatia, being bounded on one side by the turquoise Adriatic and on the other by the cliff faces of Biokovo, the highest Mediterranean coastal mountain (1762 m). Makarska itself is a lively town with a superb pedestrian centre full of chic shops, restaurants and bars with a maze of ancient streets and squares paved in white flagstones. To the north of the town is the large beach of Donja Luka sheltered by the Sv.Petar, a large rock (almost an island) that stretches towards the sea forming the bay of Makarska. Enclosed in the bay is a marina and palm treed promenade from where you can catch a car ferry to the island of Brac.
With the islands of Brac and Hvar being so near, boat excursions from Makarska are very popular. The trips, which can be from a few hours to a whole day, are always in very attractive old boats and usually include a ‘fish picnic,’ locally caught fish prepared à la Croatian and served onboard. There are several different destinations, the most popular being to the famous beach at Bol on the island of Brac. The beaches on the Makarska Riviera are particularly beautiful. They are clean, are well surveyed for your safety and nearly all are nestled in pine glades, which is very convenient if you‘re seeking a bit of shade. Specially built promenades connect all the different little resorts along the coast.
Festivals and carnivals take place all year round in Makarska starting with Mardi Gras in February. In summer it seems any excuse is made to have a festival, from celebrating Saint's days to having ‘Fishermen's Nights,’ where fish are grilled on a communal barbecue to the accompanyment of traditional Croatian dancing & music.
Hvar, Brac, Vis & Islands. There are 1185 Islands, islets and rocks protecting the Croatian Coast. They are the remains of old mountains engulfed by the sea during the last ice age, their summits running parallel to the coast, separated by channels of turquoise sea. These isles, like pearls in the middle of the crystal clear water, are mostly uninhibited. Out of the 1185 islands only 66 are populated, the major ones being, Krk, Cres, Brac, Hvar, Pag, Korcula, Dugiotok, Mlijet, Vis, Rab and Losinj. Brac is less than an hour by ferry from Split or Makarska, Brac is the third biggest island on the Croatian Coast and the biggest of Dalmatia. There are many resorts on Brac, such as Supetar, Milna, Postira & Pucisca which are beautiful little ports, and most famous of all, Bol, which is home to the Zlanti Rat peninsular beach, used in so many publicity shots. Many holiday activities are available on the island, including scuba diving, paragliding & wind surfing. Thousands of beds in private apartments and Villas are just part of the tourist offer of the island, which alone in Dalmatia has its own airport. Hvar is perfect for peaceful living and rest and it’s hard to say what is most beautiful about the island, its welcoming breath or its history. The town of Hvar is exceptionally beautiful, enough to seduce Hollywood stars such as Brad Pitt, Sharon Stone & Steven Spielberg, who said that Hvar was the most beautiful island in the world. Other resorts on the island are Stari Grad, Jelsa & Sucuraj, all charming little ports. Hvar is famous for its exceptionally mild climate and with the seductive smell from the lavender fields, and the grapes turning in the sun’s rays in to the very best of wine, it’s not hard to see why every visitor wants to come back. Ferry boats go regularly to Hvar from Split and Drvenik. Vis is Croatia’s most distant island and a tourist oasis of untouched beauty. It produces some of the best olives, figs, almonds, lemons in Croatia, and nowhere in the Mediterranean can you eat such tasty fish and lobster, prepared the same way as the ancient Vis fishermen used to do. Nearby is the famous Modra Spilja, the famous underwater blue cave.