Travelling through Split & Krka National Park, Croatia
Day 6 – Split
This morning we packed up early and drove to the ferry port to get to Split. We arrived just after the last ferry left the port, bought our tickets and waited for an hour and a half for the ferry to arrive. It proved an interesting morning. We thought we were had over planned but we were the fourth to last car to get on that ferry!
When we initially pulled up we were greeted by a group of guys who proceeded to wash our window, demand money and then ask a series of bizarre questions mainly surrounding money. We both felt a bit strange about them but didn’t think too much more of it until all hell broke loose just before we got on the boat. From the shouting and screaming between a group of travellers, port security and the police it appeared that they had managed to scam the fee for the boat tickets from another car, so watch out for them.
It rained the entire boat journey over to Split and by the time we arrived our bike tour for that afternoon had been cancelled. We arrived to our pretty little Air B&B just a 5 minute walk from the centre of town, got changed and headed out in search of some food. We had read some reviews about an awesome little fast food place called Sexy Cow who served beef wraps so we headed there for lunch. I ordered the Sexy Cow and Jack ordered the Dirty Cow and we properly pigged out (or beefed out? – I might make that a thing).
For £25 off your first Air B&B stay on us, click here.
After food, we headed back into town and booked ourselves onto a walking tour with Split Walking Tours. The rain had cleared but the bike tour company had still decided not to run the tour. We had an hour to kill before the tour so headed up the bell tower of the cathedral. Now Jack and I have climbed a lot of bell towers or stairs to the highest point of a city, it’s something we seem to do on every trip, but this was the scariest thing I have ever climbed. The stairs were so open and wobbly that I literally freaked myself out all the way up, shook at the top and then climbed back down. I couldn’t tell you what the view look like, Jack found it hilarious and filmed me and I genuinely look terrified. That’s love right there!
The tour itself was a whistle stop tour of Croatian history and we were shown round the inside of all of the old palace walls. The palace was built in the year 305 by Diocletian for his retirement. Over the years displaced people from around Croatia took over the palace and started to build houses within the palace walls for safety. Everything was built between existing buildings, columns and on existing walls. The now narrow streets are littered with different centuries architecture, along with random artifacts from the different people that took over Croatia including a 3,500 thousand years old Sphinx brought from Egypt.
I find it bizarre that Unesco World Heritage sites are normally Cathedrals or old buildings, or national parks, but Croatia has two Unesco sites that are literally entire towns that people live inside. The Old Town of Dubrovnik and the Palace of Diocletian in Split which was granted in 1979. The funniest part about this is the old horrible 70’s building just off of the main square which was build 7 years before it was protected by Unesco. However, the original floor and curb of the old main street can still be found inside that horrible 70’s building which is now a bank, along with some shops on the other side.
Part way round our tour we stood in the entrance of the original internal palace and listened to a group of singers use to round acoustics to perfection.
Only excavated 70 years ago the basement was one of the only surviving parts of the old palace. It was used for rubbish and sewage which was all still there when excavators found the basement. It’s layers allowed excavators to build a very good picture of who lived here and when and also allowed them to truly see what the emperors apartment looked like. Now it’s home to the market with some beautiful little bits and pieces. Just outside one of the entrances down into the basement is a still intact mosaic from the original palace.
My favourite room of the old palace was the Vomitorium found next to the dining room. It was rude to stop eating until the host stopped eating, but he wanted to show his wealth by providing a lot of food so banquets often went on for hours with lots of throwing up. Lovely, very Hunger Gamesesque.
Our tour ended up at the statue of Grgur Ninski. If you rub his big toe you’ll have good luck!
We picked up some dinner from the supermarket including bread that looked like a spaceship, sausages cheese and salad. After dinner we went out for ice cream and a drink. The main square was filled with people listening to a guitarist and dancing around and the town looked beautiful by night, especially along the marina.
It rained. The majority of the day. We had a long lie in as we were both knackered and then wandered the local markets. There a fresh food markets just outside the main walls which has stalls selling locally grown fruit and vegetables alongside honey and lavender.
To get out of the rain we headed down into the basement to have a look around the market and then went into the unrestored back of the basement of the palace.
We spent the rest of the day milling about, eating ice cream and then had dinner at Pizzeria Portas. The food was average, our first (and only) average meal during our trip away so we were happy with that.
Day 8 – Krka National Park
When we visited Croatia last we visited the Plitvice National Park which was absolutely stunning! As it was 40 degrees on the day we visited the only thing we wanted to do was get in the water, which you’re not allowed to do. On this trip I wanted to make sure we visited a national park where you could swim so we headed to Krka.
We started at the Lozovac entrance in the south where the parking is free and they take you on a bus to the part where you start your walk. The national park itself was beautiful but it’s a much shorter walk than around Plitvice. The water is so clear and they still have a number of the old mills which you can have a look around. We then made it round to Skradinski buk (the main waterfall) was really cool. The weather was a little cold and overcast but I was absolutely getting in that water!
We headed to Camp Krka to unpack our tent and reminisce about when we had a van, then we drove to the entrance at Laškovica. Here you can see roški slap, another waterfall, and do another walk around a different part of the national park. Part way round we discovered a set of 500 stairs which you can climb to see inside an old cave where they have found human remains from centuries ago. We walked up behind a couple with a toddler in a backpack carrier who continually waved and said hello to us. Where was she when I did the three peaks challenge? From the top you could see long way downstream and the cave itself was pretty cool.
For dinner we drove in Skradin, the largest town nearby and had dinner at Konoba Dalmatino. We were lucky to get a table outside, but as it was cold, we wrapped ourselves in blankets provided. The food was good, but the service was a little slow. Again, we had complimentary shots and bruschetta. I had a local favourite of beef with gnocchi which Jack had at the other Dalmatino restaurant in Hvar, he had steak and chips. For pudding we had a chocolate cake and lemon cheesecake alongside a complementary local pudding a bit like mini doughnut balls.
We headed back to camp for our first night in the tent.
I hope you enjoyed my post of travelling through Split & Krka National Park. To read more about my Croatia Road Trip, click here.