The historical city of Split is Croatia’s second largest city, though with less than 200,000 inhabitants it’s pocket sized. The port is a hub for ferry services to outlying islands and Italy and the city is the cultural centre for the region, so there’s plenty to see and do.
The Diocletians Palace at the centre of the wide esplanade dates from Roman times and features on most Split postcards. However there are many other fine buildings, including the Cathedral Tower (which you can climb to the top of for splendid views) and the National Theatre. It’s a lovely place to just wander around.
If that’s too much effort, take a seat in one of the many bars, cafe’s and restaurants on the front which range from fast food outlets to very upmarket establishments. If watching the boats coming in and out isn’t enough, there’s sometimes free entertainment in summer as musicians or drama groups set up stage on the esplanade.
Split is not that user friendly when it comes to yachts. Anchoring is forbidden and the newly renovated Riva (seafront) is being expected to pay its way. It used to be that you could moor here for an hour or so free of charge but now at 800 kuna for a 12 metre yacht, and a minimum charge of 400 kuna no matter how brief your stay (2014,) you could be forgiven for thinking you aren’t all that welcome but if you want to be at the heart of things this really is the best spot. Be sure to call the harbourmaster for permission before approaching the quay. VHF channel 09 or 16.
The only other alternative is the ACI Marina located on the southwestern side of the harbour. The marina has 318 berths but it is still difficult to find a berth at the height of the sailing season. A quick phone call or email ahead can save a lot of time spent milling about or even allow you to time your visit to miss the busy times of the week. Prices fluctuate during the year to a peak of 90€ a night for a 12m yacht between the 1st of June and the 30 of September (2016). The ACI Marina has all the facilities you would expect of a large city marina (restaurants, bars etc.) but alternatively it lies at one end of the Lungomare (seafront promenade) so it only takes a few minutes’ walk to reach the heart of the historic area of the waterfront.
The fuel dock is located on the western side of the harbour. Yachts are allowed to moor at the fuel dock for fuelling up only. Do not moor to the newly constructed western waterfront nearby. This area has not been surveyed and may be shallower than expected!
Navigation tip: Split is an extremely busy commercial harbour. Ships leaving the port have right of way. Do not impede their progress in any way.
For those wanting to while away the night, Split has a number of clubs and late night bars, though these are fairly unobtrusive to those sleeping afloat in the marina.
Split also has a number of museums including two archaeological museums, two art galleries, the Ethnographic (folk) museum and the City Museum. Probably of more interest to the average sailor is the Croatian Maritime Museum with it’s range of models, artifacts and artwork.
All of this is just a short walk (or ferry ride) across the bay from the ACI marina. As you would expect, you will find just about everything you want in the city, including banks, ATM’s, medical facilities, and car hire. There’s an interesting market, just outside the Diocletian’s Palace which is well worth a look, even if you’re not buying.
I always arrive at Split with little sense of excitement but I seem to find something new every time. There really is something for everyone, as should be the case in any good city.