The sunniest corner of Europe with translucent waters and stones etched with stories, Croatia's hustle and bustle makes Split a place to add on to your list in the near future as visiting numbers continue to grow.
Carpe Diem Beach, Marinkovac
When? 7th - 10th June 2023
With? Jack, as my birthday pressie!
Stayed at? Briig Boutique Hotel
Highlight? The hotel's feel, aesthetic and food!
Improvement? The busyness of the main stretch - it is definitely a location to go at the right time and sneak out to the spots off the beaten track.
Giaxa Restaurant, Hvar
This is the first adventure I have ever taken when I have not been aware of the who's, what's and where's but embracing the freedom was a welcome challenge! And whenever I asked Jack what the plan was, he would respond with 'There is no plan. That is the plan.' Whether this was the genuine plan or a 'I didn't get around to looking' plan I'm not sure I will ever figure it out but you know what - he was absolutely right. Both in the sense, that I need to be reminded every now and then that you do. not. need. a. plan. and in the sense that this is not a holiday location that you do need a plan for!
So plans out the window we checked into a one of a kind hotel for 3 nights of Croatian sunshine. This was the perfect amount of time to indulge in one too many gelatos, dive into the crystal clear (and rather chilly) waters of the Adriatic Sea and wander the cobbled streets chit chatting and giggling away on our first trip of the year with just the two of us.
Back to the beginning, Split airport is not a big one and with the flight only being 2 hours, it is super easy to get to and get through. I would recommend pre booking your transfers for when you get there, although there are plenty of cheerful cab drivers ready and waiting to take you, the price may not be so friendly considering the town is only a 30 minute drive away (talking from experience). Nor are the prices in general in Split, a lot of places are unexpectedly London prices.
The view from the pool at Briig Boutique Hotel
Where To Stay
Built on contemporary art designs and a simplistic influence from the Scandi's, Briig Boutique Hotel is a stay I would highly recommend when visiting Split. Now this is something I never thought would hit me as the first incredible thing when stepping into a hotel but the SMELL. WOW. I didn't get the chance to ask them what perfume is floating around the lobby, the rooms, the restaurant , even by the pool! But whatever it was, it was beautiful. And if the smell hasn't sold you, then it is also under a 10 minute walk to the very heart of the town, the staff are unbelievably friendly and whilst the pool was immaculate and the rooms heavenly, I must mention the food as a top winner. A continental breakfast flowing with chia puddings, tiramisu's, fresh fruits (not syruppy fruit salads!) and a lunch of roasted vegetables chargrilled to tickle anyone's tastebuds. Jack also had in his own words 'one of the best things he has ever tasted in his life', talking of their ultimate steak sandwich. Needless to say, he had it more than once.
To book: https://www.briig-hotel.com/
What To Do
Split is a small town, bursting at the seams with Historical gems and perfect for a weekend trip. Top of any list to visit that you will find is Diocletian's Palace, the walls of which pretty much surround the whole town. For any 'Game of Thrones' fans out there, walking through streets will feel like being in your very own episode . There are plenty of walking tours going around but we didn't do any purely because it is very much walkable, although it is a fun idea to immerse yourself in the knowledge of the guides that we overheard here and there.
As well as a boat trip being an absolute must with a multitude to choose from along the marina front all the same flow and similar prices so see what you fancy and book there. We ventured on a 10 hour 5 island trip with a comfy sunbathing spot at the back of the boat - which is a big plus as there are some long journeys throughout the day, full speed ahead! Despite it feeling like a part of the commercial churn of tourism, it it the only way to seeing the famous blue caves and other hot spots so it is a trip worth doing. Hvar was by far my favourite, a quaint waterfront town basking in the heat of the day - we headed straight for the back streets and settled in.
Where To Eat
As mentioned above our hotel itself, is an unexpected but very good choice here right down to their napkins folded like dressing gowns (heard of that one before?!). Whilst seafood restaurants are flowing on every corner, Croatia is also a neighbour of the land of Spaghetti, Pizza and the worlds best Gelato so a few treats have trickled through here and helped to set up up my menu for the next few days. Ela's Gelateria managed to scoop us up amongst all of the other gelato stores around and it did not disappoint with too many flavours to choose from. We managed to discover Barakokula which made a very yummy mushroom gnocchi dish and is completely plant based, Giaxa on Hvar island was fine dining done island style and one of the best lunches I have ever enjoyed al fresco - lunches like this definitely need to become more of a thing! - and the courtyard bar of Judita Palace captured my fairy tale heart.
So all in all my suggestions for the summer are this: Take a sunshine trip to Split, stay at Briig hotel, fill yourself up on gelato and laze around the chalky white poolside to cut off for a European weekend summer break filled to the top with al fresco dining!