Croatia's Coast

Adriatic Allure

Croatia’s coast comes to life in Split.


By Michael Webb

Spring’s brisk, sunny days draw sailing enthusiasts to Split, a UNESCO World Heritage city on Croatia’s Adriatic coast, for Olympic Sailing Week. Following the races, there’s the Croatia Boat Show, which culminates in festivities, fireworks, and a parade of prizewinners. Stay on for late April’s guitar festival, with performances held all over a city that grew out of the 1,700-year-old palace built by the Roman emperor Diocletian. Experience the jumble of old and new, narrow alleys and spacious squares, before the summer crowds arrive. From Split, you can take ferries to Dubrovnik and a chain of offshore islands that rise from crystal waters.

Peerless seafood is the coast’s great attraction, and it’s served with flair at Kadena, a stylish restaurant and wine bar that pours some 250 Croatian labels (Ivan Pl. Zajca 4; 385-21/389-400). Villa Rosina (Vukovarska 38; 385-21/695-450), a cooking school that doubles as a restaurant, serves local produce and homemade pastas on an expansive terrace. A short stroll to the harbor brings you to the Split Yacht Club and Zrno Soli (Uvala Baluni 8; 385-21/399-333), a new upstairs restaurant with a balcony overlooking the marina. The menu includes items such as pasta and classic seafood dishes. Bota Šare (Šetalište Bacˇvice; 385-21/488-648) serves the freshest shellfish (try the oysters and the black risotto) with outdoor seating on the waterfront.

Cafés line the Riva, an artful waterfront promenade beneath the palace. Within its walls, linger over coffee or a travarica (herb-flavored grappa) at Luxor (Kraj Svetog Ivana 11; 385-21/341-082), on the polished stone steps of the peristyle. Close by is Academia Ghetto Club (Dosud 10; 385-21/346-879), a welcoming bar with a garden terrace. At Hemingway Bar (VIII Mediteranskih Igara 5; 385-99/211-9993), the louder vibe and live music draw a hip young crowd.

Salon Croata
(Krešimirova Ulica 11) carries ties and scarves in classic Croatian patterns. For another take on local design, explore the bold prints at Studio Narancˇ a (Majstora Jurja 5). Uje (Marulicˇeva 1) offers olive oils and Mediterranean spices. And don’t miss the pastries and desserts at Crème de la Crème (Ilic´ev Prolaz 1).

Originally appeared in Virtuoso Life, March 2012.

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