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Split’s living room

Split boasts one of the finest boulevards along the Dalmatian coast: the Riva. Sooner or later everybody ends up here, whether it’s to drink coffee in the morning, sip a glass of rakija in the evening, or join one of the huge celebrations. The boulevard is wedged between the ocean and the south side of the 1,700-year-old palace of Roman emperor Diocletian.

It should come as no surprise that the emperor picked this exact location to build his palace. Of course, the breathtaking view over the port and the islands in the distance was already there in the 4th century. And the many bars and restaurants that dot today’s bustling Riva are proof that people can never get enough of this great location. The diverse musical selection ranges from traditional choir music to thumping dance.

Lazing under the palm trees
Lazing under the palm trees

Split

Split’s living room

Riva only acquired its modern form when this part of Croatia was ruled by Napoleon. Since those days, the boulevard has undergone many expansions.


The Riva feels almost like the city’s ‘living room’: a daily gathering place for leisure and fun that stretches along the entire length of the historic city centre. Measuring a respectable 250 metres by 55 metres, the boulevard is spacious enough to accommodate a variety of cultural events. At the modern end of the spectrum you will find the annual 3D Street Art Festival which takes place in June: the pavement is decorated with elongated pastel drawings that, from a certain angle, provide incredible depth of field. For a more traditional celebration, experience the (exuberant) carnival and the festivities dedicated to St. Domnius, the city's patron saint, which is celebrated every year on 7 May.

Even at night this is a popular destination
The Riva, with the palace in the background

Game of Thrones

Don’t be surprised if the area of Split right behind the Riva looks familiar: the city’s historic heart is often used as a film location for Game of Thrones. Especially the area in and around the Palace of Diocletian. Despite its name, the palace is hardly a palace anymore, but a walled collection of approximately 200 buildings. Over the course of centuries, this miniature city has gained a Roman bell tower and a synagogue. Not captured by the GOT cameras are the modern fashion boutiques and trendy shops that line the narrow streets. But in the palace basement it doesn’t take much to imagine some dragons lurking there.

The peristylium or courtyard of Diocletian’s palace

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