There are many inexpensive things to do in Split. Are there any FREE things, though?
Here’s a list of things to do for free in Split:
- experience the sunrise at the Split waterfront
- listen to the Klapa singers in the Vestibule
- search for the blue tree
- pick capers from ancient walls
- discover Marjan
The list is by no means conclusive. However, here are the reasons why I picked these 5 things…
Experience The Sunrise At The Split Waterfront
A perfect way to start a day in Split is to observe the city waking up. Without make-up, Split reveals its fresh, natural beauty.
The scent of the watered gardens, coffee and bread permeates the streets and finally peaks at the Riva, the Split waterfront.
Walk to the Pazar, the fruit market. I have always loved this unique perfume released by the fresh strawberries, cherries, tomato seedlings and smoked ham. Combined. Really special. (A word of caution. Don’t just stare at locals or take pictures of them or their produce. The vendors may find it humiliating. So make sure you buy something occasionally after all… well, it wouldn’t be a free experience anymore, I know).
I also love observing the reflections produced at the Adriatic Sea by the morning sun. Before picking its mainstream bright blue, the Sea gradually tries on all the colours of the rainbow.
Listen To The Klapa Singers In The Vestibule
The Vestibule has perfect acoustics. The Emperor Diocletian might have taken advantage of the echo to amplify his divine voice. Upon hearing their incarnate god, his subordinates would then prostrate themselves on the ground as a sign of their reverence and worship.
The Vestibule or the Atrium, is initial part of the imperial corridor that led from the Peristyle through the Prothyron to Diocletian’s residential part of the Palace. It was built at the beginning of the 4th century AD, as an original part of the ancient Palace. It is a circular hall, once vaulted with a dome, 17 meters high and 12 meters in diameter. The entrance was decorated with a large door measuring 2.56 x 3.96 m, abounding in relief decorations. The space of the Vestibule is divided into four semicircular niches which were filled with statues of unknown deities, probably Roman Domestic Lares.
Today, though, the voices of the Klapa singers benefit from the ancient echo, creating a similar divine vibration.
You may not be inclined to prostrate yourself in front of them, but the experience is nevertheless worth your admiration.
Croatians take great pride in their Klapa singing. If you’re fortunate, occasionally you may bump into spontaneous Klapa singing in restaurants or by the sea. It’s done for pleasure only… or as we say in Dalmatia, “iz gušta”.
Search For The Blue Tree
Split has some 170,000 inhabitants. Very few of them live in the old city, though. Most of them (including my in-laws), live in modern residential areas, built predominately in 1970’s and 1980’s.
Back then, Split was a city in Yugoslavia, a socialist (communist) country.
The first thing that comes to your mind might be concrete, rust, iron, grey. Well, Split had a share in that type of architecture, too. Unfortunately. (for example, look at the buildings on the way to Joker Shopping Centre)
However, Yugoslav architecture stands out at the global scale as very unique and avant-garde. And Split has some of those fine pieces of architecture and design as well.
My favourite “epicentre” of the modern Split is certainly the sculpture by Vasko Lipovac, called “The Blue Tree”. or, in Croatian, Plavo stablo, found at the intersection between Mažuranovićevo šetalište and Ulica Slobode streets.
After being moved around Split, even Croatia, this sculpture has finally found its home in its natural enviroment. The 1980’s Split.
“The blue tree is a rare example of a non-controversial sculpture that was erected out of pure humanity, which permeates the entire opus of Vasko Lipovac”Dora Derado, historian
Pick Capers From Ancient Walls
Capers are a delicious addition to Croatian salads, appetisers and pizza. But did you know that they also grow here? Take a look!
Yes, this is a caper bush, growing from a 1,700-year-old wall of the Diocletian’s Palace in Split.
In particular, this caper bush grows inside of the Golden Gate, and its so-called propugnaculum (the human trap).
You can find many more by the eastern, Silver gate.
Which parts should you pick? What are capers in the first place? And how to pickle them? Take a look at this article I wrote.
The Marjan Peninsula is sometimes referred to as “The Lungs Of Split”. And certainly, its nature may as well be the most important reason why you’r
Even though it is completely “besieged” by Split, the Marjan Peninsula has managed to keep its freedom.
The true sovereigns of Marjan are the pine trees (Aleppo Pines or Pinus halepensis). They provide sustenance for the finches, black squirrels and the collared doves. Wild asparagus grows in their shade. They are the pulmonary alveoli of Split.
Walking or jogging in the shade of pine trees, by the sea, is a popular activity of many health-conscious inhabitants on Split. If you want to join them, go to the northern side of the peninsula.
Soon you will reach Bene, one of the most popular beaches in Split.
The Marjan peninsula is known for its romantic chapels and mysterious hermitages built below and in its southern cliffs. If you want to organise an unforgettable wedding, you could do it in one of these Marjan chapels. Many couples in Split got married there!
However, one of the reasons why everyone should go to Marjan is THE VIEW! Take a look!
Just a couple of minutes away from Riva, the Marjan view points provide an amazing possibility to comprehend Split and take great selfies.
However, if you don’t feel like walking, some of the view points are accessible by cars. So taking a taxi to the “Vidilica” would certainly pay off.
I almost forgot. This article was about FREE things in Split! I am afraid you will have to walk. It’s good for you.