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Croatia's second city, Split, has rapidly cemented its status as one of Europe's most lively and glamorous destinations. The stylish port city basks in a glorious setting, backed by hulking mountains and fringed by the Adriatic Sea. It also boasts an impressive UNESCO World heritage-listed old town, uniquely constructed around an ancient Roman palace, and a palm festooned waterfront. Ostentatious super yachts, chic cafés and bars, designer boutiques and exclusive galleries complement its picturesque location, making Split even more alluring. Away from the energetic old town inviting bays and pebble beaches are perfect for a cooling swim, while the fleet of Jadrolinjia ferries bustling around the port bring the pretty Dalmatian islands of Solta, Brac, Hvar and Lastovo tantalisingly close. Whether you're craving a vibrant city break, or need a base for exploring the Croatian Adriatic, Split is ideal.
Split's busiest beach, Bacvice, in part owes its popularity to a central location and proximity to the Bacvice entertainment complex. Throw in sand and tall, lean and immaculately turned out locals splashing around in the Adriatic waves as they indulge in a unique local game of picigin, and its appeal broadens.
Beyond the beach:
Visitors are inexorably drawn to Split's UNESCO World Heritage-listed Diocletian's Palace, which dates from AD295. This spectacular Roman remnant is a thriving urban oasis crammed with grand squares, a colonnaded peristyle, subterranean chambers, an octagonal cathedral and a sprinkling of museum exhibits. Not merely a museum piece myriad homes, shops, cafes and bars are also moulded into the fortified walls of the two-millennia old palace.
Split is a family friendly city and its beaches, museums, cafés and restaurants are all accessible to children. The ferries and catamarans that ply the Adriatic and drop off at the central Dalmatian islands bring a wealth of adventures, with historic old towns and beaches awaiting exploration.
Trogir, 25km (16 miles) west of Split, boasts one of Croatia's most beautiful and well-preserved old towns, whose opulent palaces and architecturally diverse monuments compelled UNESCO to place it on its World Heritage List. Chocolate-box-pretty Hvar Town, on the eponymous island, and one of Croatia's best beaches, Zlatni Rat (Golden Cape) on Brac also merit a visit.
Discover one of Split's best-kept secrets just behind Bacvice Bay. The Enoteka Terra (www.vinoteka.hr) is one of Croatia's most exclusive wine bars. Sample complex domestic wines and dine on sumptuous Croatian tapas that utilise the country's finest produce including truffles, prsut (similar to Italian prosciutto) and salty Pag cheese.