Why Split isn’t for me

Last week I wrote about unexpectedly falling in love with Zadar. This week I’m writing about the exact opposite experience. All the blogs and articles I’ve read spoke very highly of Split. We went into Split with high expectations; however, this other Croatian town along the Adriatic coast just isn’t for me.

Cathedral of Saint Domnius

1. first impression matters

We arrived early in the morning after a 1hr30min drive from Zadar. As we pulled into a parking spot, a cyclist rode by screaming at us with flailing arms before shaking his head and leaving. We couldn’t hear what he was saying from inside the car but judging from his actions, we thought we had done something wrong. This dude was clearly pissed. Panicking, we got out of the car to check. Did we hit something? No. Did we park too close to the other cars or the curb? No, there was plenty of space. Did we violate a parking regulation? No, not according to the sign. So WTF, bro? Please calm your titties, ideally until they’re supple.

Split, Croatia

2. the people

The cyclist wasn’t the only person we were unimpressed with. We had an early lunch at Konoba Korta, a cute little restaurant tucked away in a hidden alley right inside Diocletian’s Palace. The food was great but the service was lacking. I have a thing with people working in service-oriented jobs- it’s your goddamn job to serve and make customers happy (or at least try, as long as they’re not rude), that’s why you get paid for what you do. This goes for all professions that deal with people first-hand; why be a dick ? Anyway, our server was very cold. It wasn’t until after we finished our meal that he warmed up to us. I’m fairly certain it was for tips or for a good review because he handed us a business card and asked us to leave a comment on Tripadvisor. Everyone else we passed by (people working in the market, bakeries, shops) gave off the same unfriendly vibe. We only came across one person who was nice. ONE. Shout out to the friendly old lady working at the ghetto-looking bakery in the market.

Split, Croatia

3. the pastries

This pastry addict was not impressed with the pastries in Split. I was so stoked when I saw the number of bakeries and selection of pastries here. AS, being the good husband that he is, bought a BUNCH for me so we could munch on them throughout the day. We needed fuel for the long drive ahead to Mostar. But what a big disappointment that was… They were soggy and the flavours tasted artificial; we ended up throwing some of it out because it was so meh.

Split, Croatia

4. the crowd

Granted, it was our fault for going in late August when it was still peak season. Split was still quiet when we first arrived but by mid day it was ridiculous. Trying to get from point A to point B in Diocletian’s Palace was like trying to get to the water station from the front of Kinetic Field at EDC. Okay, it wasn’t that bad, but you get the idea. Ships make a stop at Split so the town is filled with cruise passengers by noon. On that day, it was jam packed in an uncomfortable, claustrophobic way.

5. pms much

Maybe I didn’t like Split because I was a downer that day. Even though I didn’t get my usual nasty cramps, my bad mood was still very present. I was tired, grumpy, and reluctant to explore. The douchey cyclist, the heat, the bad service, the massive crowd, and the disappointing pastries simply fueled the flames. I couldn’t wait to get the hell out and continue our drive to Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Cathedral of Saint Domnius

Don’t get me wrong. Split is beautiful! I just had such high expectations after an awesome time in Zadar that I ruined my own experience in Split. I’d like to give it another chance one day but it’s not a city that I’m dying to return, similar to how I feel about Paris. Some people love it, but it’s not for me.

What about you, did you fall in love with Split? Are there places that people rave about but you found it just isn’t for you?

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Kollecting Koordinates - Split

23 Comments

  1. March 9, 2016 / 10:04 pm

    My mom has been in Split few years back and was equally unimpressed. As a heavy pastry lover, she was disappointed too, also with the food in general. I`ve heard lots of great things about Split, but seems like Zagreb is the place to be in Croatia!

    • Ivy
      March 10, 2016 / 6:28 pm

      Haha I should be travel buddies with your mom! We were only in Zagreb for 2 hours so I can’t comment much, but it was very different from Split. It was so quiet when we went! There was barely anyone on the streets

      • Dan
        June 26, 2017 / 12:58 pm

        Because in July and August the whole of Zagreb are on the coast. Lol.

  2. March 11, 2016 / 1:48 pm

    I’m from Croatia so I totally understand what you meant about Split. It’s not for everyone. People there are known for their behaviour and they especially don’t like people from Zagreb (I’m from Zagreb so I know how rude they can be). But I think it’s very beautiful and if you met friendly people they are REALLY friendly and fun to hang out with! They can be really funny actually 🙂 I’m glad you loved Zadar because I LOVE it aswell ! x

    adventurousmiles.com

    • Ivy
      March 18, 2016 / 4:19 pm

      What do you mean! I’d love to hear it from your perspective, how the people from Split differ from Zagreb. Why is that?

      • Dan
        June 26, 2017 / 1:01 pm

        Zagreb is more central European in Culture whereas Split has the Balkan mentality. They are like Egg shells hard on the outside but when you crack the she’ll they are actually nice and soft on the inside

        • June 30, 2017 / 7:39 pm

          Haha I love that egg metaphor! We were just in Montenegro and Slovenia last month and the interactions we had were drastically different even from town to town even though both countries are quite small. I guess they’re all eggs in that part of the world 🙂

  3. April 18, 2016 / 3:01 am

    This is one more milestone trip seems 🙂 nice photos around 🙂

  4. December 10, 2016 / 8:37 pm

    I was in Split August this year too and really loved it! I know what you mean about the crowds in the old town though, you just need to avoid the busiest time of day I think. I can’t remember trying any pastries, but the local dishes of black cuttle fish risotto, and beef ragu with dumplings were to die for. I’d really recommend giving it another try, maybe hang out by the beaches away from the busy old town? x

    • December 12, 2016 / 10:23 pm

      We’ll be back next May and staying for 2 nights- excited to give it another shot! You had me at black cuttle fish risotto haha, do you remember which restaurant?

      • Dan
        April 2, 2017 / 7:35 am

        I’m from Australia and love Split too. Let me recommend taking an island day trip to Hvar island or the UNESCO town of Trogir. The waterfalls at Krka are amazing, not as good as Plitvice purely because Plitvice are larger but you can swim in them. Also the charming UNESCO town of Sibenik and village of Primosten are on the way there. Primosten also is about to install a 17 metre mosaic statue of the Virgin Mary on the hill top which will be Beautiful . Try to get lost in Split , take the little street no one seems to be walking down and experience it at night

  5. December 19, 2016 / 11:43 am

    I was in a split in August and I felt exactly the same! I enjoyed it because if the people I met there but I found it too busy, and the people rude (I went to a restaurant with a friend in the palace and the server snapped at us every time he spoke and treated us like idiots). I’d just come from Dubrovnik which I absolutely fell in love with, and went to Zadar after which I also loved (unexpectedly like you aha) but Split was just completely different!

    Emily x

    • January 24, 2017 / 5:58 pm

      OMG We had a similar dining experience in Split! The waiter was so rude until it was time to pay. Our lunch experience in Zadar was about the same… even worse actually. Dubrovnik was the only place where the server were nice haha

      • Dan
        June 26, 2017 / 1:06 pm

        The Croatian language is very harsh so when locals speak English it comes across very short and abrupt. Take it with a pinch of salt it’s just the way they talk. They come across arrogant and direct. It’s not their intention however.

  6. February 10, 2017 / 5:47 am

    I am from Croatia as well and fell the same about Split. We have travel company and we dint recommend people to spend a lot of time in Split, we more focus on Zadar. Much better.

    • February 16, 2017 / 6:30 pm

      Agreed! We loved Zadar and thought Split would be even better but we were quite disappointed. Hopefully next time we’ll have a different outlook 🙂

  7. Miki
    July 26, 2017 / 7:33 am

    I “love” when people from “metropola” speak highly of Split…yes, we’re much different than you..thank God for that…you say we are more balkans and you are more “mittleeuropean”…i would rather say that we are more mediteranian; and you more…i don’t know, austro-hungarian…we’re definitly warmer, more sincere, and don’t go around pretending we’re good with everybody…while people in Zagreb only smile when they have some interest of it..i often get pissed off myself by the indifferency and lack of profesionalism that people that work in Split show but i would allways pick our atittude before yours/theirs…don’t get me wrong, i love Zagreb…and i always recommend it to everyone interested in checking out our country…but that’s the difference between us…you will always put some “nice” remark when talking about Split, especially Splitians…and i won’t talk rubbish about my capital town, at least not to foreigners…i myself spent last week with 5 people from Zagreb, hanging out on Dalmatian coast…and enjoyed their company…

    And Ivy, i understand that Split can turn off some people with it’s chaotic mentality and architecture but i think it it our “plus”, not minus…it can be too loud, too hot, too grumpy, too busy…but therefore it’s not sterile, artifical, snobish, pretending to be “larger” than it is (as some other croatian cities are trying to be)…so next time, if you ever give another chance to Split, i recommend that you come in pre or post season if you can,let go of some prejudices, and just wander through its vibrant alleys, check out it’s wider old town (not just the pallace) which consists of interesting pitoresque neighborhoods (like varos, radunica, toc, manus etc), climb up Marjan hill for some touch of mediteranian horticulture and incredible views, pick one of our hidden beaches,visit Mestrovic gallery or some other museum…and if you get more time visit Trogir (another UNESCO gem 30 minutes from Split), Klis fortress, ancient Salona ruins in Solin, Omis with it’s small but beautifull river delta…maybe a day trip to some nearby islands
    (Brac,Solta,Hvar) or Makarska riviera where the Adriatic sea kisses the mountain of Biokovo and where most beautifull beaches in Croatia lay upon…
    I bet that you won’t be disapointed 😉

    • August 1, 2017 / 4:22 pm

      Hi Miki, it’s funny that you mentioned the difference between people from Zagreb vs Split! I had the same conversation with someone in Zabljak comparing themselves to people in other regions in Montenegro… how some are more ‘Balkan’ while others are more ‘Mediterranean’. And yes please we would LOVE to visit Croatia again, any city! We had plans to return to Split earlier in May but they fell through. I would love to go back again in the off/shoulder season and spend more time there as well as the nearby islands. I’m sure I’ll have a completely different outlook 🙂

  8. Craig Lomans
    August 29, 2017 / 3:38 pm

    I’m in split today, I’ve come up from Greece through to Montenegro UpTo split. I’ve found the service here terrible so far and the people have been very cold and rude. I watched one lady roll her eyes as a tourist was trying to sort her change to pay. It’s a shame because a town that is so beautiful will struggle with repeat tourism with so much more of the world up for travel.

    • September 20, 2017 / 3:40 pm

      Yikes, I’m sorry to hear that you’re experiencing the same. I hope that it’s because we both visited in busy season and it’s nothing like that when they’re not swamped with so many people 🙁

  9. banana split
    September 30, 2017 / 12:43 pm

    I’m kind of fed up with tourists complaining how many tourists there are in July/August, being tourists themselves (or are you a “traveller”?, in this case please excuse me!) expecting staff to lick clean your shoes in high season. Why don’t you visit in May or September, give destination more than few hours and at least a bit of research? Croatians are not Italians or Spaniards, so let them have a character of their own. I see no problem in colder approach. We’re not all the same. Plus, I wish you were more detailed about how staff in Konoba Korta was rude to you so we can judge too. Maybe it was just your PMS perspective. Who knows 😉

    • October 3, 2017 / 7:49 pm

      I don’t think any of us expect staff to lick our shoes clean- only the basics, like seating us promptly especially when the restaurant is not busy or giving us a menu when we’re seated. Maybe it’s because I’m used to the service in Vancouver. Even though we get tons of tourists year-round, there’s (usually) no difference in service in the summer.

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