Don’t: expect most businesses & restaurants to accept euros or credit/debit cars
Do: exchange cash at the airport or withdraw money from ATMs
In Split, many businesses take cards but many also do not. Likewise, despite the fact that Croatia is in the European Union, the official currency is still the Croatian Kuna (HRK.) Although some businesses and tour operators accept euros, ALL accept the kuna so it’s wise to obtain some of this currency.
You can exchange dollars for kunas at the airport, but expect to lose some money in the process due to the fees that airport kiosks charge. Surprisingly, exchanging money at the airport yielded a better exchange rate than doing so at the bank in town. If you don’t have any cash, you can get money at the ATM. I found this to be the best method as the exchange rate was fairer than at an airport kiosk or via the bank.
Don’t: book the first tours you find
Do: shop around for prices from multiple operators
Split is a BOOMING tourist city so there are a lot of tour operators. These operators set prices that range within 20 or so dollars from each other, so it’s best to shop around for the best prices. I recommend Splitlicious as they have excellent customer service and some of the best prices in the city. Pro tip: if you go to their office and pay in kunas, they’ll give you a small discount.
Don’t: stay in a hotel unless you want to burn money
Do: stay in an apartment or Airbnb close to the Riva or Diocletian Palace
Split is all about apartments and bnbs. The hotels there are typically near the beach, which means not only far from the action, but also super freaking expensive. My friend and I paid 140 euros for 3 nights in an apartment located a few steps away from the Riva. Our host Bruna was hilarious and kind. She even helped me get a broken lock off of my backpack. If you’ve never used Airbnb, use this link to get $40 off of your next booking. I used Booking.com and stayed at Central City Bruna. Use this link to get $20 off of your next reservation on Booking.com.
Don’t: walk around Marjan Hill
Do: take a Segway tour around Marjan Hill
Marjan Hill is a must-see destination in Split. It sits at the top of the city and is surrounded by residential neighborhoods. It was declared a park in 1964 and has been considered a protected part of Split ever since. The locals use the park to walk, run, bike, play basketball, and even go for dips in the Adriatic Sea. Walking the entire park takes about 4-5 hours (#hellnaw) while a Segway tour only takes 90minutes.
I recommend Segway Split; my group had an amazing time with Ivan and Boris as our guides. They gave us a lot of information about the history of Split and Croatia and also led us to the most beautiful spots on the hill. The Split Special Tour only costs 400 kunas (~$61) per person and I absolutely recommend it.
Don’t: expect a lot of sand
Do: embrace the pebble beaches of the Adriatic Sea!
This ain’t the Caribbean! There are a few sand beaches in Split, but most of the beaches are pebble beaches. The same thing goes for many of the nearby islands. Even Stiniva, named Europe’s most beautiful beach by European Best Destinations in 2016, is a pebble beach. Before my visit, I had never been on a non-sand beach but I quickly learned to embrace this new discovery.
Warning: the pebbles can be very slippery. I definitely lost my balance a few times (and fell) trying to stand up in the water. I recommend wearing waterproof shoes or Tevas in the water to avoid slipping.
Don’t: expect to find restaurants open past midnight
Do: enjoy the healthy, nutritious foods offered earlier in the day
Jet lag caused me to sleep at the oddest hours. One day I woke up slightly after midnight, hungry as hell. I ventured out for some food and even though many restaurants were open, every single kitchen was closed. Split doesn’t have (much, if any) fast food in the city center; my only option was a little pizza/sandwich shop that was still open. It was the type of place that has food sitting out all day and is reheated upon purchase. I typically would not eat there but beggars can’t be choosers so I got a slice of pizza for 14 kunas (~$2.) Aside from that, the food in Split is delicious and affordable. I enjoyed drinking fresh squeezed orange juice every day from the juice bars and knowing that the ingredients in my meals were fresh.
OTHER IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT SPLIT, CROATIA:
Currency: Croatian Kuna (HRK)
Time zone: GMT +2 (6 hours after EST)
Where to eat:
- Konoba Marjan – delicious and cheap breakfast, seafood, and pasta
- Zinfandel – wine lovers, this is for you! They have HUNDREDS for wines and delicious food
- Toto Burger Bar – yummy, fresh burgers and fries
- Juice Bars – various locations all over Split
You now have the inside scoop on Split, Croatia. Enjoy your vacation!