Split has many nice views, but sitting anywhere on the south slopes on Marjan gives an oportunity for some real spectacles. Depending on the weather, just an easy hike brings a view that sometimes reaches most of the islands in front of Split, as far as Vis. This, the proximity of park-forest Marjan, just an easy walk to the city center, and the sheer luxury of villas based there, makes the southwest side of Split peninsula a really interesting choice as a vacation base.
These area is divided into few neighbourhoods, locally known as Meje (pron. Maeyae), Zvončac (Zvonchats), and simply Marjan (Maryan). It includes also the area around ACI marina with the newly renovated Western seaside promenade, and former cemetery, now park Sustipan.
As a place to stay, southern Marjan offers not so many possibilities as the old town or Varoš, but it’s possible to find a range, from rooms to luxury villas in the residential area. a random search over AirBnB.com for early June gives about 60 facilities, but there are even more not listed. Unlike previously described neighbourhoods, this area is car-friendly, with a lot of places to park right in front of your accommodation, usually with a private parking space. It’s easily accessible through Marjan tunnel, but our suggestion would be to leave your car there when going sightseeing, because it’s not so easy to find a parking spot in the old town. Unfortunately, there are no hotels around. A few of them might be opened in the future, but right now Marjan Hilton is still under construction, as well as Ambasador, and the former residence of late Yugoslav president Josip Broz Tito was never returned into its original hotel assignation, being still a state-owned residence.
Restaurants are also rare, except for a few in and around the marina, one of the recent additions is very well received Zrno soli (Grain of Salt). It is also the same story with cafés, there are no many of them, but sipping coffee on a West Riva (locally Zapadna obala) is a nice experience, another great view on Split and surrounding mountains. Check out the plaques laid on West Riva, they mark all Split-native Olympic medal bearers.
Marjan itself doesn’t give a lot of café oportunities, it’s dedicated to different sorts of enjoyment, hiking, rock-climbing, biking, sightseeing, etc. The same kind of nature-bound enjoying provides park Sustipan, just above marina, once a cemetery and coronation site for old Croatian kings. One of the most attractive features are beaches around Marjan – the sea is everywhere very clean, and the most popular beaches like Kaštelet, Ježinac or Bene have nice cafés.
Don’t expect much nightlife, this is another residential area, but whenever the weather is fine, West Riva will be packed with by-walkers, and those just enjoying sitting by the sea. Of course, as with Varoš – other, more party friendly areas are easily reachable.
Most tourists believe that there is not so much to see outside of the old town, but south Marjan has a few excellent museum experiences. The best known Split museum, Ivan Meštrović Gallery dedicated to the most famous Croatian sculptor is based there, as well as the adjacent Crikvine Kaštilac, also once owned by Meštrović.
A little bit closer to a city, lies Museum of Croatian Archeological Monuments, with early medieval treasures. Unfortunatelly, its permanent collection is in preparation, but the museum is worth visiting. This area is also a good staring point for a tour of Marjan churches.
Downsides of south Marjan is not so good public transportation connections with the city center. We have already said that it’s not a very good idea to drive to the old town, so walking is probably the best option. It’s an easy half-an-hour walk from Meštrović Gallery to Riva. Even though some parts of this area are pretty dark in the night, and Marjan forest is so close, it’s pretty safe.
To be continued
PREVIOUSLY IN WHERE TO STAY IN SPLIT
Choose Neighbourhood By Your Needs
City Within The Imperial Palace