Cafe Road Split: Authentic Cafes Loved by Locals

Total Croatia News

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Image: Toni Petričić
Image: Toni Petričić

As you already may know, drinking coffee is a very special ritual in Croatia and even more in the Dalmatia region. Going to a cafe to have a cup of coffee is an important part of a day in Dalmatia, and we use this ritual to read the news, meet friends, have meetings, and much more than that. If the time spent drinking coffee could be measured, we would probably be at the very top. We drink coffee on many different occasions, and it usually lasts much more than the time needed for actually drinking the coffee. We will never drink coffee while standing or “on the go”. In the Croatian language, there is one word for both a cafe and a bar or a pub and it is “kafić” or “kavana”, and this is not a coincidence. When we invite someone to grab a coffee with us, we are referring to a drink and not specifically to coffee, it could easily mean that we will grab a beer or any other drink. Therefore, I will use the word cafe as a synonym for both cafe and bar.

“Splićani” aka inhabitants of Split, adore drinking coffee and beer, almost every “Splićo” has their favorite place to drink coffee/beer. Even more than that, every “Splićo” probably has a particular cafe for different situations, such as going into the city center, when going to the sea, when watching a game, and usually one that he considers his “kvartovski” hood cafe. A hood cafe is somewhere close to his home, which “Splićo” uses as his other living room (“tinel”). Cafes in Split are urban meeting points, where various people gather and you can hear all sorts of different stories.

In this article, I will try to mention some cafes that are unique, authentic, and which have a long tradition in this beautiful pearl on the Adriatic coast. It is really difficult to choose the most authentic cafes in Split, and this list will probably be very subjective, and there is a high probability I will not include some cafes that probably should be on this list, so I apologize in advance.

  • Bellevue

Kavana Bellevue is located at the bottom of Split’s biggest town square Prokurative and is a part of the Hotel Bellevue. The cafe and Hotel were established 120 years ago. The long tradition, antique interior, and great location are some of the reasons why this cafe has a tremendous reputation among Split citizens. Bellevue is french for a beautiful view which this cafe certainly does include. Bellevue also appeared in the famous Split tv show “Velo Misto”.


  • Basket

Basket was opened in 1973, and it is one of the most unique cafes in Split. It was opened by Josip Gracin and today it is run by his son Tomislav. It is located in the Ulica Domovinskog rata 42. Depending on when you come to Basket you will find two different forms of this beautiful place. In the morning and around lunch it is a perfect cafe to grab a coffee or do some work and it is usually not very crowded. In the evening, it is a different story, you will probably have trouble finding a spot and especially in their booths which are everyone’s favorite spot. What is more, music is a great advantage of this place, especially if you know that the owner Tomislav is a musician. Music is also different in the first part of the day and then it changes as the day goes by accompanied by sporadic live performances.


  • La Linea

La Linea is one of the oldest pubs in town. Split citizens still call it by its old name Taverna.  It is located behind the old city hall (Stara Gradska Vjećnica) near the city square Pjaca. It is a great spot for both morning coffee and an evening drink.La_Linea.jpg

  • Ave

Ave is located inside Diocletian’s Palace at Rodrigina Ulica 4. It got its name after a famous roman salutation. It is run by the Matijašević family. It was first opened as a whiskey bar in 1989, then it was an apartment for a short period and in 2019 it was returned to its former glory. This cafe has a great choice of music, a cool interior and at the back of the place, there is an astonishing arch that will take you back to ancient times.   



  • ST Riva

There are numerous cafes on the Split Riva, but this one is special. ST Riva has a small and very narrow terrace which is located just above Split Riva. From their terrace, which is the soul of this place, you can enjoy a view over the Riva and Split Harbour. Locals adore this place, but it is not always easy to find a spot so be prepared. 



  • Zalogajnica Dioklecijan

Zalogajnica Dioklecijan, otherwise known as Tri Volta, is one of the oldest taverns in the city center and even more in the Diocletian Palace. At Tri Volta, you can find local delicacies such as “pršut” and “bakalar” among many others. What is more, you can also come there for an evening drink such as beer or local wine as well as morning coffee. The place is filled with locals and it has a distinctive charm that is very rare to find in the center of Diocletian’s Palace.


  • Vidilica

Vidilica is located corner of Marjan, just above the famous split neighborhood “Varoš”. It has the best view of all of the cafes on this list. From there you can see the panorama of the whole city and the surrounding islands. It is at the very start of the Marjan hill so after grabbing a coffee you can also take a stroll and enjoy nature. 


  • Žbirac

Žbirac is the most famous cafe on Bačvice beach. It is has a great view of the Bačvice beach and you can grab a drink there before going for a game of “picigin”. This place has also a great advantage in that it is in the sun most of the day which is a very important factor to every “Splićo”.


  • Academia Club Ghetto

Ghetto is located in the city center and even more importantly in Diocletian’s Palace. It is a very authentic place, it has two floors and is quite modern but rarely seen interior design. What is more, it has a large garden and is often a host for many different artists and performers.  It is hard to describe the atmosphere that this cafe offers, but to keep it short they emphasize alternativeness, freedom of thought, and hospitality for everyone.


  • Teak

Teak is a long-standing cafe in the city center. It is located near the Silver Gate entrance of Diocletian’s Palace. It has an outside terrace as well an indoor place with a subterranean level which is quite a refreshment in the summer months. As they are situated right on the northern walls of Diocletian’s Palace, their interior will astonish you with elements from the original Palace. 


  • Talog

Talog is the cafe located inside the Croatian National Theater building (HNK). It can be reached by entering HNK’s back entrance. It is home for all the artists that work in the theater as well as outside guests that know about this hidden cafe. Talog.jpg

  • Street

Street cafe bar is one of those hood cafes which was established in 1994. It has a small garden in front of it which is a great place to drink coffee in Spring and Summer. On a building near the cafe, you can see graffiti with a girl on roller skates which is an advertisement for the same cafe.


  • Splash

Splash is a cafe located near the city park “Đardin” and at the corner of the Diocletian Palace. The main thing that characterizes this place is the love of metal music and you will figure that one the moment you step in. It is always filled with locals and the atmosphere is never dull. 


Countries often have cheese roads, wine roads, and many different forms of tourism paths that connect some gastronomical offers. Given the number and diversity of cafes in Split, we could probably design a cafe road

The Split catering scene has completely changed with the touristic boom that occurred in the last decade or so. There are numerous new cafes and bars, but these are usually avoided by locals. The point of this article is to spread the word about authentic cafés that are still predominately visited by locals and which work the whole year-round.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.


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