October 25, 2017 – Travel information and advice for the wheelchair traveller can be hard to find in Croatia. An invaluable piece, with plenty of practical tips, from a Danish expat living in Split after the recent visit of her wheelchair-dependent father.
My dad is in a wheelchair, and after spending hours planning my parents trip to visit me in Split (I’m a Danish expat living here for the last year), I realised that there is close to nothing when it comes to information about seeing Split from a wheelchair.
So after their last visit, I wrote this blog to a Danish webpage, but thought others with the same planning problems as me, could find it useful.
I attached the blog in English (bear in mind I’m Danish, so can’t guarantee it’s perfect grammar-wise), if you like it, use it, if not the trash folder is close by, no hard feelings 🙂
Kind regards Kikki
Visiting Split in a wheelchair
In every country or city, I’ve decided to live in, one thing has always been for sure – my parents would be the first to visit. With my dad being in a wheelchair, planning these trips has sometimes not been easy, and Split has shown itself to be the city I’ve lived in with the least information about travelling with a wheelchair. Most articles are more than 6 years old, information websites are not working and most museums have no information about wheelchair accessibility.
The most information you can get is about the beaches, like Bene beach that are perfectly wheelchair friendly, but what if you travel outside the season or don’t like to swim (we are a rare race but we do exist)
Well here is how we spend 6 days in Split and surroundings travelling with a wheelchair.
First of all, not all of beautiful Split and surroundings are wheelchair friendly, so you might need to think a bit outside the box. But what Split (and Croatia) lacks in wheelchair friendly museums, sightseeing and simply installing elevators, they make up for in friendly people, who are more than willing to help you, often without even having to ask.
Day 1: Old Town
The old town is basically wheelchair heaven. The old streets or more or less completely flat, and though some streets are narrow, they are easily accessible.
Yes, there are stairs and steps in some places, but often there is a way around them.
Want to see the basement of the palace? Take the entrance from Riva. Fancy shopping at the fruit market? Go around old town. Want to have dinner at Portofino, the (while typing this) number one restaurant in Split on Tripadvisor? Don’t go by Peristil, but take the street next to Splitska Banka, do two right turns and you are there. Stair free!
Allow yourself just to wander around, not only is this the best way to see old town, but you will quickly find a lot of short cuts leading to places otherwise a bit inaccessible.
Day 2: Marjan Park and Gallery Mestrovic
The wonderful Marjan Park is basically a wheelchair heaven, barely any cars and nice roads. Just take the entrance from Mandalinski Put, as this road here mostly flat and easy to ride on.
One note: If you are walking from old town to Marjan, walk on the right side of the road. The crossing on the right side near the tunnel, has really high curbs and no slide, where on the left side there is no problem.
Many museums in Split are a bit tricky for the two wheeler, and most places don’t have a webpage with any valid information regarding visiting with a wheelchair. But that doesn’t mean you can’t visit them, just check in advance. Gallery Mestrovic, with their millions of stairs, has a wheelchair lift. Just tell them a day in advance that they are coming and they will have it ready for you.
Day 3: Trogir
Trogir is like Split with basically flat streets, but Trogir is covered in uneven pavestones which can make it a bit tricky to push the wheelchair around, and also really uncomfortable for the person in the wheelchair. Trogir Riva on the other hand is perfect for a wheelchair.
We had an amazing lunch at Don Dino where the staff where absolutely helpful in removing chairs and other obstacles, to make it easy to get the wheelchair to the table.
Day 4: Brač
When ordering a ticket to the car ferry to Brač, you have the options to tick off a “need boarding assistance” box, which leaves a little wheelchair icon on the ticket, allowing the Jardolinija staff to know that assistance is needed (if the wheelchair itself isn’t clue enough).
The cars on the ferries get packed pretty close, so if the wheelchair is in the car, you might have a problem getting it out after driving on board. To make sure this didn’t happen, we unloaded the wheelchair while waiting in line and my parents walked on board while I drove the car.
The procedure for getting my dad and his wheelchair up to the restaurant level was spotless, and when we arrived in Supetar the very friendly staff were ready to help him downstairs again.
I must admit I was a little nervous of the whole wheelchair on a ferry thing, but not anymore. Next time they visit, Hvar is on the list!
Day 5: Salona
I love Salona, not only are the old ruins amazing, but it’s so nice and quiet there, even in high season.
Park the car close to the main entrance and from there Salona is easy to get around in. The paths are gravel paths, but really not difficult for the wheelchair to drive on.
You unfortunately can’t get all the way down to the ruins (expect if you are up for a bit of an adventure/experiment), but you can see them from above, which is just as amazing. Getting to the Amphitheatre is a bit tricky, the easiest and problem free way, is simply to drive there with the car after visiting the main ruins. Google maps will be your friend.
Day 6: National Park Krka
Outside season Krka is much more wheelchair friendly, as you can drive all the way down in your own car from Lozovac. And though there are some steps on some of the wooden tracks, there is always a way around.
In season you’ll have to take the bus down, which was not an option for us. Therefore we took the boat from Skradin into the park.
The boats are small, the gangway narrow and the whole thing can be a bit terrifying for an outsider to watch, so do yourself a favour and just let the amazing Krka staff help with the wheelchair.
When pushing my dad up, they quickly realised the wheelchair was too wide to actually get through the boat entrance, and while I was getting ready to get a panic attack they called for Mario (my new Krka superhero) and then simply lifted the wheelchair on board.
After visiting Skradin Buk, we drove to Roški Slap and here there were no issues at all getting around.
Nature is not always wheelchair friendly and Krka is not an exception. Unfortunately, not all of the park is accessible by wheelchair, and Krka’s website doesn’t offer much information on getting around with a wheelchair, so before the visit email or call them, they are very helpful and makes the planning much easier.
Just as much as I love living in Split, by parents love to visit me. And though it’s not always easy, where there is a will there is a way. Check with the different places in advance, everyone is really helpful and will answer quickly, and so far my only experience is that everyone here will do whatever they can, to make a wheelchair vacation in Split a successful one!