A Croatian Conundrum: Split or Dubrovnik?

If you know anyone who has a passion for travel, then they will no doubt be able to tell you all about beautiful Croatia. It’s ever growing in popularity as people in the know flock to discover the history laden cities, island flecked coastline and lush interior filled with simple villages and gorgeous scenery. Those that decide to travel here however often face one very difficult conundrum…which city to visit; Split in the north or Dubrovnik in the south?


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Boasting a fantastic Mediterranean setting with palm trees fringing the promenade, the city of Split is a firm favourite with its captivating blend of old and new. It has a very long history indeed, yet it has an air of sassiness about it that you don’t really find elsewhere. Diocletian’s Palace is much of the reason for this; it was built as the Emperor Diocletian’s retirement home in 305AD. It positively drips with history, but it’s also the hub of the city’s Old Town, where its walls are filled with shops, restaurants and bars and when darkness comes around, shadowed corners light up with the appearance of bustling bars.

The glistening coastline and some of Croatia’s many islands are well within reach from the city and it’s prominence to the coastline makes for gluttony of delicious fresh seafood.  The beaches are great too with both Bacvice Beach to the east and Kasuni Beach to the west within easy distance from the city. Marjan Hill stands guard over the city offering a fantastic, moderate hike if you want to escape the streets for a while (highly recommended for the fantastic views over the city!) plus you can also visit Split Zoo.

One of the deciding factors for some however will be the city’s proximity to the famous Plitvice Lakes National Park. Car hire from Split Airport is a quick and easy way to get there, with the journey taking just 3 hours by car. The breath taking waterfalls and lakes are some of the world’s best and genuinely unmissable during a stay in the city.

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Affectionately nicknamed the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’, Dubrovnik is definitely a refined beauty. Stunning in fact! Enclosed within the famous city walls, all of Dubrovnik’s secrets are well hidden with just the red roofs of the buildings poking into view. The white marbled buildings built in fish bone formation with plenty of mysterious alleyways and half visible staircases all add to the enchantment on the place, and evoke an Italian-esque feel to the city.

There’s plenty to see and do, with, of course, a tour of the city walls to enjoy, and numerous other historical sites to visit such as the Franciscan Monastery and a 700 year old pharmacy that is still open. In contrast there’s a very modern 5D experience to visit giving you a full run down of Dubrovnik’s history.  The bustling harbour offers boat rides to the nearby Lokrum Island as well as further afield, a small aquarium offers a respite from the sun and the cable car above offers excellent bird’s eye views of the sea of red roofs.

Nestled in the south of the country, Dubrovnik isn’t far from a border shared with Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina and day trips to visit the walled cities of Kotor and Budva will definitely enhance your time here.

So with history, beaches close to the city, a great atmosphere, attractions to visit during the day and plenty going on in the evening, not to mention enjoyable day trips, you can see why visitors have such a hard time deciding which city to visit. Don’t um and ah any longer though, why not just visit both; problem solved!

Kerri Ware writes for Economy Car Hire, a broker offering car hire across Croatia and further afield!