Travel | A Solo YOLO in Split

I travel. I travel A LOT. Around the UK, abroad, I spend my life on public transport and have become quite adept at entertaining myself with my own thoughts. Despite all of this, I've never spent more than one night abroad as a lone female traveller and in 2019 I wanted to correct this. Queue me taking myself off for a solo YOLO to glorious Split, Croatia.



I’ve spent almost a week talking to people, NOT talking to people, reading, walking, eating what I want; when I want and NOBODY laughed at me when I fell into a rockpool (There was something sparkly in it and I wanted to know what it was. It was a shell). I've decided that solo YOLOs are where it’s at. Having the opportunity to just have A Thoroughly Nice Time by myself has been bloody brilliant, so I thought I'd share a few of my favourite Split "things" (Travel bloggers are quaking in their boots here...)


Just before we go any further in this post, I would very much like to apologise for the quality of any images - I spent my holiday having the aforementioned "A Thoroughly Nice Time" rather than taking pictures - This includes of myself so the above rather poor selfie is the best you'll get from me. Without further ado: Split, let me break it down for you.

 Where Did I Stay and what was it like..?
This was always going to be the trickiest part for me. When I go away with other people, I tend to stay in apartments as I like being able to self-cater, particularly with a husband who's a fussy eater and my own personal crisp addiction.  Travelling alone, I was conscious that I didn't want to be entirely isolated and staying in a hotel meant I was guaranteed daily human contact and someone to potentially help when I inevitably injured myself/got lost/inadvertently arrested.
 
Pictures taken from Priska webpage
I stayed at Priska Luxury Rooms, who I found on Booking.comPriska Luxury Rooms are a five minute walk from the promenade, Diocletian's Palace and every single restaurant you could think of. Zara is just around the corner and there's a supermarket across the road for a bottle of wine/crisps. Obvs. 

The layout is unlike anything I've ever experienced; A reception room with 4/5 rooms off it on the same floor, however, he walls and door were thick and I didn't hear a peep out of another person the full time I was there. I stayed in the Deluxe Double Room with balcony and it was absolutely ideal; quiet, clean and oh so comfortable (I honestly don't think I've ever slept that well in my whole life). The bathroom was spotless and featured my old favourite; the power shower.

Sadly the balcony was very much underused due to the disappointing weather but luckily the wifi was excellent which came in handy on my first day when the torrential rain forced me indoors for a few hours. I even managed to watch the penultimate Game Of Thrones which I think we can all agree was very important indeed.
I paid £286 for three nights which is far lower than I'd expected to pay in Split and extremely good value for the overall experience. I'd definitely stay here again, due in part to the team who work there - They're absolutely lovely and nothing was too much. If you're thinking of booking you can use THIS link to get £15 back on your stay with Booking.com.

Where Did I Eat and also, maybe more importantly, drink..? 
I mean, where DIDN’T I eat? I was there for four full days so that means many meals and numerous snackettes. The places I’d thoroughly recommend are as follows: 

        
Olive Tree -  Obala hrvatskog narodnog preporoda 6, Split
Olive Tree is on the main Riva promenade and I must confess that I walked past it quite a few times before sitting down because it looked a bit too fancy for me, then I was like "I'M A FULLY GROWN WOMAN, I GO WHERE I WANT" so sit down I did.
I started off just ordering a cocktail, a Hugo to be more specific (Prosseco, elderflower spritz) because they're my favourites and I was thirsty after a blustery treck along the harbour. Whilst sitting and nosying at my fellow patrons, it was impossible to miss the popularity of the sushi dishes, gently coercing me in an early midday meal of the fresh tuna option which was a whole new level of delicious; You can tell by the fact that my picture has three pieces - The other two were in my stomach by this point...
The service was very nice, add to this luxe furnishings and snazzy aesthetics, it was a really lovely environment to sit and watch the world go by. Olive Tree IS fancy but the prices are good (The upper end of what I personally spent but still not £££) just keep an eye on the drinks; As with everywhere, imported wines are pretty pricey but there are no hidden costs, it's aaaall in the wine list.

Torito Food Bar - Domaldova 2, Split 21000
I went to Torito on my last evening in Split. Down a winding Old Town street, I'd overheard people talking about their fresh fish specials (Not a euphanism). The restaurant is ever so cosy I sat at the bar to eat which usually makes me a bit self-conscious but the barman was an absolute dream and I got chatting about Game Of Thrones (The great leveller) with a lovely American couple so was in my element. 
Determined to have just one more seafood meal before I left, I went for the fresh tuna steak with fried potatoes. Oh Em Gosh, it was DELICIOUS. Washed down with a few Hugos (Yes, obsessed) to the soundtrack of Gipsy Kings, I didn't even get my Kindle out; BLISS.
It's been a long time since I've had a complimentary aperitif but I was given an aniseed grappa which finished the night of beautifully.Price-wise the meal and drinks were exactly what I would have expected to pay for such a fab night - I can't recommend highly enough.

Bucanero - Carrarina Poljana 1, Split 21000, Croatia
I don't actually think this place was still called Bucanero but I can't for the life of me find what it WAS called so ignore Trip Advisor, I'm guessing new management! In the footings of the Diocletian palace, I sat in Bucanero for HOURS with a never ending glass of Chardonnay and the biggest tuna salad I have EVER seen and watched beautiful pizza after beautiful pizza go past. The service was absolutely incredible and the atmosphere was chilled as heck. The solo travellers dream.



Marvlvs Library Jazz Bar -  Papaliceva 4, Split 21000
This place is my dream bar/library/jazz club. With two bars and a central outdoor area for the casual cigar smoker, Marvlvs is the very definition of chill. When I arrived they were celebrating what would have been B.B.King's 94th birthday in the front bar with back-to-back live sessions on the big screen. I had a couple of glasses of wine before heading out for tea (They do cheese and meat platters but I had the hankering for pizza) then returned to the back bar later in the evening for rum and a couple of hours of people watching to the perfect soundtrack of Vince Guaraldi Trio, Duke Ellington et al.
The bar and management team are delightful and, if I wasn't concerned about walking back hammered, I'd have happily stayed there with my kindle and a tumbler of Diplomatico Reserva until they closed at 1am. Of all the bars I went to, I really hope to go back to Marvlvs in the future - I wish every city had a venue like this. 

Other highlights include Smoked salmon and poached egg at Congo on the promenade, wine and olives at Regina wine bar and numerous pastries at the various bakeries and cafe's around the city. Finally, and maybe most crucially, the ice cream in Split is Out. Of. This, World. My mild intolerance to lactose meant that I only had one, but in opting for white chocolate and Nutella meant I REALLY made it count.

What Did I Do..?
I'd really like to start by saying that Split is beautiful. Like REALLY beautiful. It's some next level sh*t and I fell in love immediately. I went with very few preconceived notions beyond assuming it would be warm. Days one to two were NOT warm. In fact, was told numerous times that this is the coldest May they've had in memory. Day one it bucketed it down. All. Day. The streets were rivers and I was a very cold soggy boat. In an ill-planned denim jacket. This wasn't such a bad thing though, as you'll find out later. 
I trekked for miles each day that I was there, it's an easy terrain (Bear Grylls here) and there are so many places to stop and have a sit/ice cream/wine/several Hugos. I saw a lot of people with mobility issues getting about with relative ease as so much of the town is either flat or on a gradual incline and you can entirely avoid steps for most of the time but, as with most MEGA old places, the more historical sites, although accessible from a distance, would bring problems if you wanted to get up close (This site has some really useful info if you're interested more re mobility). 
My biggest tip for things to do really is just meander (Or "get lost" as I go onto later) and stop when something takes your fancy. I've made a list of a few of the places I particularly enjoyed below:

If you're a Game of Thrones buff you will recognise SO much of this building (I'm not going to spoiler it because it was really exciting going through doors and being like OMG WHERE IS DAENERYS?!?!) and if you're not, it's just an incredibly cool place to be.
This sounds like such a silly thing to say BUT, the lighting is just incredible. It's so simple, no nonsense which allows you to just marvel at the architecture and sheer breadth of the palace. I felt really quite moved, I think possibly because I was entirely by myself at times and the silence took on a whole new meaning. You're really made to feel the years and history of the place. I was in DEEP my friends, I had to have a long sit down afterwards. 

When I asked for recommendations for Split, Hvar was the place that people mentioned the most (Not strictly speaking Split but close enough!) so I hopped on a ferry and travelled the hour to beautiful island of Hvar.
Whilst there, I sat on some rocks with my feet in the water (This is where I fell), I ate a VERY nice chocolate and coconut pastry. I had a glass of wine and I walked and walked and walked. My confession that I must share for it is laying heavy on my mind is that I only spent two hours on Hvar. Due to the ferry timetable, it was either two or seven and the rain clouds were beginning to look prrrrretty ominous so it seemed I was hopping back on the ferry and home again before I knew it. 
The ferry is about £11 each way and a lot of people travel to Split to subsequently stay in Hvar so it's easily enough accessed. Next time I'm over (And there WILL be a next time) I plan to stay in Hvar overnight to get a bit more out of the island. 

The Peristyle is the centra; square of the Diocletian Palace and is open to the public at all times. With beautiful architecture and live shows, it's the real social hub of Split.
During the day, you can sit with a coffee and pastry and just watch the world go by, however, the evening is where it comes into its own for me.
On my fist night, I sat with a (hugely expensive but really big) glass of wine from the Lvxor cafe and watched two men play the Beatles on acoustic guitars whilst people would get up and dance in the square. There are cushions set out for the cafe's customers and blankets on request. It was absolutely lovely, everyone young and old alike was in a fantastic mood and, despite the cold, it was one of the highlights of my trip. 
Froggyland is the silliest place I have EVER been and I've been to some very silly places. I don't know how to explain it other than saying that you're not allowed to enter drunk and I'm pretty sure that's entirely for your own wellbeing because I'd only had two glasses of wine and I felt like I was off my head. You can't take any pictures and I'm certain that if you did your phone would become cursed and set fire to your house because it is the weirdest exhibition on this whole entire planet. Go. Just go. Tell me what you think. Gosh I hope it exists and it wasn't just a cheese dream...

   What Did I Pack..?
The simple answer to this question is: Basically all of the wrong stuff.
The rain was REALLY bad. Some may say biblical. I almost took an anorak with me but I didn't and that was very much my first and most damning mistake. 

\
I spent the whole time in either the jumpsuit I'd taken to travel in, or a variety of leopard print midi skirts with t-shirts or jumpers and ALWAYS my very wet denim jacket and even wetter Converse hi-tops. I genuinely have a cold now and it is entirely my own fault. SO don't listen to what I packed - Make your own, much wiser, decisions.  

Top Tips For Split
Get Lost
Literally, spend a day getting lost amongst Split's tiny winding streets. This is pretty much all I did for three days and there were still new twists and turns every time I headed out. As much as I now almost certainly have pneumonia, I'm extremely grateful for the first day of torrential rain because it meant the streets were pretty much empty. At times there was just me as far as I could see and it was absolutely magic.
Don't make travel assumptions 
I'm lucky that I'm a bit of a travel double-checker by nature because every train, bus and boat I got on was well off from any online timetable this week. There are changes afoot with a lot of the transportation from and too Split (20 minute catamaran to the airport from the 20th May!) but, as with ANYWHERE, don't make any assumptions. 
Take time and look 
There are SO many incredible photo opportunities in Split and I watched person after person viewing the whole experience through their camera screen. This is not me judging in the slightest, flipping heck, I spend my whole life on insta BUT leaving my camera at home and keeping my phone in my bag did me the world of good this holiday. There are enough amazing pictures on the internet without me adding to it - I'd rather talk people through my experience.


I've really, really enjoyed writing this post, if for no other reason than it will be marvellous to read back in years to come and remember the truly fabulous time I had. Also, now I've written it, I can just send a link to anyone who asked what kind of time I had and continue to enjoy my new life of solitude. At least until my husband gets back...
Em x