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Hiking in Split, Croatia - from historic alleys to cool baths!

18 April 2024

The popular port city of Split in southern Croatia is often seen as the gateway to the Adriatic archipelago. You can take all kinds of boats from here to Hvar, Vis, Korcula islands and more.Most people travelling to Split come here either to go further out to sea or to experience thecity's history. There are sailing boats and guided city tours galore

Hiking in Marjan National Park

But many visitors miss the Marjan peninsula and nature reserve, which connects Split's old town with stunning beaches and marvellous views. So, when we visited Split and had an afternoon to explore, we laced up our hiking boots and headed for the highest peak, Telegrin, and on to a well-earned swim at Kasjuni Beach. We were not disappointed!

We did this hike in mid-September, one of the hottest months in Split. So be sure to check before the hike for any fire risk in the area!Getting here: The bus stops just outside the old town. You can pay by card on board, which is about €2 per person. Check the timetable! You can also use Bolt or Uber, but not a regular taxi ,as you may get ripped off.

From Riva to 300 steps

The quayside and promenade in the centre of Split is called the Riva. Visitors stroll among restaurants, cafes, and ice cream parlours under the palm trees. From the Riva, it's a 10-minutewalk to the start of the hike up the ridge that is the centre of the Marjan Peninsula.

We are now at the foot of a winding staircase of 300 steps. Did we count? No, we quickly forgot when we stopped at the Teraca Vidilica restaurant to enjoy the view. Below us, Split's harbour is spread out with sailboats, cruise ship sand fishing boats. The sea sparkled and sweat beaded—a quick hydration break and then with determined strides towards the top of the park's highest peak

Amphitheatre in the shade of pine trees

After a sweltering and windy half hour, we were slightly dizzy from trying to count steps and find our way up in the heat. Marjan is covered by a substantial network of trails and footpaths that you can mix and match for your hike—very explorer-friendly!

We finally reached a plateau, which we guessed was called Prvi Vrh. Up here, huge pine trees grew under which we found shade while the breeze from the sea blew delightfully. We discovered a mini zoo that was closed for the season, a large playground where some children threw themselves joyfully back and forth, and a miniature amphitheatre. It would have been cool to organise a conference session here! Imagine walking up and sitting down at this place for a workshop or a lecture. It's much nicer than a grey conference hall!

Telegrin Peak

A real bonus on this hike is that there are several water fountains from which to refill bottles, and here, in the shade of the pine trees, we found one and refilled our bottles. Now, it was time for the last climb towards Telegrin Peak. It flattened out but still went up. We met some Asians with glittery fanny packs and designer sneakers and cheered happily. Why not be dressed ready to stumble onto the catwalk while hiking!

The last climb was a few steps up to an old castle. Up here, a huge Croatian flag flew next to an equally large white cross—two landmarks that can be seen from almost the entire archipelago.From our position, we looked in all directions: out over the sea in the south, towards the mountains in the north, and down towards Split in the east. We collect views, and this does not disappoint.

A little trivia about the cross up here is that it was taken down during the Second World War to make it more challenging to identify this site from the air and thus reduce the risk of air raids.

But now, the journey of discovery towards a bath began. We crossed a car park, jumped out of the way of a cyclist who seemed set on a speed record, and found a new water fountain to stick our heads under to cool off and once again refill our bottles. They hold 1 liter each, but in the heat, the water ran out.

Umberto Giromettas moument

With the help of Fatmaps, we developed a suggested path down to Kajsuni Beach via what looked like a very small church on the rock face. The path we followed was undulating, and suddenly, a statue appeared. It is Professor Humbert's monument.

Born in Split, Umberto Girometta was a science teacher, mountaineer, geologist, zoologist, and photographer. The path we walked on is named after him. It was an unexpected encounter with history along our walk; we really love it when we stumble upon something that deepens our knowledge of a place.

Church of St Jerome

We came out in a broader path with steep rock walls on our right, ideal for climbing. Again, we almost stumbled upon one of Marjan's many opportunities for adventure—a climbing paradise in the perfect location for climbing in the sunshine. Here, you want to have finished climbing before lunch; otherwise, it will be hot. Looking up the mountain wall, there were many climbing routes to choose from, and quite a few of them were bolted, perfect for lead climbing.

More info and drivers here: Driver; Marjan, Split from TheCrag.com

As we walked there and pointed out differentclimbing routes, we saw the Church of St Jerome. It was a tiny church right next to the mountain wall with a steep staircase up to a temple carvedinto the rock. According to legend, St Jerome was the protector of the coastline around Split, known as Dalmatia. He lived and worked at the church and cave.

It is not the only church or ruin we pass during the hike. Several small churches, sacred sites,a nd remains from different eras and conditions are scattered across the Marjan Peninsula

Finally, a cool bath!

After breathing in the shade at St Jerome, we set our sights on Kasjuni Beach. This is the place to swim! It almost felt like our legs rolled faster down the trails as a cool swim loomed. We made our way down wider and narrower paths, cheering on a farmer herding some goats and a hippielady who seemed to be meditating at another small ruin. You never know who you will meet ona hike, but everyone is welcome. That's the beauty of hiking!

The last few steps were a bit of a stretch, and we got out of our sweaty and dusty clothes in record time. We threw ourselves into the marvellous Adriatic Sea with happy squeals, and our joyful cries made some sun worshippers wring their necks. Lying on our backs and bobbing in the waves after this ordeal felt well-deserved.

Taking the bus back to find gelato

Getting back: The bus stop for the return journey

After swimming, sharing the last of our food, and even enjoying a cool drink from one of the beach bars, we walk up to the road where the local bus goes back to the centre of Split. We're not alone on the bus, as many Split residents head to Kasjuni Beach after school and work. But we would rather crowd with locals than confused tourists, and even though it's our first time here, we somehow radiate that we are guides because suddenly someone asks if we know how the bus works. And, of course, we do...

Once back, our only goal is to get gelato, and Split does not disappoint. With influences fromItaly, you can find gelato that will make your taste buds dance. Cooled off and pleasantly tired, we trudged back to our Airbnb apartment to round off the day with a simple dinner at sunset with a good book. Reading is also travelling

Some extra tips from us!

Have a simple dinner in a cosy courtyard: Galerija Food
Good coffee: Tinel Specialty Coffee Shop - Split OR D16 Coffee
Good food and drink in one of the central squares of the old town: Bepa! Gelatories are plentiful!

Packing suggestions

  • Double water bottles - one with water and one with fluid replacement.

  • Snacks such as fruit, nuts, and bars.

  • Sunscreen - at least factor 30 and apply it 30 minutes before hiking—a good rule of thumb.

  • Sunglasses and cap/sun hat.

  • Comfortable, lightweight hiking shoes.

  • Thin layers of breathable clothing.

  • Mobile phone with FATMAP link downloaded so you can access it if the internet is slow.

  • Swimwear and a travel towel so you can dive into the cool Mediterranean Sea!

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