Hotel Luxe manager, Josif, filled our heads with incredible excursions easily accessible right outside of Split. However, there wouldn’t be enough time to include them all. Out of all his recommendations, Hvar was the only one we could fit it without running around like loonies. Hotel Luxe did offer six unique private tours, all too expensive for our budget.
- One went to Solta, the island of olives, wine and honey and a 45-minute ferry from Split. Tour with the owner of a third-generation honey farm and visit ancient groves and mill of one of Croatia’s award-winning olive oil producers, followed by a home-cooked lunch with wine. Didn’t it sound wonderful?
Of course, you can visit limestone Solta Island by yourself, usually the first port of call for yachts with its 24 bays. Solta has a population of 1,500 people who live by fishing, olive growing, farming, wine production, fruit growing and tourism. Solta Island produces one of the best Rosemary Honey in Europe.
- Visit Marco Polo’s Island of Korcula by catamaran. One boat leaves each day from Split via Hvar. It is alleged that Marco Polo was born in Korcula. Whether or not this is true, Korcula touts his house of birth that is going to be turned into Museum of Marco Polo. What is certain is that he was taken prisoner by the Genoese in the naval battle of Korcula. Marco Polo would not be my reason to visit. Go to see the narrow streets in this medieval walled city surrounded by 14th century thick stone walls and towers; Venetian, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque Palaces which used to belong to Korcula aristocrats; and Svei Marko Cathedral completed in 15th over another church from the 13th century.
Korcula has more than culture and history if you’ve already had enough of that. Come for its crystal clear sea, walking, windsurfing, fishing or just to sit on one of the many beaches.
- The Island of Vis has the Blue Cave, famous for its unique reflection of shades of blue and silver. Vis is an island of fishermen and winegrowers. Komiza on the island of Vis is considered the cradle of fishing in the Adriatic and then add clear sea, marine life, sunken ships and stunning beaches to the mix.
- Only 25 kilometers/18 miles away from Split along the coast is Omis, a fabled pirate stronghold. Go just for its history. This small town and port at the mouth of the Cetina River was home of pirates who used fast boats to attack trade ships at the mouth of the river. If successful, the pirates would turn tail, and flee up the Cetina River where bigger ships couldn’t follow. The Omis pirate was the most feared along the Adriatic Coast during this period and Republics like Venice, Dubrovnik even made non-attacking agreements with them. Go for the special pirate’s dinner on Tuesdays during the summer at Kastil Slanica. Our bus from Mostar passed through Omis on the way to Split.
- Visit the mostly unexplored archeological site of Salona, a 30-minute bus ride from Split. Salona was the political center of the Dalmatia region under the Romans with 60,000 citizens. It reached its peak under Emperor Diocletian, and for more than 1000 years, the walls of the original Palace were the boundaries of the emerging city of Split. Huns and Goths in the 5th century ended Roman Rule. Visit the 2nd century amphitheater destroyed by the Venetians in the 17th century.
If all this isn’t enough, escape to Italy if you have the time. There are jet boats, overnight car and passenger ferries. Visit the Jadrolinija website for more details. How very tempting!