The legendary Ultra Europe rolls into the Croatian town of Split for the fourth time this July. Filled with charming cafés, restaurants, bars, culture, and surrounded by some of the most picturesque islands in the world, Split can be a daunting place if you've got limited time in the city.
But fear not, we asked the Ultra Europe team to give us their top tips for the coastal capital, and help us make sure we're hitting up all the best spots.
What should I make sure I see or do when I'm in Split for Ultra Europe?
A protected UNESCO site, Diocletian's Palace is 1700 years old and was the first built by Roman Emperor Diocletian in 295AD as his retirement residence. The huge structure covers about half of the old town and the city centre of Split and actually seems more like a fortress than an actual palace. Legend has it that rubbing the golden toe on the statue of Grgur Ninski at the northern entrance will grant you a wish.
Bell Tower of Cathedral Street
Located inside the palace grounds at Persitil Square, the cathedral was built as Diocletian's mausoleum. From the top of the bell tower you can see all the beauty of Split and then enjoy a refreshing drink afterwards in the square.
Split’s seafront promenade runs along the length of the old town and presents magnificent views across the harbour to the islands beyond. Lined with coffee shops, you can relax by the sea with a coffee enjoying the view over Marjan Hill and the West Coast.
Where are the top three places to drink?
Named after the Croatian word for schnapps – rakija – this small bar is almost always lively. They have an incredible range of over 25 flavours ranging from honey to cherry to really get the party started!
Also located in the city centre at the end of the Riva, Matejuška is a quiet spot where you can spend a couple of hours in the evening sitting on the wall and having a drink outside with friends and strangers alike. You’re sure to make new friends whoever you are.
Located in the heart of the city, La Bodega is loved by locals and tourists alike. There is an outdoor terrace and an indoor space with good music, good food and good wine where you’re guaranteed to have an excellent time.
Where are the best places to eat?
Without a doubt the funkiest one-stop place, this place has achieved cult status from its days as Puls, one of the hippest bars in the city. With a tempting selection of light bites and fresh in-house pasta, you are guaranteed to enjoy whatever you order.
To go to Split and not visit Fife is the same as going to New York and not eating hotdogs or to visit London and not eat fish & chips. Fife is ideal for cheap, local food with the best flavours.
The final stop after your night out the bakery is open 24/7. After partying the whole night, the bakery is only a 7 minute walk from the stadium and definitely worth checking out. The perfect end to what will have been an incredible night.
More like a kitchen than a restaurant, this intimate space allows you to watch the chef prepare your food. Be ready to eat on your feet as there often aren’t enough tables or chairs as the place is popular amongst locals and tourists alike. Daily menus are around 15 euros.
Which islands should I be visiting and what’s the best way to see them?
This is the must-see island to check out. Often called a paradise on Earth, the island has everything and its nightlife is also one of the best internationally. Carpe Diem has two venues so if you see people leaving by boat at night they are probably going to the Carpe Diem Beach to party all night long with internationally-recognised DJs.
The best way to explore Hvar is to book day excursions by boat to the Hell Islands or rent a scooter or bike to explore the mainland.
You can reach Hvar from Split by either ferry or catamaran. Travelling by catamaran (only passengers) is easiest as it takes you directly to city Hvar. The journey takes around an hour and tickets are around 11 euros. Be aware, seats are limited.
Brač is the largest of the Dalmatian islands. The white marble from Brač has built the most magnificent works of architecture throughout history. Bol is the most popular city because of Zlatni Rat Beach. Considered by many to be the most beautiful beach in Croatia, the tip of the beach changes direction depending on the wind and waves.
Bol can be reached by catamaran line which runs once a day or by ferry. The ferry will take you to Supetar which is around 30km from Bol which can be reached by car, bus or taxi. The island is connected by regular ferry lines from Split. Those attending Ultra's Yacht Regatta will travel to Brač for a party on Zlatni Rat Beach, Bol.
Vis is the most untouched and natural of these islands. The Blue and Green caves are the most beautiful of the sights on the island and are very popular with tourists because of the colours caused by the light in the caves.
You can buy a ticket for a day trip to Vis from Split to visit the caves and this is usually the easiest. The ferry leaves in the morning from Split port and takes about 2 and a half hours. There is only one line a day so you will have to stay overnight.
Where are the best beaches and how do I get to them?
Split’s famous sandy beach and a symbol of the city, the water is very shallow so you are likely to see the locals playing games of pigicin in the water. There are numerous beach bars to keep you refreshed the whole day and night clubs.
The beach is just a 5 minute walk from the city centre, Riva, the main bus station and Split port.
This pebble beach is the second largest gathering place for locals and is situated on the other side of the city. The beach is crowded and full of beach bars and bright sunshine.
You can take bus 7 or 8 from the city centre which leave every 15 to 20 minutes. The ticket costs around 1.50 euros and the journey is only 10 minutes.
This is a stone and sand beach on the south side of Marjan Hill and a hidden gem.
A walk along the sea for 2km will take you to a small street on the left. Take the number 12 bus from there and you’re guaranteed to find one of the best beaches around.