The Dalmatian Coast: A funny thing happened on the way to the peristyle

I visited Split with my Dad in July this year, the first stop in our journey along the Dalmatian coast of Croatia and on my first journey using a mobile boarding pass. Game of Thrones fans will know the city for being the filming location for the dragon pit in Meereen; this is the underground caverns of Diocletian’s Palace.  There we saw many interesting sights – in Split we saw a dalmatian dog with spots of the darkest black which Cruella de Vil would drool over, and in the nearby UNESCO World Heritage city of Trogir, we encountered an ice cream flavour in my name (‘Hello Kitty Pinky’) – and had some embarrassing moments like falling short to pay for a meal; my Dad had to rush back to our hostel for more money, and we were dining, ironically, at a restaurant called NoStress. Here are some photos of other things we spotted on the way to the peristyle.

Sights in Split

We climbed to the top of St. Domnius’ Bell Tower, visited the cathedral, crypt, and baptistry of the Byzantine palace, wandered around the cellars of Diocletian’s Palace, and the Museum of Ivan Meštrovic, a sculptor whom Rodin praised to be the better sculptor.

Sights in Trogir

We admired the Radovan portal of Trogir Cathedral, finished and signed in 1240 and boasts in an inscription to be “the best of all in this artisanship”.

Sights in Dubrovnik

Our next destination after Split was another UNESCO World Heritage city and another Game of Thrones film location (King’s Landing), we visited the Rector’s Palace, the Ethnographic Museum, the Synagogue, the Gallery Pulitka, and the House of Marin Držić. The highlight was the walk along the city walls. There were lots of Korean restaurants; perhaps they form the majority of the tourists who visit?

Islands off the Dalmatian coast

We watched parasurfers in action from the beach at Zlatni Rat (Golden Cape) on the island of Brǎc which we visited from Split, swam in calmer waters off Sunj beach (named ‘Snake’ beach for the snake engraved on a Saracen warrior’s shield found on the island) on Lopud, and visited Mljet, the island where Calypso kept Odysseus for seven years, by ferry from Dubrovnik and I swam in a lake for the first time in Veliko Jezero (‘Big Lake’).

Sights in Bosnia and Herzegovina

We joined a day tour into Bosnia and Herzegovina, where we attended Holy Mass in Our Lady of Medjugorje, a place of pilgrimage not officially recognised as such by the Vatican, at Medjugorje, and saw the Stari Most (‘Old Bridge’) in Mostar, once the regional capital; the original bridge was designed by chief architect in the Ottoman Empire Mimar Sinan, who also designed the Taj Mahal, and destroyed in the Bosnian War.

Sights in Montenegro

We lunched in Budva, founded by Cadmus in Greek legend and in the modern harbour of which are moored the yachts of hundreds of billionaires, and Beskuca’s Palace in Kotor, a UNESCO World Heritage town.

Transport tip

After Split we had planned to ride the ferry down the coast to Dubrovnik. However, you have to book your ticket a week in advance, and so we had to settle for the coach. This meant that we could not see one more island that we had planned, but it did mean that we got a scenic ride along the coast and through Bosnia and Herzegovina. Because I had not anticipated crossing the border, I had packed my passport in my suitcase, so had to make do with my EU health card at immigration.

Food and drink

We ate the Hvar speciality gregada (a fish stew) and drank Hvar white wine for our first meal in Croatia. Other food, Croatian and Bosnian, that we tried was either Italian-influenced or Turkish-influenced: rafiole (almond-filled pastry biscuit), lobster buzara (red wine tomato sauce) with spaghetti, burek sa sirom (cheese-filled filo pastry), local honey cake given to us by our host in Hostel Marker Dubrovnik Old Town, Bey’s soup (turkey and okra soup) with kaymak (thick cream), ćevapi (grilled mince meat sausage), pljeskavica (grilled meat patty), ražnjići (grilled meat skewer), lots of seafood, and many flavours of ice cream, including hemp. We drank ožujsko beerkarlovačko beer, Sarajevsko beer, homemade brandy, Croatian schnapps, Mostar white wine, and Montenegrin white wine.


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