Split is the ideal location for a mini-break or a spontaneous long weekend in the sun away from the rat race. With charming architecture, a beautiful coast and fascinating cultural sights, a curious visitor will always find something to do here.
Today I am going to introduce you to two of Split’s most interesting, must-see markets. Don’t worry, I’m not talking about places filled with tacky t-shirts and dodgy snow globes or fridge magnets. The Green and Fish Markets in Split are vibrant, colourful places where visitors and locals mix together trying to get the best bargains for that night’s supper.
In fact, there is plenty to see and do away from the tourist crowds in Split. Why not check out this alternative guide to Split?
The Green Market, or Pazar, can be found on the eastern side of the city walls, close to the main road which connects the town with the countryside beyond. Though you might spot a few cheap souvenirs here, the real focus is on the food and the characters you’ll encounter. This is a great place for taking photographs, just make sure you are polite and respectful of the vendors and other customers.
What to Buy
Though vendors might claim otherwise, not everything in the Pazar is local produce. I found that shopping here is really about the experience, and if you can bag some fresh, local goods to cook a delicious meal so much the better. Pick up fresh fruit and vegetables for evening meals and fresh bread for breakfast. Try local sheep or goat’s cheese with a few slices of cured meat for lunch and find perfect presents for friends and family with local preserves and liqueurs – just make sure you can take it on the plane home!
Top Tip: Be prepared for the stall owners to try and sweet talk you into buying – don’t be surprised when you are called ‘sweetheart’, ‘dear’ or ‘honey’! Don’t forget to bargain.
The Fish Market, or the Peškarija in Croatian, is an equally fascinating place to visit. Architecturally, the market is impressive with a lofty glazed roof and striking cast iron supports. The building is over 100 years old and is very dear to the people of Split. Though the building is too small now to serve the size of the town, it is a symbol of Split’s connection to the spirit of the Mediterranean. The Peškarija is close to the Matejuška fishing port and is wonderfully free from flies thanks to the sulphur spa nearby.
The market opens around 6.30am and closes in the early afternoon. It’s best to get there early to get the freshest fish. A fresh fish won’t smell “fishy”, will have firm flesh, clear eyes and nice, shiny scales so don’t be afraid to take a good look at what is on offer and even prod it if you are thinking of buying. If you are a novice at buying whole fish, you can get someone to clean and gut your purchase for you for a small fee. I would recommend this as gutting a fish is harder than it looks!
What to Buy
The fancy, expensive fish you might get served in a restaurant is unlikely to be found in the Peškarija. Instead, you will see lots of smaller fish which are considerably cheaper and popular amongst the locals. However, this doesn’t mean that your choice will be limited. Try locally caught fish, such as sprats, sardines and mackerels for a delicious, simple meal or splash out on more expensive seafood like lobster for something more indulgent.
Top Tip: If you’re looking for fish to cook for lunch head to the market around noon when the prices will be reduced, sometimes by as much as 50% so you can grab a real bargain.
Where to Stay
There are lots of lovely places to stay in Split but the great thing about each of these options is that they have a kitchen – perfect for preparing authentic local dishes using the ingredients you have bought.
Perla Apartment – This is a stylish apartment in a great location, ideal if you want to just step out of your door and begin exploring. The apartment host is always ready to offer guests advice on where to go and what to see.
Old Square “Stone Pearl” – A cosy apartment with plenty of local character, this spacious one-bedroom apartment is great for people travelling alone. Close to the cultural jewels of Split, this property makes a charming base for a mini-break.
Hostel Split – A great place to meet fellow travellers, Hostel Split is just a few minutes from the beach and has all the amenities you need for a short break. Staying here offers a great opportunity to pick up local knowledge of the best bars and restaurants around from the friendly staff.
How to Get There
Getting to Split from London couldn’t be easier, with over thirty flights a week you’ll have plenty of choice. The flight time is under two and a half hours making this the ideal destination for a short trip.
Once you’ve landed, you’ll need a transfer from the airport to Split. I’d recommend booking your transfer with Shuttle Direct. You can easily book online and can rely on their local drivers to make your transfer stress-free. The journey from Split airport to the town is only 28km and will take about half an hour. Before you know it, you’ll be out exploring the markets.
About Shuttle Direct
At Shuttle Direct we offer a convenient and reliable transfer service to and from airports all over the world. With no booking fees and fixed rates, you know what you are paying for and there are no hidden costs.