Split is the perfect place to base yourself if you dream about going to the beautiful islands of the Dalmatian. For a day, you can visit the dreamy beaches of Brac, the gorgeous Old Town of Hvar and the more secluded Vis to name but a few. But if you don’t have time to visit all the islands and have a hard time choosing, there’s one ultimate day trip you can do!
Bleary from sleep after a five hour plus coach journey from Dubrovnik, we quickly dump our belongings in our AirBnB and made a beeline for the city center. Posters and leaflets lined not only the pier but the town itself and as our eyes dart from one travel agency to another, we began to see the monopoly of a five-stop boat trip from Split.
Finding a boat trip from Split
Despite the small difference, all the trips advertise a comprehensive tour of the area via speedboat, which takes you to the Blue Caves, Kominza on Vis Island, Stiniva Bay, Green Caves and the Old Town of Hvar. After browsing around and much negotiation, we settled on a tour with Splitilicious who offered us our own power boat since there were 7 of us (which I 100% recommend you to do for full flexibility if you are in a group) for the day for what I remember as being Kn 700 per person.
>Admittedly our speedboat driver didn’t speak much English and we ended up skipping two islands we want to see. This tour by Viator is about 300 kn more expensive but a good alternative.
Day Trips from Split
We waited by the town model at the promenade at 8:30, along with other groups departing the same day. The tour operator was a little late, but we were herded off to wait for our speed boat by the side of the promenade. We were greeted by Marcus, our skipper for the day. The thing about the speed boat is that it’s genuinely not very big. There is a bench at the back wide enough for three people to sit, and the rest of us were expected to position ourselves on the cushioned area in the front.
The only reason why we have to choose a speedboat is because otherwise, you will never get anywhere in time. A passenger boat to Hvar will take about three hours to get there, therefore most, if not all, of the day trips from Split are by speed boat.
The wind in your hair, the sun on your face – if you are not squirmy on the sea or worried about tangling your hair, then it’s actually a fun experience. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a speaker on the boat, so we improvised with our phone and tried to project the music with our hats. Needless to say it didn’t work that well.
Split Blue Cave
Funny story: Split Blue Cave isn’t in Split
If you were to ask what the most famous sights around Split are, the answer would undoubtedly be the Blue Caves. The Blue Cave is the furthest stop of the trip, situated on the small island of Bisevo southwest of Vis Island. The hypnotizing colours of the cave is due to the sunlight filtering through the open channel underwater from outside, which filtered the colour into the hypnotizing blue. The entrance to the cave is extremely small and during times of stormy weather, it’s impossible to enter. Nor are you allowed to swim in it during high season due to the high traffic.
The entrance fee to the Blue Caves is included in the tour price, and our skipper dutifully parked our boat among the masses of other boats and went forth to buy our ticket. If by this point you are already bursting for the toilet – fear not, for there is one on the hill left of the pier. Even though it was only 11am, there were already plenty of people queueing for the official boat to be transported to see the Blue Cave.
However, I have to say the wait was worth it.
Our skipper was a seasoned fellow who expertly maneuvered us through the small entrance and away from the looming rocks. Keeping our heads down, we were quickly transferred from the sunny seafront into the mysterious interior of the Blue Caves.
Words won’t even begin to describe the beauty of the colour, so here are some photos to do it justice.
We didn’t spend that long in the cave, as we had to make way for the others, but it was enough time for us to appreciate it. So off we go back to the ticket office, hopping back on the speedboat and setting off again.
Green Cave Croatia
Because of our miscommunicationication (namely, we were too hyper and forgot to consult our skipper), we skipped the Stiniva Bay and headed straight to the Green Cave.
Much less impressive than its sibling, the Green Cave is famous due to the large, circular hole on top of this open cave where at a certain hour the light shining through will casts a green glow on the water below. The most special thing about the Green Cave, however, is that many daredevils are known to jump from it.
The more daring of the bunch will do it through the small circular hole, but more decided on simply doing it from the top of the entrance.
After much hesitation, debate, encouragement and mental preparation, two of our friends finally decided to take the plunge. At the same time, two boys from a nearby boat decided likewise and truth to her outgoing spirit, one of our friends called out to the rest of the boys on the other boat, daring them to jump with them. So in our roaring laughter, two more boys took up the challenge and off they go.
If you were to ask me how long we waited there for, I would say an hour or so. Deciding you want to jump and actually doing it are two very different things, and once everyone got up there, it became a matter of small talk about who wants to go first. In all honesty, it is probably extremely hard to keep your head together when you are free falling for 10-15 meters, so as their body landed in the water in awkward angles I tried not to judge too much.
Because of lost time, we were only able to stop briefly at a random bay in Paklinskiotoci for a swim before heading off to Hvar, my most anticipated part of the trip.
Hvar town, Hvar
We stopped at the port of Hvar at around three and arranged to be picked up again in two hours or so. Eager to reach the castle that I saw online, I leaped into action and off we went with no idea which way to go.
When you don’t know where to go – the key is to spot where the tourists are coming from. We found a semi-hidden staircase nestled between old buildings and followed the trail of people.
The first castle on the site was built by the Venetians in the 13th Century. The current fortress, however, originated in the 16th century to protect against the Turkish. The castle underwent renovation in the 17th after a gunpowder explosion damaging it in the late 16th century.
The top of the fortress offered an excellent view of the city, as well as the Oto islands opposite the port. There is a café at the top where you can buy an ice cream to reward yourself after the hike up. There is an entrance fee of around Kn 100, and even cheaper if you manage to go in as a group of 10. The fortress itself has only a few cannons to offer and no exhibition, but the view really is well worth it. Even if you don’t want to pay to enter, the hike offers up some pretty cool views.
The 13th Century Old City Wall.
I actually have no idea what this is – but it’s pretty 🙂
The paved limestone square that lies in the heart of the town, flanked by St Stephen’s Cathedral with its church tower, the Arsenal building that houses the Roman Theather and the Renaissance Palaces of Paladini and Hektorovic.
Nearer the seafront, the Loggia and Clock Tower of Governor’s Palace can be seen in all its glory. Most of these buildings originated around the 13th to 15th century, and are currently not open to the public.
It took us about another hour or two to get back, during which we did some impromptu photo shoots and had a go at steering the boat under the watchful eyes of Marcus.
Overall I truly enjoyed this boat trip from Split – with the only thing that I would change would be to bring a speaker and making sure the skipper knew our route beforehand. And of course: we had to have a group shot at the end of the trip.