Welcome to Split, one of the fastest developing tourism cities in Europe, and we are here to tell you why! Once known as The Gateway to the Islands, Split has come into its own as a destination in recent years, passing one million overnight stays in the first 10 months of 2014 alone. Looking for history? Immerse yourself in 1700 years of history of a palace of a Roman Emperor. Islands? Split is the gateway to Dalmatian jewels such as Hvar, Brac and Vis. Beaches? Your choices of entry into the pristine Adriatic are enviable. Foodies? Croatia's gastronomic offer is attracting increasing international attention, and you can find out why on a stay in Split. Sport? Welcome to the home of Hajduk Split and Goran Ivanisevic. Activities? From sailing to rock climbing, hunting to horse riding, it is all here. And so much more. Welcome to Total Split, the most comprehensive and most regularly updated information service about the city of Split. Whether you are looking for flight information, a hotel deal or a hidden restaurant with authentic food, you will find it here. We are a small but dedicated local team, part Croatian and part expat, with a single mission – to bring the fantastic city of Split to the world in a lively and informative manner. Enjoy the website, enjoy Split, and be sure to let us know your thoughts.
Now that December rain and winds are here in full force, Split is a very different kind of town. Less tourists for sure, but even so, the whole Old Town takes on a different case. Shops close early, some until Spring-even some restaurants shut down for the whole winter. Last year, Robert Aronson, an expat American who has lived here for almost five years and publishes DiscoverSplit, a free English language tourist newspaper, decided to create Split's Best--a coupon program to promote local restaurants to locals during the slow winter months.
"During the season, restaurants in and around the Palace are doing great business, but now the tables are empty," Aronson says, "so Split's Best is a chance for locals to eat out and get one entree free when they pay for another of the same or equal value--to generate some extra revenue for local restaurants."
Most of the restaurants Aronson contacted liked the idea since the cost of giving away one entree is easily made up by selling another. "And of course, they get to sell an appetizer, wine, dessert, etc. to two people and get new customers without having to advertise."
Although some owners were worried that they would be sending their customers to "the competition", Aronson explained that to the contrary, 9 other restaurants are sending their guests to their place.
The program is simple. For 150kn you get a handsome gift box, color brochure with addresses of the 10 participating restaurants and a plastic member card with a unique number.
You can order any entree on the menu and the other one is free. "So let's say you order 120kn beefsteak entree and your partner orders something for 100kn. You only pay for the beefsteak--so if you dine out even once at all 10 restaurants, you'll save 1000kn!"
The program is only for sale at each participating restaurant: Apetit, Boban, Bota Sare, Duje, Kod Joze, Le Monde, Nostromo, Ostarija u Vidakovi, Tinel and Zrno Soli
"There's a really good mix here of classic restaurants that have been around for decades and new ones--upscale, down home and smack in the middle," Aronson said.
I will never forget the first view of Split on the long drive from London ten years ago. Christmas had just finished and it was time to start my new life on a Croatian island called Hvar, after a spontaneous decision to buy a house there on a weekend visit from Sarajevo the previous summer.
It was December 28, 2002, and with my white Citroen transit van full to bursting with all my possessions from the first thirty years of life, I drove across Europe covered in a blanket of snow. There was no Zagreb - Split motorway back then, and the mountain pass at Josipdol is with me still.
I drove with care, not in a hurry - I was moving to Dalmatia after all - but the snow and the cold made me more than a little depressed. I was 40km from Split, and the bad weather showed no sign of abating.