Saturday, 2 January 2021

PHOTOS: Extraordinary Plants of Klis Fortress Show Two Sides of Dalmatia

January 2, 2021 – High on the mountains, overlooking the city of Split, the historic settlement of Klis stands on the border between two distinct climate regions – the Mediterranean and the Dalmatian hinterland. The sometimes rare and extraordinary plants of Klis Fortress are characteristic of both. A new book details the flora you can find on both sides of the Dinaric Alps

The views from Klis are spectacular. The great city of Split lies below you, perched on the edge of the glistening Adriatic, beyond it, the islands of Čiovo, Šolta, Brac, Vis and Hvar. It's a view that has been admired for over 2000 years.

klisfortress7.jpegThe view from Klis Fortress

That's how long a fortress has stood here. Restructured and rebuilt several times over the millennia, within the walls of the impressive Klis Fortress lie much of the recent history of these lands – of the Illyrians and the Romans, the arrival of both Slavic people and of Christianity, the defence of Christian Europe from the Ottomans. So steeped in history are these walls, little wonder the fortress was chosen as a filming location for the popular Game Of Thrones series.

Klisfortress2.jpegKlis Fortress

With its view so irresistibly inviting the eye, you could be forgiven for missing the plants of Klis Fortress. That's unfortunate. The fort straddles the top of the Dinaric Alps – one half existing within the sub-Mediterranean climate of the Dalmatian hinterland, the other on the distinctly warmer side of the Adriatic. This creates a unique environment for a wealth of flora. Not used as a fortress since the threat of Ottoman invasion subsided, these days the structure usually welcomes only tourists. The plants of Klis Fortress have reached into the grounds of the buildings, indeed into its very walls.

Cymbalariamuralis_Ivy-LeavedToadflax.jpegCymbalaria muralis - Ivy Leaved Toadflax within the walls of Klis Fortress

One person for who the plants of Klis Fortress did not go unnoticed is Ivan Limić. He lived in Klis all of his life, before leaving to get his degree, then a masters, at the Forestry department of the University of Zagreb. Today, he works for the Institute for Adriatic Crops and Karst Reclamation (IAC) on a PhD student's position. Having a specific interest in botany, he knows the plants of Klis Fortress better than most and after he met botanist Vedran Šegota of Herbarium Croaticum while in Zagreb, they decided they should work on a project together. After several years of work, that project - a book, 'Biljke Tvrdave Klis (Plants of Klis Fortress)' – has finally been released. Although helmed by co-authors Vedran and Ivan, it has actually been a project that involved a much greater group of contributors, not least the community of Klis and some of the best botanists in Croatia.

Ivan Limic, in Black pine tree(Pinus nigra) in Pakline place.jpg
Ivan Limić, co-author of 'Plants of Klis Fortress', relaxing in a Black Pine

TCN talked with Ivan Limić to find out more about the book and about the plants of Klis Fortress

I first met Vedran when I started volunteering at Herbarium Croaticum Zagreb. I was in the city doing my degree. My main interests are forest silviculture and soil erosion, karst melioration, assessment of atmospheric deposition, study of flora, plant determination in Mediterranean region forest ecosystems and the effects of forest fires in those areas. We talked about doing a joint project because we shared similar interests. Vedran came to visit me in Klis and I wanted to show him around the fortress, but looking specifically at the flora. That's when we decided we should do a book about the plants of Klis Fortress.

Geraniumpurpureum_LittleRobin.jpegGeranium purpureum, the little-robin

I walked around Klis Fortress all my life. When you live in a place, you not only acquire so much information about that place over the years, you also have an emotional connection to it. That's not something you can read in every book. Hopefully, with our book, we managed to get a sense of that emotional attachment across, so that you can really feel the place.

Agave_americana_Limic_14.jpegAgave americana

In a way, the special thing about the plants of Klis Fortress is that they are not so special at all – they are extremely characteristic. But, they are characteristic of two completely different climate regions.

On the south side of Klis Fortress, it is very warm and sunny – the Mediterranean climate. You can find species like Aleppo pine. On the northern side of Klis Fortress, it is colder – the sub-Mediterranean climate. Here, you can even get snow in winter and the most common species is Black pine. Two completely different climate regions in just a 50 metre stretch diagonally along the ground. That's what makes it extraordinary.

Salvia officinalis_Sage.jpgSalvia officinalis (sage)

The plants of Klis Fortress include more than 300 species. We have around 100 of them listed in the book. Of those, 16 are species endemic to this area. Some of those are extremely rare - you can find them in very few places in Croatia - such as Fibigia triquetra. That plant is actually one of the reasons why this book exists. When I was a child, people used to tell me that some of the plants of Klis Fortress were very unusual and very rare. I used to walk around the fortress, looking at all the plants, trying to guess which ones were the unusual and rare species.

Fibigiatriquetra_AdriaticFibigia.jpegFibigia triquetra

The man who first identified this as a unique, endemic species actually discovered his first specimen inside Klis Fortress. All of the studies and writings he made about the plant were done here. That plant is now the symbol of Klis Fortress.

Polypodium_cambricum_Limic_4.jpegPolypodium cambricum

You can find our book in Klis library. Anyone can borrow it. It's also available at the entrance to Klis Fortress, where you buy the tickets. We wanted to give the opportunity to anyone who comes here to learn about the plants of this region – that's why we made such an effort to have the book in five languages. It was designed as a guide to the plant species of the whole Mediterranean mountain region in Croatia, so it's not just for the plants of Klis Fortress or the people who come to Klis Fortress itself.


Most of the photography in the book was done by ourselves. It was important to take the photographs across four different seasons. That's one of the reasons it took almost two years to write this book.

latin_Inulaverbascifolia_eng_Inulaverbascifolia.jpegInula Verbascifolia

As we were making progress on the book, people in Klis began to find out what we were doing. It ended up becoming a project of the wider community. The mayor of Klis supported the project financially so that we were able to publish the book professionally and the library of Klis edited and published the book.

Ephedra_major_Limic_3.jpegEphedra major

Others contributed to the design of the book and the translations, of course. Almost all of them donated their time and work to the project for free. It is quite difficult to translate some of this specific text correctly and we wanted to get it absolutely right.

Agaveamericana_CenturyPlantMaguey.jpegAgave americana

In the end, we ended up getting contributions from Italy and France, we had one colleague from the French embassy who helped and some of the best botanists we have in Croatia contributed to the book to make sure everything was absolutely correct. For that reason, the book was approved and recommended by the Botanical Society of Croatia and can be found in the Botanical library.


All images © Ivan Limić / The Plants of Klis Fortress

Monday, 5 October 2020

36 Incredible Photos: Best Edible Croatia Mushrooms

June 4, 2021 – It's mushroom hunting season in Croatia! Here are 36 stunning images of the best Croatia mushrooms, which you can pick - then eat - after being guided by one of the country's many experts or associations

Autumn in Croatia means it's time to head to the forests. At this time of year, the free food the land gives up is aplenty and foraging is a popular pastime in Croatia with a tasty treat at the end. The best Croatia mushrooms should only be sourced in the wild alongside an experienced guide – many of the Croatia mushrooms below have lookalikes which are poisonous. Luckily, there are expert guides and associations all over the country who will help you find the best Croatia mushrooms. Here are some of the finest edible examples you should hope to come across on any trip

Morchella_esculenta_2.jpg© CC BY-SA 3.0

Morels (Smrčci)

Unmistakable thanks to the honeycomb texture of their caps, these mysterious mushrooms grow across much of the forested world but vary in form within their distinct regions. They have a weird symbiotic or endophytic relationship with trees that nobody exactly understands. Nor the fact that in some areas, this bond is with deciduous trees, in others it is with conifers. They are not autumn mushrooms but spring Croatia mushrooms and they like to live around fir, pine, poplar, elm, oak, chestnut, olive and ash trees.

sulphur-ovinus-3663099_1920.jpg© Ulrike Leone

Chicken Of The Woods (Žuti kruh)

With a name in Croatian meaning yellow bread, there can be no mistaking that this is an edible mushroom. These can grow to be pretty big - the largest recorded was found in the UK and weighed 45 kilograms. Some deer are known to eat this fungus and it is a delicacy in select German kitchens, the taste compared to chicken or lobster.

Steinpilz_2006_08_3.jpeg© Grizurgbg

Porcini (Vrganji)

Porcini mushrooms are highly prized by cooks. They have a brown or red-brown cap and a cream-coloured stem (stipe). They like to grow in forests and can be preserved for year-round use by drying them. This intensifies their flavour. You can find these Croatia mushrooms within every region, in particular in the whole continental section stretching from the Dinaric alps, through Karlovac and Zagreb counties, Zagorje and up to the Slovenian border and Medimurje. They also grow in Istria and Dalmatia, even on some of the islands.

1620px-Calocybe_gambosa_080420wa.jpg© Strobilomyces

St. George's (Đurđevača)

Annually appearing in fields, grass verges and along roadsides in early spring - around the time of St George's Day – this mushroom is considered a delicacy across much of Europe, in particular Romania and Italy. It has been documented as being the most expensive and highly regarded mushroom in Umbria and Marches in central Italy during the 16th century. In the field, it smells a little like cucumber.

1664px-Fichten-Reizker_Lactarius_deterrimus.jpg© H. Krisp

Saffron Milk Cap / Pine mushroom (Rujnica)

The rujnica mushroom has orange cap that becomes sticky in the rain or morning dew and it stains a deep green colour when handled. It lives in coniferous forests. This Croatia mushroom is here named after the month of September and there's a village which shares its name in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The village lies right next to the border with Croatia, west of Cazin. A fresco in the Roman town of Herculaneum in modern-day Campania, Italy depicts this mushroom. It is one of the earliest pieces of art in the world to illustrate a fungus.

Polyporus_squamosus_Molter.jpeg© Dan Molter

Dryad's Saddle / Pheasant's Back

The two most popular names for this fungus in English come respectively from Greek mythology and its distinct, animal-like markings. It can grow up to 50 centimetres across and is an important part of the forest eco-system as it breaks down decomposing trees. It can also attack living ones. It's only edible when young.

Hedgehog_fungi2.jpg© D J Kelly

Sweet Tooth / Hedgehog mushroom (Prosenjak)

This yellow to light orange to brown mushroom often grows in an irregular shape. It is best eaten when young as older specimens can develop too much of a bitter taste, although the needles it grows, by which the mushroom is most easily identified, only appear as it matures. Again, it's best picked with a guide. It can grow as big as 20 centimetres in diameter and likes to live on the ground or in leaf litter within both coniferous and deciduous forests.

Lepista_nuda.jpg© Archenzo

Wood Blewit (Modrikača)

This most distinct-looking fungus can be found in coniferous forests, but these Croatia mushrooms seem to much prefer deciduous woodlands here. It's possible to see them in all but the coldest months, but they are most common in autumn. Wood Blewits have a sharp, distinct scent and range from lilac to purple-pink in colour, growing darker, towards brown, as they age. They need to be cooked to be consumed as this greatly reduces (although does not completely remove) the risk, albeit rare, of an allergic reaction.

Handkea_utriformis_G25.jpeg© Jerzy Opioła

Mosaic Puffball

These puffballs are only edible when young. At this time they typically measure 6 to 12 centimetres across and are always white in colour. When mature, they turn brown and can reach 25 centimetres in breadth and have a height of 20 centimetres. Their upper skin eventually disintegrates over time allowing its spores to be released. This process is often hastened by rain or by being trodden on by cattle. The taste is said not to be spectacular, but the fungus does contain a natural antibiotic.

Seta_de_cardo_Pleurotus_eryngii_2012-10-03_DD_01.jpeg© Diego Delso

King Trumpet / French Horn / King Oyster

This distinct mushroom is the largest species in the oyster mushroom genus and is highly prized in the Asian kitchen. It is widely cultivated in Asia as a result. Cooks there love it because, although it has little taste when eaten raw, upon cooking it develops umami flavours popular in Asian cuisine.

False_Morel.jpeg© Jason Hollinger

Brain mushroom / Turban fungus / Elephant Ears (Hrčci)

English names for this fungus in are pretty self-explanatory. Here, these Croatia mushrooms are known as hamsters. Although a delicacy in Scandinavia (in particular Finland), Eastern Europe (in particular Bulgaria, but Poland too), some parts of North America and around the Pyrenees, their sale is actually prohibited in Spain and some other countries. That's because this mushroom can kill you if you don't prepare it properly. Symptoms of hrčci poisoning involve vomiting and diarrhoea several hours after eating, followed by dizziness, lethargy and headache. Severe cases may lead to delirium, coma and death after five to seven days as the mushroom's active agent turns into monomethylhydrazine (MMH) in the body, this toxin then damaging the liver, central nervous system and kidneys. To eat it safely, you must first dry the mushroom completely, then hard boil it, then rinse it, then hard boil it again. In Finland, they are used to make omelettes, soups or in pies. There is some evidence that this mushroom may be carcinogenic. I'll give this one a miss.

0_Helvella_crispa_-_Havr_1.jpeg© Jean-Pol GRANDMONT

White Saddle / Elfin Saddle (Jesenski hrčak)

The 'autumn hamster' is easily identified by its irregularly shaped whitish cap, fluted stem, and fuzzy underneath. It grows in grassy areas as well as in humid hardwoods, such as beech, (not so well in resinous trees), along the side of pathways, in hedges and on the sloping edges of meadows. These Croatia mushrooms contain the same active agent as the other 'hamsters' and are poisonous in their raw state and also possibly carcinogenic. Striking in appearance due to the irregularly shaped lobes on the cap, this one is perhaps best to spot, but to leave where it is.

3426px-Meripilus_giganteus_Karst_1882.jpeg© Michael Gäbler

Giant Polypore

This monster fungus can grow to 70 to 150 centimetres in diameter and 10 to 50 centimetres in height. It isn't very kind to the trees it feeds off and isn't very tasty, even when picked you. But, it's worth looking out for because it is quite spectacular in size and in its colourings. This fungus was once thought to be inedible. It is now under investigation for use in medicine, as a methanol extract from the fungus has proven to be toxic to some cancer cells.

Coprin_noir_d'encre_41.jpg© Jean-Louis Lascoux

Common Ink Cap (Jajasta gnojištarka)

Edible, but poisonous when consumed with alcohol, it is advised you drink nothing alcoholic either 20 hours before or after eating these mushrooms. When combined with alcohol, resulting symptoms include facial reddening, nausea, vomiting, malaise, agitation, palpitations and tingling in the limbs, but if a lot of alcohol is consumed this could even lead to heart attack. So powerful is the active agent in the mushroom that it is used to treat alcoholism. One old English name for the mushroom is Tippler's Bane (today, the word bane is used to mean a cause of great distress or annoyance, but previously it was used to describe a poison that causes death). The black liquid that this mushroom releases after being picked was once used as ink.

Agaricus_campestris.jpg© CC BY-SA 3.0

Field mushroom (Rudnjača)

These wild Croatia mushrooms are the ones closest to the cultivated white button mushrooms you buy in the supermarket. Only these are bigger. Their caps can be 5 to 10 centimetres wide. These mushrooms used to be more common in the days before cars, when every vehicle was horse-drawn. They like to live in pastures, especially those in which horses are present. In Scotland, these mushrooms used to be placed on the skin after a scald or burn. Research into the medicinal properties of mushrooms continues in many areas, including in the use of dressings for similar injuries such as ulcers and bedsores.

fungus-1194380_1920.jpg© Barbroforsberg

Chanterelles (Lisičarke)

Usually orange or yellow in colour, the chanterelles that grow in Croatia and other Mediterranean areas can be nearer to white. They are meaty, funnel-shaped and full of flavour. Chanterelles are known in English-speaking nations by their French name as they were popularised by the growing interest in French cuisine during the 18th century. These mushrooms in Croatia can be found in every region.

Russula_virescens3.jpg© Paffka

Green-cracking Russula / Quilted Green Russula / Green Brittlegill (Golubača)

These Croatia mushrooms are here known as Pigeon mushrooms. Their caps can be as wide as 15 centimetres and are highly distinctive - pale green with darker green patches that look not unlike mould (the Croatian words for mushroom and mould are very similar). They taste better than they look - mild, nutty, fruity, even sweet.

mushrooms-4565407_1920.jpeg© Jerzy Górecki

Parasol (Sunčanica)

Another mysterious mushroom, this one can be found living a solitary existence, or in the famous circles of folklore tales sometimes referred to as 'fairy rings'. Only the cap of this mushroom is edible, the stem is too fibrous. In European cooking, it's common to see the caps stuffed and then baked or coated in egg and breadcrumbs before frying. They grow in deciduous forests, on forest edges and in meadows. This Croatia mushroom is here known as little sunflowers, perhaps because they can be as tall as 30 centimetres.

Macrolepiota_rhacodes_JPG3.jpeg© voir ci-dessous

Shaggy Parasol (Kuštrava Sunčanica)

Much smaller than its sun-loving cousin above, this little mushroom better prefers the shade. Although edible, the mushroom contains toxins which can cause upset stomachs or allergic reaction. There's another mushroom sometimes called False Parasol which looks almost exactly like this but is poisonous. Also know charmingly as the Vomiter, it is the mushroom responsible for most poisonings each year in North America.

Amanita_rubescens_100_7069.jpeg© EmillimeS

Blusher (Biserka)

These Croatia mushrooms are known as Guinea Fowl. They have a reddish-brown and look very similar to several species of poisonous mushroom. Their flesh alters in colour, turning pink when cut or bruised, hence its name in English. The mushrooms contain a toxin that is removed by cooking – you can't eat them raw. It's best to wash the cap before cooking or remove the top layer altogether, as this contains most of the toxin. It's difficult to find good specimens for use in the kitchen as this mushroom is regularly attacked by insects.

Oyster Mushrooms

There are many types of oyster mushroom. Several edible varieties grow in Croatia.

Oyster_mushoom_fells.jpg© Aaron Sherman

The Tree mushroom is particularly familiar as it is widely cultivated. In the wild, its cap is laterally attached to the tree without having a stem.

2011-06-30_Pleurotus_cornucopiae_5_70824_cropped.jpg© Mushroom Observer

The Branched Oyster mushroom always has a stem. The mushroom can grow to 15 centimetres, has a pale yellow, brown or grey surface and off-white gills. It can have a mild smell quite close to aniseed.

Pleurotus_pulmonarius_LC0228.jpeg© Jörg Hempel

Sometimes known as the Indian Oyster, Italian Oyster, Phoenix mushroom or the Lung Oyster, pleurotus pulmonarius is one of the most cultivated mushrooms in the world and is famed for its medicinal value. It is almost identical to the mushroom most commonly associated with the name Oyster mushroom (pleurotus ostreatus), which likes to grow on dying or dead trees (it is never the cause of their death).

Pleurotus_ostreatus_JPG7.jpegPleurotus ostreatus the mushroom most commly referred to as Oyster mushroom © voir ci-dessous

If you have any vegetarian friends, maybe best not to tell them that all oyster mushrooms are in fact carnivorous – their mycelia eat bacteria and tiny worms called nematodes

Agaricus_augustus_2011_G1.jpeg© George Chernilevsky

The Prince mushroom (Vilovnjača)

The Prince mushroom seems to like people. It is not only found in deciduous and coniferous woods but also in gardens and by the roadside. It sometimes springs up in earth overturned by human hand. While its scent is strong and nutty, reminiscent of aniseed or almonds, it has a very mild taste when eaten.

Charcoal_Burner_-_Russula_cyanoxantha_45202732211.jpeg© Björn S

Charcoal Burner (Ljubičasto zelena krasnica)

These Croatia mushrooms seem to be better appreciated in some regions than others. They were designated 'Mushroom of the Year' in 1997 by the German Association of Mycology. They seem similarly respected in Croatia, where their title – Purple Green Beauty – is far more complimentary than its common name in English.

2008-08-Agaricus-Stuttgartx7.jpgThe changing form of the Horse mushroom as it ages is brilliantly depicted in this image by © Salix

Horse Mushroom

A close cousin of the Field mushroom, this large white fungus is frequently found near stables, in meadows, near spruce trees and around stinging nettles – it shares their love of nutrient-rich soil.

Amanita_vaginata_6820.jpeg© Mushroom Observer

Grisette (Preslica)

These are reasonably rare Croatia mushrooms and are more commonly enjoyed in the diets of cows than in humans. That might be because of, or in spite of, their reputed intoxicating effects. They have greyish or brownish caps.

Lactarius_piperatus_98569.jpeg© Mushroom Observer

Blancaccio (Paprena Mliječnica)

These creamy-white mushrooms complain by bleeding an off white, peppery-tasting milk when cut, explaining the name of these Croatia mushrooms - the peppery milkcap. They are best used as a seasoning, rather than eaten whole, after having been dried.

Aleuria_aurantia_Orange_Peel_Fungus.jpeg© The High Fin Sperm Whale

Orange Peel Fungus (Narančastocrvena zdjeličarka)

Edible but unremarkable in flavour, this fungus is best left in situ. Do look out for it though - it really does look like dried orange peel!

Craterellus_cornucopioides_JPG1.jpeg© Jean-Pol GRANDMONT

Horn of Plenty (Mrka Trubača)

Not so much black food exists in our diets, proof that you eat as much with your eyes as with your mouth. Whoever named this mushroom didn't help it much – it is known in Croatian, French and Italian as 'trumpet of the dead'. Croatians make a delicious black risotto using squid ink, so they really should get past the appearance and eat more of this Croatia mushroom. These mushrooms, which are also part of the oyster mushroom family, grow in abundance across Slavonia.

TricholomaSejunctum.jpeg© Archenzo

Yello Knight / Man On Horseback (Zelenka)

This mushroom has been traditionally eaten across many of the world's continents and remains popular in some parts of Asia, particularly in China. It was reputedly a popular favourite among medieval knights, who reserved the finest-tasting mushrooms for themselves and it grows well in France. In recent times, it has been associated in Europe with poisonings, however, it is under research for its medicinal properties. Extreme caution should be observed if you are attempting to pick this for consumption. Our expert Croatian guide said it should not be picked at all.

Black_White_Truffle.jpg© Mortazavifar

Truffles (Tartufi): the most expensive Croatia mushrooms

Are truffles mushrooms? Well, kinda, yes, even though they do grow below ground. It would be foolish not to include them in any list of fungi-for-food as they are so highly prized. Istrian cuisine is famous for its inclusion of truffles and both the more-common black and rarer and stronger-in-flavour white truffles grow there. However, truffles can be found in much more of Croatia than the region in which they are most famous. You'll need a guide with a specially trained dog to find them. They grow near oak, hazelnut, cherry and other deciduous trees.

Bovista_nigrescens_BS17.jpegThis fantastic picture by © Jerzy Opioła perfectly illustrates the three life stages of the Brown Puffball. They can only be eaten in their earliest stage of development when they are completely white

Brown Puffball

Like the Mosaic Puffball, this one is also edible only when young and white in colur., although this one is considerably smaller, measuring just 3 to 6 centimetres across. Although it likes to live in grassland, especially that used as pasture for animals, it can grow in altitudes of up to 2,500 metres.

Fistulina_hepatica_fistuline_hpatique_2.jpeg© Kean10

Beefsteak Fungus (Vukovo meso)

Sometimes called the Tongue mushroom and is elsewhere awarded a name related to liver, this mushroom has previously been used as a meat substitute in places like France. It is only edible when pink and young. The mushroom requires a sustained cooking time. It likes to grow on oak and chestnut trees and issues a blood-coloured liquid when cut.

Oronges.jpeg© Yaqui

Caesar's mushroom (Blagva)

Enjoyed in the diet since at least Roman times, blagva only grow in North Africa, southern Europe and in Mexico. So popular were they with the Romans that they can nowadays actually be found along the side of some old Roman roads which stretch further north into Europe. These classic-looking mushrooms have a distinctive orange cap and a yellow stem. In Italy, they are named after eggs because they look like them when first starting to grow. Although native Croatia mushrooms, these are super rare. At this time of year, you can sometimes see them on the open-air market tables in Bjelovar-Bilogora county and Sisak-Moslavina county. Whether or not that is completely legal given their current-day scarcity is best answered by another.

Total Croatia News would like to reiterate that hunting for wild edible mushrooms in Croatia should only ever be undertaken alongside an acknowledged guide or association

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Some of the Croatian language common names used for these fungi may be of more frequent use in Bosnia or typical to other regional dialects rather than standard Croatian. If you know better Croatian names for some of these mushrooms, please do let us know and we'll be very happy to amend the article.

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Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Croatian Forests Purchase Pilotless Aircraft

The state company wants to improve surveillance and forest security by using new technologies.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Sites in Split: Marjan Forest Park

Marjan Forest Park covers the westernmost tip of Split Peninsula. It is a green oasis, which has been cherished by the citizens of Split for generations and is considered the ‘lungs of the city.’ It covers a vast area, the size of New York’s Central Park and offers a myriad of activities and sites. There are countless paths what wend through the forests and along the coast, revealing a well-tendered landscape, jagged beaches, vista points, ancient chapels, and even a zoo.

You can take an easy stroll or a jog to the peak of Marjan hill, Telegrin, marked by the Croatian flag at 178m above sea level offering breathtaking views over Split and the Adriatic horizon. Alternatively, conduct your Marjan discovery on bike, which you can rent from the Northern Entrance to the park (a.k.a. Marjanska Vrata) for 15KN per hour; there are plenty paved roads and off-road routes to chose from.

Other than endless greenery, some hot spots to discover include:

Sustipan: A peninsula that closes off the city harbor to the west is an old cemetery nestled on a cliff face. It is a popular rock climbing spot for if you have the gear.

Sv. Jere Church: This magnificent little church was constructed into the rock face in 1500; a Croatian version of the Petra of Jordan if you will.

Vidilica Café: Found at the summit of a flight of stairs from taken from the Varoš neighborhood, here you can sip your coffee while taking in the best city panoramas.

The Zoo: Probably one of the smallest animal havens in the world but a great visit for kids.

Kašjuni Beach: Located on the southern foothills of the Marjan, this no-frills beach provides a quiet city getaway in pristine nature. A short walk takes you to Split’s only dog friendly spot dogs. This beach is also a nudist beach. 

Bene Beach: Located along the northern shores of this pine-dotted peninsula, this jagged beach is a popular recreational destination with tennis courts, football, playgrounds, and a restaurant.

Getting to Marjan

It is prohibited to drive through Marjan Forest Park but you can park by the Northern Gate (a.k.a. Marjanska Vrata). Get to the Northen Gate on foot by heading up Plinarska Ulica directly behind the National Theatre of Split, cross Prilaz Vladimira Nazora Ulica and continue west down Mandalinski Put. 

You can also get to Marjan from the city by climbing the stairs to Vidilica from the Varoš neighborhood west of Riva.

Alternatively, you can access from the southern side by passing through the Marjan tunnel to the Meje neighborhood and turn right at the t-junction and continue west along Šetalište Ivana Meštrovića until a ramp stops you from driving further. Park nearby and walk the rest of the way.

You can also hop on bus 12 from Riva and get off at the last stop, directly by Bene beach. Alternatively, take a little choo choo train that departs every hour in front of the National Theatre of Split in the summer from 8am to 8pm; a real popular mode of transport for the kids for just 10kn.