Video: Shopping in the markets like a local in Split, Croatia

Split is one of the most relaxing cities we have been to in Europe (and one of our favourites).

Check out this video and you’ll see what I mean:

Meanwhile, picture this… the tranquil waters of the Adriatic lapping at the city’s waterfront as you sit at an outdoor cafe drinking an ice cold beer. Across the bay ferries come and go as church bells chime and echo across the old cobbled streets lit by the hot sun arcing across the clear blue sky above; it’s all very heaven.

Split's waterfront is a sun soaked paradise - when the sun cooperates of course...

Split’s waterfront is a sun soaked paradise – when the sun cooperates of course…

Well, it can be like that. We had a bit of bad luck with the weather on our recent trip to Split with my parents Paul and Lisa, unlike the time before when we had perfect weather the whole time. The weather gods dictated a nasty squall of rain and scudding clouds for the majority of our stay. Hmmmm. It forced us to revise our plans a bit, especially the outdoor eating and drinking parts!

Whenever we travel we try to stay in places that have kitchens because doing your own cooking helps keep spending in check and allows you to hunt down local ingredients – a great way to meet people and pick up ideas. Our apartment in Split was a dignified affair on the top floor of a building right near the centre of the old town with a fully equipped kitchen. Better still, right opposite the front door was the city’s fish market.

Split is the gateway to the Adriatic and the islands - a great place to start or finish on the Dalmatian Coast

Split is the gateway to the Adriatic and the islands – a great place to start or finiswhy our travels on the Dalmatian Coast

The bounty of the ocean is laid out every morning by the fish sellers who bring the catch directly from the boats to the market. Big and small, weird and wonderful, it’s all there for sale. I managed to get a kilogram of fresh prawns for eight euros. Quite a bargain when you consider I’d have paid five euros for 200g back in London! Anyway, I had a bit of a chat in broken English and Croatian with the lady selling the goods and walked away with a heaving bag of seafood.

Our local contact had told us about a green market on the edge of town where we could buy some vegetables and salad things to go with the prawns so we dove into the twisted streets, trusting our noses to find it. Split is a very historic place – the entire city is nestled behind the facade of what was once a Roman Emperors summer palace.

Split's tight, cobbled streets are a history lesson

Split’s tight, cobbled streets are a history lesson

Diocletian ruled the Roman Empire in the Fourth Century AD and built the massive palace as a place he could retire to. I think he had the right idea choosing Split. There’s not much left of the palace’s insides but the wall and windows facing the sea are still standing and what was the interior is now a maze of flats and shops. You can have a drink in a cafe right next to a jumble of fallen Roman columns – my Mum gave us an art lesson by pointing out the ‘egg and spear’ pattern decorating the walls – it must have been quite a feat to carve such intricate designs without making mistakes!

The bell tower of the Cathedral of saint Dominus is Split's main landmark and tolls every hour

The bell tower of the Cathedral of Saint Dominus is Split’s main landmark – you can climb up if you’re feeling sprightly

Grey clouds formed up above so we needed to hurry and get to the green market. Every morning on the edge of Split’s old town the traders gather to sell fresh fruit, vegetables, cheese, honey, herbs and meat. We dove right in and had a great time chatting to the traders and trying to figure out the currency. Croatia is about to change over to the Euro but we did most of our transactions in Kuna which has some very high decimal values – we were shocked at the hundreds of kuna we were spending only to realise it was actually quite cheap when converted to euro!

Strawberries for sale at Split's green market

Strawberries for sale at Split’s green market

We picked the last of our purchases and had to make a mad dash for cover as the rain finally broke. The streets were absolutely awash and quite slippery. We trod back to the centre of town near Diocletian’s crypt and took cover at a cafe with huge umbrellas. But the rain worked its way through the cracks and soaked us again – luckily a waiter spotted us and managed to reserve a table inside the cafe’s restaurant. It’s called Luxor and is named after the place in Egypt where there are lots of Sphinxs. Old Diocletian was a fan of them and had quite a few shipped over to his summer palace.

We ordered a nice bottle of Croatian red (they do excellent wine) to help us wait out the storm and plan how were were going to prepare all the fresh food we had just bought. Even though the weather was terrible we still made the most of it and did our favourite things – meeting locals, seeing the history and getting stuck into the food. Rain be damned!










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About the author

Carmen has been nomadic since May 2013 and the co-founder of Double-Barrelled Travel. She loves experiencing new cultures and learning new languages. She is having the most fun when skiing down a mountain, scuba diving in the Caribbean or curled up with a good book.

2 comments on “Video: Shopping in the markets like a local in Split, Croatia”

  1. Pingback: Looking back on 2013 - Double-Barrelled Travel

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