From Rijeka to Split and the Game of Thrones

After an exciting week with our Share Istria group, my friend Lynn and I were off on our own to explore more of Croatia. Our first stop was in Rijeka and we had a great first day there.

In the morning, we had another great and filling Croatia breakfast after a good night’s sleep at the Grand Hotel Bonavia in Rijeka. 

Before we headed back on the road we also had a chance to spend a bit of time in the Grand Hotel Bonavia Wellness Centre.

I was extremely impressed with this spa that was complimentary to all guests. It included a relaxation area with chromo therapy, themed aromatherapy showers, a Finish Sauna, a Turkish Sauna, and a spa area where they offered massages.

By the time we left there we were very relaxed and we hit the road to Split.

Alenka, our guide the previous day, had told us a lot about the beach town of Krk so we made a short detour to check it out.

It was indeed filled with beaches and a quaint downtown area along the water with a marina.

We walked around for a bit, enjoying the scenery, and watching the people at the cafes.

It was a good thing we didn’t stay too long, because the trip to Split, though beautiful, took twice as long as we expected.

As we arrived in the city, I was struck by how much more crowded it was than I expected. I soon learned that Split, Croatia,,was spread out and each area was different.

The spot our hotel was located in Podstrana was actually a bit more residential – and on an amazing stretch of beach.

When I looked out the window at Hotel Split, all I could think about was enjoying the turquoise water, but that would have to wait as we first had a tour waiting.

Our very knowledgeable, friendly, and fun guide was Vjeran Mlacic and he was going to introduce us to this historical city.

We met Vjeran on the other side of the city. This area of Split was filled with locals and tourists, sightseeing and enjoying local food. We were pretty hungry ourselves, but needed to get through the tour first.

He showed us a map of Split to give us a better understanding of the area before we headed inside Diocletian's Palace.

It was like nothing I had ever seen before. From the outside, you could see shops and cafes on the lower level with the remnants of what is the oldest remains from the Roman era above!

Inside the palace was also a combination of souvenir shops among these tall, old, walls. As we got further inside, though, it was all about long ago, and the Roman emperors that had lived here.

Although I’ve never watched Game of Thrones it was easy to see how anything filmed within these ancient walls could look realistic. Vjeran showed us a number of the tremendous rooms used for scenes.

After we went through the palace we stopped at some of the stores beneath it.
Lynn, who designs and makes jewelry herself, couldn’t resist picking up a few intricate silver pieces and I got some souvenirs.

We walked out of the palace area and to the marina toward our restaurant for dinner.

Tavern Varos is an excellent Italian choice. It was quite different than what we had in Istria, with more of this regions focus on vegetables.

After a salad and beets, we enjoyed grilled meats and a wonderful gnocchi in an alfredo sauce.

We walked back to the car along the marina. It was a beautiful scene with people enjoying cafes and music.

We couldn’t resist joining in for some gelato and cappuccinos before heading back to the hotel.

Lynn and I had one more day in <Split and it was going to be something I don’t get to do very often – free time on the beach.


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