• Ivica Profaca

Enjoy Split (Even) On A Rainy Day

Last couple of weeks Split and most of Dalmatia had weather that made this area look almost British - rain, rain, rain. And then some sun to make us hope summer is coming. And then rain again. Even jokes broke out, like that summer is waiting until everyone lose some weight to hit a beach. Or that we have to collect firewoods to survive this summer. Or that Game of Thrones' motto Winter is coming became real.

Forecast for the next week is as miserable as it was recently, with temperatures under 18 degrees Celsius, and exchange of rain and shy sunshine. Beach season looks strangely remote with sea temperature still around 15 degrees, usually it begins in early May. We locals will have enough time to enjoy it, but for most of visitors swim suits and towels will remain just extra weight in their luggage till the end of May. Hopefully it won't go to June. Sorry for that, dear guests, but now at least we know climate change is not something we can neglect.

Fortunatelly, there are other options to spend time in Split area and enjoy. So, let's see what can one do in Split on a rainy day? Actually, same as you would do in any other city. After all, Split IS a city, not just a vacation hub, and recipe is simple as always: do what locals do.

For start, you can always go shopping. There are three big shopping malls, Joker, City Center One, and the biggest one Mall of Split. Also, just outside Split there is the fourth and the smallest one, Salona Mall, If you don't like big malls, there are lot of smaller stores in and around old town, ranging from souvenirs to fashion to jewellery. Touring local restaurants and bars is another obvious choice, explore Mediterranean diet as we cook it. After all, it's part of the UNESCO's World Intangible Heritage List. That way, you will also help keeping city centre alive, or just have an opportunity for a post-shopping drink in the shadow of Split's historical heritage. That also includes browsing bookstores, or some of the used-books stores. Speaking of books, why not visiting City Library?

How about watching movies? There are three multiplexes, Cinestar in Joker and Mall of Split, and Cineplexx in CCO, with excellent and comfortable theatres, and all the big hits shown. Besides them, there is one independent cinema in the old town, Karaman, cheaper and with better position. That one is also part of local history, because it's the oldest cinema in Croatia, opened in 1907. The third solution is cinematheque Zlatna vrata, with more artistic program of independent, non-American and archive films. Important fact: movies in Croatian cinemas are subtitled, not dubbed.

Next stop, theatre. It's hard to follow drama performances if you don't speak Croatian, but Croatian National Theatre offers also opera, ballet or concerts. Other, smaller theatres are mainly oriented to drama. There is also a City Puppet Theatre.

Museums are always excellent choice, regardless of weather. Most of them are included in usual tours or guide books, so it's easy: Meštrović Gallery, Split City Museum, Gallery of Fine Arts, Archeological Museum, Ethnographic Museum, Croatian Maritime Museum, etc.

Or, take some of many walking tours, like those I offer (check My Tours section). Learn about Split, its history and life style, about Marjan, about its people. I'm not talking only about ancient history - more recent history is also interesting, even its socialism-era architecture. After all, it was part of the big exhibiton of ex-Yugoslavia architecture in New York based MoMA. That brings us to another venue - city stadium. Even when there are no football matches, you can visit it and learn about incredible 108 years of history of Hajduk Split.

Why only visiting different venues? Why not just walk around? Rain in Split is usually not monsoon-like, so just enjoy nature, city, and history. You can follow my example; I love photo sessions on rainy days, because that's when I think Split is the most photogenic, especially with strong southern or southeast winds. Put on some proper clothes and shoes, grab your camera and go to Marjan hill or along the waterfront.

Rainy days can be excellent day trip time. Explore Split vicinity, like Solin, Omiš, Trogir, Klis, Sinj, Makarska, Kaštela, Imotski etc. There are endless choices, from natural wonders to wine and food tasting. It's not just beaches that are worth of visiting.

Probably the best way to spend time is blending in with local community. Check about daily events. Browse around fish and green market and buy something. Or have a coffee (or whatever you drink), as you probably noticed that hanging out in cafés and bars is the way most of "Splićani" (local name for Split residents, or anyone related to Split) spend their free time. Blend in, it's not hard, and it's enjoyable. Complaining about weather, especially "južina" (pron. yoozheenah, meaning wet southeast wind) is preferable.

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