Restaurants in Split – eating out in Split

So this was an exciting summer for all of us who like eating out from time to time. There are many newly opened restaurants in Split following the booming of tourism and increase of number of travelers who choose Split as their destination.
Most of the restaurants are trying to have something other than boring, classic offer like grilled meat and fish and one major new trend is “Dalmatian tapas”. The finest example of small bites with good wines is Pikuleca by Dino Galvagno. We simply love that place although the portions are small and not exactly inexpensive but this is my favorite choice for late night, light food. The tastes are simply superb and unlike anything you can eat on the coast but still respecting the tradition and local ingredients. I would only prefer that it is more Dalmatian and without Istrian wines.

Octopus - at Pikuleca

Octopus – at Pikuleca

 

So, this summer we had opportunity to eat at:
newly opened F de Mar on the western promenade which was ok as the service was sloooow,
Bokeria – God knows what that was. The interior, however, is stunning.
Brasserie on 7 – EXCELLENT burgers (served only till 7 PM grrrrrr)
Uje Bar – quite ok. Will eat again.
Villa Spiza – great as usual
Chops Steak & Grill – Superb steak selection and great service!
Korta – always great!
…and few others.

We particularly enjoyed newly opened Paradigma as the  best (the only?) choice for fine dining in Split with superb dishes and great wine selection. This is their version of octopus!

Octopus - at Paradigma

Turbot - at Paradigma

Turbot – at Paradigma

One of our favorite lunches was served at Restaurant Dvor, Firule neighborhood of Split. Located in a finely restored classic Split  house by the sea, Dvor offers one of the most romantic settings in all of Split. 
The food is always good but the staff seems to be a bot more relaxed than they should. It does not bother me but would prefer more professional attitude. We always enjoy their ginger and carrot soup! 

Ginger and carrot spicy soup at Dvor restaurant

Ginger and carrot spicy soup at Dvor restaurant

And I also like how they serve classic soparnik for couvert.

Soparnik with olives and olive oil

Soparnik with olives and olive oil

The best seafood we ate at Matejuška tavern. Just a tiny place for locals has been made quite popular due to top position on Trip Advisor. Not sure if they will be able to maintain the quality, but everything we had (tuna and flaunder) was simply superb! This place is also quite inexpensive as the 5 of us ate for 100 Euros (three courses with house wine).

Seafood lunch at Konoba Matejuska

Seafood lunch at Konoba Matejuska

There are definitely many great additions to Split restaurant scene and I am glad the town is slowly becoming an interesting place to eat out. Split  – and its guests – deserve it!

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Okljucna village and Kraljicina spilja cave

I have been reading about Kraljicina spilja cave (Queen’s cave translated to English) for a while now but never had the time to visit. It is the largest cave of Vis island and it is located on a fairly inaccessible part of the western coast close to Okljucna village. Yesterday we had some extra time and decided to visit the cave.
First, we drove to abandoned Okljucna village.

Okljucna today…


Okljucna today is just a shadow of once a lovely village that even had a full school of students. No one lives there year round any more. Just a few restored houses are now left and many more are abandoned.

The church at Okljucna


To reach the Queen’s Cave, one has to drive from Vis all the way to a sign that tells a story of the cave and the research conducted. It involves some dirt road driving but in general, it is an easy drive.
Then, it is enough to follow the signs along the path. For about 50 minutes.
Abandoned house along the route.

Abandoned house along the route.


Being end of August, we enjoyed picking and eating blackberries and figs but also saw rare service tree filled with fruits (still sour)
Service tree

Service tree


The path is quite scenic but very narrow. it is difficult to get lost, though, as it is the only path you can follow. At times, it goes bellow the pine trees providing much needed shade. make sure you bring plenty of water as you will need it!
Following the path

Following the path


Nearing the cave, the views became stunning. Open seas and steep, rugged western coast of Vis.
The western coast of Vis

The western coast of Vis


The final part of the trail is fairly difficult and ropes have been positioned and tied to the trees to ease the approach. The cave is right above the sea, some 70 meters, although, due to many trees, it does not look that way!
The entrance to Queen's cave

The entrance to Queen’s cave


The cave is not too big and one needs ropes to get to more distant halls. Without any equipment, one can easily get through the first two sections. Some carved steps can also be found to ease getting from one part to another.
The cave is filled with ornaments and it is quite lovely. Nothing spectacular but still pretty. Lots of bats, too!
Inside the cave

Inside the cave


Beautiful part of the cave

Beautiful part of the cave


The cave has also suffered some devastation although some of the major destruction seems to have been done by an earthquake. The archaeologists have doe some excavations as the cave was inhabited in the past. Not permanently according to the evidence found but probably only as a stop when traveling.
Some half hour is enough to enjoy the cave (without ropes) and to enjoy the cool temperatures before heading back.
One exiting we heard and briefly saw, very rare Eleanora’s falcon! That makes these cliffs a top position for any serious birdwatcher!
The road back was nothing easier… Another 50 minutes in the scorching sun and looking for rare pine tree shades. We were happy to be back to Oključna.
Opuntia ficus-indica

Opuntia ficus-indica


Just one of many great places to visit while on Vis!

Travel to Croatia

Beaches of Vis Island – Sandy Smokova beach

Vis is generally known as one of the most beautiful islands of Croatia. Culture, history, food, beaches…all that makes Vis  Island a very special destination. There are several very popular beaches on the island (Srebrna, Stončica, Grandovac, Stiniva…to name just a few) but some are only accessible by a boat as the coast of Vis is quite rugged and wild.

One of my favorites is Smokova for sure.

Smokova beach

Entering Smokova bay

This is not a small bay. It can hold dozens of boats of all sizes and and it is a perfect refuge from jugo (southern) wind or maestral (north western). It is a popular destination for all boaters but it was not crowded despite the fact it was August 1st which is usually the busiest month of the season.

Smokova

Smokova

In the bay

In the bay

The beautiful bay ends with a small sandy beach that is just perfect for families! Well…maybe not everyone likes it.

Great for families and (most) children

Great for families and (most) children

The beach itself is maybe a 100 meters long and it is made of a very fine, nearly white sand. The beach is open to northern winds and it is not the cleanest as some people have a custom of throwing stuff overboard… The Vis island tourist board should find some funds to clean these beaches and maintain it that way through the season (and after). Lots of driftwood as well but I like that and some folks built a nice shade.

White sands

White sands

It is also worth mentioning that, because of the high hills that envelope the Smokova bay, sun is lost fairly soon so, by 7 PM, it was already dark on the beach.

At the beach

At the beach

A curiosity of Smokova is that one can still see part of a WW2 bomber wing at the sea bottom. About 100 meters from the beach. It is part of a wing of an aircraft that did not make it to the Vis airport and crashed here. The airport for allied airplanes was created in the central part of the island as US and British airplanes were attacking Nazi targets during the last stages of the WW2.

Part of the wing

Part of the wing

And then it was time to head back.

Heading back to Vis town

Heading back to Vis town

Stončica lighthouse looked pretty as ever.

Stončica lighthouse

Stončica lighthouse

In general, nearly all beaches of Vis are quite special and very hard to pint one out as the nicest. Smokova is excellent for families as that sandy part makes it easily accessible and great for children. Smokova is part of our motor boat trip around Vis Island as one of the most popular stops.

 

Travel in Croatia