A city built from a palace
Most cities have to start somewhere. In many cases it’s usually a first settler who establishes a trading post, or a Christian missionary who builds the first church, or maybe a conquering nation that establishes a fortress. But the beautiful city of Split in Croatia grew around the opulent palace established by the Roman Emperor Diocletian, who fell in love with the beautiful peninsula near the Roman city of Salona and was compelled to retire there. And if you’ve ever visited Split, you’ll clearly understand his incentive. Split not only lies on a peninsula surrounded by the aqua-blue Adriatic Sea, but is framed by the gorgeous mountain ranges of Mosor and Kozjak. The end of the peninsula rises to form Marjan Hill, where Diocletian no doubt spent his last days soaking up the glorious views of the surrounding mountains and Dalmatian islands of Brac, Hvar, Solta and Ciovo.
The story of Split dates back 17 centuries, when Diocletian decided to build a palace there in order to live out the remainder of his life in peace and tranquility. A city grew around the palace and eventually over the following 1700 years into the sprawling metropolis we know today as Split. Since 1979 the palace and the surrounding old town have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A new airport terminal and catamaran service
Like many other cities along the Croatian coast, Split is becoming an ever more popular attraction for tourists and businesses looking for a great incentive destination. So much so that work has been underway to build a new airport terminal to cope with the ever increasing number of visitors.
The new terminal opens this July. Also, to facilitate the transport of visitors to and from the airport and the city centre, and likely to ease congestion on the newly built dual carriageway to the city, a catamaran service will start running this summer. Leaving from the harbour in Resnik, a mere 500m from the airport terminal, it will ferry passengers daily every 90 minutes from May to October. The ferry will have a capacity of 145 and the last one will depart at 21:30. This will reduce the journey time from 1 hour to just 15 minutes. The ferry will berth at the centrally located city dock, right beside the intercity bus station; ideal for those looking to travel onwards to other parts of Dalmatia, or head off to one of the nearby islands.
But before you do, make sure you check out what Split has to offer first.
The perfect incentive destination
While Dubrovnik reigns king when it comes to tourism, for an incentive, Split is often overlooked. This is a shame, because Split has so much to offer with regards to MICE activities, and is reputed for being DMC friendly.
Split has excellent flight and bus connections, and as we’ve just seen is an excellent base from which to explore other parts of Dalmatia. The city is brimming over with a choice of excellent hotels, restaurants and bars. The old town and surrounding hills and mountains offer a range of activities and incentive possibilities.
Built in 305AD, the palace itself is obviously the prime attraction here, and has been amazingly well preserved. It’s quite something when you think that this was actually built as a retirement home. Living in such a lavish retirement home surrounded by such beauty would be a great incentive for anyone to live a long and happy retirement.
However, what would Diocletian think of it now? For his palace is now surrounded by restaurants, bars and shops, yet somehow manage to blend seamlessly with this 4th century building.
Head inside to the Peristyle (centre of the palace), and stroll through the Cardo, one of the main streets, for a walk through Old Rome. Check out the cellar, where Game of Throne fans will know was the filming location for Daenery’s throne room.
A range of incentive possibilities
We know the city well. Most of the locations are available for meetings, incentives and a variety of activities. We can arrange many things such as Game of Throne activities, different city treasure hunts, culinary pleasures, ethno experiences, jeep rides, and much more. In the nearby Krka National Park, we can organize all manner of outdoor trips from cycling, kayaking, canyoning, canoeing to sailing or simply a nice sunset cruise around the nearby islands.
So for your incentive, Split has much more to offer than you might otherwise imagine.