The gorgeous town of Trogir in Croatia must be one of the easiest day trips I have ever done on the fly. Literally, because we managed to fit in a day in Trogir en route between Split and departing from the airport.
Trogir is just 20 kilometres west down the coast from Split. It has been designated a Unesco World Heritage Site due to its being an example of urban continuity. It started out as a Greek settlement and the street plan dates from the Hellenistic period. It also has a number of beautiful Romanesque churches and stunning Venetian architecture from the Renaissance and Baroque periods.
From Split we turned up in the morning and caught a bus from the station just across from the ferry terminal (we arrived from the gorgeous island of Hvar). It was a bus heading northwards to Rijeka and cost only 24 Kroner each plus another 8K for putting a case in the hold. The bus system was very easy to negotiate and it is truly a lovely little old town to explore.
On the way back we caught the local number 37 bus from Trogir to Split that stops at the airport and runs every 20 minutes. This only cost 15K each. Note that the bus stops on the road outside the airport – it is not far to walk but don’t wait for the bus to pull into the airport itself! You could also catch this bus to get to Trogir but from the central Split bus station rather than down by the ferry terminal.
There is a left luggage facility at the Trogir bus station if you have a heavy bag – ask the toilet attendant as she has the key – and it costs 15K per piece of luggage. It couldn’t be more convenient!
So what is there to see in Trogir? From the bus station you just cross the bridge into the town, which is on an island. To the right just before the bridge is a market where you can buy fresh produce, cheese, cured meats and bakery goods.
Start in the ancient central square and everything fans out from there. The Cathedral of St Lawrence towers over the square and offers views over the whole of the old town and the coast from its Venetian gothic campanile.
As for the church itself, the impressive carved archway over the west is the most notable feature – biblical figures and wild animals are all mixed up with curling plant tendrils.
Cross the square, dodging the tour groups, and have a look at the Town Loggia – built in the 15th century with an elegant clock tower. Back in the early 1930s locals had strong anti-Italian feelings (due to Italy trying to take over) and a Venetian lion relief sculpture in the east wall was dynamited.
Then it is time for a walk through the cobbled streets and out onto the waterfront promenade (the Riva). There are a few stretches of the medieval walls left (Napoleon demolished the rest) and the walk along to the 15th-century Kamerlengo Fortress is wonderful.
Trogir became part of the Republic of Venice in 1420 and the existing fortress was extended at this time to protect the sea channel and the port. Again you can see where Venetian symbols have been damaged by Croatian nationalists.
Around the point we sat on the stone gazebo – Marmont’s Gloriette a Napoleonic monument – and watched the game being played on Trogir’s football pitch for awhile before plunging back into the old town.
A warning about travelling to Trogir off season – a lot of the restaurants were closed. This was a shame as it is well known for excellent seafood. But in the end we had an excellent meal at Trs (Matije Gupca 14), which was very family friendly.
Trogir is a little gem of a town that is well worth a side trip when visiting Croatia’s beautiful Dalmatian coast and a very easy day trip from Split.
By Natasha von Geldern
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