Marjan Park, Split, Croatia

The sun was shining this morning so we decided to take a walk around Marjan Park, situated on the peninsula to the west of the centre of Split. It’s a feature of the city which is pretty hard to miss, due to its massive pine covered hill. Marjan has been a park since Emperor Diocletian’s time and it gave city residents a place to enjoy the wilderness within walking distance of the city.

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The park extends from near the Old Jewish Cemetery and continues up the hill past the St Nikola Church, which dates from the 13th century. Further along the hill above St Jerome’s Church are hermitage caves all dating from the 15th century. As Marjan Hill is almost unusable due to its shape, it’s never been built on.
The park is pretty popular and as we looked for a place to park the bike just past St Jeromes, we were dodging joggers.

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We walked around the edge of the park along the steep cliffs of the seaward side with views across to the islands and around to the shore side. The water across the bay was absolutely sensational and when we got close to it we realised it was clearer than tap water. It was nice wandering through the pine forests which cover the park. Along the city side of the peninsula limestone outcrops stick out amongst the trees. It’s quite an interesting landscape.

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Down on the waters edge the outcrops have been carefully concreted to make them more accessible to bathers. In a few areas there are even wheelchair friendly ramps leading into the water. It’s certainly set up quite well.
We found a small man made beach, with a bathing area surrounded by tennis courts and a cafe which was unfortunately closed for winter. However, it had some park benches situated in the sun overlooking the water. Without hesitation Michele found a bench in the sun to read her book whilst I dug out the picnic. It was the perfect place to relax.

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Gazing out across this beautiful bay I decided that I just had to get into the water. I’ve procrastinated too many times in a spots along the Croatian coast which were perfect. We found a nice secluded spot with a ladder and after ditching my bike gear, in I went. Well it was pretty bracing but it certainly was nice to feel the sea on my skin again. It was also nice to be swimming in such beautiful clear water. Swimming is one thing I miss when I’m away from home. Warm balmy afternoons with a swim in the ocean on the way home from work. There’s nothing like it.
The park really is well set up with access points into the water which include ladders and ramps. There’s also open air showers at most of the entry points which is just perfect.

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Feeling invigorated after the swim we headed up the hill which runs through the centre of the park. There’s a few exercise trails around the park which looked pretty good and also some nice walking and mountain bike trails through the forest. At this time of year the parks pretty quiet so it’s just perfect to walk through. Eventually we made our way back around to the bike and headed back towards the city checking out a few of the deserted beaches along the way.
Marjan is an absolutely cracking spot to escape the craziness of the city, and the best part is, it’s within walking distance.

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As the day was getting on we headed for the Riva to watch the sunset and join the throng of people enjoying the Advent stalls.

 

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