Many may not think to explore Croatia’s inland, but there is so much that lies beyond the beaches and the Adriatic Sea. During the off season months, when the sea is too cold to enjoy, we like to venture off into the country and see all the treasures that are a short ride from our home base in Split. In the low season, we have scored car rentals as low as $4.25 USD per day, so day trips can be extremely cost effective. In addition, all of these sites are all free to explore.
The highlight of Sinj is a visit up to the Old Town Fortress. A walk under the pines leads to an amazing overlook of the town. Along the path, there is a moving Way of the Cross sculpture series constructed by Croatian artists. At the top, visitors can explore the remnants of the old fort, a bronze statue of the Madonna of Sinj, and St. Mary’s Church. Today, the star shaped Kamičak Fort (built in 1712) stands as the symbol of the city. There are also many historical sculptures scattered throughout the city.
💰The drive to Sinj takes about 45 minutes. We parked at the base of the hill, which was the start of the trail. Parking was free.
Blue Lake, near Imotski, is a very unique geological wonder to explore. Driving up to the massive natural wonder is almost intimidating! As you make your way, the crater looms in the distance. As we approached I questioned, “We are going hiking?! In there?” The secret and allure of Blue Lake is that it is found at the bottom of a huge sinkhole that geologists claim was formed from the collapse of an enormous underground cave.
The path down to the lake is rocky, but surprisingly easy. Be on the lookout for a small cave near the beginning of the trail. Often when the weather is warm, visitors will brave a dip in the chilly, clean water. We visited in late spring when the lake water was still very high, but rumor is that after long hot summer months, the lake can dry up and completely disappear. Make sure your camera is handy because you can leave with some spectacular photos.
💰BS Travel Tips- Cost is free. Parking is free. Imotski Lakes is a 1.5 hour drive from Split. Stop in Makarska for a celebratory beer, cappuccino, or dinner to make it a full day trip.
One of the most picturesque day trips from Split is to the town of Vrlika and the surrounding area. Visit Prozor Fortress which sits at the top of the hill overlooking the sprawling mountain valley.
Afterwards, head to the village town of Cetina that sits at the foothills of the Dinara Mountain range. First, stop and visit the oldest church in Croatia which was erected in the 9th century. In the graveyard, there are headstones and tombs going back to the 14th and 15th centuries.
About 7 km, or 4 miles up the road is an amazing geological and natural wonder. Veliko vrilo, also called the Glavaš spring, is actually the underground start of the Cetina River. The spring starts here and eventually runs out into the Adriatic Sea in Omiš. Seen from above, it’s a miraculous sight! Divers have investigated it to a depth of 150 meters.
Look for the Serbian Orthodox church, The Church of the Holy Salvation. The spring sits right below and can be reached via a small, rocky trail. In this area, you can catch a catch a glimpse of Dinara Mountain which is the highest mountain in Croatia that stands at 1,913 meters, or 6,276 feet.
💰There is no cost to visit these sites and parking for all is free. Bring snacks, water, or lunch because there aren’t any food stops or bakeries near this area. You’ll find refreshments closer to Sinj. Driving time is around 1 hour and 15 minutes from Split.
Primosten is an old, Mediterranean fishing town. In the 16th century, the land was an islet connected by a drawbridge. Today, visitors can enjoy walking the coastal path that circles around the town and nearby wooded pine peninsula. Explore the quaint paths that lead to its historical buildings, such as the Church of St. Juraj which was erected in 1485 and restored in 1760. From the church, you can get at a sweeping view of the sea. Primosten’s beaches, such as Raduca Beach, rank as some of the most beautiful in Croatia. There are many cafe beach bars (some with playgrounds for the little ones) to enjoy a cappuccino or Karlovačko at sunset.
💰BS Travel Tips – On the drive into town, be sure to pullover and stop to take in a bird’s eye view of the town. The drive from Split to Primosten takes about one hour. Metered parking is available. During low season, you can find parking lots available for no charge.
Pakovo Selo – Etnoland
Within Croatia’s interior, there’s a hidden gem that many independent tourists may not come across. Located in Pakovo Selo, about a 10 minute drive from National park Krka, Etnoland is a unique attraction that showcases Croatian culture to those that wish to step back in time to learn more. Here, visitors can enjoy the sights, sounds, and tastes of Dalmatia.