Sitting in the middle of Croatia’s best known coastal region, Dalmatia, Split is an interesting mix of new and old.

The city developed from the palace of the Roman Emperor Diocletian, who, at the turn of the 4th century, probably never dreamed his retirement home would grow into a city. But today, some 2.300 people live inside the palace walls and some 300.000 in Split, making it the second largest town in the country.

The historic quarters is where you will spend most of your time in Split. This UNESCO-listed World Heritage site features jaw-dropping architecture, from the beautiful open-air Peristyle and Jupiter's Temple to the underground cellars – where Daenarys Targaryen had her dragons chained for a while. The center brims with life, as this is where the locals sip their coffee in open-air squares, the tourists explore and take a bunch of selfies and the residents air-dry their colorful laundry off the ancient windows.

Just through the sea gates of the palace, find yourself at Split’s waterfront promenade called Riva, dotted at one end with Marjan hill, the city's lungs and also a labyrinth of lovely hiking trails. The harbor is the starting point for great escapes to the islands. At close distance, Hvar, Brač and Šolta make for great day excursions. Learn to make honey on Šolta, taste some fantastic wines on Hvar and learn all about the fabulous white stone of Croatia on Brač. On the mainland, find another UNESCO-listed site, the charming Trogir, within an hour’s reach. Alternatively, delve further into the regional history at the remains of Salona, the Roman town whose inhabitants were the first to move into the Diocletian’s palace when they were escaping the Slavs, unknowingly giving foundation to the present-day Split.