Croatia // Split and the south Dalmatian coast //

The Marjan peninsula

Crisscrossed by footpaths and minor roads, the wooded heights of the Marjan peninsula offer the easiest escape from the bustle of central Split. From the Old Town it’s an easy ten-minute walk up Senjska, which ascends westwards through the district of Veli Varoš, arriving after about ten minutes at the Vidilica café on Marjan’s eastern shoulder. There’s a small Jewish graveyard round the back of the café, and to its right a stepped path climbs towards Vrh Marjana, where there’s a wider view of the coast and islands.

About 1km further west, there’s an even better panorama from the peninsula’s highest point, 178-metre-high Telegrin. Keeping to the left of the Vidilica brings you to a path which heads round the south side of the hill, arriving after about five minutes at the thirteenth-century St Nicholas’s Chapel (Sveti Nikola), a simple structure with a sloping belfry tacked on to one side like a buttress. From here, the path continues for 2km, with wooded hillside to the right and the seaside suburbs of Marjan’s south coast on the left, before arriving at St Hieronymous’s Chapel (Sveti Jere), a simple shed-like structure pressed hard against a cliff – medieval hermits used to live in the caves that are still visible in the rock above. From here you can descend towards the road which leads round the base of the peninsula, or cross its rocky spine to reach Marjan’s fragrant, pine-covered northern side. Paths emerge at sea level near Bene bay, where you’ll find a combination of rocky and concreted bathing areas and a couple of cafés.

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