Taking coffee is a daily obsession in Split. However busy anyone might be, there’s always time for a coffee and a chat. The Riva waterfront promenade is fuelled by caffeine and conversation, and backdropped by an unbeatable view of the Adriatic. The historic centre, at Bačvice beach and around, the quality of coffee is excellent. Here are the best cafés and coffee shops in Split.
Cafe, European, $$$
Bistro Galerija Courtesy of Bistro Galerija
Taking the lead from scores of its counterparts across Europe, Split’s Gallery of Fine Arts runs a contemporary café as a thriving business in its own right. Here called the Bistro Galerija, a terrace café with snacks, it sits in an attractive space within the greenery just outside the walls of Diocletian’s Palace. This top-quality coffee will kick you into action before you plunge into the Palace hordes.
Caffe Bar Fro allows Spličani to do what they best enjoy: sit for hours at café tables and chat. A single espresso here can last a whole morning. Located slap bang in the middle of Split’s Riva promenade, the Fro is also referred to as ‘Freud’, as the philosopher once stayed in the same building. Aperol Spritz becomes the drink of choice as the sun sets over the Adriatic.
Until fairly recently, Croatia’s main cities had their own Gradska Kavana, usually on a main square, where writers, intellectuals and academics met for erudite interchanges. Split’s, on Narodni trg, was founded back in the late 1700s. As in Dubrovnik and Zagreb, two centuries of tradition have given way to the forces of commerce, and these prominent coffeehouses have been revamped and rebranded. But this isn’t just a coffeehouse. At mealtimes, the space becomes a restaurant, the Central, but in the morning it remains the Gradska Kavana, still proudly part of its official title and a prominent meeting place.
The name is no coincidence, for the Lvxor sits in the shadow of the Ancient Egyptian sphinx collected by Roman Emperor Diocletian on his travels. A café for several generations, the Lvxor would always attract custom with its location in the main courtyard of the Palace, the Peristil, but its ornate decor draws in many a curious visitor. Redesigned in contemporary fashion by controversial Split artist Petar Grimani, Lvxor is easily the most lavish coffeehouse in town, with drinks and snacks to match.
Overlooking the beach and bay of the same name, one along from Bačvice, the Ovčice provides the perfect start to the day with fine coffee and fresh juices, plus a decent selection of ice cream for the kids. Its location is no coincidence. Not only does it provide those perched on the extensive terrace with a close-up view of the Adriatic, but this was where generations of Split bohemians gathered to take in the sunset and party. Many still come here for the occasional live music session later on at night.