The Riva is a broad and buzzing, palm-lined esplanade with numerous lively bars and cafés, as well as oceanfront benches. It’s a popular gathering spot during the day and there is always something happening here at night too. Listen to live music in a bar, watch street performers put on a show or observe the boats coming and going in the harbor while you enjoy a cup of coffee.
This oceanfront avenue has been in existence since Diocletian’s Palace was first built, roughly 1,700 years ago. It was overhauled in 2005 and given a new sleek design. The remodel divided local opinion, with some praising the modern look and others lamenting its loss of character. Take a walk here and decide for yourself.
Amble along the length of the Riva, which extends 820 feet (250 meters). Be sure to see the Bronze Gate, which leads into the Roman quarters of the old fortress of Diocletian’s Palace. Follow the promenade westward and note the number of people socializing in the adjoining coffee shops and bars. Drinking coffee and chatting is a way of life in Split and locals frequently gather here on the Riva, which functions as the social hub of the city.
If you want to rest, take a seat on an oceanfront bench or sun lounger, some of which are shaded by overhanging palm fronds. While sitting on these, look out over the water and watch the vessels mooring in the nearby harbor. In this busy harbor you’re likely to see everything from cruise ships to small fishing boats pulling into port.
Come back at night to experience the area after dark when the energy rises. Try fresh seafood dishes in a restaurant or join local revelers in toasting the day’s end with a cooling drink in one of the lively bars.
The official name of the promenade is Obala hrvatskog narodnog preporoda (Quay of the Croatian National Revival) but it is commonly known as the Riva. It runs the length of Split’s old town, along the south side of Diocletian’s Palace.