Split, Croatia

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Croatia’s second-biggest city oozes small-town charm, thanks to its quaint, narrow streets and the easygoing lifestyle that the Dalmatians are known for.

With a busy ferry port, Split is the point of access to the many islands up and down the coast. Much of its old town is within the walls of Diocletian's Palace, a 1,700-year-old UNESCO-listed fortress on the Adriatic seafront. Roman Emperor Diocletian built the palace as his retirement home on the sea and through the centuries many conquerors have taken refuge within its thick walls.

Today, Split is a lively city and home to some 200,000 residents, and getting lost in its labyrinthine streets is the best way to explore its historic heart. Stumble across lively cafés and shops tucked into its ancient palace, or venture beyond it to discover busy squares and markets, quiet trails and beautiful beaches.