As the UNESCO comments:
Trogir is a remarkable example of urban continuity. The orthogonal street plan of this island settlement dates back to the Hellenistic period and it was embellished by successive rulers with many fine public and domestic buildings and fortifications. Its beautiful Romanesque churches are complemented by the outstanding Renaissance and Baroque buildings from the Venetian period.
If you wanna ask me how I came to decide to visit this small town, I have to say I was first touched by the video the Tourist Board Trogir published on its website.
If you are not sure whether to include this town in your visit or not, let’s start by watching this film clip first. (http://tztrogir.hr)
What’s so special about this small town that attracts so many travelers, art lovers, artists and writers every year? Before entering the town, you need to understand that this is a medieval town built on and is in accordance with the hellenistic and roman city layout. With little intervention of modern development, this town has kept its style and appearance for centuries.
1. How to get here
Trogir is located right in the center of Middle Dalmatia. Split airport is only 4km away and the harbor station in Split is just 32km away. If you are driving, Trogir is only about 20km to the A1 highway. From this town, it’s really convenient to go to Zadar, Sibenik, Split, Zagreb and islands Brac, Hvar, Solta and Vis. In this way, you will never get tired of this town and you will never run out of ideas of what to do.
If you are coming by car, there are many options. The first one is the Highway Dalmatina A1 – Croatian Highway Dalmatina A1, but if you are tired of highway and wanna enjoy the magnificent view of the sea, I suggest you take the Coastal road – Jadranska Magistrala. This road starts from the north-western border and goes through the towns such as Rijeka, Senj, Karlobag, Zadar, Sibenik, Primosten and then you’ll arrive at Trogir. By the way, if you are coming from the Plitvice National Park, you’d better take the Middle Croatian Highway D1. You’ll go through towns like Korenica, Gracac, Knin, Drnis and then you will arrive at Trogir.
Of course, the more fun way of coming to Trogir is by boat, or even better, by speedboat. I was staying in Split and after exploring many options, I’ve finally decided to take the speedboat. There are many many agencies at the harbor of Split, offering all kinds of boats, ships, speedboats to visit Trogir and surrounding attractions. The general price is around 35-60 euros depending on of course whether you want a full day trip or half-day trip and whether you wanna take a big ship with many other tourists or a more private boat with less people.
I have to admit that taking the speedboat was really exciting and I really enjoyed it. However, the only thing that I didn’t like was that only 1.5 hours was allowed in the town Trogir. Trust me, if you really wanna experience and explore this old town, 1.5 hours is absolutely not enough. I would say a whole day is reasonable if you walk in this town in a relaxing way or combine some other activities around. Considering I only spent 1.5 hours here, I’ll combine some other information from the Tourist Office together with my own experience, and I’ll try my best to suggest a way to make the most of your time here in Trogir.
2. What to see here
It’s always more complicated to explore the whole historic town as a UNESCO World Heritage site than a single church, a single monastery or a single botanical garden, because every house, every street, every tower and every statue here tells a story and is worth listening to. The town was started in 380 BC and has been continuously inhabited by a succession of Greeks, Romans, Hungarians, and Venetians.
The best way to explore this town is to book a guided tour of the historic town from the Tourist Board in advance. I really regret that I didn’t have the time even though the Tourism Office offered me such a tour. What a pity! If you are like me who doesn’t have enough time to appreciate this beautiful town, I suggest you visit the Tourist Board Trogir first and get a map together with a self-guided tour brochure. The Office is located at Trg Ivana Pavla II/1, very close to the Trogir square and the St. Laurence Cathedral. If you wanna plan your trip in advance or you have any questions, you can either choose to contact me or to contact the Tourist Board Trogir directly. Below is the contact info of the tourism office.
Tourist Board Trogir
Phone: 00 385 21 885 628
From my own experience, what I absolutely recommend to visit is the St. Laurence Cathedral, together with its baptistery, treasury and last but not least the bell tower, which gives a wonderful view of the whole town as well as the surrounding towns, sea and mountains. The combined entrance ticket is 25 kn but it’s definitely worth it.
What’s especially worth a stop is at the entrance of the cathedral, the Romanesque door, carved in 1240 by Master Radovan, guarded by two stone lions. The Radovan portal dates back to the 13th century and is a masterpiece of Croatian Medieval art.
After the cathedral you can also take a look at the baptistery, which is also really amazing.
Do keep in mind that a visit to the bell tower is strongly recommended and will be your unforgettable experience and memory of Trogir. From the top of the tower you will see not only the town of Trogir but also the nearby towns. You will see the grey stone walls, red roofs, blue sea, green-yellow mountains, harbors, ships… What an amazing view! However, in order to embrace and enjoy such a view, you need to accept the challenges first, that is to climb up the tower. 47 m is not a big number but the stairs especially the last ones leading to the top will reveal to you without any obstacles how high you are. I suggest you wear some comfortable shoes. If you are afraid of height, just take a deep breath and accept the challenge, thinking of in just a few minutes you will be the “king” of Trogir.
After exiting the cathedral, the square you’ll be at is the St. John Squre, which is also the main square in Trogir. you definitely won’t miss it because here is where not only the cathedral, but also the City hall, Loggia with town clock, the old Cipiko Palace and the Tourism office are located. Why not having a cup of coffee here and relaxing a bit, here is where you can experience the life in Trogir like a local, for example, if you are in luck, you will hear the typical Dalmatian acapela singing.
One of the most famous landmarks in Trogir is the town clock, which was once part of the Sebastian church. It is mostly famous for the large blue face and domed roof taken from the chapel of St. Sebastian in the middle of the 15th century. Besides, don’t forget to check out the statue called justice, which was carved by Nikola Firentinac in 1471. The loggia, once a court house, located next to the town tower is accessible by a few steps and is especially famous for its fine reliefs and columns.
As for the city hall, try to find the only remaining lion’s head from the Venitians in its fairytale interior.
When you exit the cathedral, the Cipiko Palace will be right in front of you. It was home of the Cipiko family, one of this region’s most prominent families during the 15th century. What’s especially worth noticing is the carved Venetian Gothic window designed by Alesi himself.
Another place I would recommend to you is the Benedictine Monastery of St. Nicholas. Here you will find your “happy moment”. The monastery from the 11th century has a series of art collection with the emphasis on the sculpture Kairos. Kairos is the greek god of happiness and is always described with wings on his feet and back. He is said to be flying as fast as a bullet so when you catch him, it’s your happy moment. This sculpture, dating back to the 3 century BC was discovered in 1928 in the abandoned house of the Stanosevic family and now is treasured in the Benedictine Monastery of St. Nicholas. Would be much easier to catch your happy moment here I guess. Of course, there are many other notable artworks such as pieces by Antonio Zanchi, Paolo Veneziano, and Nicollo Grassi, along with a 13th-century Madonna and Child.
If you keep walking along the main street, you’ll be exiting through the south gate, with its wooden doors dating back to the 16th century. After exiting, you will feel you are in a new world. Salty breeze from the sea, something you can see, you can smell and you can feel. Walking on this promenade is such a tropical experience, with the view of the palm trees, ships and the sea.
If you take a walk on this promenade, it won’t be difficult for you to notice the Kamerlengo Castle and St. Mark’s Tower. Again, a wonderful place to overlook the whole old town of Trogir. This castle dates back to the early 15th century and was built by the venetians and served as the governor’s palace. The high walls connect the three towers and because the castle is located at the edge of the island, it also provides wonderful views for the tourists over the sea.
There are of course many other places to visit in this town if you still have some spare time. For example, the North Gate, the Town Museum, the Church and monastery of St. Dominic, the Land Gate, the Church of St. Peter etc.
I didn’t actually go to these places but, if you are interested, I can provide you with some information based on what I learnt from the Tourist Board Trogir and a post which is called “10 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Trogir” by Bryan Dearsley. (within quotation marks)
As for the town museum (Trogir Civic Museum), it’s the first building after you enter from the north gate. “Highlights of this museum are displays of a variety of Greek and Roman artifacts, old manuscripts and documents, drawings and paintings, as well as old uniforms and antique clothing. Also of interest is a fine collection of 18th-century furniture on the first floor.”
As for the Church and monastery of St. Dominic, the beautiful cluster and garden are a must visit and also it’s notable for several “important old tombs, such as the ones of Ivan and Simun Sobota, known as humanists in the 15th century. Don’t forget to check out the triumphal arch and an altar made of wood by Palma the Younger dating back to around 1600.”
As for the Land Gate, do pay attention to the Lion of St. Mark (the symbol of Venice) above the door’s arch, and a statue of the city’s patron saint, St. John of Trogir.
As for the Church of St. Peter, what’s notable are the fine paintings, such as works by important artists as Molinari and Lazzarini. “Other highlights include a number of 17th-century sculptures by Jakov Jucen as well as statues of Saints Peter and Paul carved from wood.”
Do you still remember the title of this post? Trogir – Gold, Blue, Green, Purple. What’s Your Color?
“Gold” refers to the time when the sun sets on these ancient town walls, turning them grey to golden brown. “Blue” refers to the blue sky and blue sea around Trogir (I’ll write a bit more about it in the next chapter). “Green” refers to the Botanical Garden in Garagnin Fanfogna and the hiking or mountain biking trails in the island of Ciovo. “Purple” refers to the night life in Trogir. So, from this moment on, do you still think you won’t have enough things to do in this town?
In the next chapter I’ll tell you more about the blue side of Trogir. I have literally run out of words of describing how blue, green, clear the water is in the Blue Lagoon.
3. The Blue Lagoon
After visiting Trogir, I continued my journey with the speedboat for snorkeling and swimming in the Blue Lagoon. Not to exaggerate but that was one of the few times that I saw sea water so blue, so green and so clear. I am really running out of words to describe the water so I’ll just post some pictures for you to see by yourself. It took only around 15-20 minutes to arrive at the Blue Lagoon from Trogir and I believe there are a lot of agencies around the Trogir harbor who provide such services. One tip from me is that you’d better wear swimming shoes because the rocks are really hard to walk on and flip-flops will undoubtedly obstruct you from swimming. Also, if you can swim well, if you go a bit further away from the shore, you will see more kinds of fish.
So, having read so much about Trogir, have you decided which color would you like to be? Or, why not being colorful and enjoying all the aspects of Trogir? I really hope you would have a great time here, maybe finding your happiness or your love.