Many visitors to Croatia spend their time in Zadar, Split, Dubrovnik, or on one of the islands. There are a number of beautiful small towns that escape the busy tourist crowds and maintain their unique sense of coastal charm.
The historic town of Trogir is one of these places.
Over the past few years the town has undergone a number of renovations and restoration projects. There’s never been a better time to wander through the narrow streets and admire all of the well-preserved historic architecture.
In 1997 the town was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It’s easy to see why as you explore the town center with buildings dating back hundreds of years.
The small village of Trogir was first written about in 380 BC. Since then it has continued to be inhabited by a range of different cultures. These include the Romans, Hungarians, Greeks, and the Venetians.
All of these different cultures left their mark on this Croatian village. All of the architecture and small details have their own stories to tell.
Where to Stay in Trogir
During my trip I spent two nights at the Hotel Rotondo. This is a mid-range hotel 5-minutes from the town by car.
I chose the Hotel Rotondo because of its location outside of the center. Hotels in the center have limited parking and are more expensive because of their location.
It was easy to drive into Trogir, pay a few dollars for parking, and then spend the afternoon exploring. The rest of the time it was great to have access to the car so close to the hotel.
Many of the rates at the Hotel Rotondo come with breakfast so you can start your day off on the right foot. The smaller fishing village of Seget Donji is also a five-minute walk from the hotel.
Definitely take a look at the Hotel Rotondo if you’re looking for somewhere reasonably priced to stay with free parking and a good location.
The Best Things to Do in Trogir
Walk Along the Waterfront Promenade
The town center of Trogir is located on a small island. It’s connected to the mainland by a car bridge and a pedestrian foot bridge.
Surrounding the entire island area is a beautiful promenade, right on the waters edge.
Part of it will take you through a quiet and peaceful park, another part will take you right past a fortress, and the rest of the promenade will lead you along the edge of the water right beside the Old Town area.
This promenade is a great place to walk and explore the Island from different parts before heading into the city center and getting lost among the medieval street layout.
Along the walkway are quite a few different restaurants, some impressive boats and yachts docked, and there are some incredible views of the harbor and of the bigger island right across from Trogir.
It’s a good idea to walk the perimeter of the promenade before heading into the centre just so you can get yourself familiar with the island and to grab some fresh air before you start exploring the narrow, tightly packed interior.
The fortress that I just mentioned is known as the Kamerlango Castle, and this is a small defensive structure that was built at the tip of the island to protect it from foreign invaders.
The structure dates back all the way to the beginning of the 15th century and it was originally used by the Venetians as a governors palace.
As the coastline built up there was no longer in need to defend some of the smaller port towns like Trogir, so these days it’s accessible by the public and it’s more of a museum than anything else.
During the summer there are a lot of outdoor performances, concerts, and festivals held in the courtyard of the castle help here, and all year long it’s a popular place for tourists to visit to enjoy the view from the top of the castle walls.
One of the most impressive architectural achievements in all of Croatia is said to be the Trogir Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of St. Lawrence.
Although building of the structure started in 1193, it wasn’t until the beginning of the sixteenth century that everything was finally completed and since then it has remained as the most beautiful building in town.
It is a Roman Catholic Church and the architectural style that it was designed in is a blend of Romanesque and Gothic, something that you’ll see across the rest of the Dalmatia region.
These days, you can actually climb to the top of the church tower for one of the best views of the surrounding Old Town and it’s definitely worth it, especially if you can visit when the sun is setting.
The cathedral is located just steps away from the waterfront promenade and it’s a very likely that you’ll see it rather quickly if you’re exploring the town by walking around the perimeter.
There are some great cafes and restaurants surrounding the cathedral so it’s a great place to stop and grab a quick drink or something to eat while admiring the impressive view of the tower looming high above in front of you.
The Land Gate
Depending on how you get into the city, you probably going to walk right through the Land Gate before you make your way into the Old Town.
This gate is located right at the end of the pedestrian footbridge that will bring you from the parking lot into the town, so it’s basically impossible to miss.
Originally, the Land Gate, or Kopnena Vrata as it’s known in Croatian, was the main entryway into the city center during the 15th century.
Along with the rest of the city walls, this gate was one of the main Venetian defensive structures the help to keep the city center safe from outside trouble and control who came in and out.
There was actually once a drawbridge right at this location, before the island of Trogir was expanded.
Sometime during the 17th century, the gate was rebuilt in the late Renaissance style that you see today.
Keep an eye out for the Lion at the top of the gate, this is the symbol of Venice and is a prominent feature on many of the pieces of Venetian architecture that you can find throughout Croatia.
Surrounding the gate are quite a few different small shops, cafes, and restaurants, so it’s a great place to explore if you want to relax for a little while and enjoy the scenery.
The Clock Tower
Another one of the most famous landmarks and tourist attractions in Trogir is the Clock Tower.
You can find this picturesque tower right in the heart of the city, in Trg Ivana Pavla (John Paul Square).
The Clock Tower actually used to be attached to the church of St. Sebastian, in these days it’s just right beside the city Loggia.
What makes it so unique is the bright blue face that makes up the clock structure as well as the domed roof that was removed from the previous chapel and placed on top of the tower.
Since the 15th century the Clock Tower has stood as an important building and meeting point in the city, and keep your eyes out for the statue “Justice”, which was carved by the famous sculptor Nikola Firentinac all the way back in 1471.
The Loggia attached to the tower is also quite interesting, and if you get the chance make sure to head inside to check out the beautiful columns and finely sculpted reliefs.
This is also probably one of the busiest areas in the city center, and it’s a good idea to grab a coffee or cold drink at one of the cafes in the square and just relax while taking in your beautiful surroundings.
Located right in the old town square, across from the entrance to the Trogir Cathedral, is the Cipiko Palace.
This palace, located in a beautiful stone building, was home to the once prominent Cipiko family, who played an important role in the development of the city during the 15th century.
The building actually consists of two different smaller palaces that were joined together over the years and the wealth of the family grew.
On the inside are some lovely features, but the best part about the palace is the carved Gothic window in the Venetian architectural style.
This window was actually carved by the famous architect Alesi, and it’s one of the most picturesque features of the exterior of the palace.
Another interesting thing you can check out is the carved wooden statue above the main entrance.
This is a carving of a cockerel, and interestingly enough it was taken from a Turkish war ship from one of the members of the Cipiko family that was involved in the conflict back during the middle of the 15th century.
There are also a lot of different myths and legends of the palace, with some local people believing that it’s haunted, so try to speak with some locals if you want to get a different perspective of the history of the building.
The Church of St. Peter
There are a few different churches located throughout the Old Town area, and another one of the most popular ones is the Church of St. Peter.
This church used to be part of the local Benedictine monastery and the reason is very popular is because of the half sculpture of St. Peter himself above the main doorway with his scrolls and a Bible in his hands.
The sculpture was allegedly made during the 14th century and it’s impressive design is what makes it so worth checking out.
On the inside of the church there are also some interesting things to check out, such as some beautiful paintings and reliefs done by skilled local artists.
There’s another sculpture inside as well as a few statues carved from wood, so if you get a chance it’s definitely worth heading into the church and spending some time admiring the different religious exhibits.
The Civic Museum
The city Civic Museum, known in Croatian as the Muzej Grada Trogira, is definitely one of the best museums in the city.
You can find the museum inside the Garagnin-Fanfogna Palace, which on its own is quite lovely and designed in a baroque architectural style.
The museum is right across from the main Land Gate that I mentioned further up in this post, and it’s a great place to visit if you want to escape the summer heat and learn more about local history and culture.
On the inside are a variety of different exhibits and museum displays including things like old documents, Greek and Roman artifacts, historical manuscripts, well preserved old clothing and uniforms, paintings, and a unique collection of furniture from the 18th century.
Head to Seget Donji
Just to kilometres west from the city center, and a good day trip from Trogir, is the small historic fishing village of Seget Donji.
This village is much smaller than Trogir, and definitely an off the beaten path hidden gem in Croatia if that’s what you’re looking for on your trip.
One interesting fact about Seget Donji is that it used to be located right inside a rectangular medieval castle, so that’s why the city centre has such a square design.
In the small but quaint old town, you can check out an old Renaissance Tower from the beginning of the 16th century, and there are some great seafood restaurants in town as well.
During the summer the beach here is rather quiet, so it’s a great place to visit if you want to escape the nearby crowds and still have access to some local amenities.
It’s a really easy 25 min walk from Trogir to get to Seget Donji, and I think it’s definitely worth it to spend some time exploring the historic old town area and escape some of the tourists for a while.
Visit the Farmers Market
Right beside the large public parking as well as just down the street from the main bus station is the local farmers market.
At this market you’ll be able to find a wide selection of fresh fruit, local vegetables, seafood, desserts, quick meals, and the speciality – olive oil that has been produced locally.
You maybe didn’t notice while you were driving across the Croatian countryside, but a lot of the land is covered in olive trees and Croatian olive oil is very popular throughout the region.
Local farmers markets are a great place to visit because you’re able to support the local economy as well as save money on certain food items, which is especially great if you’re hoping to visit Croatia on a budget.
A lot of tourists visit the market, so many of the vendors speak English quite well, and you should have no problem picking something out and paying the proper price for it.
It’s a good idea to grab some fresh fruit, a fresh loaf of bread, a small bottle of olive oil, and head down to the waterfront to enjoy a nice local lunch or dinner.
It’s also possible to pick up some cheaper souvenirs here than what you would pay in the city centre, so keep an eye out for those if you need something for somebody back home.
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