Dalmatia - Split – an empire of therapeutic sunlight and the Mediterranean diet

Dalmatia - Split – an empire of therapeutic sunlight and the Mediterranean diet

Upon arriving in Split, along with the recognisable smell of the Mediterranean vegetation, the light will also dazzle you. A light which intoxicates, and in a certain way is also healing.

The sun’s rays have a powerful and stimulating effect on the human body. Therefore, exposure in the optimal amount of light and energy is important for the balancing of physical and mental health in other words the feeling of happiness and satisfaction.


Heliotherapy, the method of the use of rays of light for therapeutic purposes in the treatment of certain disorders of organs and illnesses, was applied in old Egypt, ancient Greece and old Rome as well as in Arab countries and the Middle East.

Although in those times there was insufficient scientific clarification of the link between light and health, it was perfectly clear that the sun’s rays had a powerful and positive effect on the human body. Split and the region around it have such therapeutic light in abundance, therefore it is no wonder that at the beginning of the 3rd century AD Emperor Diocletian, at that time the most powerful man in the world, decided to spend the remainder of his life right here in Split, building the magnificent Diocletian’s Palace.


The Dalmatia-Split region also boasts, along with the regions of Šibenik, Zadar and Dubrovnik, a distinctive Mediterranean cuisine. Together with Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Morocco and Cyprus Croatia has been included in the UNESCO representative list of countries whose Mediterranean diet has been recognised as intangible cultural heritage of mankind.

Roman Martin

The Mediterranean sun and diet are part of the specific anti-stress Dalmatian way of slow-life. This is a life which is lived drinking coffee on the quayside and city squares or in the favourite Spilt game of “picigin” which is played recreationally by young and old, men and women, all year round on the sandy part of Split’s Bačvice beach.

However, this Dalmatian casualness can also be misleading. Split is the city with the largest number of Olympic medal holders per capita in the world. Many of Split’s athletes have made their city famous in Olympic arenas and at European and global competitions such as Wimbledon and the NBA League. Part of the merit can certainly be attributed to the healthy life in the climate where they come from.


Throughout the region you can enjoy walking, running, cycling the numerous trails on the mainland and islands, rafting on the River Cetina, sea kayaking, diving and sailing in the waters of Central Dalmatia or horse riding in Split, Sinj and Trilj.


Wellness centres in hotels in Split and the surroundings, Brela, Bol on the island of Brač and the town of Hvar on the same named island offer rest and recuperation of body and soul through dozens of varying treatments – from reflexology to steam baths, infrared and Finnish saunas.

Apart from the crystal-clear sea, Brela is also known for 6 kilometres of natural pebble beach, the thick pine forest, one part of which is a protected monument of cultural heritage and the numerous footpaths which stretch along the sea through old villages all the way to the very peaks of the Biokovo mountain.

In Makarska, near Brela there is a centre for rehabilitation and physical medicine where the natural therapeutic factors of the sea and coast such as the clean air, sea water, algae, the sun’s rays and the Mediterranean vegetation are used in the treatment of spinal diseases, rheumatic ailments, neurological conditions and illnesses, orthopaedic diseases and deformations, and athlete rehabilitation.

Zlatni rat, Brač
Ivo Biočina
Zlatni rat, Brač

Bol, the only town on the southern part of the island of Brač, abounds in spacious white sandy beaches in the shade of century-old pines. Particularly outstanding is the beach Zlatni Rat, which depending on the winds changes its shape and position just as though it was made of liquid gold. This famous beach has become a symbol of the island and coastal Croatia and a motif on front pages throughout the world. When talking about an active and healthy life, Bol is a real paradise for surfers. Namely, the channel between the islands of Brač and Hvar offers the ideal conditions for windsurfing because of the wind that blows there.


The town of Hvar, which boasts a public theatre from the 17th century, one of the ten oldest baroque theatres in Europe, is a wonderful blend of historical architecture, calming Mediterranean nature and climate. It is located on the same named island which is the sunniest in the Adriatic, 68.2 km long, covering 299.6 km2 and it is the 4th largest island in the Adriatic Sea itself.