The Story of: RivaThe Split Waterfront

Total Croatia team is dedicated in making you absolutely fall in love with Croatia. In order to do that, we decided to create a series of articles to get you familiar with some of the core elements of Croatian coastal life. After you carefully study specific traditional customs you will be head over hills with Croatia, we are sure.

Stay tuned, because in the upcoming articles we will enchant you with a tasty delicacy called pršutand tell you all you need to know about konoba – the traditional authentic domestic restaurant! Keep reading because today we bring you the top, most important notes about Riva. Waterfront Riva is so much more that you can possibly imagine. It is a unique place of architecture, culture and social life that takes place in every coastal town of Croatia. Riva is simply the place to be!

A nugget about history

Split Riva | Total Croatia

Riva comes from a word of Italian origin describing the stretch of costal line with a town. Ok, now that we got that out of the way, let’s move on… Just kidding! The history of Riva is a mysterious one. It is a highly complexed urban space that needs to be examined from numerous aspects. Variety of elements affected the evolution of Riva: architectural, economic, historical, ecological, symbolic, social ect.

All of these elements are key crucial in forming the urban identity. Every costal town no matter how small it is, has Riva. And no matter how small the Riva is, it still always plays an important role in the life of its inhabitants. Largest and most famous Riva in Croatia is the one in Split. Split is famous for many things and Riva being among the most significant ones.

Split Riva Total Croatia

Today’s shape has been formed in the 19th century under the reign of the French. Hundred years later, the indigenous plant species were replaced by palm trees and the next big change happened in the end of 20th century when Riva was finally closed to traffic. After the huge controversial restoration in 2007 researchers found that the first Split waterfront dates back to the 1stcentury BC. The first proper promenade was made in the time of Diocletian. Incredible, don’t you think?

What is Riva today, you might ask

Split Riva Total Croatia

The essential part of Riva are the people. People make Riva what it is today. It is a central place of social and urban life. It is a monument. It is a stage. It is a promenade. It is a harbor. It is a sea view. It is heritage. It is so many things. It is a cradle of events. Aside from numerous cafés arranged side by side that emit irresistible coffee aromas and often serve delicious cakes, there are countless benches where residents enjoy sitting for hours observing life in the moment.

It is a place where wildest New Year’s hosting happens, best open air concerts take place. On holydays processions go over Riva, there are festivals with stands filled with souvenirs, homemade delicacies and handmade crafts. People of Split have welcomed numerous successful sportsmen on Riva, but there is one irreplaceable role that Riva plays and that is the promenade.

Split Riva Total Croatia

Everyone’s favorite activity is so peculiarly expressed in Croatian language, it is untranslatable, but basically means; to sit or walk on Riva wearing your darkest shades and looking at other people. In all other parts of the world is called stalking, we know, but in Split it’s art of gathering information without being noticed too much. It is just as complicated as it sounds yet still purely simple; basic human need of interaction and socialization and of course flirting. Now you get it, dobrze?

Why you need to be on Riva right now

Split Riva Total Croatia

Riva is open for everybody. Riva has its own universe where the stone ground part is just a strong foundation of social exploration and growth. Sipping coffee on Riva is an old version of social network. You can get new business deals just by “unobtrusively” overhearing the right conversation at a right time, you can take amazing photographs of smiling faces or you can fall in love within seconds, it’s just like Tinder but better.

True travellers always enjoy meeting the locals and getting familiar with the customs. On Croatian coast Riva is an ideal place of being rightfully updated with all the local gossip, happenings, events, people and more. Throughout the whole year there are interesting things going on, opportunities fly around, seasons change, the atmosphere changes too but Riva’s disarming charm remains.

So, what we basically learned today is that you can ditch Tinder, Instagram, Linkedin and Facebook, order your grande latte, put your sunglasses on and turn on the fjaka mode.

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Autor: Nikolina Dukić

Kredyty fotograficzne: Facebook page FRO (ISPRID BANKE) (1,2,4,5), Sean Dwyer (3), Ben Snooks (cover)


It is a unique place of architecture, culture and social life that takes place in every coastal town of Croatia. Riva is simply the place to be! |