1 With local hero Goran Ivanisevic retired, the sporting passions of the Splicani lie firmly with their football team Hajduk Split, which should explain the red, white and blue graffiti around the city. Join the Torcida (as the fans are called) to cheer on their team at Poljud stadium, improving your Croatian slang in the process.

2 Diocletian’s Palace, the retirement home of a Roman Emperor is the reason the whole city exists. Today, the crumbling walls woven into the fabric of the city might seem less commanding, but coupled with the sequence of underground chambers they’re considered the greatest Roman ruins in western Europe. Escape the street-level crowds to wander the foundations of the royal quarters before admiring the Peristyle, an open-air square flanked with colonnades and guarded by a granite sphinx.

3 Around the headland, away from the bustle of the bars along Split’s waterfront, you’ll find Sustipan, a garden decorated with cyprus trees, a classicist pavilion and the ruins of St Stephen’s church. Taking a bench in the shade overlooking the Adriatic is the perfect way to cope with the midday heat.

4 The largest of the city’s Italianate piazzas is Narodni Trg (People’s Square), where you can sip a Kaltenburg beer al-fresco at one of the many cafés.

5 With international stores including Topshop and Hugo Boss, clothes shopping in Split rivals capital Zagreb, but things are more traditional when it comes to groceries, with most food is bought from markets. At the sprawling Pazar, fruit and vegetables stalls drift into meat and confectionery and up the road is a fish market, fly-free thanks to the sulphurous spring that runs beneath the city.

Time from London: 3 hours
Getting there: Croatia Airlines offer direct flights to Split.
What to say: Dinamo Zagreb sisanje,” meaning Dinamo (the rival football team) suck.
Price of a beer: £1.20″

Visit TNT’s Croatia Travel Guide.