Trogir was first settled by Greeks from the island of Vis in 300 BC. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Old Town reflects the influences of subsequent Roman, Hungarian, Venetian, French and Austrian rule. Its walled medieval centre is a warren of narrow cobbled streets, radiating from the cathedral square of Trg Ivana Pavla II, flanked by a wide seafront promenade, the Riva. In summer, the harbour wall is lined with luxury yachts and tripper boats and the lively summer festival has mainstream family entertainment on offer most evenings.
The splendid Old Town stands on an islet, separated from the mainland by a man-made canal, and linked by another road bridge to Čiovo island. It’s a fine setting but unfortunately the two single-lane bridges will be choked all summer until a new bridge is built further east. Trogir’s marina, with a cluster of bars and restaurants around it, lies on Čiovo. Just over Čiovo bridge are a couple of newish hotels, including, to the left, the recently opened four-star Hotel Trogir Palace. By the mainland bridge is the bus station and the ever-busy, open-all-hours market.
Entering from the mainland, you pass through the baroque Land Gate, guarded by a statue of local patron St John of Trogir. Here also is the Town Museum (Gradska vrata 4, 021 881 406). Set in the Garagnin Palace, it’s a low-key display of archaeology, books, antique clothes and documents, but the courtyard is lovely and often used for klapa – Dalmatian male-voice a capella – concerts in the summer.
Ahead stands the 15th-century Venetian Čipiko Palace, built for a rich Croatian family who then spread their wealth in Kaštela. Alongside, the three-naved Cathedral of St Lawrence (Trg Ivana Pavla II, 021 881 426) took 300 years to build and is famed for the magnificent western portal, built in 1240. The 47-metre-high Bell Tower affords magnificent views of the town and surrounds. Past it are the Town Hall, the Loggia and Clock Tower. The Loggia, with its Renaissance reliefs and sculptures, dates back to the 14th century though it was lovingly restored in the late 19th century.
Just before you exit the Old Town onto the Riva is the Benedictine Monastery of St Nicholas, founded in 1064. It has a rich collection of works of art including a Greek relief of the God Kairos, believed to date to the third century BC but only discovered in 1928.
Exiting the Old Town via the Sea Gate, and turning right on the Riva, you come to medieval Kamerlengo Castle, now used as an open-air cinema and events stage with a tower that offers more great views. The town walls once connected the castle to St Mark’s Tower, at the other end of the lush football pitch. Unlike the crumbling castle, St Mark’s has been painstakingly restored and the open top floor is now a café; the interior has been given over to a small museum of Dalmatian music. Turn left from the Sea Gate towards the bridge and you pass the 16th-century loggia that used to house the fish market, since moved to the mainland side of town.
Čiovo has a string of good pebbly beaches, busy in summer when the apartment trade booms. A morning ferry from the Riva goes to Drvenik Veli and Mali islands, coming back early evening (not Fridays). Krknjaši Bay, on the east side of Drvenik Veli, is a remote pebble beach with the clearest of water and a summer-only seafood konoba, Krknjaši (021 893 073). Pleasant lodging is also available.
For a rustic dinner over a perfect sunset, drive to the summer-only Konoba Duga (no number). A bumpy track leads from the west part of Čiovo to the south side. Once there, you’ll find a lovely terraced beach and the restaurant. A ten-minute walk away is Laganini (091 883 1093 mobile), a newly opened beach lounge club in uvala Duboka, featuring live acoustic sessions, an open barbecue and a choice of couch, bean bag, sunbed or hammock to enjoy your cocktails.