Klis Fortress is an historic Roman Fortress that stands above the town of Klis, closely situated to Split, Croatia. Our excursion to Klis was a three hour round trip including the time spent exploring, but despite the fact that it was such a short visit it is perhaps my favourite memory of my trip to Croatia. Read on or watch my travel Vlog to see why…
What is Klis Fortress?
So you’ve never heard of Klis Fortress? Me neither – that was, until two days into our trip. Klis Fortress is notable for two major reasons. The first is that it is one of Split’s most historic landmarks; originally a small stronghold built by an ancient Illyrian Tribe, it later became a seat to many Croatian kings and was used largely in the Ottoman wars in Europe.
The second is that it is one of the most iconic filming locations for HBO’s series ‘Game of Thrones’ – a MAJOR selling point for me! For anyone who is a like-minded fan of the show, Klis Fortress is the filming spot for the town of Meereen aka Daenerys’ home in Slavers Bay.
Exploring the Fortress
Upon arrival at the fortress the first thing you notice is the lack of tourists; a welcome and pleasant surprise. After climbing up a very steep hill, you reach a courtyard at the bottom of the fortress. The view from the wall is like nothing I’ve ever seen before, spanning mountains, down to the city, all the way to the coastline.
After soaking in the view a little longer, we climbed up further and reached a small ticket office. The entrance beyond this point is just 40 kuna, which equates to about £5 GBP. It almost feels like daylight robbery to be allowed to explore such a historic monument for such a low price, but I’m not complaining!
At this point our group split into two, as two of us decided to linger at the wall to soak up the views a little longer. Klis is immaculately preserved from when it was first built in 3rd Century BC (1800 years ago), and an astonishing amount of its original build remains standing to this day. Very little renovation has been done on it at the moment, allowing you a small glimpse into history almost exactly as it would have been. Exploring the fortress at your own leisure and not having to dodge other tourists, which is an extremely rare treat in Split, is one of the greatest blessings of this excursion, allowing you to really take in every tiny detail of the build, views and history.
What Not To Miss
There are a few parts of the fortress that are absolutely not to be missed. I am a bit of a fanatic of Roman architecture (and all things ancient history really), but the following spots really stood out to me in real life and through the lens:
I would also say that it’s worth climbing all the way to the very top of the fortress purely for the spectacular views that it has to offer:
Kate’s Top Tips
- DON’T FALL FOR THE TOURIST TRAPS! – since Klis became one of the main filming locations for ‘Game of Thrones’, tourist companies have created tours that are way above what you should be paying. Do your research!
- TRAVEL BY TAXI – if you’re staying in / around Split or are in a large group, it is much cheaper and easier to simply catch an Uber up to the fortress rather than going in a tourist group, and you can do it at your own leisure too.
- WEAR TRAINERS – Klis is not the place to explore wearing sandals or flip flops. Don’t make the same mistake I did and wear Converse either, as there is really not enough grip on the bottom of them (a lesson that I learnt the hard way with a few slips and trips!). Trainers are about the only thing that’ll cut it, as there is a lot of rubble and debris in some parts.
- Finally, Klis Fortress is NOT DISABILITY FRIENDLY. There is a lot of very rough terrain up there, and it proved difficult to stay standing myself at some points let alone trying to navigate a wheelchair around.
Being given the chance to not only walk the iconic steps Daenerys walks on screen, but also to walk where people fought sieges and helped win wars up to 1800 years ago was an extremely humbling experience, and one that I will not soon forget.
I hope that this blog post was able to help some of you in some way, and if at least one person is inspired to visit Klis then I’m content that I’ve done my job right! If anyone has been before / has any questions planning their visit, let me know what you’re thinking in the comments!
Until next time,