Split in Croatia: The Only Travel Guide You'll Need
Updated: Dec 6, 2022
Split is located in western Croatia along the Dalmatian coast. As Croatia’s second largest city, it’s always buzzing with life and has been for thousands of years. Split was put on the map by the emperor Diocletian, who had his palace built here between 295 and 305. After his death, the palace was continuously used throughout history by different civilizations, like the Romans, Byzantines, and Venetians. Today, life continues between the old city walls and it’s one of the reasons why travelers visit. But Split’s unique setting between the dramatic coastal mountains and the turquoise waters of the Adriatic Sea also makes it an ideal vacation hub. In this article, we’ll highlight the most important things to know before going, where to eat and sleep, and 10 amazing things to do in and around Split in Croatia.
Check out our video on Split in Croatia to get a sense of what it's like there!
Table Of Contents
Important Things To Know
Best time to travel to Split
The best time to visit Split in Croatia is from May to June and September to October. In this period there are fewer tourists and better weather to visit the city. It will still be sunny and warm, but not as extreme as in the summer months. In these periods, accommodation will also be cheaper than in July and August.
Cost & currency in Split
Split is pretty affordable, from food and drinks to accommodation. In the summer months the prices go up for a lot of things. As of January 2023, they use the Euro (€) in Croatia. Credit cards are widely accepted, but you definitely need cash for smaller cafés and stores.
Safety in Split
Split is a safe place. For every popular city, you have to watch out for pickpockets but overall there is not much to worry about.
Where To Stay In Split
Apartment Joe Light: this is where we stayed, it's a 20 mins drive from the city center of Split in Podstrana. The apartment was cozy and had a fully-equipped kitched which saved us some money cooking instead of eating out!
Heritage Apartments Trumbić: if you prefer having the privacy and independence of an apartment and being in the city centre this is perfect for you
Apartmani Dotur: a great budget option
Plaza Marchi Old Town - MAG Quaint & Elegant Boutique Hotels: sometimes you want to live like a god in Croatia, this place will make this dream come true. It had everything you need while also having a great location.
Where To Eat And Drink
Šug Restaurant: modern Dalmatian cuisine
Chops Grill - Steak & Seafood: best seafood in Split
Zinfandel Food & Wine bar: seasonal food
ShotGun Shooters Bar: the most differentiation of shots we've ever seen in a bar
Best Things To Do In Split
Split is such a vibrant city with a lot of things to do. We had an amazing time there! We will highlight our top 10 favorite things to do in this lively city.
If you're traveling to Split and want to save time searching for directions to all of the places we mention in this article, then look no further than our custom map. Simply click on a point in the map below to get directions there for yourself!
10. Stroll along the Riva Promenade
The lively waterfront promenade, known as the Riva, is the best central reference point in Split. Lined with cafés and restaurants, it’s a great place to eat and drink, or just stroll around and breathe in the atmosphere. It can get busy sometimes because of the immense cruise ships that dock here almost on a daily basis. It’s a great spot to grab a coffee and soak in the atmosphere of the city.
9. Explore Diocletian’s Palace
Diocletian’s Palace is one of the most impressive ancient Roman monuments in existence today and you’ll likely spend most of your time in Split here. Located in front of the harbor, it’s the beating heart of the city, and you’ll find plenty of bars, restaurants, and shops inside its walls. In fact, there are over 200 buildings within the palace boundaries! And even though the original structure has been added to and altered continuously over the millenia, it’s absolutely fascinating to walk through its narrow streets! Access this imposing structure from one of its four historic gates (Golden, Bronze, Silver, and Iron Gate).
8. Visit St. Domnius Cathedral, the Bell Tower & Temple of Jupiter
Located inside the palace, Split’s cathedral is one of the best-preserved ancient Roman buildings still standing. It was originally built as a mausoleum for Diocletian. However, in the 5th century, the Christians destroyed the emperor’s sarcophagus and converted his tomb into a church dedicated to one of his victims. You can buy a ticket that combines a visit to the cathedral with the Bell Tower which offers a panoramic view of the city. It also includes the treasury where you can find preserved sculptures and paintings that relate to the Cathedral's history, and the Temple of Jupiter which is an ancient Roman temple that has been converted into the cathedral’s baptistery.
7. Catch a view from Marjan Hill
To the west of Split looms Marjan Forest Park, a nature reserve with a wealth of walking trails. The most popular one passes shortly through a pine forest before reaching a scenic lookout of Split and the surrounding islands (Prva Vidilica lookout). It’s a great place to watch the sunset from! But if you need a true escape from the city, you can also continue through the park to other viewpoints and even a beach (Kašjuni). The park is big enough that you can spend an entire afternoon here.
6. Walk around downtown Split
Split is more than just the palace and you’ll find fascinating buildings and monuments all around its downtown area (Republic Square, Grgur Ninski statue, Church and Monastery of St. Francis, Sulphur Baths). Get lost in its narrow streets, go shopping, or try some of the local cuisine (shot of pašticada). But the best way to learn about this fascinating city is to go on a guided walking tour. Not only will you visit Split’s main highlights, but also become familiar with the culture and way of life.
5. Day trip to Krka National Park
One of Croatia’s absolute highlights is only an hour drive from Split. Krka National Park extends along the 73 kilometers or 54 miles Krka River, which runs through a karstic canyon. It’s a breathtaking area filled with waterfalls and gorges that you can explore on foot via boardwalks and trails. The park actually has 5 main entrances, which are all accessible by car, but located far from one another (Skradin, Lozovac, Roški Slap, Krka Monastery and Burnum). Skradinski Buk is the highlight of the park, where you can take a beautiful walk along the emerald green river and end at the park’s most impressive waterfall. But Roški Slap, Burnum, and Manojlovac are also worth a visit. If you don’t have a car, you can also book a day tour here to make it easier for yourself.
4. Go to the Klis Fortress
Located 12 kilometers or 7.4 miles to the northeast of downtown Split you can find the impressive Klis Fortress. This fort offers beautiful views of the surrounding valley and the Adriatic Sea. Inside, you can explore the various fortifications and visit a small museum with details on the castle’s past. If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you’ll also recognize the Klis Fortress as Meereen, which appeared in season four and five. There’s a room inside the fort with pictures to freshen up your memory. Alternatively, you can also visit the Game of Thrones museum in the city center of Split!
3. Boat Tour To Blue Cave + 5 Islands
Croatia has hundreds of islands dotting its coastline and those near Split are some of the most pristine on the entire Dalmatian coast. Because of their close proximity to the mainland, some islands can be discovered on an island hopping tour from Split. We joined the 5 island tour, during which we snorkeled and swam in the pristine waters of the Blue Lagoon, visited charming villages on the islands of Vis and Hvar, and explored the dazzling Blue Cave. We cruised on a speedboat, allowing for a smaller group and more intimate experience.
2. Visit nearby Trogir’s old town
If you’re looking for a more relaxed atmosphere but equally-beautiful medieval walls, then you should add Trogir to your Split itinerary. Located only 30 kilometers from the city center of Split, the old town of Trogir is set on a tiny island linked by bridges to the mainland as well as the neighboring larger island (čiovo Island). Within its walls, you can find many beautiful buildings that were built between the 12th and 15th century (e.g. St. Lawrence Cathedral). Walk its narrow alleyways and the beautiful boulevard that is lined with cafés, restaurants, and yachts.
1. Day trip to Plitvice Lakes National Park
Last but not least, we have the world-famous Plitvice Lakes. Known for its large network of karstic emerald lakes and stunning waterfalls, this park is a-must visit when in Croatia and is protected by UNESCO for a good reason. You can visit the park as a day trip from Split with a guided tour which you can book here. However, it’s definitely easier to visit this magical place from the closer city of Zadar, which is where we did it from.
Use These Websites To Save Money On Your Trip To Split in Croatia
Booking.com for places to stay
Skyscanner for cheap flights
GetYourGuide for local tours
Rentalcars.com for affordable car rentals
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Other Top Split resources:
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Top Ten Things To Do In Split, Croatia by Earth Trekkers
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21 AWESOME Things To Do In Split, Croatia by Jonny Melon
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