24 Hours In Split: How To Enjoy Split In One Day
Split is Croatia’s second-largest city and also the main transportation hub in Dalmatia. Boats, trains, buses and planes connect in Split, making it a place that’s super-easily reached. The downside of this—if there is one—is that a lot of people look at Split as a transit destination. Waiting for their connection, they spend only a couple of hours in the city.
That’s a real pity, of course. A city this large, located in the middle of the Dalmatian coast, just has to have something more to offer, right? And Split does, indeed. Split has LOADS of things to do. This is a wonderfully historic city, filled with centuries- and sometimes even millennia-old architecture, home to one of the Adriatic’s greatest waterfronts. Split belongs on any Balkan travel itinerary, to say the least.
If you’re planning on visiting Split, don’t just rush through. Take your time. Slow down. Set aside at least 24 hours in Split to get to know this magnificent city more intimately. We also recommend visiting in spring, before the summer crowds arrive.
Here is one way to spend 24 hours in Split
Split has enough to offer to keep you (very )busy for way more than just 24 hours. It’s a huge city, but basically, all places of interest are located around the City Harbor. Just up from the harbor lies Stari Grad, the Old Town. This Old Town has the shape of a domino and consists of two square-shaped areas—Diocletian’s Palace to the east and the medieval part, which developed beside it, to the west.
In between the Harbor and Old Town lies the Riva, Split’s iconic waterfront promenade. Numerous open-air cafés, bars, and palm trees line this wide pedestrian walkway. When taking the time to spend 24 hours in Split, you’ll get to see all of this at a pleasant, unrushed pace.
How To Do A Split In One Day: Morning
Split’s number one attraction is Diocletian’s Palace, essentially an enormous retirement home built for Roman Emperor Diocletian. Protected as World Heritage by UNESCO, this place is so exceptional because it’s both where Split was founded and still the beating heart of the city. The city evolved in and around this ancient complex—people still live in some of these buildings, while other structures now house shops and restaurants, bars and even museums.
You’ll need at least a full morning to explore Diocletian’s Palace. There’s more to it than you might think. Surrounded by massive walls, the palace has four huge gates—the Golden, Silver, Brass and Iron Gates. Places that you shouldn’t miss are Diocletian’s Cellars, now housing souvenir stands and art galleries, the Peristil, the Entry Vestibule and the Cathedral of St. Dominus.
Don’t forget to pick up a map at the visitor center—you’ll need it to navigate through this busy area. What’s so beautiful about Diocletian’s Palace is that, besides being completely free to visit, it still feels so alive. There’s always activity going on. In fact, it’s no stretch to say that the Palace is probably busier now than it ever was, even during Diocletian’s time, when it was primarily a private residence. It’s more than impressive that a vast complex like this has been so well preserved.
How To Do A Split In One Day: Afternoon
You’ll need a place to let that abundance of cultural wealth and historical facts sink in. So, grab a seat at one of the plentiful restaurants and coffee bars in the Old Town. Make sure not to order dessert because you’ll want to get some gelato later on while wandering the Old Town’s alleys.
Spend the rest of the afternoon simply, spontaneously, exploring the Old Town at your own pace. There’s plenty of shopping to be done (head to BreakTime Nautical and tell them we sent you) there and it’s just a bunch of fun wandering through this charming maze of cobbled streets.
If you’re after some more culture, you may want to visit the Meštrović Gallery. This marvelous art museum dedicated to Croatia’s most influential artist lies a short bus or taxi ride west of the Old Town.
How To Do A Split In One Day: Evening
The top evening activity in Split is promenading on the Riva. Locals do it every night, many tourists joining them on their strolls. There are some food carts, street performers, a wonderful sea breeze and, if you’re lucky, a lovely sunset. Wander along the Riva keeping your eyes peeled for a place for dinner. A good choice would be Restaurant Bajamonti, situated on Trg Republike just to the west of the Riva.
If you’d like to extend the evening a bit long after dinner, head back into the Old Town for a cocktail at one of the many open-air bars. In Diocletian’s Palace, Lvxor Café has an incredibly atmospheric outdoor seating area, literally on the steps of the Peristil. Surrounded by ancient Roman columns, this is probably the most historic patio you’ll ever sit on.
If you would like to spend more than just 24 hours in Split, consider staying another day and go on a day trip to one of the other great destinations in the area, places like Trogir and Klis Fortress. As mentioned at the top of this post, Split is a major transportation hub and makes the perfect base to explore many of Croatia’s best islands and a few of the lesser-known islands like Šolta.
You can get anywhere from Split, with various means of transportation. Consider a day trip to neighboring Trogir, the waterfalls of Krka National Park which are quite easy to reach or a Dalmatian island like Hvar or Brač, for example. Plus here are a bunch of other day trip suggestions from Split.
How To Get To Split
- Air. There is an international airport located just 20 kilometers from Split. From the airport, you can take a shuttle or bus to your accommodation.
- Bus. Right near the airport, there are two bus stops. Both lines that visit each bus stop will take you into Split. There are numerous bus stops all over Split located near shopping and hotels.
- Ferry. If you are coming from the islands or across the Adriatic Sea, a ferry is your best option. There is a ferry port in the harbor of Split. Ferries also can take you onward to your next stop.
- Train. There is a train station in Split, and you can get here from Zagreb for around €30. There are several trains a day coming in from Zagreb. From the train station in Split, you can travel to a handful of other cities in Croatia, including Zagreb, Varazdin, Rijeka, and Osijek.
- Car. There are many places to rent a car within Split and in outlying areas.
- Private Transfers. They are much cheaper than you think and really help in busy periods. Get low rates here. Or look at how to get to Split from Zagreb here.
- Parking. Split offers a variety of parking options. Some, but not all, hotels have their own private parking lots. Throughout the city, you can find various paid and unpaid parking lots, especially near shopping locations. Just be prepared for lots of traffic, high rates and minimal spaces.
This is just one of a hundred ways on how to spend 24 hours in Split. Let us know how you’d do it in the comments below.