Split Vs. Dubrovnik Comparison – Visit Dubrovnik Or Split

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Post author SJ

Written by our local expert SJ

Sarah-Jane has lived in Croatia for 10+ years. SJ, as she is known, has been traveling the Balkans & beyond since 2000. She now shares her passion for traveling with her husband & kids.

Are you debating between the enchanting Croatian cities of Split and Dubrovnik for your trip to Croatia? You’re in the right place as I help you choose if Split or Dubrovnik is better. 

This guide will help you decide to visit Split or Dubrovnik, but do not worry; no matter your choice, both these two Croatian coastal gems offer distinct experiences and are steeped in cultural heritage.

In your quest to choose the perfect destination, we’ll delve into what you can explore, lay out the pros and cons, and offer a side-by-side comparison of Split and Dubrovnik.

Whether you’re drawn to the cascading beauty of Krka National Park, the allure of the Dalmatian Coast, the timeless charm of Split’s Old Town, or the ancient marvels of Dubrovnik’s Old Town Walls, we’ve got you covered when deciding which Croatian city to visit.

So, if you’re one of the many Game of Thrones fans seeking adventure, a history enthusiast tracing the footsteps of Roman Emperor Diocletian, or simply in search of a more authentic experience, read on. We’ll help you choose the best option for your Croatian getaway.

Are you in a rush and want to know how to choose between Split or Dubrovnik? Here is what we think you should know:

Split and Dubrovnik are two of the most absolutely gorgeous cities on Croatia’s Dalmatian coast.

Split is better… Dubrovnik is a better option..
Less crowded Panoramic views of the Adriatic Sea
Close to beautiful islands Stunning beaches within city limits
Ancient Roman history Well-preserved medieval charm
Split for a more authentic experience Prettier one-of-a-kind old city
Cheaper than Dubrovnik Better 5-star hotels
Offers many island day trips Cruise ship hotspot
Better nightlife Better beach clubs

Split is a vibrant city known for its rich history, beautiful beaches, and unique blend of ancient and modern influences. It is the second-largest city in Croatia, and the key city highlight is Diocletian’s Palace, a remarkable UNESCO World Heritage site that dates back to the Roman era.

As you explore the narrow streets and hidden corners within the palace walls, you’ll encounter a bustling atmosphere filled with shops, restaurants, and historical landmarks. Split also offers a vibrant waterfront promenade, picturesque parks, and easy access to nearby islands, making it a popular destination for travelers seeking a mix of history, culture, and natural beauty.

Dubrovnik is a captivating city renowned for its medieval charm and breathtaking coastal views. With its beautifully preserved Old Town, encircled by imposing stone walls, Dubrovnik takes visitors on a journey back in time.

The city’s narrow streets, historic buildings, and bustling squares create an enchanting atmosphere that delights every traveler. Dubrovnik’s strategic location offers architectural wonders and access to stunning beaches and nearby islands. As a UNESCO World Heritage site and a popular filming location, Dubrovnik has become a must-visit destination, combining history, natural beauty, and a touch of cinematic magic.

Keep reading below for our in-depth analysis on weighing up Split vs. Dubrovnik.

What To See If You Choose Split

Split Or Zadar - Split Croatia at sunrise

If you choose to visit Split, Croatia’s second-largest city, several must-see attractions and landmarks showcase the city’s rich history, architectural beauty, and vibrant culture.

Here are some highlights of what to see if Split is the right choice for you:

  • Diocletian’s Palace: the centerpiece of Split, Diocletian’s Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage site and an architectural marvel. Explore the ancient palace complex, wander its narrow streets, and marvel at its well-preserved Roman architecture
  • Cathedral of Saint Domnius: located within Diocletian’s Palace, the Cathedral of Saint Domnius is a stunning example of medieval architecture. Climb the bell tower for panoramic city views and admire the impressive interior adorned with intricate artwork
  • Peristyle Square: this open-air square is the heart of Diocletian’s Palace. Surrounded by ancient columns and historical buildings, it offers a vibrant atmosphere with street performers, cafes, and shops
  • Riva Promenade: take a leisurely stroll along the Riva Promenade, a lively waterfront stretch offering stunning views of the Adriatic Sea. Enjoy outdoor cafes, street vendors, and a pleasant ambiance
  • Marjan Hill: a visit to Marjan Hill is a must for nature lovers. This lush park, located on a hill, offers hiking and biking trails, scenic viewpoints, and a peaceful retreat from the city buzz. Enjoy panoramic views of Split, the sea, and the surrounding islands
  • Meštrović Gallery: visit the Meštrović Gallery, housed in a villa once belonging to renowned Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović. The gallery showcases his sculptures, drawings, and architectural works, providing insight into his artistic genius
  • Archaeological Museum: delve into Split’s ancient past at the Archaeological Museum, which exhibits artifacts from the Roman, Greek, and medieval periods. Discover ancient pottery, sculptures, and other archaeological treasures
  • Gregory of Nin Statue: don’t miss the impressive statue of Gregory of Nin near the Golden Gate of Diocletian’s Palace. Rub the statue’s toe for good luck and make a wish, following a local tradition
  • Green Market (Pazar): immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture by exploring the Green Market. Sample fresh fruits, vegetables, and local delicacies, and interact with friendly vendors
  • Beaches: Split offers various beaches to relax and soak up the sun. Bačvice Beach, located near the city center, is one of the most popular places to chill, thanks to its sandy shore and vibrant beach bars. Other notable beaches include Kasjuni Beach and Bene Beach

These are just a few of the many attractions and sights to explore in Split. The city’s rich history, stunning architecture, and coastal charm make it a captivating destination for travelers of all interests – and there is no bad time to visit.

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Places To Visit In Croatia – Split Vs. Dubrovnik

Zadar Or Split - Split Croatia Old Town architecture

The choice between Split or Dubrovnik comes down to your preferences. If you’re looking for a lively atmosphere, ancient Roman history, and proximity to beautiful islands, we think Split might be the best option.

PROS OF VISITING SPLIT

Pros To Stay In Split:

  • Rich history and cultural heritage
  • Vibrant city atmosphere with a blend of modern and ancient elements
  • Proximity to beautiful islands like Hvar and Brač
  • Lower tourist crowds compared to Dubrovnik
CONS OF VISITING SPLIT

Cons Of Split Include:

  • A limited number of sandy beaches within the city
  • Relatively fewer historical landmarks compared to Dubrovnik
  • The old town gets crowded – especially during the summer

What To See If You Choose Dubrovnik

7 Days In Croatia - Dubrovnik map

Dubrovnik, with its well-preserved medieval Old Town and stunning coastal views, offers a bunch of attractions and sights to explore. Here are some of the top things to see in Dubrovnik:

Dubrovnik City Walls: Walk along the iconic city walls that encircle the Old Town, offering panoramic views of the Adriatic Sea and the charming, red-roofed buildings below. The walls provide a unique perspective of the city’s architectural splendor.

  • Stradun: stroll along Stradun, the main street of Dubrovnik’s Old Town. Lined with elegant limestone buildings, it is the perfect place for shopping, dining, and people-watching
  • Dubrovnik Cable Car: a must-do activity in this city in Croatia. take a cable car ride up Mount Srđ for breathtaking views of the city, the surrounding islands, and the sparkling Adriatic Sea. The sunset view from the cable car is particularly mesmerizing, as to are the terracotta rooftops
  • Dubrovnik Cathedral: visit the majestic Dubrovnik Cathedral (Assumption Cathedral) located in the heart of the Old Town. Admire its beautiful Baroque architecture and explore its treasury, which houses a collection of religious artifacts
  • Rector’s Palace: discover the Rector’s Palace, a stunning Gothic-Renaissance building that once served as the seat of government in Dubrovnik. Explore its grand halls, historical exhibits, and the picturesque courtyard
  • Franciscan Monastery and Pharmacy: visit the Franciscan Monastery, one of the oldest working pharmacies in Europe. Admire the monastery’s serene cloisters and beautiful gardens, and explore its rich library and museum
  • Lovrijenac Fortress: venture outside the city walls to visit Lovrijenac Fortress, a dramatic fortress perched on a cliff overlooking the sea. Known as “Dubrovnik’s Gibraltar,” it offers impressive views and is a must-visit for history enthusiasts
  • Sponza Palace: marvel at the Sponza Palace, an elegant Renaissance building that now houses the Dubrovnik State Archives. Appreciate its harmonious blend of Gothic and Renaissance architectural styles
  • Lokrum Island: take a short boat ride to Lokrum Island, located just off the coast of Dubrovnik. Explore its lush botanical gardens, visit the medieval Benedictine monastery, and relax on its secluded beaches
  • Banje Beach: another beautiful place to visit when in Dubrovnik. enjoy some sun and sea at Banje Beach, just outside the city walls. Its crystal-clear waters, stunning views of the Old Town, and beachside amenities offer a perfect spot to unwind

These are just a few highlights of what to see in Dubrovnik. The city’s rich history, stunning architecture, and captivating coastal landscapes make it a truly unforgettable destination. Take your time to explore the nooks and crannies of the Old Town, indulge in local cuisine, and soak in the unique ambiance of this enchanting city.

Dubrovnik Vs. Split – Which Croatian City Should You Visit?

Whether you’re interested in medieval architecture, city walls, or breathtaking coastal views, Dubrovnik, known as the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic,’ could be the perfect vacation destination for you in our opinion.

PROS OF VISITING DUBROVNIK

Pros To Visit Dubrovnik:

  • Stunning medieval architecture and well-preserved city walls
  • Spectacular coastal views and crystal-clear waters
  • Filming location for the popular TV series Game of Thrones
  • An abundance of beautiful beaches and nearby islands like Lokrum
CONS OF VISITING DUBROVNIK

Cons To Visit Dubrovnik

  • High tourist traffic, especially during high season
  • It is more expensive compared to Split in terms of accommodation and dining
  • Limited space within the Old Town, which can get crowded easily

Choose Between Split Or Dubrovnik – Is Dubrovnik Or Split Better?

Cable Car in Dubrovnik

To help you decide between Split and Dubrovnik, consider the following factors:

  • Historical and Cultural Heritage: Both Split and Dubrovnik have a rich history, but Split has a more Roman influence, while Dubrovnik offers a well-preserved medieval charm
  • Natural Beauty: Split has the advantage of proximity to the picturesque islands, while Dubrovnik offers stunning coastal views and easy access to nearby Lokrum Island
  • Tourist Crowds: Split generally has fewer tourists compared to Dubrovnik, especially during the peak season
  • Cost: Split tends to be more budget-friendly in terms of accommodation and dining options compared to Dubrovnik. That said, you have plenty of options for affordable price accommodation in both places if you book early enough
  • Beaches: Dubrovnik has more easily accessible beaches within the city, whereas Split has limited sandy beaches within its boundaries.

Day Trip Options From Split

Split is also a great base to explore these places:

1. Trogir
2. Krka National Park Waterfall
3. Šibenik
4. Hvar Island
5. Brač Island
6. Plitvice Lakes National Park
7. Dubrovnik
8. Mostar (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
9. Kotor (Montenegro)
10. Blue Cave (Biševo Island)

Day Trip Options From Dubrovnik

Some tour options to take from Dubrovnik include:

1. Kotor (Montenegro)
2. Mostar (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
3. Elaphiti Islands
4. Korcula Island
5. Pelješac Peninsula
6. Mljet National Park
7. Ston
8. Cavtat
9. Montenegro’s Bay of Kotor
10. Medjugorje (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

FAQs

DUBROVIK VS. SPLIT FAQs

General Information

What are Split and Dubrovnik known for?

Split and Dubrovnik are major cities located along the Croatian coast. They are known for their rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant culture.

What is special about Split?

Split is famous for its Roman architecture, lively nightlife, and proximity to beautiful islands.

What is special about Dubrovnik?

Dubrovnik is renowned for its historic city walls, impressive architecture, breathtaking beaches, and being a Game of Thrones filming location.

Which city is more expensive?

Dubrovnik tends to be more expensive than Split, but both cities offer a range of accommodation options to suit different budgets.

How is the food scene in these cities?

Dubrovnik has a more modern and international culinary scene, while Split is known for its traditional dishes and local specialties.

Beach And Nightlife

Which city has better beaches?

Dubrovnik has stunning beaches within walking distance, while Split offers enjoyable beaches near the old town.

Which city has a livelier nightlife?

Split has a more vibrant nightlife scene with numerous clubs and bars, whereas Dubrovnik has a more relaxed atmosphere.

Day Trips & Attractions

Which city offers more opportunities for day trips?

Split is centrally located and offers excellent ferry connections, making it a great base for day trips to nearby islands and other destinations.

Which city has more historical and cultural attractions?

Both Split and Dubrovnik have exceptional old towns and offer a plethora of historical and cultural attractions to explore.

Climate & Size

What is the climate like in these cities?

Dubrovnik and Split have very similar climates.

Which city is larger?

Split is larger and more populous than Dubrovnik.

Traveler Types & Recommendations

Which city is better for families?

Split is more family-friendly with its accessibility, sandy beaches, and plenty of options for day trips.

Which city is better for couples?

Dubrovnik is perfect for couples due to its romantic atmosphere, historic charm, and fine dining options.

Which city is better for solo travelers?

Split is great for solo travelers with its vibrant and social atmosphere, transportation hub status, and budget-friendly options.

Which airport is better to fly into?

Split Airport usually offers more international connections and is often cheaper compared to Dubrovnik, making it the perfect base to explore.

How many days should I spend in each city?

When you decide whether to visit Split or Dubrovnik, plan 3-4 days in Split to explore its wonders and do island day trips, and allocate at least 3 days for Dubrovnik to fully experience its beauty.

Which city should I choose?

The choice depends on your personal preferences and travel style. Both Split and Dubrovnik offer unique experiences and memorable adventures.

 


Final Thoughts On Choosing Between The Coastal Cities Of Split And Dubrovnik

Croatia Travel Blog_How To Choose Between Split and Dubrovnik

So, which city should you visit?

Ultimately, the choice between Split and Dubrovnik depends on your preferences. If you’re seeking a lively atmosphere, ancient Roman history, and proximity to beautiful islands, Split might be the ideal choice.

On the other hand, if you’re captivated by medieval architecture, city walls, and breathtaking coastal views, Dubrovnik could be the perfect destination. Consider factors such as historical interests, budget, and preference for crowds to make the best decision for your vacation.

Either way, each historic city gives you Roman ruins, fresh seafood, outdoor activities, and traditional dishes, making them both a good choice.

If you can’t decide which city should you visit- then why not visit both Split and Dubrovnik?

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