Split Travel Blog: Things to do in Split
- Split Travel Blog: Things to do in Split
- Split Travel Blog: Things to do in Split
- People Watch at the Riva
- Diocletian’s Palace
- Meander The Museums
- Mestrovic Gallery
- Pazar Market
- Peškarija Market
- Marjan Hill
- Rent a Bike
- Rock Climbing in Split
- Get Lost in the Narrow Streets
- Take a Guided Tour to Discover The Details
- Watch a Game of Picigin
- Roman Ruins of Solin
- Watch a Soccer Match
- Day Trips From Split
- How to Spend 48-hours in Split
- Best Beaches in Split
- Best Accommodation in Split
- What are The Best Hotels in Split Croatia?
- Places to Eat and Drink in Split
- Key Festivals and Events in Split
- Traveling to Split – Leaving Split
The city of Split, located on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea, has a long, long history. With Greek and Roman influence, Split has a rich culture, beautiful architecture and there is no shortage of things to see and do here. Fun can be had for couples, singles, and the whole family! This beautiful, historic city has a lot to offer. Today, visitors can walk the centuries old streets and relive history or enjoy the beautiful nature that is on Split’s doorstep.
Split Travel Blog: Things to do in Split
People Watch at the Riva
Okay, so it’s not exactly a hard-hitting item to add to your things to do list – but the Riva is iconic in Split – so you simply must start here. Order coffee, wine and or gelato and leisurely take it all in. Watch the people of Split meander along and get your bearings before you begin to see the sights.
Diocletian’s Palace is a 1700-year old Roman ruin that dominates the city. It is more than a palace or a museum. It is the heart of the town filled with streets of shops and restaurants. The last time this structure was renovated was during the Middle Ages. This vast expanse of history seems to go on forever in both directions, but it is easy to find your way around if you get lost. If you are interested in having all of the historic hot spots pointed out, take the Diocletian’s Palace Walking Tour – it’s worth the money to have the guide point out many little facts and details you might otherwise miss on your own.
Within the Palace area are several sights you simply have tick off your to-see list:
The Four Gates of Diocletian’s Palace
This Roman building measures 160m by 190m, and it has entranceway at each of the four walls that lead down to the central square of Peristil – dividing the palace into four quarters. An excellent guide on the four gates of Golden Gate, Silver Gate, Iron Gate, Brass Gate can be found here.
Temple of Jupiter
At one point in history, there were three temples in the Palace. However, the only remaining one is the Temple of Jupiter. Jupiter was both a Roman God and the name of Diocletian’s Father, and a local guide once told me that Emperor Diocletian believed he was a reincarnation of Jupiter.
Cathedral of Saint Domnius
Saint Duje, as the Saint is locally known, is the Patron Saint of Split – and this Cathedral is perhaps one of the most popular in Croatia. It was originally built to be Diocletian’s mausoleum, which was crazy given the Emporer’s views on Christianity. This cathedral holds the record for being the oldest Catholic cathedral in the world that remains in use in its original structure. The original octagonal shape of the mausoleum has been almost entirely preserved with the exception of the mosaic-lined ceiling which has long vanished. A combo ticket to enter the Bell Tower, Cathedral Treasury, Crypt and Baptistery (Jupiter’s Temple) is 45 HRK (or you can purchase separate entries at individual rates).
The Cellar – Basement Hall
Emperor Diocletian’s basement – now known as the Cellar – was used for food preservation and wine making. This area is a little haunting – and seems so untouched by time. The halls are mostly empty, but you can find an exhibit or two along the way as well as souvenir stalls for purchasing gifts to take home. As you wander the cellar, look out for remains of an old olive oil press used by the Emperor’s staff.
Tucked into the western walls of Diocletian’s Palace in the narrow street of Židovski Prolaz – meaning Jewish Passage – you will find the third oldest continuously used Sephardic Synagogue in the world stemming from the 16th century. Once a church, it was later rented and bought by the Jewish community and was converted into their place of worship. Read all about the history and details here.
Meander The Museums
If the Ruins of Solin (see below) peak your interest or if getting lost in ancient history is a draw, a trip to this museum is worth your time. Located north of the town center, the Archeological Museum of Split is the oldest museum in Croatia (founded in 1820). The museum houses intriguing archeological objects from different periods of colonization in the Dalmatia area. Greek, Roman, Medieval Ages and Early Christian artifacts are preserved and displayed, many of which come from Salona. Of particular note is the expansive antique and medieval coin collection housed in the museum and a headless Egyptian Sphinx statue. Website | Address: Zrinjsko-Frankopanska 25
Local Tip: Combine a trip to the Archaeological Museum with a visit to the Ruins of Solin for an enriching history of the region.
Croatian Maritime Museum of Split
For visitors who have a love affair with maritime heritage, the Croatian Maritime Museum is packed with great collections for your browsing pleasure. Founded in 1997, the museum is located in the 17th century Gripe Fortress which offers spectacular views over the harbor and a glimpse into Baroque style fortification. The exhibits and artifacts within the museum tell the story of the Adriatic coast from prehistory to modern day through examples of anchors, engines, models of boats and even full vessels, including the oldest Dalmatian fishing boat built in 1857. When visiting Croatia’s harbor city, it seems only fitting to travel back in time to learn the stories of the sea and how it has influenced this region of the world. Website | Address: Glagoljaška 18
Local Tip: Pay extra for the knowledgeable, English speaking guide to get the full impact of the exhibits.
Tucked away in a terrace in Diocletian’s Palace, this small museum is perfect for those who are looking for an intimate view of authentic Croatian culture. Visitors will delight in the ethnography of the Dalmatian region through the study of exquisite embroidery, traditional costumes, and gorgeous lacework on display. View pottery, woodcarving, knitting, jewelry and all other forms of goods produced in this region of the world as part of economic livelihood throughout history. Of important note for those on a time crunch – the museum can be visited in under an hour, so don’t miss a quick stop while at the Palace! Address: Severova 1
Local Tip: Be sure to check out the panoramic view from the terrace which is included in your ticket price!
This incredible art gallery is home to beautiful pieces by Ivan Mestrovic. Ivan Mestrovic is the most famous modern sculptor of Croatia. He resided in what is now the gallery dedicated to him from 1931 to 1939. The gallery is filled with many of his unbelievable pieces and visitors can get a glimpse into his life and work. Website | Address: Šetalište Ivana Meštrovića 46
Head to the Pazar markets to graze on the fresh produce before starting a big day of sightseeing. Located on the East side of the old city, just outside the Silver gate and walls of Diocletian’s Palace, the Pazar markets sell everything from touristy souvenirs and accessories to fresh fruit and veggies.
If you have an apartment you’ll want to get cooking. Here at the Peškarija Market you can find…. fish. Once you have some your veggies from Pazar , grab your fish and head back to your Split digs for a feast. You can try one of our recipes and eat traditional Croatian food like a local.
For stunning views of the city, head up to around 178 meters above sea level. Located on the western side of Split, the hill offers plenty of trails for outdoor activities, drinking fountains, look out points and even beaches on the far side. Stop for a scenic coffee break at Teraca Vidilica before spending time walking along the trails to take in the natural beauty of the peninsula. This place is frequented by locals who want to stay fit – take a look at how you can stay fit in Split at Marjan Hill. To get there, take the number 12 bus from Riva and get off at the very last stop at Bene beach.
Rent a Bike
If you want to give biking a go – there are several bike rental places in and around Split. Including near Marjan Hill. You can cycle the streets of Split or take your bike off-road and pick a route inside Marjan Forest Park.
Rock Climbing in Split
I’ll tell you now, I have never done this, but I have heard all the goss about it. Head to Sustipan cliff face, and try your hand at this active holiday activity.
Get Lost in the Narrow Streets
Spend time exploring the narrow streets of the old city – it’s pedestrian only traffic meaning you can wander and daydream without the worrying about cars. As you wander be sure to get a workout as you climb up the 183 steep steps of the Bell Tower for 360°breathtaking views of Split. Don’t forget to look all around, you never know what you’ll see in your view.
Take a Guided Tour to Discover The Details
Peristyle Square is where you’ll find all the tour action. Located not far from the Cathedral, and marked by a giant Sphinx from Egypt it’s an easy spot to find. A guided tour of Split will show you the details of the city you can’t appreciate reading in any guidebook or travel blog. Oh and your local guide always knows the newest, coolest places to eat!
Watch a Game of Picigin
If you head to one of the numerous beaches in Split, you might find yourself catching more than a few rays. Split’s traditional ball game, known as Picigin, is played along the sandy shores and an impromptu game can often be spotted in the shallow waters. The game originated in 1908 on the beach of Bačvice and involves players in a circle batting a small ball around with their hands. The ultimate goal is to keep this ball both in the air and out of the water for as long as possible, which leads to running, diving and leaping – great entertainment for all beach-goers! A non-competitive game that has no set number of players and no opposing sides, it is seen as a relaxing and fun by locals. Sit back and watch, or, if you’re feeling ambitious, join in on a round or two yourself.
Roman Ruins of Solin
Northeast of Split you will find the town of Solin where the ancient Roman capital of Dalmatia, Salona, existed. It was in this early Roman settlement that the famous Emperor Diocletian was born. The ancient town was destroyed after the arrival of the Avars and those that survived resettled in “Spalatum” or Split in the area where Diocletian’s Palace stands today. The ruins of this ancient civilization still stand and are not to be missed, especially if you love Roman history and architecture! With a stunning mountain backdrop, visitors can explore what’s left of city walls, small houses, baths and even an amphitheater. Give yourself a few hours to wander through the ruins and envision the thriving city of long ago. No need to rent a car to visit the ruins but you will need to make sure you wear some comfy travel shoes with all the walking. Multiple public bus routes travel to this ancient site and the Zagreb-Split railway passes through the city as well.
Local Tip: Wear good shoes for walking and pack sunscreen.
Watch a Soccer Match
Calling all sports fans! What better way to engage with locals than to enjoy the sport and drink together while cheering on Split’s local football team – Hajduk Split. Before catching a game, we highly recommend taking a guided, behind the scenes tour of Poljud stadium, home to the Hajduk football club. This exceptional building was recently declared protected cultural property. The architecture and urban design of the stadium are admirable, making it a favorite of architects the world over. Learn the history, savor a beer, and cheer on the blue and white colors of the home team. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a game with the club’s main rival – Dinamo Zagreb! A match between the two teams is known as the Eternal Derby and is certainly a game to see for any sports fan on holiday.
Day Trips From Split
- Games of Thrones Tour. Die hard fans will not want to miss this tour. Book or check availability of the Game of Thrones tour here.
- Blue Island Cave Tour. The Blue Island Cave tour is a full day tour, where you visit the magnificent phenomenon of the Blue Cave and other islands and swimming spots. You can purchase tickets all along the port and in the travel agencies in the center. Just about all agencies sell tickets for €110pp, however not all include lunch (so it’s always good to check).
- Sea Kayaking. Of course, you can kayak in the day – but you can also choose the afternoon/sunset kayak tours for something a little out of the ordinary.
- Omiš. The pirate town of Omiš offers activities great for families – rafting and zip lining are just two that we always tell people not to miss. Here is proof of how much fun rafting is.
- Krka National Park.
- Croatian Island Hopping. With such excellent ferry connections, and being in prime position, Split is the ultimate place to start or end your Croatian Island hopping experience. It can be tricky to navigate, so here is how to create your dream Croatia Island Hopping itinerary.
- Trogir. This UNESCO protected city is worth a day trip even if you just go there for the fabulous outdoor market.
- Split Sailing Adventure. Spend your entire day doing all things nautical on a sailing and swimming adventure. Start your sailing trip by traveling from Split to Hvar on the local ferry, and from there, travel to the stunning Palenki Islands by yacht. Numerous stops are scheduled into the day with plenty of time to enjoy a swim or a snorkel on the beautiful beaches visited. To top the day off, work as part of the crew and learn the sailing ropes under the guidance of a professional on the tour.
- Klis Fortress. Klis Fortress is a 3rd-century ruin – and offers breathtaking views over Split below. To get out there you can take bus 22 from the square on Marmontova street for 22HRK return. The trip takes about 40 minutes. Entrance to the fortress is 20HRK or you can do a private tour here.
- Hvar Island and Blue Cave Tour. Speedboat day tour from Split to the most beautiful islands on Middle Adriatic coast.
How to Spend 48-hours in Split
Fellow blogger and traveler Kim has a great 2-day plan for Split. Split is easily connected to other cities by air, sea and road and whilst it’s every traveler’s dream to spend more time in a city, Kim points out that it’s not always possible. So she has suggestions on where to go, what to see – and where to eat for two days in Split. You can check it out here.
Best Beaches in Split
The beach at Kašjuni has a long breakwater that helps to protect you from the wind. This beach is a low-key city getaway, with showers, toilets, and a cafe – making it perfect for families.
Bacvice Beach is located on a shallow, pebble bay. There is something for everyone at this beach. Bacvice is known for relaxing swimming conditions and plenty of watersports to keep you busy all day long. Kids of all ages enjoy spending the day along the shores of Bacvice Beach. There are pavilions along the beach for changing and dressing. At night, the beach comes alive when all of the bars and clubs lining the beach open their doors. The local sport of picigin originated at Bacvice Beach.
A beach set to make being in Croatia with the kids happy – what kid would not want to swim in the sea followed by jumping on trampolines and bouncy castles? Kiteboarders and windsurfers should make their way to Žnjan Beach in the off-season and make use of the seasonal winds!
Firule Beach has a mixture of sand and concrete for the ease of guests getting in and out of the sea. Kids and adults love to spend the day at Firule Beach soaking up the sun and enjoying outdoor activities. This beach is shallow, so anyone who doesn’t swim can feel at ease here.
Best Accommodation in Split
Accommodation in Split is divided into several options, all with varying prices points – there is something to suit cheap travel, luxury travelers and those traveling with kids. Start your holidays in Split right with one of these:
Most people who plan Split holidays, look at hotels due to how many wonderful choices there are – but they can be very expensive, so when thinking about budget Split accommodation, then you have some cracker Split hostels to choose from:
Hostel Split. The Hostel Split offers a variety of rooms close to all of the action in Split. From 8 bedrooms to private en-suites and apartments, this hostel has exactly what you are looking for during your Split vacation. All types of rooms come with air conditioning and free Wi-Fi. The friendly staff are more than happy to help you during your stay and offer recommendations of what to see and do. Stores, markets, banks, and the bus station are all within walking distance of this hostel.
Design Hostel 101 Dalmatinac. This 101-bed hostel offers a unique twist on your stay. Each bed represents an island and you can find interesting facts about that island on a picture hanging over each bed. There are 19 rooms in total and they all come with one shower room and one restroom. All rooms are also air-conditioned. This beautiful, modern location is a hotspot for families, young couples, and students alike. The warm staff are happy to help you with anything you need during your stay.
- Old Town Hostel. Book a hostel that is inside Diocletian’s Palace.
- Booze & Snooze Hostel. Get a price at one of the first hostels in Split.
- Hostel Split BackPackers. Get a price for your dates at this hostel just 5 mins to the CBD.
Apartments in Split Croatia
Add apartments to your list of where to stay in Split. Apartments for rent in Split are a bit hit and miss – so do read the location and reviews before you make a booking. Parking in Split is very problematic – so look for an apartment that has parking included.
Vacation rentals can be booked through Booking.com or you can take a more personal route and use an Airbnb host. Hosts are really helpful and will give you local info, like – where to eat in Split. Use this link to get a €18 credit when you join Airbnb. Other cheap apartments for rent can also be found when you arrive – there are just that many!
Start your Split holiday apartments search with ones like:
Stone House Varos
This apartment has three bedrooms and three, bathrooms all separate from each other. These apartments sleep up to six people. It’s in the center of Split, close to markets, shops and restaurants, and only a fifteen-minute walk to the beach. This beautiful, old stone house will add a certain charm to your stay. This apartment comes with satellite TV and air conditioning so you will have the best stay possible when you visit Split.
Apartment Breeze is only a three-minute walk from the center of Split and close to the beach. It sleeps between two and four people and is in a quiet, peaceful location. This apartment has a fully equipped kitchen, a private terrace, air conditioning, satellite TV, and internet connection for visitors’ convenience. This apartment is located on the third floor so visitors will have a beautiful open and airy view to wake up to every morning.
What are The Best Hotels in Split Croatia?
Of all of the hotels in Split we’d suggest that you book one of these:
Central Palace Rooms
Located near the Old Town and Diocletian Palace, Central Palace Rooms offers visitors a convenient stay in Split. It is just a short walk away from wonderful sightseeing destinations and the beach. Visitors will love the convenience of being only minutes away from all of the places they want to visit. With free airport shuttle service, free Wi-Fi, laundry service, and cable TV, everyone will feel at home here. There is no parking at Central Palace Rooms.
Garden Apartment Hotel
The Garden Apartment Hotel is located in Old Town and only a short ways away from Diocletian Palace. With a marina, restaurant, bar, picnic area, and garden and terrace, guests will feel at home with the amenities. The hotel offers scuba activities and airport shuttles. With Wi-Fi, air conditioning, and free breakfast, guests will be satisfied with their stay here at the Garden Apartment Hotel. As an added bonus, there is free parking close to the hotel.
Radisson Blu Resort Split
Located right on the beach, the Radisson Blu Resort has a private beach just for guests. Guests can enjoy lounging on the beach or private indoor and outdoor pool all day long then come in to relax in the resort’s bar and lounge. For those looking for a little more pampering, the full spa within the resort will leave them feeling like a new person. And to keep kids busy, send them to the arcade to get their fill of video games.
The View Luxury Rooms
The View Luxury Rooms offers guests wonderful amenities. Closest to Diocletian’s Palace, this hotel is only minutes away from the center of Split. Guests can enjoy the air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, free breakfast, and free shuttle service during their stay. The shuttle services runs around the city, to the beach, to the ferries, and to the airport. If needed, there is laundry service within the hotel and housekeeping visits every day. Guests can catch up on TV in the lobby.
The Atrium Hotel is located close to the city center. It is just a few minutes’ walk away from Diocletian’s Palace. This hotel offers a wide range of amenities. Even though the Atrium Hotel is not located on the beach, guests can still enjoy the water with their indoor pool and relax at the full-service spa. With free breakfast and a restaurant and bar, guests will not go hungry. For their convenience, there is a fitness center, business center, airport shuttle, childcare, air conditioning, and coffee and tea in the lobby.
Le Meridien Lav
Le Meridien Lav is located on a private beach and marina. The beautiful waterfront is what guests will wake up to every morning. This beautiful hotel offers all of the amenities guests could want when staying in Split. The indoor pool can be enjoyed year-round and their, full-service spa can relax the most stressed person. Inside, guests can find a restaurant and bar, a fitness center, and a business center. There is even a free airport shuttle and child care for the guest’s convenience.
Want more places to stay in Split? Check out some here.
Places to Eat and Drink in Split
There are far too many places to write in this guide to Split – don’t worry you have loads of choice and no end of people helping you find your way to the best of Split. Here are a few places to get you started:
Bas Burek. Prices at Bas Burek are rather cheap. It is a small shop, so locals recommend getting takeout from here instead of having a sit-down meal since seating is limited. Many guests love their traditional lunch menu with a lot to choose from. The burek served in many forms is highly recommended here at Bas Burek. Some describe Bas Burek as a small little hole in the wall, but others see it as a hidden gem among the cobblestones.
Zinfandel. Known for being quintessentially Dalmatian, Zinfandel is a small bar and eatery with informal seating, a delightful menu packed with local ingredients, and a wine selection that boasts varieties from Croatia’s best vineyards and boutique winemakers. If you are in the mood for a classy yet casual meal served by a friendly staff who know what’s what when it comes to wine and Croatia’s wine history, this is the perfect little joint.
Konoba Matejuska. Konoba Matejuska’s reasonably priced menu draws in a wide variety of food lovers. Konoba Matejuska serves traditional Mediterranean food. It is a small, family run business. The family has a long history of Split. The recipes passed on from generation to generation are at the heart of this restaurant along with the fresh seafood from the local harbor. All of the food here is prepared and found locally. Visitors love the delectable foods found at Konoba Matejuska.
Restaurant Diocles. This stunning restaurant offers the best in upscale dining in Split. It was decorated beautifully to make every guest feel like they are one in a million. With traditional dishes and plenty of Croatian food, it is hard to find an item on the menu that is disliked. Guests can eat indoors or outdoors on the beautiful garden terrace, which can be reserved for private parties. Guests enjoy the variety that the menu at the Restaurant Diocles offers.
Coffee and Cocktails
4coffee Soul Food. 4coffee Soul Food is a specialty coffee shop that many views as a local gem. With freshly brewed coffee, it is hard to be disappointed at the aromas flowing from this shop. The varieties of coffees offered will satisfy tastes from all over the world. To enliven the coffee drinking experience, even more, 4coffee Soul Food even offers barista classes in their specialty brewing style. The staff is warm and friendly and they welcome coffee lovers from all over the world.
Zbirac. Open all year round, a coffee at Zbirac come with sea views and reasonable prices.
To je to Cafe Bar: Whether you prefer to sip craft brews, hand-roasted coffee or homemade brandy, this artsy bar in Old Town Split is sure to please. Offering the largest selection of Croatian craft beer in the area, it’s a favorite nighttime locale, especially with the live background tunes of local artists playing into the late hours.
Marcvs Marvlvs Spalatensis. Marcvs Marvlvs Spalatensis is hidden away in split. It is a warm, cozy atmosphere that is away from all of the noise of Split. Enjoy night life of Split at this comfortable bar. They serve a wide variety of spirits including wine and cheeses. Marcvs Marvlvs Spalatensis is all about the atmosphere and providing a warm environment for guests to relax and enjoy their time. This unique and tranquil bar is the best place to unwind after a long day of sightseeing.
Key Festivals and Events in Split
Ultra Europe is one of the world’s largest electronic and techno music festivals. This music festival takes place over four days. The first three days held in the city at Poljud Stadium. The fourth day takes place on the beach outside of the city. People from all over the world come to Ultra Europe to see the hottest stars and performers on the electronic music scene. Anyone interested in going to the festival can buy their tickets through Atlas.
Feast of St. Duje
Occurring on May 7th of every year, the Feast of St. Duje. The feast is a celebration of Split’s patron saint, Saint Dominus. Traditions run rampant across the city during the Feast of St. Duje. The celebration starts with mass in Old Town and a parade procession full of dancing and singing. The parade ends at the main fish market where there will be a feast of free foods and drinks. Sellers will be set up along the way selling plenty of handmade crafts and trinkets.
Traveling to Split – Leaving Split
- Air. There is an international airport located within 20 kilometers of Split. From the airport, you can take a shuttle or bus to get 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 onwards to your next stop including…
- 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. The train station in Split will take you 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.
- Parking. Split offers a variety of parking options. Some hotels have their own private parking lots, but not all. Throughout the city you can find various paid and unpaid parking lots, especially near shopping locations – just be prepared for lots of traffic and minimal spaces.