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Things To Do In Split, Croatia For Families, Singles & Couples
The city of Split, located on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea, has a long, rich history. With Greek and Roman influence, Split has a rich culture, beautiful architecture, and there is no shortage of things to do in Split.
Fun can be had for couples, singles, and the whole family! This beautiful, historic city has a lot to offer all year long, from spring through winter. Today, visitors can walk the centuries-old streets and relive history or enjoy the beautiful nature that lies on Split’s doorstep.
People Watching 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 their way along this beautiful waterfront promenade and get your bearings before you begin your Split sightseeing tour.
One of the most famous landmarks in Croatia, Diocletian’s Palace, is a 1,700-year-old Roman ruin that dominates the city. It is more than a palace or a museum. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Filled with streets of shops and restaurants, this is the heart of the town, the very place where things really started for the city. 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 hotspots pointed out, take the Diocletian’s Palace Walking Tour (wear comfy shoes). It’s worth the money to have the guide point out many little facts and details you might otherwise miss on your own.
Diocletian’s Palace is undeniably the star attraction in the city, the greatest of all Split tourist attractions. Within the Palace, area are several sights you simply have tick off your to-see list, such as the following.
The Four Gates Of Diocletian’s Palace
Located in the very center of the Split old city, this Roman building measures 160 by 190 meters, and it has an 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 initially built to be Diocletian’s mausoleum, which was crazy given the Emperor’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 that 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 winemaking. 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) spark 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 archaeological objects from different periods of colonization in the Dalmatia area.
Greek, Roman, medieval, and early-Christian artifacts are preserved and displayed, many of which come from Salona. Of particular note are 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 significant 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 fortifications.
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, dating back to 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 is that 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 Split art gallery is home to beautiful pieces by Ivan Mestrovic. Ivan Mestrovic is the most famous modern sculptor in 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. Serious art lovers might find this one of the greatest places to visit in Split.
Address: Šetalište Ivana Meštrovića 46
Sail The Adriatic Sea
Situated on the Adriatic Sea coast, Split is an ideal starting point for sailings and cruises on this beautiful, quietly shimmering sea. A great company to book your trip with is 45 Degrees Sailing, run by a husband-wife team from New Zealand. They offer day sailings from Split, but their flagship excursions are the seven-day, seven-night sailings to and around the Dalmatian islands.
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 popular touristy souvenirs and accessories to fresh fruit and veggies. It’s the perfect place to pick up some picnic ingredients or lunch, too.
If you have an apartment, you’ll want to get cooking. Here at the Peškarija Market, you can find…. fish. Once you have some of 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, lookout 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.
Explore Split With Your Kids
While adults will find there’s no lack of amazing things to do in Split, a historical and cultural city like this might be less attractive to kids. Sometimes, the kids simply aren’t interested in historical tours. Yet, in Split, you still have the option to go on a child-friendly tour of Split.
Organized by a local guide, a father himself, this tour takes the family to several of the city’s top attractions. On the way, he’ll talk about legends and stories; you’ll look for hidden inscriptions on walls and even Egyptian sphinxes. You’ll walk through massive ancient gates and make a wish while rubbing a toe of the huge Bishop Grgur Statue.
The tour ends with a visit to Split’s oldest pastry shop, an experience both kids and adults will enjoy.
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.
Get Lost In The Narrow Streets
Spend time exploring the narrow streets of the old city. Its pedestrian-only traffic means you can wander and daydream without worrying about cars. As you walk, be sure to get a workout climbing up the 183 steep steps of the Bell Tower for breathtaking 360-degree 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 (or Peristil) 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 travel blog or travel guide to Split, Croatia. Oh, and your local guide always knows the newest, coolest places to eat, too!
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 match 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 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 you’ll do. 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 water and 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 against the club’s main rival, Dinamo Zagreb! A match between the two sides is known as the Eternal Derby and is undoubtedly a game to see for any sports fan on holiday.
Discover The Jewish History Of Split
While Split’s Roman and medieval history is well known and documented, the city’s Jewish history remains a bit of a secret. If you’d like to learn more about this, you can go on a Jewish history tour in Split. On this tour, an expert guide will take you to several historic Jewish sites in the old city center.
Starting at the Riva, at the former location of a harbor quarantine complex built by a Portuguese Jew, the tour continues to early-medieval Menorah carvings within Diocletian’s Palace, the former Jewish ghetto and an alleyway known as the Jewish Passage. Other highlights include Europe’s third-oldest bookstore, established by a Jew, and Marjen forest park, home to an old Jewish cemetery and offering amazing views of the city.
Walk The 12 Churches Trail
Behind and above Split lies Marjan forest park, one of the city’s greatest parks. In addition to fantastic views of Split, this is also where you can walk the 12 Churches Trail. As its name indicates, this path runs past a dozen small medieval churches and through a fragrant pine forest. If you’re feeling hot during your walk, you can even jump into the sea at several rocky shoreline spots.
Rent A Car In Split
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 €110 pp. 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. The trip from Split to Krka National Park is quite easy and scenic. Here are the best tours for Krka.
- 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. Even though Trogir a small coastal town, this is one of the most beautiful urban landmarks in Croatia.
- 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. To get out there, you can take bus 22 from the square on Marmontova street for 22HRK return. The trip takes about 40 minutes. The entrance to the fortress is 20HRK, or you can do a private tour.
- Hvar Island and Blue Cave Tour. Speedboat day tour from Split to the most beautiful islands in the middle of the Adriatic coast.
How To Spend 48 Hours In Split
Fellow blogger and traveler Kim has a tremendous two-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 eat, what to see, and where to go in Split if you only have two days. You can check it out here.
Best Beaches In Split Croatia
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, which is certainly a nice feature of it.
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? Also, kiteboarders and windsurfers should make their way to Žnjan Beach in the off-season and make use of the strong 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 alike 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 price points. If you’re wondering where to stay in Split, you’ll be happy to hear that there is something to suit cheap travel, luxury travelers and those traveling with kids. Start your holidays in Split right with one of these places.
Places To Eat And Drink In Split
There are far too many places to eat and drink in Split to mention in this Split guide. But don’t worry because 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 lots 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.
Brasserie on 7.
The Splitska Riva was once known as the French Riva during Napoleon’s occupancy and held its name long after his departure. The B7 executive chef utilizes principles of French gastronomy to highlight Croatian cuisine and presents it on a world-class scale.
It has an impressive harbor-setting with a stylish and timeless interior, quality of service, and consistent standard of cuisine, Brasserie on 7 is a place I visit several times a year. It also happens to be owned by two super cool Aussie chicks.
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 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 of traditional Mediterranean food draws in a wide variety of food lovers. It is a small, family-run business. The family has a long history of Split. 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.
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 a variety of 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.
Bokeria Kitchen & Wine Bar. Situated on a beautiful piazza in the center of the city, Bokeria Kitchen & Wine Bar is a fantastic place to go for a traditional Dalmatian meal and a good glass of wine.
Konoba Matoni. Located to the southeast of the Old Town of Split, Konoba Matoni is an incredibly atmospheric restaurant. Its curved, dome-like stone ceilings and brick walls, together with wonderful lighting, make this is a romantic and cozy place to grab dinner. A well-rated restaurant it serves Dalmatian and Mediterranean cuisine, including vegan dishes and mouthwatering desserts. Their extensive selection of wines complements any meal choice.
Restaurant-Cafe Bajamonti. You will find this great restaurant on Prokurative Square, a charming Mediterranean square with busy terraces. One of the best restaurants in Croatia, its menu features everything from meat to fish and seafood. Its dishes are a work of art, well-presented and absolutely delicious. The menu is changed regularly, according to the fishing seasons and availability of fresh seafood. Additionally, the restaurant has a lengthy wine list consisting of no fewer than 60 red and white Croatian wines, divided by region.
Villa Spiza. One of the best little restaurants in Split, Villa Spiza, lies in the heart of Split’s Old Town, near Diocletian’s Palace and the medieval part of the city. It’s a superb place to traditional Dalmatian-style home cooking, so if you’re someone who enjoys local food while traveling, this is a must-visited Split restaurant for you. Villa Spiza is absolutely tiny, though, and can accommodate only ten guests. So, you might have to wait a little. However, rest assured that the wait is 100% worth it. Once you’re at your table, you’ll be immersed in Dalmatian hospitality, indulging in the region’s best cuisine and, once again, one unforgettable travel experience richer!
Coffee And Cocktails In Split
4coffee Soul Food. 4coffee Soul Food is a specialty coffee shop that many view 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 also 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 comes with sea views and reasonable prices. Though the staff can sometimes be a bit frosty, it’s nice to sit on the beach for coffee.
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 the nightlife of Split at this comfortable bar serving a wide variety of spirits as well as 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.
Essential 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 are held in the city at Poljud Stadium, while 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 this fun festival. 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 right into the heart of Split. There are numerous bus stops all over Split located near shopping areas 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.
- 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. Trains departing from 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 vehicle within Split and in outlying areas.
- Private Transfers. They are much cheaper than you think. And they 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.