The city of Split is a popular destination when visiting Croatia, and for good reasons too! The beautiful city is filled with museums of ancient history and art dating back to the Roman Empire, nature attractions, and a bustling waterfront. The city of Split is such a hidden gem that it was used as the filming location of a popular television series, Game Of Thrones! If you are a big fan of the show, you can trace the real-life Game Of Thrones filming locations and see it for yourself.
Below, we'll tell you everything you need to know to enjoy a few days in Split, Croatia.
Best Time To Visit Split, Croatia
Split is packed during the summer months - as is much of Europe, to be honest. During July and August, both European and overseas schools are on break, and tourism is heavy. Costs go up for room and board, and every attraction you go to will be busy. It's also rather hot - temperatures reach above 85 degrees Fahrenheit during these peak tourism months!
For a calmer vacation and cooler temperatures, the best time to visit Split is during the "shoulder season." These are the months directly next to the busy months - so May and September. The weather is still pleasantly warm, but there will be fewer crowds, and prices will drop back down.
Split during the winter, however, isn't freezing cold. Temperatures tend to hover between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit, so it's nothing a jacket or coat can't handle. The town calms down and shows off more of its local flavor. The main tourist sites will remain open, although many beachside localities close.
This location should top the list of every person coming to Split. It dates back to the year 350 AD. Rather than being one single palace building, this UNESCO World Heritage Site spreads out all across the Old Town. Over 200 buildings make up the Diocletian's Palace complex, many of which are used now as restaurants and shops. The Split city museum is housed inside the Palace as well. Diocletian's Palace was intended by the Roman emperor Diocletian to be a summer villa/military camp hybrid, and he spared no expense in making it. The Roman Palace even includes an actual Egyptian sphinx! While you can absolutely explore Diocletian's Palace on your own as you take in Old Town, the best way to learn the history of the place is by going on a guided walking tour.
Ivan Mestrovic Gallery
You might never have heard of Ivan Mestrovic, but this 20th-century sculptor is Croatia's most famous artist. He didn't live in Split for very long, but he built a mansion while he was there. This mansion has been converted into the Ivan Mestrovic Gallery. The mansion is a work of architectural art, but it's filled with many Mestrovic sculptures, drawings, and paintings.
Krka National Park
Split, Croatia, is filled with historical sites, but natural beauty is not lacking either! The Krka National Park is a short day trip away from Split and boasts seven waterfalls! The most popular one is the Skradinski Buk Falls. Until recently, you could swim in the turquoise pool that the falls tumble down into, but this has been closed to preserve the wildlife. There are many other swimming locations throughout the park, however! Another Krka waterfall to visit is the Roski Slap, which is actually TWELVE waterfalls in succession!
Bell Tower of St. Domnius Cathedral
The bell tower is the city's main symbol, and it was constructed and dedicated to Saint Domnius. At 187 feet tall, you can get an incredible view from the top of the Diocletian's Palace, the Adriatic and Split City streets. An entrance fee is required.
Cathedral of Saint Domnius
The Cathedral of Saint Domnius is the oldest Catholic cathedral in the entire world. The main part of the cathedral was built for that previously mentioned emperor, Diocletian, as his mausoleum, but in the 13th century, it was built into a grand cathedral. The bell tower offers an incredible view from the top, and you can scale it for a couple of bucks.
Croatian Maritime Museum
Croatia, and the city Split, in particular, has a long marine history. From galley ships to cruise liners, you can learn all about Croatia and its role in the nautical world in this museum.
To get away from the streets and buildings of Split, head to Marjan Hill. It's part of a larger Marjan Forest Park - a stretch of pine forest with walking trails weaving in and out. When you get to the top of Marjan Hill, you'll be rewarded with a spectacular, unobstructed view of the entire city and the eastern Adriatic coast. Even if you don't make up the entire 584-foot hill, you'll be happy to hike up halfway. There, you'll find a small cafe with a view. An old Jewish cemetery is also located on Marjan Hill.
Statue of Bishop Gregory of Nin
Okay, this is a weird one, but hear us out. The Croatian sculptor, Ivan Mestrovic, sculpted an incredibly large statue of St. Gregory of Nin, who opposed Rome and has since been hailed as a protector of Croatia. There are statues of him everywhere, but the one in Split is among the largest. Find it in Split Old Town, and then... rub his toe. Yep. It's a Croatian custom for good luck!
Fortress of Klis
While not exactly in Split, Croatia, the Klis Fortress is only 8 miles away and makes for a perfect half-day trip. This castle has a fascinating and dappled history, starting in the 2nd century BC, and the remaining ruins were constructed during the Medieval era.
Plitvice Lakes National Park
Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of the largest and oldest national parks in the Republic of Croatia, covering almost 30,000 hectares. It was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list because of its outstanding and picturesque series of tufa lakes, caves, and waterfalls.
Visit The Blue Cave
Located on Biševo island in the Adriatic Sea, Blue Cave offers one of the unique natural phenomena in the world. Be dazzled by the wonderful colors and essence of Blue Cave. To get to the Blue Cave, you must take a specialized boat and book an organized tour with a company.
Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments
If you are a history buff, you will love the Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments. This museum is one of the oldest museums in Croatia. With over 20,000 artificial, this museum is a great place to immerse yourself in the country by learning about the rich history of Croatians.
If sauntering and people-watching spell "relaxation" to you, then you need a stroll along the Riva. This promenade follows the length of this coastal city, with views of the Adriatic Sea on one side and boutique storefronts and local restaurants on the other.
Park Šuma Marjan
If you are looking for a beautiful trail for an adventurous hike, then you must check out Park Suma Marjan. Located to the west of the old city above where the narrow medieval streets end, there are steps leading you up to the park. There are nine trails available for birding and hiking. Be sure to grab a map and find the best trail for you.
Things To Do
Stand Up Paddleboarding
Split, Croatia, offers a unique water activity - nighttime stand-up paddleboarding! This tour starts at sunset, and oh! what a view! As the sun sets, your paddleboards light up with LED lights. Your guide will take you around the coastline of Split. The city street looks magical at night as it is lit up with twinkling lights. It's a fantastic way to explore Split!
If you drive a short 30 minutes out of Split's city centre, you'll come to one of the best ziplining locations in the world. Many of the ziplining tours will even pick you up at your hotel! Then, you can go ziplining through the trees of Kozjak Mountain.
If you are a wine lover, you must visit a few wineries and enjoy wine tasting while you are in Split. Croatia has the perfect climate for grape vineyards to thrive, and so by extension, it makes some incredible wines! You can enjoy Plavac Mali, Posip, and Grk wines in the wine bars located throughout Split. The Zinfandel Wine Bar is a particularly great spot for Croatian wine tasting, with live music and homemade pasta to accompany your glasses.
Split is a coastal city, but it's known more for its history than its beaches, and the Split harbor mostly takes up its coasts. Still, when you're hot, you're hot - so here's where to go to cool off.
Bacvice Beach - Bacvice Beach is located closest to Split Old Town. The sand is soft, and the water is shallow. The locals play a game called Picigin there, and Split hosts the Picigin World Cup here every year!
Kasjuni Beach - Further down the Marjan Peninsula is the Kasjuni Beach. It has beautiful turquoise waters, and there are a few beach clubs there where you can order a drink.
Go On A Boat Trip
While you are in Split, you need to island hop to see all the beautiful surrounding islands. While you can take an island hopping cruise, there are many boat and cruise trips available that can be done in one day.
Visit Green Market
Locally known as Pazar, Green Market is a popular outdoor farmers' market that sells fruits, vegetables, and a large selection of cheese and meat. You can find the market by the east wall of the UNESCO-listed World Heritage site of the Diocletian's Palace. It opens every day from 6:30 am to late in the evening.
Split has a vibrant nightlife. Whether you are looking for a relaxed after-dinner alfresco drink, pub crawl, or dancing in a nightclub until the early hours, everyone has options.
Go On A Game Of Throne Tour
If you are a GOT fan, then you just may want to go on a Game Of Throne tour. The tour will show you the film spots so you can experience and see all the beautiful locations for yourself.
Where To Stay In Split
Split is a large, modern city, and so there are many places where you can stay during your trip. Many hotels in and around the Old Town are refurbished historical buildings, and they have a ritzy, antique grandeur that can't be matched. By staying close to or in Old Town, you have plenty of trendy boutiques, chic shops, restaurants, cafes, and bar options available. You are also closer to everything you need and can be reached on foot.
Nearer to the coast are modern resort suites. Designed to have everything you need without having to go anywhere. However, you will need to use a tax or other transportation if you want to leave the resort area.
Where Is Split Located
Split is the second largest city in Croatia, after the capital of Zagreb. It's on a small peninsula, with the Adriatic Sea surrounding it and the Mosor Mountains bordering where it joins the rest of Croatia. It's a major transportation hub and is considered to be the gateway to Croatia's Dalmatian coast and the nearby islands of Hvar, Brac, and Korcula.
How To Get To Split, Croatia
Split, Croatia, is very easy to reach - by air, rail, or road.
The Split airport is the second-busiest in Croatia and is well-connected to other European connections. If you're flying from outside the country, you will likely need to stop in a major European city and then take a plane to Split airport. Once you arrive at Resnik Airport, the #37 bus will take you to the city center - or you can grab a taxi!
If you're already in Croatia, you can ride a train from Zagreb to Split (6-hour ride) or a bus from Dubrovnik to Split (4.5-hour ride). Ferry lines also connect Split to Dubrovnik, as well as to other Croatian islands.
Transportation Within Split
It's somewhat difficult to explore Split by car, particularly Old Town Split. The old city grew up before automobile transportation was even an idea, so paid parking spots are limited. It's best to explore the city's center on foot or by bike. When heading out of Old Town, hail a taxi, bolt, or an Uber.
We recommend renting a car for a day or two to visit surrounding cities or national parks if your budget allows it. However, keep in mind the streets in Splits are narrow, and parking can be an issue.
Reserve Ferry Tickets Ahead
If you are visiting Split during peak season, it's best to make a ferry reservation ahead of time. There are limited spots per ferry, and tickets can sell out. Otherwise, you can purchase the ferry ticket at the ferry terminal.
Bring Water Shoes
Most beaches around Split can be very rocky, and it may be different from the smooth sandy beach you are used to. Be prepared and bring yourself a pair of water shoes.
Exchange Your Money Before Heading To The Islands
You will get a much better deal if you exchange money in Split before heading to any islands. Money exchange is available on the islands, but limited exchange places are available, and you will not get a better deal than in Split.
Have Kunas On Hand
Many small shops and farmers' markets are cash-only. Therefore, it's handy to have some Kunas on hand.