Why you should definitely go to Split, Croatia

Split Croatia Marajan HillHave you ever heard about Split? No. Not the verb!!

In fact, it is the 2nd largest city in Croatia after Zagreb, its population counting around 180 000 people.

To be honest, I simply loved the place! Believe it or not, I liked it the most from my Croatian trip.

I was not even  planning to stay in Split for a long time, only for 1 day. That would have been such a mistake, my dear Split, please forgive me for thinking so little of you! As the city knew exactly how to get on my good side, I ended up staying for 4!

Dear traveler reading my post, if you are going to Croatia soon or thinking about it as a possible option for your next vacation. Split is a great choice, you have to trust me on this one! Let me give you a few reasons  why this city is worth your attention :

why you should go to Split Croatia

  • Being a coastal Mediteranean city, the city springs great traditional culture as well while capturing modern influences as well.
  • Split was under the rule of many empires, including Roman and Austro-Hungarian. It inevitably reflected on their culture, architecture and mentality.
  • The Old city of Split is one of the oldest in the world, and it is really authentic!
  • Feel like exploring a bit? Beautiful islands like Hvar, Brac, as well as others, are in close proximity.
  • Games of thrones was captured there 😉 So for all you fans out there, you yourself can walk the streets of Meereen and Braavos!

All these, plus the fact that the city is less touristy than Dubrovnik (for now) makes it a great destination for your next vacation!

What to do in Split

1. The Old town

Split Old Town

Yes, I know, you will find this advice in many of my other posts. Visit old towns because they are really beautiful and bring he atmosphere, right?

Yes, but this one is THE Old town you need to visit, believe me! Everything is so greatly preserved and you literally have centuries intersect in one place.

The Old town of Split is a UNESCO world heritage and it is such a treasure! It became a UNESCO world heritage in 2014. And because of that, many works have been done around there. For instance, they have cleared the main temple with special lasers. And nowadays you will see it as white as it used to be thousands of years ago, wow!

In the old town, make sure to visit the Diocletian palace. It’s a marvelous landmark of the past, and within it’s walls people leave nowadays and keep shops. The Roman emperor made it so fancy that you could actually come into the palace by boat!

Don’t miss the cathedral of Saint Dominus. It has a truly impressive history! It is also the best well preserved temple in Europe! Entrance price for Cathedral, crypt, baptistery is here.

NOTE: Remember that the cathedral bell will ring at every sharp hour. So, if you don’t want to destroy your ears, try not to be going up the cathedral at that time (13 00, 14 00 etc.)

2. Go up the hill and see the fantastic view

Split Croatia view overlook belvedere2There is this fantastic overlook on the city where I stared in awe for some minutes. You have got to see it!

It is called Marajan Hill and here is how to get there: from the waterfront (Riva) take the steps up (ask for Marjanske skale). In maximum 10 minutes you will understand that you have found the spot which I am talking about, as it will take your breath away with its beauty! It will also make you forget about all the efforts that were needed to get there!

If you want to enjoy it a bit longer this hidden paradise, there is a nice coffee shop right on the top of the hill.

3. Take a Split walking tour

Free walking tour Split Croatia

If you want to take a tour of the Old town, go for this one – I strongly recommend it! My visit of Split would miss out on so much if I wouldn’t have taken this tour!

Our guide Danko was incredibly knowledgeable of everything that concerns Split and Croatia. He just did not stop giving us interesting (and fun) information for 2 hours straight!

I actually think I will take the tour again if (when!) I am back in Split! Just to refresh all those little fun details he told us about the city.

Now, if you are a Games of Thrones fan, it is time to take notes and pay close attention, as Danko will tell you all about the places in the series too! 😉

They start every day at 6 p.m. near the Gregory of Nin monument, your guide will be waiting for you with a blue umbrella. The price is 14 euros.

4. Go to the beach

Split Beach Croatia

Normally this could be the be number 1 activity across all the Mediterranean! Split is also famous for its great beaches!

Bacvice beach is quite good, it is also the closest to the city center. Check out Zvoncac, Ovcice and Firule that are easy to reach too!

What else?

I would be hiding out some priceless info, if I would not tell you about the islands!

Marvelous Croatian islands are so close to Split, that it is a crime not to go visit them for at least a day trip!

I did not have much time, but I really waned to see the paradise islands for at least a day, so here is  what I did:

A day trip to the islands from Split

There are many companies offering similar one day tours at the Split marina, but I chose Sugaman Blue cave and Hvar tour because they have a speed boat. 

It is a great solution for those who don’t want to waste time on the road. I prefer speed boats since the time I took a whale watching tour in Iceland and I understood all the advantages of getting one such boat.

During the day trip you will visit/do:

  • The green cave
  • blue cave
  • snorkeling on the beach
  • cliff jumping (if you want)
  • visit some beautiful cities including guided tour of Hvar town
  • Brac island
  • and Paklinski islands.

Does that sound like too much for 1 day?

You get to see many things in one day thanks to the speed boat. It definitely didn’t not seem too busy for me!

Paklinsky island

The town we visited is an atmospheric oasis. Its narrow old streets of cobblestone, hanging gardens, old staircases bring up the picturesque serenity of past ages. It has its invisible charm, and I was clicking my camera like crazy!

In Hvar, after your guided tour, you will have some time to roam freely. I recommend that you try to go up the hill, it has a remarkable overview over the whole island!

Hvar view to the city

The boat will take you back during the sunset time and you will come back to your hotel full of emotions!

Advantage of the tours:  the speed boat, they pick you up from your hotel,  the group is small (the greatest capacity of the boat is 10 people, we were only 5-6 people).

Disadvantages: the food is not included in the tour, but you will be suggested a restaurant to eat with a nice view. Of course, you are free to choose yourself or to take some food with you.

This tour is great for those who don’t have time for the full vacation on the islands, but still want to see it. (like me! 🙂 )

Sugaman Blue cave tour

You can buy your ticket online or just stop by their office. They are located right on the main promenade.

There are many places to stay in split. If you are searching for a place to stay, here is my suggestion:

Where to stay in Split

I stayed in a 4* hotel called Hotel Fanat. It is a pleasant and clean hotel located right in front of the sea. As I was very satisfied with my hotel and wanted to stay longer in Split in any way, I even prolonged my stay!

Hotel Fanat Croatia Split

The hotel is just 20 meters away from the sea, just cross the road and you are on the beach. In the evenings, you can pamper yourself in the sauna and the swimming pool which is free of charge for all the hotel’s guests. I took advantage of it every day!

Remember, however, that the hotel is located 3 km away from the city center. It is an enjoyable walk along the seaside if you don’t mind walking. Alternatively, you can take a bus or a taxi.

Hotel Fanat Split Croatia

Choose this hotel if you are seeking for tranquility and a high quality of a great hotel and do not mind taking a taxi/bus.

Book your stay with Hotel Fanat here!

Other recommendation for your hotel in Split:

I have combined other great hotels for you in different price categories, all of them have fabulous reviews and are  centrally located!

Luxury stay – (US$ 110 and up) Luxury Rooms Lucija and Luka is located in the heart of the Old City, the rooms feature oaken furniture as well as exposed stone walls, great design! If you are more into apartments, I recommend staying in Guest House Imperial with an amazing sea view patio, this fully equipped spacious apartment is tastefully decorated.

Middle price – (55$ – 110$) Guesthouse Villa Scalaria – pretty and neat rooms, contemporary design, this guesthouse is located steps away from the main attraction – Palace of Diocletian. If you prefer apartments, Apartment Onyx is an ideal choice – central, fully equipped, great decor and WiFi access.

Budget stay – (up to US$ 55) Tchaikovsky Hostel Split is an amazing hostel in the Old Town, great vibes and great prices (if you book in advance), I happen to stay there for one night too. If you are 2 people, a great budget choice would be Studio Apartment Nani Centar – clean, great reviews, fast internet, central location.

Transportation in Split

You can get to Split by train, I was very happy about that fact, as I visited Croatia as part of my Eurail trip.

During 30 days I was traveling around Europe by train and discovered 6 countries and countless cities. Read here if it was worth the money!

Alternatively, you can get there by bus. I recommend checking out Autotrans.  They go everywhere, do it on time and have affordable prices. And Wi-Fi on board! You get a 5% discount if you book it online (click to Offers and Discounts)!

But, if you can rent a car, that would be definitely the best choice as the coast is so beautiful! If you are renting for more than 7 days, you get a 35% discount with this link!

Inside the city there are buses that can take you almost anywhere. Alternatively, take a taxi, your driver will most probably speak at least some English.

 

What to try in Split

I’ve made a selection of Split’s specialties. I assure you they are Miss Tourist approved:

Lavanda Ice cream Croatia

  • Strukli –  composed of dough and various types of filling which can be either cooked or baked
  • All types of seafood – they are so close to the sea, it would be a sin not to try some of the fresh catch of the day!
  • Coffee – Croats are big coffee lovers, you will find all possible variety of coffees here. That can be easily explained by historical reasons: Croats were under the influence of Italy and Turkey for so long, it became their own tradition too!
  • Lavender ice cream – caution here, this one really depends of your tastes! It has a specific taste (you either hate it either love it)! I was in the first group, but I am glad I tried it just for the sake of the experiment.

What are Croats like?

Before visiting Croatia by myself, I though of Croats as a nation similar to Russians (because we share the same language group). By that I mean a bit close minded and gloomy (no offense to my home country, but we don’t really share emotions in public).

I could not have been more wrong! They are exactly the opposite!

As the weather is great, the sea is so close, they are more like Italians – sunny and open people, who know how to enjoy their lives.

They even have their own siesta time, like in Spain. And Italy. And South of France. And Greece :).

Oh, and one word about a special sport from Split…

Do you want to become a world champion in some sport? Try Picigin!

It is a unique (basically self-proclaimed 🙂 ) sport invented in Split. Everyone is invited to participate!

Here is how to play it:

You have to stand in the water, about 1/2 meter deep, and your task is to prevent the ball from falling it into the water by passing it to other players.

The point of the game is to pass the ball in the most artistic way possible. There are referees who will give you points according to your performance, no joke! It is truly a creative and spectacular process!

You will definitely see some people playing Picigin on the beach. Here is a video to make you have an idea:

Disclaimer: Sugarman tour, Split walking tour and Hotel Fanat have invited me to participate in their activities while I visited Split. My opinions will always stay my own.

UPD: If you are not enough with the Dalmatian coast, go to crystal clear Adriatic sea in Istria (a region in Croatia). Here is my guide to help you get the most of it!


 

Read more about Croatia:

8 reasons Istria region in Croatia should be your next vacation

Pula, Croatia – the jewel of the Istrian coast!

8 things you should know about Plitvice lakes, Croatia

 

Thanks for reading this post! Please share it if you liked it! Nothing makes me happier! 🙂

Have you been to Split? What do you think about this coastal Croatian city?

Yulia

By | 2017-07-15T18:21:54+00:00 November 19th, 2015|Croatia, Europe|29 Comments

About the Author:

Yulia is originally Russian but truly is a world citizen in heart. She was traveling around the world for over 4 years now. Her blog MissTourist.com is created with the purpose to inspire people to travel more and to share her advice of how to travel "smart".

29 Comments

  1. alaindici 25.11.2015 at 13:33 - Reply

    One more city to write down on my wish-list of cities i have ti visit. Thank you.

    • Yulia 25.11.2015 at 17:01 - Reply

      Do it as soon as possible, it is becoming more and more touristy each year! 😉

  2. Mario 25.11.2015 at 23:01 - Reply

    Yulia thanks for great review of my Split.
    There is only one thing that needs to be cleared. In Split we don’t have siesta, that’s reserved for lazy people. We have Fjaka.
    Fjaka is psycho-physical state where you are gravitating to NOTHING. Its commonly mistaken by laziness. Unlike laziness Fjaka is greater state of body and mind that all humans trying to achieve. While in India and other places Fjaka is achieved by long term meditation and starving in Split its gift of God 🙂 Cheers

    • Yulia 27.11.2015 at 17:44 - Reply

      haha, hey Mario, thanks for clarifying the term for us! I was searching for the name of this “gift of God” you are talking about, but could not find the name, now it is clear, thanks! 😀

  3. Maria 27.11.2015 at 18:46 - Reply

    Dear Yulia,

    next time when in Croatia (Split) contact ec-air.eu and discover Split and islands from an entirely new perspective . Reach Hvar from Split in only 13 min. http://www.ec-air.eu

  4. Roman 29.11.2015 at 23:34 - Reply

    Yuliya, a vy krasavica. Redkoe sochetanie kogda devushka i krasivaya i umnaya. 🙂

    • Yulia 30.11.2015 at 08:51 - Reply

      Роман, спасибо огромное, мне очень приятно! 🙂

  5. Soumya Mukherji 01.12.2015 at 13:56 - Reply

    I didn’t try Lavender ice cream but did stop everyday at Luka Ice-cream parlour. Everyday after exploring the city on foot we would finish the day with a ice cream here. The generous scoops made the experience even more sweet 🙂

    • Yulia 01.12.2015 at 15:59 - Reply

      Good to know for the next time, thanks! You should definitely try that ice cream, it is very … particular! 🙂

  6. Aly 21.01.2016 at 13:39 - Reply

    You just got me so excited about going to Split! Thanks for the tips!

    • Yulia 21.01.2016 at 18:15 - Reply

      You are welcome Aly! Glad I could influence your decision to go visit this amazing city! 🙂

  7. Nada 26.05.2016 at 09:23 - Reply

    https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1qndj9qTXtlWjIwVEblLCB2oWz5Y – my tourist map – Split Croatia Dalmatia, best regards from Split

  8. Vendy 05.06.2016 at 01:52 - Reply

    Nice post about Split, but I will only correct one thing – Štrukli are not food from Split – it is a meal from Zagreb area

  9. Stella 04.08.2016 at 04:06 - Reply

    Hello dear, can you also recommend another daytrip like the one you had, but for a cheaper price? Or maybe different trips on different days. That would be very helpful.

    Love, Stella

    • Yulia 07.08.2016 at 22:29 - Reply

      Hi Stella!
      I think the price is more or less the same for the similar type of tour. You can do it by yourself, just double check about the ferry time and go discover. The only thing is, you definitely wont be able to visit the same much in one day!
      That was the main advantage for me for taking the tour!

  10. Kerry 01.09.2016 at 03:27 - Reply

    Love your post!! Great writing and an awesome guide for me as I plan my trip to Split. 🙂

    • Yulia 01.09.2016 at 17:12 - Reply

      Glad you liked it! Enjoy your holidays!

  11. Joshua Zeegers 19.12.2016 at 08:58 - Reply

    Thank you for the wonderful article. I am hoping to visit Split, Corfu, Lefkas and Athens this spring. And your article will be very helpful.

  12. T.Shivam 23.12.2016 at 16:37 - Reply

    How big is the problem of racism in Croatia?

    • Yulia 26.12.2016 at 23:14 - Reply

      I did not face any problems regarding racism

  13. max gargan 27.12.2016 at 22:14 - Reply

    hello yulia
    am thinking of visiting croatia for a week in may and wondered what area you preferred?.. split or pula

    • Yulia 30.12.2016 at 21:59 - Reply

      hard question, but my heart belongs to Istria, so Pula and around! 🙂

  14. Pero 28.12.2016 at 15:23 - Reply

    Split is my hometown and I agree with you, Yulia. Gone are the days when the Split was only a transit city for the islands. This city is today after Dubrovnik, a top Croatia’s destination, that deserves not a day or two, but a week. Thanks Yulia, for this article, I have added to my website.

  15. max gargan 03.02.2017 at 03:33 - Reply

    pula booked … thanks…. any itinerary suggestions welcome… like a bit of night life

  16. Sunshinegrl 14.05.2017 at 00:32 - Reply

    Great tips yulia.. one ques though- where did you take the first picture on top of the page? The one where you are overlooking the city of Split from a balcony like area?

    Thanks

    • Yulia 14.05.2017 at 14:33 - Reply

      it is described up in the post under #2 thing to do in the city and it is called Marajan Hill 🙂

  17. Dinka Gojun 12.07.2017 at 17:56 - Reply

    My father is from Split and I love how you described it!

  18. Franke 13.07.2017 at 21:08 - Reply

    I wanted to reach out and say thank you. By reading your post I actually booked a trip while visiting Rome to Split. I am here as I type. It is as beautiful and fun as you explained. I think the younger generation is more open and nice the older women are eeeegh not so nice. I came here alone as a women I felt safe and still enjoyed myself exploring walking sight seeing. Thanks again!

    • Yulia 15.07.2017 at 18:12 - Reply

      Hi Franke!
      Aww, that is so awesome you did it! This post wasnt a waste of time then!
      I was also traveling alone there and I felt the same way – absolutely safe!
      The city has so much to offer in terms of its heritage, beauty, food, the islands around – I am so happy you went and it was worth it!
      Safe travels for all the future trips! 🙂

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