Have you ever heard about Split? No, not the verb! 🙂 Split is the second largest city in Croatia after Zagreb, with a population of around 180,000 people.
To be honest, I simply loved my time in Split! Believe it or not, I liked it the best of everything I did during my Croatian trip. That is why I want to inspire you to go there with this list of top things to do in Split, Croatia!
When I first arrived, I thought one day in Split would be enough, but what a mistake that was! Split and the surroundings are so stunning and there are so many things to do that I kept extending my stay there. I ended up staying for 4 days!
In this article you will find out about the top 10 best things to do in Split, plus some unusual things to do in and around Split, as well as transportation and accommodation options!
Are you ready? Let’s go!
1. Visit The Old Town and Diocletian’s Palace
I know that you will find this advice in many of my other posts. I advise you to visit old towns because they are really beautiful and they genuinely capture the true atmosphere of a destination, right?
Yes, but Old Town Split is THE best Old Town you can visit and among THE best things to do in Split, believe me! Everything is so well preserved that you will literally have centuries of history intersecting right in front of your eyes.
The Old Town of Split is such a treasure! It became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014. I advise you to spend at least a couple of hours in Old Town in Split and make sure you explore it by foot. Some sites you must visit are: Marmont Street, Pjaca Square with beautiful marble tiles, the Fruit Square full of traditional markets and, of course, the outstanding Renaissance architecture!
1.1. Diocletian’s Palace
While you are in the Old Town, make sure to visit Diocletian’s Palace – this is one of the best things to do in Split!
It is a marvelous landmark of the past, built in the 4th century and it contains a military camp, the Golden Gate as well as the villa where the Roman emperor Diocletian retired. It is actually a gorgeous citadel and yes, some Game of Thrones scenes were filmed here!
While roaming the Old Town’s streets, make sure to go to Peristyle Square and Jupiter’s Temple.
1.2. Saint Domnius Cathedral
This is the oldest Catholic cathedral in the entire world!
Make sure you don’t miss visiting the Cathedral of Saint Domnius and its Bell Tower, dating from the 7th century! It has a truly impressive history and it is also the most well-preserved temple in Europe! Entrance price for the Cathedral, crypt, and baptistery is here.
If you want to have the best view of the city, climb up to the Bell Tower – it is a unique experience that you definitely won’t want to miss!
NOTE: Please note that the Cathedral has a bell in the bell tower that will ring on every hour sharp. So, if you don’t want to “destroy” your ears, try not to go up the Bell Tower during those times.
2. Go up Marjan Hill and see the fantastic view
Marjan Hill offers a fantastic view overlooking the city where I stared in awe for a few minutes. You have got to see it in order to realize how beautiful the Split peninsula in Croatia actually is from above!
Marjan Hill is located on the west side of the city and it is 170 meters tall. If you have some more time on hand, make sure to also visit the two churches situated on the hill (St. Nicholas and St. Jerome) and the Jewish Cemetery (located on the eastern part of Marjan Hill).
PRO TIP: If you want to enjoy this hidden paradise on top of Marjan Hill for a bit longer, there is a nice coffee shop (Vidilica café) right on top of the hill and it has the best coffee in Split, Croatia!
3. Take a Split walking tour
If you are short on time and you want to make the best out of your vacation, make sure to take an organized walk around the Old town – it’s among the best things to do in Split! I recommend you try this one – I truly loved it! My visit to Split would have been incomplete if I hadn’t taken this tour!
Our guide, Danko, was incredibly knowledgeable about everything that concerns Split and Croatia as well. He kept giving us interesting (and fun) information for 2 hours straight! We’ve also seen some unmissable attractions in town, for example Diocletian’s Palace. Now, if you are a Game of Thrones fan, you will have to take notes and pay close attention, as Danko will tell you all about the places that are shown in the series too! 😉
The excursion starts every day at 9:00 AM at the Golden Gate, right in front of Diocletian Palace. Your guide will be waiting for you with a blue umbrella. The prices start at 14€. You can check the updated schedule and pricing on their website here.
4. Take a walk on The Riva – Split’s Harbour
The Riva (official Croatian name is Obala Hrvatskog Narodnog Preporoda) is the port of Split and it is one of the best places for your evening walk, so you can admire the cute boats! The place is full of cute little cafés and bars, beautiful buildings and even palm trees and it is set right near Diocletian’s Palace!
I recommend you finish the evening with a good Croatian coffee, beer or wine, served on the waterfront. If you are lucky, you can also see a live, open-air music performance while you’re there!
5. Relax at one of the Split beaches
Normally, for me this would be the number 1 activity on my list across the entire Mediterranean!
Split is a very authentic city, but it is also famous for its great beaches! So in case you didn’t get to experience the beaches in any other Croatian city such as Dubrovnik, for example, then Split is a great place to do so.
Bačvice Beach is one of the best beaches in Split, Croatia, in my opinion – and it is the closest to the city center – only a 10 minute walk from the city’s ferry terminal and main bus station. The beach is not fancy, but it is a nice place where you can relax and enjoy some drinks – I recommend Žbirac bar for this!
6. Try some authentic Split food
Of course, no Croatian holiday would be complete without trying some of the country’s best culinary delights, right?
A traditional Croatian meal consists of grilled fish, other seafood and meat, but there are so many good restaurants in Split, Croatia that it will be very hard to choose between them! Yep, indulging in some delicious food is one of the most amazing things to do in Split!
In order to help you out, I’ve made a selection of must-try food in Split, Croatia. I assure you they are Miss Tourist approved:
- Strukli – this dish is made of dough with various types of filling which can be either cooked or baked;
- All types of seafood – Split is so close to the sea, it would be a sin not to try some of the fresh catches of the day! From all the fish dishes out there, you have to try gregada! This is a fish stew with potatoes, olive oil, and fresh herbs and it is a local specialty. The best Split restaurant to serve it is Konoba Hvaranin!
- Coffee – Croats are big coffee lovers, so you will find all the existing varieties of coffee here. This can be easily explained by historical facts: Croatia was under the influence of Italy and Turkey for so long, it became their own tradition, too!
- Lavender ice cream – I don’t know if you will like it, as it really depends on your taste because lavender ice-cream has a very specific taste that you either hate or love! I was in the first group, but I am glad I got to try it in Croatia just for the sake of experimenting with something new.
Some of Split’s best restaurants are: Mazzgoon, Bokeria, Zinfandel, Appetit, Konoba Hvaranin and the list could go on forever. If you are looking for the best breakfast in Split, Croatia I would recommend Brasserie no. 7 and Crème de la Crème (both of them super close to Diocletian’s Palace!).
PRO TIP: If you want something to eat at night and everything is closed, you should know there are 2 bakeries open 24/7 right near the market in the main square – one of them is called Bobis.
7. When in Croatia, do what Croats do – play picigin!
Do you want to become a world champion in some sport? Try Picigin!
Picigin is a unique, self-proclaimed Croatian sport invented in Split and everyone is invited to participate – that is why you must add it to your Split to-do list!
Here is how to play: You stand in the water, about 1/2 meter deep, and your main job is to prevent a small ball from falling into the water by passing it to the other players. The point of the game is actually to pass the ball in the most artistic way possible!
Here is a video of people playing and an explanation so you can have an idea of what it’s all about:
There are referees who will give you points according to your performance, so Croatians take this game very seriously!
8. Visit the Meštrović Gallery and admire Croatian sculptures
Grgur Ninski is an iconic statue in Split created by the most famous Croatian sculptor, Ivan Meštrović, and is located very close to Diocletian’s Palace. The sculptor spent a big part of his life in Split, and the Meštrović Gallery in the Old Town is a well-known gallery where you can see his works and learn more about his life and career. This is one of the most popular things to do in Split if you’re an art lover!
TIP: Other than Grgur Ninski statue, make sure to also admire the sculptures in the museum’s garden, which were also created by the same awesome artist!
If you are an art lover, the Jaman Gallery in the Old Town is well worth a visit as well! This is a Pop Art gallery with many colorful paintings by a local painter called Danijel Jaman. There you will even find a cute little shop where you can buy art-inspired souvenirs!
9. Enjoy some wine tasting
Make sure you don’t leave the city without indulging in some of its delicious wine – it’s one of the best things to do in Split in my opinion!
Do you know what Croatia is known for? It’s wine! If you want to have an authentic wine tasting experience during your Split vacation, you can go to Putalj Winery, located only 20 minutes away from the city of Split. This winery can organize a wine tasting with transportation included from your hotel, but you have to make sure to book it in advance! The cost is 80€/person and you can find more details on their site here.
In case you are short on time and you can’t fit a winery visit in your schedule, don’t worry! You can also taste the best Croatian wine in Split as well, as there are many great wine bars around the city. Zinfandel Wine Bar in the Old Town is a great place to try some Croatian national wine!
In case you’re a foodie interested in organized tours, another great idea would be to book a winery and food tasting experience in Split! The latter will show you the highlights of Dalmatian cuisine and you will also get to learn more about Croatia’s top wines and you’ll visit Diocletian’s Palace and Grgur Ninski statue as well!
10. Visit some great museums
If you’re an art lover, you will find that Split won’t disappoint you! The city has many great museums with various types of exhibits, so if you’re a culture lover, this is one of the top things to do in Split!
Split doesn’t have very popular museums, but the ones that are scattered around the city are very nice if you have some free time on your hands:
- Split Archaeological Museum – this is actually the oldest museum in Croatia! Here you can find Medieval art as well as Roman and Early Christian art that will give you a better idea of the area’s history. The admission fee is 5.20€/person (40 kn) for adults and 2.60€/person (20kn) for students, children, and seniors.
- Split Live Museum – Do you want to see how the old Romans lived in Split back in the day? This museum is the perfect cultural place to find out! Plus, the museum isn’t called “Live Museum” for nothing! There are even small performances given by actors there, so this won’t be your usual boring museum experience! No entrance fee.
BONUS: Unusual things to do in Split, Croatia
If you have more time during your Split vacation and you want to find and explore some of the most exciting, off-the-beaten-path places and things to see in Split, here are my suggestions:
1. Try some sea kayaking
If you’re an active traveler, you should take your Split vacation to the next level by trying sea kayaking!
There are two types of kayaking tours you can choose from:
- a morning option if you are an early bird or
- a sunset option if you want to enjoy the sea during the most beautiful time of the day!
Regardless of which one you choose, the kayaking area is near Marjan Hill, which is indeed the perfect place to explore Split’s coastline.
Price: Each tour is 39€ per person.
2. Relax during a sunset sailing tour
How does a day of sailing around the Adriatic Sea sound to you? I think it could be the most relaxing tour you can take during your Split vacation!
If you’re a fan of sailing, then sailing on a beautiful yacht has to be the perfect idea for you! The sailing trip will show you the Split Riviera in an unforgettable way, with live music, food and lots of fun!
PRICE: 70€/person for the 5-hour trip and 48€/person for the 2-hour sunset one
3. Zip-line over Cetina Canyon
Zip-lining might just be the most extreme and unusual thing you can do in Split!
Cetina River Canyon in Omis is only 20-km away from Split and it’s the perfect place to try zip-lining! If you don’t know what it is, zip-lining is racing down an inclined stainless steel cable while you are attached to a moving pulley!
Here is a video so you can properly understand what zip-lining over Cetina Canyon is like:
3. Zip-line over Cetina Canyon
You will be hanging 150 meters above the canyon and the view is truly amazing! While you’re there, you can choose from different zip lines that have different lengths and heights. If you’re looking for tours, this organized one includes a transfer from Split, so you don’t have to worry about anything! Just make sure to bring some food and snacks with you.
BONUS 2: 4 day trips from Split, Croatia
There are many tiny gorgeous islands around Split, as well as beautiful national parks, ancient fortresses, and many other cool things that can easily be visited during a day trip from Split!
Here are my 4 top day trips from Split:
I would be hiding some priceless info from you if I didn’t tell you about the islands around Split!
There are some marvelous Croatian islands located around Split, so close that it is a crime not to visit them at least for a day trip! This would be one of the best places to go if you have more time on hand!
I, unfortunately, did not have much time on my hands, but I really wanted to see these paradise islands for at least a day so I took a one-day tour to the Split Marina.
During the day trip you will visit/do:
- the Green Cave
- the Blue Cave
- snorkeling on the beach
- cliff jumping (only if you want to)
- visit some beautiful cities, including a guided visit of Hvar town
- see Biševo, Vis, Ravnik and Budikovac – the 5 most beautiful island of Croatia
Does that sound like too much for 1 day? You will get to see many things in only one day as the excursion lasts 12 hours, so you will have time to fit it all in. It definitely did not seem rushed to me!
This tour is great for those who don’t have time for a full vacation on the Croatian islands, but still want to visit them – just like me! 🙂
P.S. I also loved this new type of snorkeling mask – it’s so much more comfortable. If you want to buy your own mask to play around with during your Croatia trip, check its price on Amazon here!
2. Klis Fortress
Klis is an ancient fortress full of amazing landscapes and history and is also a famous battlefield where the Mongols, Ottomans and many others fought for power centuries ago.
Klis Fortress is the perfect place to go if you want to teleport yourself to Meereen – a famous Game of Thrones city!
Yes, it’s true! Klis Fortress is so beautiful that the producers of Game of Thrones have chosen this magical place to depict Meereen, one of the famous cities liberated by Khaleesi.
Klis Fortress also offers a superb panoramic view of the Dalmatian Coast, so it’s one of the best things to add to your itinerary!
You can get to Klis Fortress by yourself if you decide to rent a car in Split, Croatia or you can take a Game of Thrones excursion. This popular day trip from Split will show you famous Game of Thrones locations such as Diocletian’s Palace and Žrnovnica and you will finish the tour with a torchlight dinner at Klis Fortress!
Price of the tour: 130€
If you would prefer Salona, Klis Fortress and Trogir, you can book this popular 11-hour excursion instead.
Just like Split, Trogir is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Croatia but with a great medieval vibe! Trogir is a small city-island an hour away by ferry from Split and half an hour away by car. The city is full of Gothic and Romanesque architecture dating from the 15th century and is lined with many small, charming streets. You can see the entire city in just a couple of hours or half a day if you have some more time available.
If you don’t have a lot of time but you still want to experience the best things to do in Trogir, Croatia, you can look for organized tours! For example this quick 5-hour excursion in both Split and Trogir! This way you will get to visit both of these authentic cities. But if you would like to make the most of your Trogir visit as well, I recommend you take this 1.5 hour city tour.
4. Krka National Park
Krka National Park is a popular national park in Croatia located only 1 hour away from Split. During my Croatian trip I went to Plitvice Lakes and I absolutely loved it there! Unfortunately, I didn’t get to visit Krka National Park as well (and I really want to go back just for it!), but I know that you can see Skradinski Buk (a natural pool) and many gorgeous waterfalls there!
The coolest part? Unlike in Plitvice, where swimming is strictly forbidden, you can actually swim in Krka National Park (not directly under the waterfalls though, but close to it).
If you would like to go have an organized visit of Krka National Park, I suggest this 9-hour Krka Waterfalls and Wine tour from Split where you will get to swim under the waterfalls and then taste some delicious wines at a winery in Šibenik City!
Practical Information for your visit to Split
Where to stay in Split, Croatia
There are many great places to stay in Split and I wrote about them in my article about the Best Hotels in Split, Croatia – Accommodation Recommendations.
MY EXPERIENCE: I stayed in a 4-star hotel called Hotel Fanat. This is a pleasant and clean hotel situated right in front of the sea. As I was very satisfied with my hotel and wanted to stay longer in the beautiful city of Split, I extended my stay there!
The hotel is just 20 meters away from the sea – you just need to cross the road and you have arrived on a Split beach. In the evenings, you can pamper yourself in the sauna and the swimming pool which can be used by the hotel’s guests free of charge. I took advantage of it every day!
Remember, however, that the hotel is built 3 km away from the city center, which makes it an enjoyable stroll along the seaside if you don’t mind walking. Alternatively, you can take a bus or a taxi.
This hotel is the perfect option if you are seeking tranquility and high quality services!
Other great hotels in Split
LUXURY (100€ and up):
Luxury Rooms Lucija and Luka – if you are looking for one of the top luxury hotels in Split, Croatia, you should know that this accommodation is located in the heart of the Old City! The rooms feature oak furniture as well as exposed stone walls, which I think is a great design choice. If you are more into apartments, I recommend staying in Guest House Imperial – this accommodation has an amazing sea view patio and it is fully equipped, spacious and tastefully decorated.
MID-RANGE (50€ – 100€):
Guesthouse Villa Scalaria has pretty and neat rooms with a contemporary design. This guesthouse is perfect if you are looking for hotels in Split Old Town, as it is very close to the main attraction of the city – Diocletian’s Palace, as well as Grgur Ninski statue! If you prefer apartments instead, Apartment Onyx is an ideal choice – centrally located, fully equipped, with great decor and Wi-Fi access!
BUDGET (up to 50€):
Tchaikovsky Hostel Split is among the best hostels in Split, Croatia, located in the Old Town, with great vibes and great prices if you book in advance. I stayed here for 1 night, too! If you are a couple or 2 friends, a great budget choice would be Studio Apartment Nani Centar – clean, with great reviews, fast internet, and a great, central location!
How to get from Split Airport to Split Old Town
Split Airport (SPU) is located around 24 km away from Split and there are different ways to get to and from there:
From the airport, you can take any bus from the two bus stations located outside the airport. All of the buses departing from there will take you to the city center. The price for a one-way ticket is around 4€ (30 kn).
Alternatively, you can take bus 37 (this bus goes to Split and then Trogir) that departs from the main road in front of the airport. The bus will take you to “Sukoisan” bus station in 50 minutes. The price for the ticket is 2.30€ (17 kn) and you can buy it from the driver. You can check the timetable here.
You can get from the airport to the city using Uber as well. The price is around 30-35€ (220-250 kn). A better option would be to take Taxi Cammeo, which has lower rates than Uber in Split. They have a fixed price of 25€ (190 kn) to and from the airport to the city center.
3) Private transfer
If you prefer, you can pre-book your private airport transfer using this site. The driver will wait for you at the airport and will take you to your desired address. The price is 34€ for up to 3 people and 45€ for up to 8 people (divided between the number of people in the car).
Disclaimer: Sugarman tour, walking tour Split and Hotel Fanat had invited me to participate in their activities while I visited Split, Croatia. My opinions will always remain my own.
Thanks for reading this post!
I absolutely loved my time in Split – I even had to extend my trip there because I enjoyed it so much and I would travel back there in a heartbeat!
In this article we covered the top 10 best things to do in Split, Croatia as well as some unusual Split things to do and, finally, some day trip ideas outside of Split if you have more time!
By the way, if you need more inspiration for your Croatia vacation, here you can find all my articles about Croatia.
Have you been to Split? What do you think about this coastal Croatian city?
If you have any other questions, be it about sightseeing in this town or the Dalmatian coast in Croatia in general, I am always happy to answer, just drop your comment down below! 🙂
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