9 Amazing Day Trips from Split, Croatia
Discover the best day trips from Split, Croatia. Check out charming towns, stunning islands, and beautiful scenery just a short drive away.
The city of Split is an absolute must-visit when planning any trip to Croatia. This charming town has an impressive Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, home to Dicoletian’s Palace, exciting bars and restaurants, and plenty of shops to explore.
Thanks to its location in the heart of the Dalmatian Coast, it’s the perfect place to base yourself to explore the region. From stunning islands just off the coast to gorgeous national parks and outdoor adventures, day trips from Split are straightforward and too spectacular to ignore.
You can easily plan day trips from Split using Croatian public transportation, hire your own car, or go on an organized tour. There really is something for everyone, so read on to see which options are best for you and your travel style.
Hvar is arguably Croatia’s most famous island. With gorgeous pebble beaches, fascinating history, and vibrant nightlife, this island is an absolute must-visit.
Hvar Town, the island’s biggest village, is known for its stunning Venitian architecture, fantastic seafood restaurants, charming cobblestone streets, and exciting bars and beach clubs.
You can quickly travel from Split to Hvar for a day of exploration and fun. A ferry runs directly from the mainland to the island, which takes about an hour. Just be mindful that ferries become increasingly limited from mid-September when the island begins to close up for the season.
Brač is another island off the coast of Split you cannot miss. Zlatni Rat beach is iconic; it changes shapes with the tide and is known as one of the most beautiful beaches in the country.
You can stay at this fantastic pebble beach all day, but there are many other reasons to explore Brač.
On a day trip from Split, you can squeeze in the Dragon Cave (Zmajeva Spilja), the Stina Winery, and the Blaca Monastery. But if you can stay for a few days, it’ll be easier to enjoy it all.
A ferry from Split to Brač departs daily and takes about an hour.
Vis is one of the most exceptional islands in Croatia. It is almost the exact opposite of Hvar. No loud backpacker bars, no cheap souvenir stalls, and no huge groups of tourists. In fact, Vis is where you should go if you want to chill out and relax because it is still a hidden gem.
The island is actually a former Yugoslav military base and was closed to foreigners until 1991. Its laidback vibes are what the Dalmatian islands used to feel like before they were discovered by international tourists.
Nowadays, come summer, the island comes to life. It is well known for sailing and being home to Stiniva Beach, which is where Mama Mia! Here We Go Again was filmed.
You can catch the ferry from Split to Vis. There are several daily departures during the summer, and the trip takes about two and a half hours. It is also possible to take a speed boat, but it costs a bit more.
The Blue Lagoon & The Blue Caves
The Blue Lagoon is a stunning bay just off the coast of Split. Also known as Krknjasi Bay, this crystal-clear, sheltered area is perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing.
There is a ferry that will bring you to the Blue Lagoon, but most people prefer to take a speedboat from Split. Seeing the lagoon from a boat is almost as magical as swimming in it, so this is a great option. You can negotiate prices with the boat captains at the marina on the mainland.
Like the lagoon, the Blue Cave is one of the most popular attractions for people visiting Croatia. This ocean cave is an absolute wonder of nature. The water is illuminated by a blue light when the sun shines through a hole in the ceiling and reflects off the water.
To visit the Blue Cave, you’ll have to book a tour. Speed boats will take you in and allow you to swim and snorkel.
The charming town of Trogir is only 30 km (18.6 miles) from Split and is perfect for a day trip. It’s home to some of the best-preserved Medieval architecture in Central Europe, and the entire town has UNESCO World Heritage status.
The winding, white stone streets may seem ancient, but the town has many boutiques, cozy cafés, and lively cocktail bars. National Geographic even named this the most beautiful island city in the world!
Spend a day getting lost in the maze of hidden alleyways and exploring the Kamerlengo Fortress. Take a walking tour of the city and learn all about the town’s history while snapping some amazing photos along the way.
Driving to Trogir is really easy if you have your own car. If not, fear not! You can hop on a bus to take you directly from Split to Trogir, which only takes 30 minutes.
If you want an authentic Croatian experience, plan a day trip to Sibenik. This peaceful little town is home to the majestic St. James Cathedral, yet another UNESCO World Heritage site.
While you’re here, spend the day wandering the cobblestone streets, taking in the breathtaking views from the city’s fortress, and meeting friendly locals.
You can drive from Split to Sibenik in about an hour. Or take a bus — they are cheap and reliable — but it takes an hour and a half.
Krka National Park is just 20 minutes north of Sibenik. It’s too much to combine both places as day trips from Split, but if you decide to stay longer in Sibenik, it’s a quick 30-minute bus ride between the two.
Otherwise, Krka National Park is an hour and a half away from Split. You can easily drive up in the morning, explore the park, and return to Split for dinner.
Several impressive cascades and beautiful pools are to be admired. Although you can no longer swim at the falls, they are still worth visiting.
Skradinski Buk is the main attraction, and for good reason. This waterfall is stunning and seriously photogenic. However, you can’t leave without seeing the Ozidana Pecina Cave as well.
You can also explore the variety of flora and fauna indigenous to the area. Over 200 species of birds call Krka home, making it one of the most exciting places for bird watchers!
If you’ve rented a car, it is easy to drive. There is also a bus that will take you from Split to Skradin, where you’ll catch a quick ferry to the national park.
Omiš is a fantastic little town where the Cetina River meets the Adriatic Sea.
In addition to the stunning views, it’s known for its access to the Cetina Canyon, an adrenaline junkies’ happy place where white water rafting, zip lining, and cliff jumping are at your fingertips.
From Split, it is a 30-minute drive south along the coast. There is a bus from Split to Omis that runs several times each day.
No trip to Croatia would be complete without a visit to Plitvice Lakes National Park.
This protected land is the country’s largest and oldest national park. It is home to a maze of waterfalls and over 15 interconnected lakes.
What makes this park so unique is the color of the water in the lakes. It ranges from crystal-clear turquoise to rich emerald, helping make Plitvice one of the most Instagramable places in Croatia.
This national park is also home to over 130 species of birds, more than 300 species of butterflies, and tons of furry mammals. The diverse population of animals, combined with its natural beauty, makes Plitvice well worth the trip.
Getting to Plitvice National Park is a bit of a commitment. It takes 2.5-3 hours to get there from Split by private car. There is also a bus, but it takes over five hours to get there — not great as a day trip.
It is also possible to visit Plitvice as part of an organized tour. Check with local tour operators around Split if this seems like the best option.
Another idea is to plan a trip on the way to Zagreb if you are heading north and want to break up the drive.
Map of Croatia
Split is located in central Croatia, along the Dalmatian Coast. You can easily access the islands in the Adriatic Sea, as well as some of the famous sights dotted throughout the country on a day trip.
Packing list essentials for Croatia
When you start planning your trip to Split, Croatia, you’ll want to pack the following items:
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Bathing suit
- Water shoes
- Battery pack to charge your phone
- A good book or podcast
- Travel purse with RFID blockers and a sturdy cross-body strap
Weather in Split and surrounding areas
Split and the surrounding area have a mild climate all year long.
However, the best time to visit is during shoulder season, which lasts from May to June and September to October. You can avoid the crowds and expect temperatures to fluctuate between 20-27℃ (68-80℉).
High season in Split, and all of Croatia, is July and August. This is when cruise ships dock in town, and many North American and European schools are out for extended holidays, giving people more time to travel. Temperatures peak between 30-32℃ (86-90℉), making it the hottest time of year.
Traveling during the winter is also a great idea if you don’t plan to visit the islands. While places like Hvar, Vis, and Brač have closed for the season, this is the quietest time of year for tourists and an excellent time to see the national parks without the crowds. Temperatures range between 14-18℃ (57-64℉), but November is the rainiest month of the year.
How to get to Split, Croatia
Thanks to its location in the center of the Dalmatian Coast, Split is easily accessible from many destinations in Croatia. It is home to an international airport and has daily flights to and from Zagreb and Dubrovnik.
The country’s public transportation system is also very reliable. There are several ways to get to Split from the capital, including buses and private transfers.
The same goes for the extremely popular starting point of Dubrovnik. Buses from Dubrovnik to Split take four and a half hours and are pretty friendly on your wallet.
Final thoughts on day trips from Split
Split is a great place to base yourself to explore as much of the country as possible. Thanks to its location along the Dalmatian coast, there are plenty of opportunities for amazing day trips to take in the culture, scenery, and outdoor adventures. The hardest part about planning this trip will be deciding where to go and how much to squeeze into your Croatian adventure!
Yes! Croatia is very safe. However, as in most places, you should keep your valuables either locked in a safe or with you. Stay vigilant and keep an eye on your belongings to avoid pickpocketers and bag snatchers.
Split has plenty to keep you entertained for whatever length of trip you are planning. However, 3-5 days is ideal, especially if you want to take a day trip or two.
Split is gorgeous year-round, but summers can be oppressively hot and crowded. Opt to travel April-June or September to October to beat the heat and the throngs of tourists.