Split is a great spot to spend a few days in Croatia if you plan to travel the gorgeous coastline. In addition, it is the hub for many Croatian ferries, making it a great base if you’d like to explore the Dalmatian islands like Hvar, Korčula, and Brač. But don’t be fooled. Just because it isn’t an island doesn’t mean the Split beaches aren’t some of the best in the area.
Split is also the perfect place to base yourself if you like to wander cities with interesting history and a few modern touches. It’s Croatia’s second-largest city and is home to ancient ruins that date all the way back to the 4th century. Some trendy restaurants and hip bars make this a true blend of old and new.
When you’re ready to delve into Croatia’s interesting culture, Split is an absolute must. Here is how you can spend a few days in this dreamy Dalmatian city.
Day 1: Explore Split
Once you arrive, you’ll need to dedicate some time to explore the Old City. The number one thing to do is explore Diocletian’s Palace. This historical landmark is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was the former villa and military camp of the Roman emperor who bore the same name.
This complex was built around the turn of the fourth century and is incredibly well preserved. There is nothing like it in all of Europe. The best way to see the palace is to wander the inner streets on your own and marvel at the incredible architecture. Or you can take a guided walking tour to learn all about its history.
Pro tip: If you are there in the summer, hang around the peristyle of Diocletian’s Palace around noon. You’ll be able to catch a Changing of the Guards ceremony, a reenactment of Emperor Diocletian and six of his guards welcoming people to Split. It is definitely a production you don’t want to miss!
Strolling along the Riva is a great way to spend an hour if you are in the mood to people-watch or simply relax. The promenade is located at the harbor, right up against the Adriatic. It is dotted with coffee shops, ice cream stands, and cocktail stalls. What more could you need?
While Split’s nightlife isn’t wild, there are a few cool spots to check out. Bar Sanctuary or Charlie’s are great places to pop in for a drink if you want to keep the night going!
One thing you cannot leave without doing is rubbing Grgur Ninski’s big toe. This is definitely one of the unusual things you can do in Split. But it is said that this giant statue will bring you good luck. Pass by the entrance to the Golden Gate of Diocletian’s palace before getting your share of the luck.
Day 2: Split day trip!
If you’re looking for the perfect Split day trip, Krka waterfalls are impressive. They are located about an hour away, and there is beautiful scenery all around this national park. The most impressive waterfall in the park is Stradinski Buk, standing at 45 meters tall.
The most charming day trip you can take has to be Trogir. Located a short ferry ride away, this medieval town has remained mostly unchanged since the 1200s.
Trogir is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Yes, the entire town! That is because the gothic architecture is exceptionally well preserved, and you feel like you’ve stepped back in time when you’re wandering the labyrinth of streets.
The city itself is surrounded by a wall built around the 15th century. Take a walk around the walls and up the turrets because you’ll be treated to some gorgeous views. Inside the city, there are some lovely restaurants, cafes, and shops. This makes Trogir the perfect place for a leisurely day of wandering.
Day 3: Back in nature, near the city
You can’t leave Split without checking out some of the stunning views and hidden gems the city has to offer.
Hiking Marjan Hill should absolutely be on your list of things to do because it will tick both of those boxes for you.
Marjan Hill is a 170-meter hill located just outside of the old city. If you want to walk up to the viewpoint, type in Prva Vidilica Na Marjanu into Google Maps. This will make it much easier to find because the entrance is tucked behind a few restaurants, nestled in some cypress trees.
Once you start walking along the path, you’ll find a hidden Jewish cemetery on the eastern side of the hill. Additionally, you’ll come across two churches. St. Nicholas dates back to the 1200s and St. Jerome from the 1400s. Both are worth a peek.
After working up a sweat and taking in some amazing views, why not head to the beach? Some of the best beaches in Split are sandy and fairly close to the city center! Bacvice has great amenities like a restaurant, sun loungers, and umbrellas you can rent, but it is more crowded. The locals crown Kasjuni beach as the best beach in Split. It’s a bit more rustic but just as lovely as the others. Head here if you want to avoid lots of other people and want to relax.
Another option you have is to head to Klis Fortress, about 10 km northeast of Split. If you are a fan of Game of Thrones, this is the famous filming location for Meereen.
Honestly, even if you aren’t into Game of Thrones, this fortress is a sight to behold. The structure itself is balanced on a bluff over the Adriatic Sea, and the views are incredible.
Klis Fortress is a great place to come to capture some panoramic views of both Split and the Dalmatian coast, so if you are looking to snap some impressive photos, this is the spot.
Getting to Split
Now that you’ve added Split to the top of your Croatian bucket list, you may be wondering the best way to get there.
There are a few well-worn tourist routes that make traveling a breeze. Check out a few great options below.
How to get from Hvar to Split
The only way to get to Split from the island is by ferry. Hvar to Split ferry prices are extremely reasonable, starting at just $7 each way. The journey takes less than an hour and is relatively comfortable.
How to get from Dubrovnik to Split
One of the best options is to take the bus. It takes about four and a half hours and will set you back approximately $25 per person. The nice thing about taking the bus from Dubrovnik to Split is it hugs the Dalmatian coastline. So, you’ll be treated to some impressive views as you roll through the Croatian countryside.
It is also possible to take a ferry from Dubrovnik to Split, depending on the time of year you are traveling. The Krilo ferry to Split is the cheapest option, starting at $15, but the journey will take almost six hours. This is a good choice, though, if you prefer to stretch your legs while traveling or if you want to enjoy the Adriatic Sea during the trip.
How to get from Korčula to Split
The best way to travel from this island is to take the catamaran from Korčula to Split. The ride takes just over two hours and costs as little as $6 each way.
No matter how you choose to spend your time in Split, you are bound to have an enjoyable few days. There is so much to see and do you could easily spend weeks here and feel like you haven’t even scratched the surface, so make sure you plan your next trip back as soon as you can!