Planning a trip to Croatia and looking for insiders travel tips for Split?
In this article we'll share simple yet important local insiders tips for visiting Split for the first time. From how to arrive to where to go and when to go, to what to see and when to see, to where to eat and where to sleep, to how long to stay and where to go on a trip while visiting Split. Who can better explain and address this topic rather than a local who has been living here for the last 35 years and working in the travel industry for the last 10 years. We'll share all our insider tips on how to get the most out of your trip to Split.
Split has become an European high-season must. It's no wonder Split is getting huge recognition among travel lovers and travel enthusiasts around the globe. For us locals, the expression : 'Split is the most beautiful city in the world', is widely familiar. We truly believe so.
Split has an interesting and storyful 1700 years old history, it inherited the impressive and inspirational Roman palace, built by the emperor Diocletian; Diocletian 's palace, the most most famous part of the city that gained worldwide fame after filming of the Game of Thrones serial took place between the walls and inside the basements of the Palace. The Diocletian palace and the big part of the Old town are protected by Unesco as an important World Heritage site. Old town is packed with interesting architecture, museums, ancient palaces, beautiful squares, charming pebble-stoned streets, artisan shops, boutiques and galleries.
With sunny and mild weather, many beaches, beautiful nature and perfect position between 2 mountains, in a close proximity of many islands, with frequent ferry connections, close to the main airport, it is a very attractive tourist destination and also a great base point to explore the entire Dalmatia.
Arrival and important information for easier get around
How to get to Split from the Split Airport
The bus trip takes around 30 minutes. One-way ticket costs 30 Kuna and a daily ticket costs 40 Kuna. Tickets can be purchased on the bus.
Transfer to the apartment in Split costs 150,00 HRK for 2 people.
The Airport shuttle bus will take you to Split main bus station in 30 minutes. Just head all the way to the end of the journey and get out on the last stop. Split main bus station is located in the ferry port, in a short walking distance from the Diocletian palace and the Old town.
How to get to your accommodation from the main bus station and the ferry port ?
If you are staying inside the Old town, like most of the visitors, you can take an easy 10 to 15 minutes walk to get there. You also have the option to use the local taxi service at the site, Uber or Bolt, but please mind the big part of the Old Town is a no driving area so there is a chance you'll still have to walk for a few hundreds of meters.
If you are carrying a lot of luggage but prefer to walk to the apartment the easiest option would be to use the non expensive luggage trolley service guy who can take the luggage directly to your Old town accommodation.
If you are staying outside of the Old town, you can take a taxi to the apartment. Split is not a huge city, so this service will cost from 15,00 to 40,00 HRK.
Where to park your car if you are staying in the Old Town of Split:
If you are arriving with the car and staying inside the Unesco protected area, please note you will have to park your car and walk from 200 to 500 m to your accommodation as the big part of the Old town is a no driving area.
Some hotels offer parking for their guests, but ones still outside of the pedestrian zones.
To get the information about the availability of the parking spots on the parking lots of the City of Split, you can use the existing Split Parking app https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=profico.splitparking&hl=en&gl=US
Where to park your car if you are staying inside the Diocletian’s palace
If you are staying inside the Diocletian's palace, the closest parking lot (7 HRK per hour) is 300 meters from the apartment, right at the border of the UNESCO area. Here is a link to Google maps for the parking lot: https://goo.gl/maps/MeDkcFXHBksXieB4A
You can also park your car in the streets near the UNESCO border (Tolstojeva street, Drziceva street, Kneza Viseslava street). Some parts of these streets are free to park, but for other parts you need to pay 4 HRK per hour, with free nights and weekends.Parking in Glagoljaska street and Kneza Mislava streets is free of charge. These are narrow streets, so not attended for inexperienced drivers.
There is also a parking lot at the ferry port, with higher price, 10 HRK per hour. https://goo.gl/maps/vyG1voKRGr3XcDR36
The most expensive central parking lot is located in front of St. Francis cathedral, at the beginning of the Promenade, with a price of 20,00 HRK per hour. https://goo.gl/maps/vyG1voKRGr3XcDR36
Where to park your car if you are staying in Varoš district
If you are staying in Varos district, at the slopes of Marjan hill, you can park your car at the parking lot in Plinarska street ( 7,00 HRK per hour ); https://goo.gl/maps/oPTsjBMuJ7CN9qcY7, or in the nearby streets for free; Prilaz Vladimira Nazora street, Ljudevita Gaja street or Vatroslava Lisinskog street.
You can also use the parking on the street at the west side of the Promenade, which costs 5,00 HRK per hour, with free nights and weekends.
Where to park your car if you are staying in Radunica district:
If you are staying in Radunica district, you can use the parking lot next to the Police station: https://goo.gl/maps/JxCMa83tUWEYM6dV8
You can also park in narrow nearby streets; Glagoljaska street and Kneza Mislava street for free.
Important information :
Ferry port : https://goo.gl/maps/CwDeHy7ZKxpYma169
Bus and Train station: https://goo.gl/maps/GVzhR4KcEWB797kdA
24/7 pharmacy : https://goo.gl/maps/MEwjZk7CeiSVgKvD8
Split City Hospital and Emergency : https://goo.gl/maps/K8Zy8eebENn15ovh7
Split bus line timetables : https://www.ak-split.hr/
Split ferry line timetables : https://www.jadrolinija.hr/en/ferry-croatia
Split Tourist INFO center : https://goo.gl/maps/47tJi2StHk5GMHpq5
Tourist board of Split official website: https://visitsplit.com/en/1/welcome-to-split
How to get the most out of your time in Split
Some travellers have just a few days in Split and want to see as much as possible in the short period of time before transferring to the other destination of their travel. We'll discuss here what is the best way to explore Split if you are staying here for a short period of time.
Some travellers stay in Split for a week or longer, they choose Split for the base of their travel, rent the affordable accommodation and frequently join a huge number of offered daily trips and adventures. We'll explain what are the best trips you can take if you have a couple of days extra in Split. Read on.
Short time visit of Split
You decided to visit Split for just a couple of days or even less and want to get the most out of your stay? You want to know what places you shouldn't miss while visiting Split for a short period of time?
The simple fact that Split is not a huge city and you can walk almost everywhere is a huge advantage. Especially if you have just a few days in Split.
From walking and cycling around Split's major sights and attractions to taking a hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus, bike tour, segway tour, choose one or combine several of them to make the most of your time in this dalmatian pearl.
If you are travelling without a car, no worries at all, you are at the right place. Split Old town is perfectly located, in a short walking distance from the ferry port, museums, shops, restaurants, main bus station, train station, the beaches and Marjan Nature park, you can walk almost everywhere in just 10 to 20 minutes.
To get the most out of your stay, we suggest renting accommodation inside the city centre. It's the best way to soak up the atmosphere of the ancient Old town in the limited period of time. You will wake up in your own apartment, inside hundreds of years old buildings, or inside a charming boutique hotel, preferably have a vibrant view on the old town squares and streets, and just pop into the colorful and vivid everyday local life. Wander the narrow streets of the Palace, grab a coffee at one of the lively Old Town squares, soak up the sun and feel just like a local.
We definitely recommend taking one of the guided walking tours as you can get the most content and information in the shortest amount of time, learn a lot of interesting facts and stories about the history but also learn to orient yourself in the narrow streets of the old town that feels like a maze for first time visitors. You can choose between a wide offer of daily walking tours, group or private, with or without included entrance fee, depending on your interest, budget and the time frame.
Here are a few hotspots you shouldn’t miss if you plan to wander the streets of Split this year for just a couple of days :
A must see Diocletian's Palace, UNESCO’s World Heritage Site, intended and built for the Roman Emperor Diocletian at the end of the 4th century AD, today is a living monument, one among just few in the world, so what is interesting you can immerse yourself completely in its everyday life. What's also interesting you can get inside and explore most of its parts without paying any entrance fee.
The most important parts of Diocletian palace, not to be missed while wandering around are ancient walls with impressively built entrance gates on 4 sides of the world, known as Golden Gates, Silver Gates, Bronze gates and Iron gates, the substructions of the Palace, known as the Basements, Peristil square with Vestibule and Jupiter's temple.
Learn about Diocletian palace and hear interesting stories and facts from the history during one of the Split Diocletian palace walking tours.
Special hint; don't miss out to walk around the Diocletian's palace and the Old Town during evening, the evening lights make it even more spectacular.
The central square of the Palace, deliberately made to evoke the divine nature of the emperor, who was at that time glorified as the son of Jupiter.
It's red colour granite columns emphasise its ceremonial function. During the past, Split's noble families built their palaces with walls leaning on its authentic columns and arches and with their Renaissance and Gothic architecture they themselves became monuments.
Owing to its unique beauty and unusual acoustics, Peristyle became the ideal theatre scenery but also the stage where abundant urban life continues. Having your coffee on the steps circling Peristyle being closely watched over by a 3500 old and perfectly preserved sphinx is a unique experience. Grab a coffee and cake from a cafe Luxor, named after the Egyptian city of Luxor, where the sphinxes originate from and placed by the Peristyle square inside the glamorous renaissance palace. Visit Peristil in the evening, when you can enjoy its unique atmosfere, live music and performances of the enthusiastic local salsa dancers.
Special hints: During the Day’s of Diocletian, the special annual performance of local actors ( 17.05 – 27.09 every year ), you can experience how the Emperor, his wife and his guard looked and behaved.
At 12.00 every day on the Peristil square you can also witness the shift of the Emperor's guard.
During the end of July Peristil becomes the special stage for the annual festival and manifestation Splitsko Ljeto. If you find yourself in Split during that time and you are a culture and art lover make sure to buy the tickets on time and attend some of the theater plays or ballets. It's a special experience to watch an artistic performance staged at this unique place of history.
A circular grand meeting hall was once the formal entrance to the imperial apartments. The monumental and impressive hall is topped with a dome, 17 meters in height and 12 meters in diameter which creates one of a kind royal and sacred atmosphere. The entrance was adorned with a large door dimension of 2.56 x 3.96 m with an abundance of relief decorations.
During the summer the space is used by local a cappella groups which perform popular folk songs, taking advantage of the acoustics of this area.
Southeast of the vestibule is the Medieval quarter with buildings dating from the 10th century. On the opposite there is the church of St. Andrija which is now part of the Ethnographic museum.
Hint: the performances of the local singers are free to watch, you can buy their CD if you like it. You can make memorable photos from the inside of the Vestibule building. Sometimes you can even see the moon throughout the dome.
The substructions of the Diocletian's palace
The substructions of the Diocletian's palace represent one of the best preserved ancient complexes of their kind in the world. In the Roman times, their function was to elevate the Emperor's chambers on the floor above, but they were also the storage area for the Palace. You can pass through one small part of the Basements for free to get the idea about it an to buy local souvenirs, but If you want to take a closer look, and if you have few hours extra, we recommend to buy the entrance ticket and explore all of it's monumental hallways and spacious halls.
Special hint for all Game of Thrones lovers: The basements of the Diocletian's palace served as a filming set for Game of Thrones seria. They were the impressive halls where Daenerys kept her dragons locked. There are a few other GOT filming sites around. Join the Split Game of Thrones Tour to explore them all.
Golden Gate, the biggest and grandest of all 4 city gates originally was the main gate from which the emperor entered the complex the first time he arrived in his new home, and everytime he was on the way to the palace from the nearby settlement Salona, once the capital city of the Roman Province Dalmatia. At that time these doors could only be used by the emperor and the members of his family. Impressively built doors are topped and decorated with a rasteret arch of 19 stone blocks with a height of 3.02 m.
The facade was decorated with niches containing figure sculptures of the four tetrarchs (Diocletian, Maximian, Galerius and Constantius Chlorus)
Hint: Look for the carved heads high up on the outside wall.
The entire north wall of the Diocletian's palace and the area around the Golden Gates are a story for itself. Together with St. Martin's church from the 6th century, the oldest church in the city built within the small place inside the wall, nearby church and the chapel of St. Arnir from the 10th century, the monumental Gregory of Nin statue and beautiful park with a fountain in this area today forms one of the favourite tourist spots.
Hint: Take a photo with the local actors dressed like the Roman soldiers.
The Cathedral of St. Domnius
A complex of a church with a bell tower, formed from an Imperial Roman mausoleum. The church is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and the bell tower to Saint Domnius. The Cathedral of Saint Domnius from 7th century AD is regarded as the oldest Catholic cathedral in the world that remains in use in its original structure. The structure itself, the Mausoleum of Diocletian, built in AD 305 is the second oldest structure used by any Christian. The impressive bell tower offers superb views on the Old town and the sea. Climbing the narrow stairs is demanding but definitely worth it.
To visit and explore the entire complex of the Cathedral of St.Domnius including the bell tower you have to pay the entrance fee.
Hint: It will not take a lot of time to climb up to the top of the tower and the view from here is one of the kind. Don't miss it!
8,5 meters tall statue placed just outside the Golden Gate is one of 3 statues of a Croatian medieval bishop of Nin made by the respectable Croatian sculptor and artist Ivan Mestrovic. Bishop Gregory of Nin was highly important for Croatian history as he first introduced the Croatian language in the religious services. Rubbing the statue's toe is said to bring good luck.
Hint : Don't forget to make a wish while rubbing it's golden lucky toe.
Pjaca or People's Square
Pjaca or People's Square is one of the most beautiful squares in the city. It was the first inhabited part of Split outside the Diocletian Palace, leaning on it's western wall. For centuries it was and still is the central stage of city life. There you can see the beautiful Gothic building of the Old Town Hall, today an exhibition centre, classic and preserved Palaces of the noble Split's families, the oldest bookshop in the world; Morpurgo, and the old Cafe Central inside the former hotel Troccoli where the tourism of Split started.
There is also the old city clock that has been ticking there for centuries, plenty of cafes, restaurants and bars, where you can find the place to relax, enjoy and witness the history and the spirit of the city.
Special hint: Diocletian's palace and Pjaca square are full of restaurants and cafes. For budget travellers it might be important to know that the drinks are not more expensive compared to the other areas, but the food is slightly overpriced at most of the places.
Vocni trg ( Fruit's square )
Vocni trg ( Fruit's square ) officially is known as the Square of Brace Radic, but it is much more familiar under its unofficial name. It was once a place where women from the surrounding villages came to sell their fruit, and that is how it got its familiar name.
There are several landmarks decorating this beautiful square. The octagonal Venetian tower, the leftover of the former fortress, built in the 15th century, catches the eye first.
Opposite of the tower is a magnificent Palace of the old family Milesi from the 17th century with a spectacular Baroque facade. Just in the middle of the square is the statue dedicated to the father of the Croatian literature, the citizen of Split, Marko Marulić, made by Ivan Meštrović.
Fruit square was also the central location for the filming of one of the most popular Croatian TV series', saga's of Split "Velo Misto".
Officially called the Republic Square was unofficially named after the arches on the neo-Renaissance buildings surrounding the square on three sides. It is located west of Riva and open only on the south side, providing a beautiful view of the waterfront, St. Francis cathedral and a bell tower and the main city fountain. The colonnades on the square resemble Venetian style and reliefs above the windows evoke the Renaissance influences.
Prokurative square was initiated by one of the most renowned mayors in the history of the city Antonio Bajamonti in the mid 19th century.
The square has been established as an excellent stage for cultural events, especially the annual pop music festival.
Hint: Grab a coffee and cake or a breakfast in a famous cafe Bajamonti, placed at the top of the square, with great views and charming classic atmosphere and interior.
Vidilica Marjan park
If you are staying in Split for just a short amount of time, you won't have time to explore Marjan park entirely, but you can take a quick walk to the first view point on Marjan hill, the closest one to the Old Town to enjoy panoramic views on the city and the port and take few photos to remember. Walk up the Senjska street in Varos district, or take the stairs to Vidilica View point behind Matejuska port and you can reach the viewpoint in 15 minutes.
Here is the interactive map of Marjan for you to use.
The sunniest promenade in Europe, Riva, everyone's favorite place in the city.Placed under the Southern wall of the Diocletian's palace, overlooking the facades of beautiful buildings and palaces and islands Brac and Solta in the distance. It's full of restaurants, bars, clubs, of which some of them have impressive ancient interior design.
The mediterarranean atmosphere is enhanced with numerous palms and mediteranean herbs.
Riva spreads all the way to the west end of the natural bay. Take a relaxing walk to the west end of Riva and enjoy spectacular views of the Old Town and Marina all along the way.
Natural sandy beach, located only 15 minutes walk away from the Old town is the closest city beach, but also the most popular one. The beach is full of content, there are bars, restaurants, playground, renting facilities, storage locker, plenty of space.
Due to the cleanliness of the sea and the beach it deservedly has a blue flag.
Longer stays in Split
This is the best way to visit Split and Dalmatia especially for budget travelers. This way you can use the common week discounts for the accommodation and get the discount for the excursion packages.
Also, because of the close proximity of the beautiful islands, national parks, charming towns and historical landmarks, you can experience almost the entire central Dalmatia in one week, all within the limited budget.
You can stay flexible whether you want to stay in the city centre or outside the city centre to avoid crowds, parking issues and noise. If you are looking for a peaceful area, suitable for the long stays in Split, outside of the city centre, but still attractive, we are suggesting to check out the accommodation around Marjan park, in Meje district and Varos district.
You will have time to explore all major touristic locations in Split, and include even more.
Take one whole day to explore Marjan Nature park, it’s beaches, viewpoints, churches and trails, either on foot, with a bike, or as you prefer. You can also take a bus to Bene, nice beach with restaurant and tennis playgrounds, in the middle of Marjan hill, and explore further from there.
Stop at the impressive Mestrovic Gallery, a gallery of the artist who in many ways indebted Split, and especially with his unique artistic legacy.
Make a plan how to use your time best.
We recommend to leave at least 2 or 3 days to enjoy and explore Split, and rest of your time you can use for daily trips to the islands, national parks and other historical cities nearby.
Best day trips from Split
The most popular day trips from Split are :
You can visit these locations on your own, with your own car or with a ferry, but since the offer of daily tours in Split is so big, and there are a lot of tour operators, prices of daily tours are really affordable, quality and the service is high, we can surely say it would be easier and cheaper to go there organizedly.
Or choose a private day trip, tailored just for you.
Daily trips to the islands from Split
It is easy to visit and explore many islands from Split. With organised boat trips from Split you can visit Vis, Bisevo, Hvar, Pakleni islands, Brac, Solta and Drvenik island in one day.
You can choose for some of the most popular island day tours :
- Blue Cave and Hvar 5 islands tour
- Hvar and Pakleni islands
- Blue Lagoon and Trogir day trip
- Golden Horn and the island of Brac
Or choose a private boat trip, tailored just for you.
How to visit the islands from Split on your own
Since Split has great ferry connections with the islands, you can do daily visit to some of them on your own,
The closest island is Brac island. Ferry connections to Brac island are frequent, you can go there early in the morning and come back late in the night. The ferry takes you to Supetar town in 45 minutes. Once you get there, you can enjoy the picturesque island life, enjoy the beach, or you can continue to explore the island further. We suggest taking a taxi to Bol, where you can see the popular and unique Golden horn beach.
It is also easy to go to the island of Solta on your own with a ferry. a 45 minutes long ride will take you to Rogac town. You can enjoy the sparkling clean sea, great and fresh local food, or explore the island further with a taxi or bikes. Maslinica town is an interesting place to check out on Solta island.
Hvar island and Vis island are further away, and the ferry ride to get there will take more time, it is still possible to visit the island and come back in the same day, but take into consideration you will stay longer on the ferry and shorter on the island. Catamaran can take you there faster, but they are not so frequent, they can get really busy and have much higher prices.
Historical cities and landmarks nearby Split
You can visit other beautiful cities as a one day trip from Split.
We recommend to visit:
- Salona ruins and Klis fortress
- Trogir Old town
- Town of Omis
- Town of Sibenik
- City of Dubrovnik
- Mostar and Herzegovina
If you plan to visit Dubrovnik from Split, make sure to bring your passports and Visas on your day tour, as we have to cross the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina to get there.
Best Day Nature trips from Split :
Escape the city bust and enjoy the beautiful nature trips from Split.
Most popular are :
- Biokovo Skywalk Nature Park
- Vis Island Unesco Geopark boat trip
- Diving trip from Split
- National Park Krka day trip
- Plitvice Lakes day trip
- Hiking and safari day trip
Best Day Adventures from Split:
If you are into active holiday you came to the right place.
There is so much to choose from :
- Rafting on Cetina River
- Zip Line on Cetina Canyon
- Jet ski safari
- Split Skydiving
- Extreme Canyoning on Cetina river
- Split Rock climbing
- Split Kayaking and snorkeling
Visit the best museums in Split :
There are many museums in Split worth visiting if you are a fan of art, history, archeology or even Game of thrones fan.
Some of the best museums in Split are :
- Galerija Mestrovic
- Split Gallery of Fine arts
- Galerija Emanuel Vidovic
- Game of Thrones museum
- Diocletian’s dream virtual experience
- Croatian Maritime Museum
- Split Ethnographic museum
- Archeological museum Split
- City Museum of Split
Hint : During the Night of the museums, a special annual manifestation, guests can explore all the museums and galleries in Split for free.
Visit the best beaches in Split
Split has many beautiful beaches for you to dive into the sparkling clean waters and relax in the shade or the tamarix or pine tree or soak up the hot mediterranean sun.
There are sandy beaches, pebble stone beaches, rocky beaches and even a nudist beach.
During the peak season beaches are packed with visitors. During these days the best time to visit is the early morning or late afternoon.
Some of the most popular beaches are:
- Bacvice sandy Beach
- Kasuni beach
- Obojena beach
- Bene beach
- Znjan beach
- Firule sandy beach
- Jadran beach
- Prve vode beach
If you want to explore the entire Marjan park forest surrounded with a lot of beaches, including 3 from this list, and enjoy swimming, swimming, snorkeling and kayaking, we suggest trying Kayaking and snorkeling tour around Marjan hill.
Where to eat in Split
Split has a huge offer of restaurants, taverns, bars and pubs. There are fancy restaurants, traditional taverns, restaurants with modern twists, vegetarian restaurants, superfood bars, vegan restaurants, wine and cheese bars, burger bars, pizzeria’s, sushi bars and many more.
Split is a perfect destination for every enthusiastic food lover, eager to taste the wide offer of fresh, local and healthy mediteranean food and quality local wines.
Some of the best restaurants in Split are :
- Konoba Matejuska
- Bota sushi bar
- Ciri biri bela restaurant
- Portofino restaurant
- Kat’s kitchen
- Pandora green box
- Dvor restaurant
- Sug restaurant
- Monika Wine bar
- Brutal Bar and Kitchen
If you want to try the best choice of meals, taste the most quality wines and like to talk about the food and learn about the history of Split, we suggest checking the Gastro and history tours.