Split is one of the largest cities in Croatia. It is famous for its unusual old town, which used to be an imperial palace, and the wonderful harbour from which you can sail to islands and many Croatian cities.
Split is more than just picturesque beaches and a paradise for sailors. In the very centre there stand the most important monuments of the city, including the famous Diocletian’s Palace. You can visit all of them in just one day! In addition to the old town, you can also enjoy interesting museums, or see fascinating remains of Roman architecture located in Solin, 8 kilometres from Split. Split is also a great starting point for trips. Explore the nearby islands (Vrboska, Šolta, Brač), UNESCO-listed Trogir, Šibenik and the Krka National Park. Don’t forget to try rafting on the Cetina River, as it is an unforgettable experience!
Traces of the past
Initially, Split was a Greek settlement, which was then taken over by the Romans. They left a memento in the form of the most important attraction of the city – the well-preserved ruins of Diocletian’s Palace from the 3rd-4th century. Together with the historic centre, they were entered on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979. The defensive walls of the palace could be walked through by 4 gates: Golden, Silver, Bronze and Iron. Over time, newer buildings have blended with the ancient architecture in many places – you can see there medieval houses, Venetian and Renaissance palaces, a sculpture of the Egyptian Sphinx and modern glazing – all these elements make up the present look of the old town. Today, the palace corridors serve as charming streets. The scale of the ancient building can be proved by the fact that 200 tenement houses were erected on the site of the former palace, in which about 3 000 people currently live! The heart of the city is also the Cathedral of St. Domnius (Sveti Dujam). It was erected as a Diocletian’s mausoleum, however, around the 7th century a Christian church was established there. A similar fate befell the nearby temple of Jupiter. The cathedral’s hallmark is its 61-metre-tall Romanesque belfry. On its top, there is an observation deck from which you can admire the panorama of the city.
Walk around the city
One of the most atmospheric places in the city is located west of the imperial walls and is called Voćni trg. In the past, there was a marketplace on the square where crops were sold. Today, the place is filled with beer gardens and cosy cafés.
It is worth paying attention to the nearby Venetian Tower (Hrvojeva Kula) – a remnant of late medieval fortifications. The marketplaces are still the showpiece of Split. The most popular is the Ribarnica fish market, located in a magnificent Art Nouveau hall from 1890. You will see many surprising sea creatures and buy the freshest fish and seafood there. Fruit, local specialties and Dalmatian handicrafts await you at Green Market Pazar. It is also worth visiting the Narodni market, called Pjaca by the inhabitants, with a gothic town hall and a 15th-century sundial over the Iron Gate. Take a walk along the promenade of Marmontova and pay attention to the Neo-Renaissance Prokurative building (Trg Republike), commemorating the old ties between Split and Italy.
Cosy venues and gardens can be found everywhere, but there is no doubt that Split’s social life takes place on the Riva promenade. It is here that people gather on warm summer evenings, lit by the glow of the characteristic white lanterns. They spend time at café tables, on benches under palm trees, dancing or strolling slowly and admiring the panorama of the huge port from which ferries, ships and yachts depart to almost all corners of Croatia. They cruise to islands, especially Brač, Korčula and Hvar, but also go to Trogir, Dubrovnik and Rijeka, Venice and Ancona in Italy. Along the promenade, there are many kiosks offering sea excursions, ranging from a few hours to several days. You can choose ferries, ships, motorboats and catamarans. Sailing yachts can also be rented in Split. Tourists willingly use seaplanes between the islands and a wide range of water sports, including diving.
There are several picturesque beaches just outside the historic city centre. To the east of the harbour there is Bačvice Beach. It is a sandy beach, which is not often the case in Croatia, and that is why it is crowded in high season. A bit further you come across the concrete-gravel beach of Ovčice, with a gentle descent to the sea. In turn, to the south you will find the Firule beach. It is a bit far from the centre, and thus not that crowded. To the west of the harbour is the Ježinac beach. The water there is very clean and the descent to the sea is gentle. Two pebble beaches, Kasjuni and Kastelet, are situated near the Marjan hill. The Bene beach is also worth seeing, but it cannot be reached by car (accessible by bus) – there is a restaurant on the beach and a playground for children. A good choice for families with children is the Žnjan bay and beach in the south-eastern part of the city. It can be easily reached and there is a large parking lot near the beach.
Where to eat well?
Numerous cafés and restaurants serve delicious seafood, salty sardines, Dalmatian pršut (specially prepared dried ham), roasted lamb or pašticada (stewed beef in sweet and sour sauce). Other delicious dish is pasta, for example with eggplant and olive oil. Visit Makarun restaurant (Maruliceva 3), one of the best in the city, offering excellent fish and seafood. KonobaMatejuška (Tomića Stine 3) is also very popular. The appropriate decor, atmosphere and service, as well as the quality of the dishes are impeccable here. They serve delicious shrimp risotto, insane steaks, cuttlefish dishes and aromatic grilled fish. It is worth booking a table in advance. You can get large, tasty portions for little money at the Fife restaurant (Trumbiceva Obala 11). At Maslina Konoba–Pizzeria (Teutina 1A) you will eat delicious pizza and seafood. At Bistro Toć (Šegvića 1) the food is tasty and inexpensive, and they serve good craft beers. Do not forget to visit the Uje Oil Bar (Dominisova 3), famous for its traditional cuisine with a modern twist. In case of dessert, go to LUKA Ice Cream & Cakes (Svačićeva 2) for a large portion of traditional ice cream in various flavours. And in the evening? Be sure to drink a glass of one of the local wines, white (Grk, Pošip, Maraština) or red (Dingač, Postup or Babić).
You can escape the hustle and bustle of Split on Marjan Hill. Tourists rarely come there, so you can enjoy the silence without any obstacles, walking along the beaches or forest paths. It takes 20 minutes to get there from the centre. From the top of the hill there is a beautiful view of the city, but you can also admire it from the lower observation decks.
Croatian Maritime Museum
The Croatian Maritime Museum is located in the 7th-century Gripe Fortress. There are hundreds of models of units here: ships, sailboats, motor and rowing boats, steamboats, sailing the Adriatic from antiquity to modern times. You can see antique diving equipment, ancient anchors and items taken from the seabed.
Good to know
Discounts for visitors
When on vacation in Split, let's take advantage of the opportunities offered by the SPLIT CARD! With it, you can enjoy free entrance to museums, discounts on various services, as well as shops and the best restaurants. You will receive the card free of charge at the Tourist Information point. It includes 1 adult and 1 child up to 12 years old and is valid for 3 days (72 hours).
Split is the second biggest city in Croatia after Zagreb. There are several bus lines running around the city. The network of suburban connections is also developed - you can easily get to Trogir or Salona. Ticket prices depend on the zones. The main bus stations include Green market, Sukoišan (from here there are trips to, among others, Trogir and Omiš) and Trajektna luka (you will get to the vicinity of the bus and train stations). To get to the Marjan forest start from Sv. Frane stop. Tickets can be purchased at kiosks or, for slightly more, from drivers.
The sailing season in Croatia lasts from April to October, and you can rent yachts, motorboats, sailboats, catamarans and even water scooters from local ship owners. The yacht can be booked on site, but also online before departure - e.g. via clickandboat.com/pl.
Depending on one’s budget and expectations, tourists rent houses and apartments for the period of their stay or choose much more expensive hotels. Accommodation prices increase as you get closer to the centre. A relatively inexpensive option is to stay in a hostel - with nice, bright rooms and private bathrooms. Suzaba Apartments (Kralja Zvonimira 36) which sadly offers connected bathrooms, but is in return perfectly located (only 400 meters from the Bačvice beach), and has clean, comfortable rooms may also be a good solution.
The airport is 25 km from Split and 6 km from Trogir, in the town of Kashtela / Kastel /. Airport bus: The transfer between the airport and the main bus station in Split is operated by the company Pleso Prijevoz. The bus timetable varies depending on the season. As a rule of thumb, the bus departs 30 minutes after the flight arrives and leaves the bus station 2 hours before departure.