Overlooking Split Croatia

Top Ten Things to do in Split, Croatia

Julie Croatia 15 Comments

Split, the second largest city in Croatia, is a mix of modern life and ancient history. With ruins dating back to the Roman Empire, a bustling waterfront, and fresh seafood served daily at many of the restaurants in town, Split is well worth a visit on a tour through Croatia.

How much time do you need? One day is just enough to see the main sites within Split. With an overnight stay, you will be able to stroll the labyrinth of old city streets after sunset. Two days or more gives you enough time for short trips to really cool spots near Split.

If you are planning a trip to Croatia, here are our 10 best things to do in and around Split.

The Best of Split

Diocletian’s Palace

Diocletian’s Palace was built in 305 AD for the Roman Emperor Diocletian. This massive retirement complex sits in the center of the Old Town of Split. Over the centuries, the city of Split has grown up around Diocletian’s Palace, and during this time, many of the Palace’s buildings have remained intact. Diocletian’s Palace is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

If you do one thing when you visit Split, you should explore Diocletian’s Palace.

Diocletian Palace Split

Important sites within Diocletian’s Palace include the Peristyle (the center of the Palace), the Cardo (one of the main streets through the Palace), and the cellar. If you are a Game of Thrones fan, the cellar is a filming site. Daenerys kept her dragons here when she was in Meereen.

Peristyle

Peristyle Split

Climb the Bell Tower of St. Domnius Cathedral

St. Domnius Cathedral is located within Diocletian’s Palace. This is the oldest Catholic cathedral in the world, completed in the 7th century AD.

For the best view over the city, climb the Bell Tower.

Split Croatia

Overlooking Split

Bell Tower View

The Old Town

The Old Town of Split is the maze of streets and cobblestoned lanes that surround Diocletian’s Palace. People’s Square (Narodni Trg) is the heart of the Old Town. Cafes and restaurants spill out into the square and one of the highlights of a visit here is gazing up at the old town clock.

Main Square

Split at Night

Split Old Town

Old Street

Croatia Narrow Street

Stroll the Riva Promenade

The Riva is the harbor of Split. With palm trees, colorful buildings, and views out to the Adriatic Sea, this is a popular place for a stroll.

Riva Promenade

View of Riva

Climb Marjan Hill

The Marjan Peninsula sits just to the west of the Old Town. A series of trails crisscross their way over the peninsula. For another great view of the city, consider the stroll up Marjan Hill.

We assumed the best views would come at the top of the hill. But we were wrong. From the Vrh Marjana-Telegrin viewpoint we looked out over Split. Trees and other obstacles blocked the best of the view.

Marjan Hill View

I learned after our visit to Split that there is a better viewpoint (and it requires a lot less walking than what we did!). On Google Maps, the viewpoint is called Prva Vidilica Na Marjanu. To get here, walk up Sperun Ulica (this road starts just west of the Riva) to Senjska Ulica. Take the stairs up to the viewpoint.

Visit Trogir

Trogir is a separate coastal city just 35 minutes away by car or bus and one hour by ferry. This is a gorgeous, tiny town to visit. The entire Old Town is located on an island. You can tour Trogir in just an hour or two, if you move super fast, but a half-day or longer is ideal.

Trogir Croatia

Trogir Square

For full details on transportation options for getting to and from Trogir, click here.

Putalj Winery

If you want to visit a Croatian winery, Putalj Winery is just 20 minutes outside of Split. The winery offers tours where transportation to and from your hotel is included. Reservations are required. Visit their website for more information.

Zinfandel Wine Bar

If making the short trip out to a winery does not fit into your plans but you still want to sample Croatian wine, visit the Zinfandel Wine Bar. Located in the Old Town, Tim and I loved this spot. Great food, great wine, and great ambience.

Zinfandel

Klis Fortress

This ancient fortress has a long history, being the site of multiple battles with the Knights Templar, Ottomans, and the Mongols, just to name a few. Now, the ruins of the fortress sit high on the hillside, overlooking Split.

Not only does Klis Fortress offer panoramic views of Split and the Dalmatian Coast, but it is also the Game of Thrones filming location for Meereen.

Meereen Klis Fortress

Klis Fortress

View from Klis

Sample Croatian Food

There are numerous restaurants to try in Split. Seafood is very popular, with fish and crustaceans fresh from the sea making their way onto dinner plates nightly. We ate at two great spots that we highly recommend.

Villa Spiza, located just off the main square in the Old Town, is a really neat spot to try. This restaurant is tiny and waits can be long to get a table (they do not accept reservations). Every day the menu changes, depending on their daily supply of seafood. The menu is written out on sheets of paper attached to clipboards. Once the supply of a dish is sold out, that item is crossed off the list.

We couldn’t get a table until later in the evening, but it was worth the wait. The menu is creative and you get the chance to sample Croatian food cooked brilliantly.

Villa Spiza

Konoba Marjan was excellent. This restaurant is located just outside of the Old Town, between the Riva and the Marjan Peninsula. We sat at a table outside and dined on fresh fish and seafood. Everything was delicious.

This restaurant can book up days in advance, so make sure you schedule your reservation before you arrive in Split, especially during the summer months. Visit their website for more information.

Konoba Marjan

Seafood Dinner

Day Trips from Split

From Split, you can day trip to Krka National Park, which is similar to Plitvice Lakes, only you can swim under these waterfalls. Or, cruise the Adriatic Sea and visit five different islands, including Hvar, with a detour to the Blue Cave. Here are three highly rated tours from Split to either Krka National Park or the Adriatic Sea and Blue Cave. 

 

Where We Stayed

Our roomWe stayed at the Palace Judita Heritage Hotel. This four-star hotel is a bit of a spurge for us, but with its unbeatable location and fabulous customer service, it was worth it. Palace Judita is located on Narodni Trg, the main square in the Old Town. We had a rental car, which we had to park just outside of the Old Town. Hotel staff met us at our car, picking us up in a golf cart and driving the four of us and our luggage to the hotel. For one night we had had two rooms, with one of the rooms looking out over the main square. If you are looking for an upscale hotel in the center of town, consider Palace Judita.

View from our room

View from our room


Have a great time in Croatia! If you have any questions, comment below!

More Information for Your Trip to Croatia:

Planning a trip to Croatia? Read all of our articles in our Croatia Destination Guide.

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Split Croatia 10 Best Things To Do

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Comments 15

  1. Thank you for sharing your experiences. Am debating on how much time to spend in Split. I think I would like to do the tour to the park and waterfalls and am thinking about the day trip to the Blue cave and the islands. However, I plan to catch a sail boat from Trogir to Dubrovnik which is a 7 day cruise but does different islands. Are the islands different enough to warrant a visit? In Dubrovnik I will be joining a tour.
    My other decision is whether to spend a night in Trogir before catching the sail boat, spend all my time in Trogir and commute to Split, or stay in Split and go to Trogir early on the day to catch the sail boat. How good is public transportation between Trogir and Split?
    Would really appreciate your thoughts on this. Many thanks.

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      Author

      Hello Debbie. Yes, each island similar, with slight differences. I think that a 7 day cruise sounds very nice. Since we had a car, we did not use public transportation in Croatia, so I have no personal experience, but here is an article with more info. Split is a larger town with more to do. Trogir is tiny and I imagine that it is very quiet early and late in the day, before the day trippers arrive. I think that staying in Split is a good option for you. If you are taking tours to the Blue Cave and Krka, it’s probably easier to join a tour from Split rather than Trogir (but this is worth investigating). Transferring to Trogir the night before your cruise is a nice idea. You really don’t need a whole lot of time in Trogir, probably just an afternoon and evening. Your hotel in either Split or Trogir might also be able to help you arrange transportation, like a private driver, between the two cities. Cheers, Julie

  2. Hi,
    I have been learning alot reading your sharing on croatia and slovenia. Am very grateful for your helpful insights. My family will be going to croatia and slovenia from venice in mid may.
    Will appreciate your help in suggesting the sequence:
    This is my rough plan:
    Ferry from venice to rovinj ( i checked the ferry on sat departs venice 1715 and reaches rovinj at 2200 hours. (Is this the easiest way or car transfer) Night at rovinj
    Can we pick up rental car from rovinj?
    Places that we hope to visit:
    4 nights in slovenia
    Lake bled
    Ljubljana
    Rovinj, Plus a few other istrian villages

    3 nights in Croatia including 1 night in lake plitvice plus 2 nights in split
    Mostar
    Split
    Dubrovnik if we hv time

    We have 7 nights for slovenia and croatia and are open to 3 nights in slovenia n 4 nights in croatia if it is better.
    Will be flying from split to Rome.
    Thank you so much!

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      Author

      Hello Leighanne. Yes, I think that taking the ferry to Rovinj is a good idea. If you rented a car in Venice, you would have a big drop fee to return it in a different country. You can rent a car in Rovinj and I recommend returning the car at another destination in Croatia. You will still have a drop fee but it should hopefully be cheaper (double check this when researching rental car prices). From Rovinj, go to Slovenia next, then Plitvice, then Split and Dubrovnik if you have time. With 7 nights, you might not have enough time to also get to Dubrovnik, unless you took time away from Slovenia. To save you having to book 7 different hotels, you could day trip to Lake Bled from Ljubljana if you don’t mind getting an early start. It should be a wonderful trip! Cheers, Julie

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  3. I’ve been to 5 places in Croatia and Split has been one of my favorite. There’s so much things to see in there. What I actually enjoyed the most is the Diocletian’s Palace. When I visited the place, I even had the chance to see those men costumed as Roman Guards. The good thing when strolling around the place, visitors can simply buy some on the go foods and walk around. I will definitely visit the place again.

  4. Split is indeed a very beautiful place to visit. One of the reasons why this is so attractive is being an old town. It’s being so old makes it so beautiful. Another reason is that it is also a GOT location which makes me want to visit for I am an avid GOT fan. I so look forward to the view as well as the food since I love seafoods.

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  5. I love Croatia but in my opinion it’s best visited in June to September when you can enjoy the summer vibe and ambience. Yes there are people but Croatia in Summer is so special and it’s about finding your little base in this haven and then enjoying the beautiful waters during day, having great meals at night and visiting nearby locations on day trips. Croatia has so many hidden treasures, Google these (Island Murter and the Kornati archipelago and beautiful town of Betina, Rastoke the beautiful village on waterfalls, Town of Sibenik and the Krka falls. Opatilja, Island Losinj, Island Vis, Pucisca on the island of Brac. Also not to be missed are Rovinj, Motovun and Groznjan. Oh and drive the coastal road from Sibenik to Dubrovnik …the best coastal drive in Europe

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