Visits to scenic attractions and stunning historic structures are just some of the several things to do in Split, located in the region of Dalmatia, Croatia.
One of the major attractions in Split is the Diocletian’s Palace, the massive fortress which forms the core of the old city. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In and around it are various other things to see in Split including the Cathedral and Bell Tower of St. Domnius. You can also visit the Galerija Mestrovic, an excellent museum that features high on the list of art activities in Split.
Split highlights include the city’s picturesque coastline along the Adriatic Sea dotted with several beautiful beaches. Among the most prominent Split tourist attractions is Marjan Hill, a green paradise that overlooks both the city and the sea.
Split, on Croatia’s Dalmatian соаѕt, fееlѕ like a сіtу thаt tіmе has fоrgоttеn. Thе аnсіеnt center іѕ like nоthіng you’ll hаvе ѕееn before, wіth a whоlе dіѕtrісt tооk uр by a ѕрrаwlіng Rоmаn palace, going ѕtrоng аftеr 1700 уеаrѕ.
Ovеr the сеnturіеѕ this architecture hаѕ bееn kерt іntасt аnd then іnсоrроrаtеd іntо nеwеr buildings, lіkе St. Dujе’ѕ Cаthеdrаl, thе heart of which іѕ a 4th-century mausoleum.
On your visit, you can also journey to other tourist places located close to the city. These include the town of Trogir – a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Klis Fortress, and the Krka National Park.
Split tourism also revolves around the Adriatic Islands, and you can visit a couple of them including Brac Island. If you intend to travel to Croatia, here’s a Split city guide to help you with your plans.
Why should you visit Split?
If you’re traveling Croatia then must count Split to explore. The split is a beautiful city and located in Central Dalmatia. This city can be the top beach holiday destination where you can explore many beaches and enjoy your relaxing time during your trip. The topmost attraction is the stunning Diocletian’s Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Spilt. Some other must-visit attractions here are the Cathedral of Saint Domnius, Ivan Mestrovic Gallery, and the beautiful Marjan Hill. There are many local cafes, restaurants, bars to have organic Croatian food and excellent wines.
Table of Contents
- 1 Experiences and top things to do in Split, Croatia
- 2 Top Landmarks and attractions in Split, Croatia
- 3 Where to stay in Split?
- 4 → Check out these activities in Split
- 5 Are you on Pinterest? Pin these for later read!
Experiences and top things to do in Split, Croatia
Dominating Split’s Old Town landscape is the Diocletian’s Palace and other sites linked to it. Various Split points of interest can be found around every corner in the old city.
Outside the Golden Gate of the palace, you can see the statue of Grgur Ninski by Mestrovic, Croatia’s most well-known sculptor. Rub its toe for some good luck!
As you stroll along, you will reach the People’s Square (Pjaca) where you can see the impressive Town Hall and the clock tower. The area also has cafés, restaurants, and shopping areas.
You’ll need at least a few hours to get a real taste of the old city and there’s no better way to do this than on foot. Head for Pjaca square where Split’s old town hall overlooks a sophisticated plaza of shiny marble tiles and cafes with outdoor seating.
Another interesting site is the Fruit Square (Voćni Trg). Fruit Square is also essential, taking its name from the market that was held here for centuries. Here there’s lots of beautiful Renaissance architecture, remnants from Split’s Venetian era.
To see how Split’s inhabitants go about their day try Marmont Street, which extends down to the water and is flanked at the upper end of shops, cafes, and restaurants.
→ Where to stay: Best hotels in Split, Croatia
A day next to the Adriatic – Beaches of Split
If you are a beach lover, Split top attractions include beaches that are ideal places to relax. These include sandy beaches as well as rocky and pebbly ones where it is advisable to wear appropriate water shoes.
Split’s superb culture makes it easy to forget that the city can be a fabulous seaside destination. You won’t need to venture far either: Right in the city, at the foot of Marjan are a sequence of fine natural beaches edged by the hill’s aromatic pine woodland.
Summer is the best time to visit Split and its beaches that have pristine waters with various facilities. Bacvice beach is among the leading attractions in Split with a sandy beach, excellent facilities and a buzzing nightlife.
The headline sandy beach in the area is Bacvice a southeastern suburb of Split, where sunshades are for hire and you’ll have all the waterfront amenities you could need.
Travel a little way east along the coast from Split and you’ll come to Stobrec, a lovely horseshoe bay with shallow waters where smaller children can paddle in safety.
Bene beach in Marjan Hill has a playground for children as well as sports facilities. Also in Marjan is Kasjuni Beach with one of the best views. Other beaches include Znjan beach and those near Podstrana. Unwind, swim, and have fun!
Read also: Top 15 Medieval Towns in Europe
Charter a boat
Croatia’s coast is a natural wonder, especially around Split, where islands serve as a barrier to keep the clean waters calm and almost transparent in the shallows.
So the incredible array of offshore landforms combined with the countless remote coves where you can weigh anchor, make Split one of Europe’s best places to charter a yacht or motorboat, whether you prefer bareboat or skippered.
It’s a busy market here with lots of charter agencies competing for business and keeping rentals affordable. At the marina are shops where you can stock your vessel with food and drink, and from there you’re free to embark on your adventure.
Read also: Top 15 Best Beaches in Europe to Visit
Museums in Split
Just like many other European cities, Split too has its fair share of museums that you can visit on your trip to Split.
The Archaeological Museum in the city houses an impressive collection.
If you’re wondering where the stuff from all of the historical landmarks in and around Split has ended up, here’s your answer. Some 20,000 pieces have been collected by the Archaeological Monument Museum, only a quarter of which can be displayed.
Most of these are from medieval times and generally include jewelry, weapons, armor, and everyday household items. In terms of Croatian culture, the most valuable pieces are the various stone inscriptions, reliefs, and carvings relating to the Croatian kings, nobility, and clergy from the 800s to the 1100s.
For an understanding of the life and culture in the Dalmatian region all through history, head to the Ethnographic Museum. See pottery, clothing, musical instruments, furniture, jewelry, and many more artifacts.
You can also visit the City Museum of Split. So, do put museum visits on your list of Split activities.
Go on a Day Trip to Trogir
While sightseeing in Split, you can take a short drive to the town of Trogir with its rich heritage and superb architecture. You can also reach this enchanting destination by boat.
The town has seen Greek, Roman and Venetian rule as a result of which it has various diverse attractions.
Yet another UNESCO site, Trogir looks much the same now as it did in its medieval heyday. You don’t need to be a historian to fall in love with Trogir: It’s the best-preserved ensemble of Romanesque and Gothic architecture in Europe.
The location is part of the charm, as the city is a small, fortified island connected to the mainland by a bridge. Trogir’s 15th-century walls protect a labyrinth of ravine-like streets on which you’ll pass buildings unchanged since the 1200s. There are ten historic churches in the old center, including the exquisite 13th-century cathedral.
Fabulous buildings with architecture from the Venetian period, beautiful churches such as the St Lawrence Cathedral, Cipiko Palace, Duke’s Palace, and medieval sites including Fortress Kamerlengo, are some of the significant places here.
It is one of the best Split attractions located near the city.
→ Where to stay: Best hotels in Split, Croatia
Krka National Park
Although not as well-known as its more famous counterpart, Plitvice Lakes, Krka National Park is among the Split tourism destinations that can be visited on a day trip.
There are 17 waterfalls in this spot alone and the tallest gets up to almost 50 meters. You could lose hours feasting your eyes on this scene: The pool is enveloped by rich greenery and is also admired for the way the sunlight dances in the swirling water.
An hour up from Split, this national park follows the course of the Krka River. With its riverside location and beautiful waterfalls, Krka National Park is a picturesque destination.
Among the leading highlights here is the Skradinski Buk with its magnificent natural pool of clear water with cascading waterfalls.
The sublime Stradinski Buk is what many people come to see. It’s a sizeable natural pool, 400 by 100 meters, fed by travertine waterfalls on one end and then emptied by The Cascades on the other.
And the best part is that you can swim here! Wear water shoes if possible.
The tiny island of Visovac is another highlight with its serene environment and the Visovac, a 15th-century monastery. Roški Slap is one more favorite area of the park. Be sure to make time for the cascades at Roški Slap.
Brač Island Day Trip
If you wish to know what to do in Split besides seeing the major city highlights, make a day trip to Brač Island. Located in the Adriatic Sea, the pine-covered island has various points of interest.
See the dramatic backdrop and striking facade and features of the Blaca hermitage. Visit the Vidova Gora, the highest peak on the island with stunning views. Hit the gorgeous rocky beach of Zlatni Rat at Bol.
Brač is also known for its olive oil and wine. This island is a top choice for Split tourist attractions near the city as is the magnificent Hvar Island.
Read also: Top 10 Best Day Trips from Split (Croatia)
An easy bus ride from the center of Split, Salona was once the Roman Empire’s principal city in the Balkans. 60,000 people lived in Salona’s at the city’s peak and although it was eventually ransacked and abandoned in the 600s the archaeological park is an enlightening day out, preserving significant fragments of the structures that used to stand here.
The most obvious of these is the amphitheater, which once had a capacity for 18,000 spectators. You can trace the perimeter of the area, and see how the terraced seating harmonized with the slope of the hill on which it’s built.
Visit all the attractions in Split for a comprehensive tour of the area. You can have a fantastic trip with the many exciting things to do in Split and the surrounding region. Have fun!
Read also: Top 10 Stunning Castles in Croatia to Visit
Top Landmarks and attractions in Split, Croatia
Envisioned as Roman Emperor Diocletian’s retirement home, this massive palace/fortress located along the bay was built in the fourth century AD. It was eventually abandoned and is now considered among the most well-preserved remnants of a Roman palace.
Diocletian’s Palace dominates the city’s historic core. There’s nothing else like it in Europe: It’s a wonderfully-preserved 4th-century complex blending Diocletian’s stately retirement villa with the remnants of a large military camp.
Such is the scale that it’s more of a citadel than a palace, and surprises await around every corner. Needless to say that the palace is UNESCO-listed, and you’ll even be able to tread the original Roman streets that cut through the complex: decumanus and cardo still have their original paving stones.
Sprawled across a primary section of the old city, parts of the rectangular palace complex became a place where people resided or set up shops. Even today, you will find some residents, shops, and eateries on the site.
A significant part of the complex is the Peristyle, an open court. Other highlights include the Cathedral of St Domnius and Jupiter’s temple. Another atmospheric area is the underground or basement/cellar of the palace.
You can take a guided walking tour to get an insight into all the details of the Diocletian’s Palace, one of the most incredible Split attractions. It won’t come as a surprise that scenes from Game of Thrones have been filmed at this stunning location.
Read also: Top 10 Places to Visit in Croatia
Riva Harbor and Promenade
Among the top sights in Split, Riva harbor and promenade is a favorite place for both locals and tourists to hang out. Situated in front of the Diocletian’s Palace, it has vital energy due to its waterfront location, tree-lined areas, shops, cafés, bars, and restaurants.
Stroll along the promenade or sit on a bench to see the boats and cruise liners floating on the sea. Early morning and sunset views of the port area are fabulous. The promenade hosts several enjoyable activities in Split including carnivals, live bands, and celebrations.
→ Where to stay: Best hotels in Split, Croatia
Cathedral and Bell Tower of St. Domnius (Sveti Duje)
Situated inside the palace complex, the Cathedral and Bell Tower of St. Domnius are among the top tourist attractions in Split.
One of the enchanting things about the architecture in old Split is the way ancient buildings have been repurposed. The finest example is Split’s cathedral. While the original structure was built as a mausoleum for Diocletian, it is a church today.
The central portion of this structure dates to 350, making St Duje’s oldest cathedral building in the world. It’s a real thrill to see how Roman elements like the original ring of 24 supporting columns mingle with the hallmarks of a Catholic place of worship.
Also, take a moment to check out the cathedral’s Romanesque wooden doors, which have survived unaltered since 1200.
Take a look inside the cathedral that contains impressive artworks, reliefs, and ancient books as well as the saint’s relics. The bell tower built in the 12th century is dedicated to St Domnius.
You can climb all the way up to the top of the tower. It is a bit of a climb, but you will be rewarded with some stunning views of the city and the sea. This place is recommended in every Split city guide.
Read also: Top 16 Things to do in Zagreb (Croatia)
Here’s what to do in Split for those who like forested hills: make your way up Marjan Hill. Just west of the city is this steep, 170-meter-high hill forested with cypress and Mediterranean pine trees.
It’s just the ticket if you’re in the mood for a bit of fresh air and exercise, or want to track down some of Split’s less frequented landmarks. A green area with pine trees, the hill has splendid attractions and views.
At the foothills, there are a few beaches where you can relax. To explore the hill, you can hike up to the top; it is not a challenging climb and doesn’t take too long either. Bikes are also available.
You can also climb the steps to the highest point – Telegrin peak. All along the climb from the foothills to the top, you can see remarkable sites including hermitage caves, a Jewish cemetery and quaint churches including St. Jerome Church, and the Church of St. Nicholas the Traveler.
Especially interesting is the Jewish cemetery on the eastern side of the hill. No burials have been made since 1945, but many of the tombstones are still legible and some go back to the 1700s.
There are also two churches on the hill, St. Nicholas from the 1200s and St. Jerome from the 1400s with a Renaissance altarpiece carved by the Venetian Andrea Alessi.
Take in the superb views of the city and the sea from one of the various lookout points including Café Vidilica. Exploring Marjan Hill is one of the best things to do in Split.
→ Where to stay: Best hotels in Split, Croatia
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Next to the cathedral is Split’s iconic bell tower, a lovely sight, six stories-high that tapers as you scale the upper levels.
On your way up, you’ll be exposed to the elements, and you can peer through the tower’s paired arched windows, which are a classic feature of the Romanesque design and have hardly been altered since the 1000s.
At the top, your reward will be views of the Split cityscape and the Adriatic, well worth the slightly strenuous climb and the small admission fee!
Read also: Top 20 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Europe
Statue of Grgur Ninski
Both the subject and creator of this hefty statue outside the Golden Gate are a big deal.
Ivan Meštrović, the sculptor, was a master of his craft and after communism arrived he continued his career in America where his public works there are as cherished as ever. More on him later.
Grgur Ninski, on the other hand, is a 10th-century bishop a Croatian icon, who by conducting religious services in the Croatian language defied the pope, helped spread Christianity in the region and establish Croatian national identity.
People rub Ninski’s big toe for good luck and years of contact have made this little nub of bronze gleam.
Read also: Top 18 Most Iconic Landmarks in Europe
On your trip, plan a visit to the Galerija Mestrovic, the former summer home of Ivan Mestrovic. It is now an art museum that houses his incredible sculptures both inside, and outside in the garden.
If you’d like to delve into the background of one of Croatia’s most noted artists (and the sculptor of the city’s Grgur Ninski statue), this is a fascinating way to spend an afternoon.
The villa in itself is also beautiful making this museum among the best things to see in Split. You can view several evocative sculptures in the museum that also contain various other works in bronze and wood, as well as letters, photographs, manuscripts, and more.
It’s the largest collection of works by Meštrović to be found anywhere, with almost 200 sculptures as well as sketches, furniture pieces, and architectural plans.
The museum is in a building from the 1930s designed as a home by the artist himself, and after falling into disrepair during the Yugoslav War it was reopened in 1998. As well as interior exhibits there’s an extensive outdoor sculpture garden to take in.
You can also visit the Kastelet chapel situated close by that contains a remarkable series of reliefs made of wood showcasing the life of Jesus Christ. If you are looking for Split activities related to art, this is it.
A short journey from Split will take you to a rocky cliff on which stands the Klis Fortress.
When you see it you’ll know why this stronghold on an upland pass has also appeared in Game of Thrones. Klis Fortress is balanced on a bluff above the terraced hills of the eponymous town and is framed by yet more towering cliffs of pale gray rock.
It’s a sight you won’t forget and blood has been spilled for this structure throughout its two and a half millennia. The ancient Illyrians were the first to build a fortress here and for centuries throughout the medieval era, Klis was the seat of the Croatian Kings.
Originally constructed by the Illyrian tribe, many Croatian kings ruled from this fort located on a pass between two mountains overlooking Split and the Adriatic Sea. Later, several invaders conquered this strategic fort and expanded it including the Ottomans, Venetians, and Austrians.
During the Ottoman Wars whoever held this castle, ten kilometers northeast of Split, held the upper hand in the region.
On your visit, you can also see a small church and a museum that houses weapons, uniforms and more. Enjoy the panoramic views too!
It is among the top tourist attractions in Split especially for fans of the show Game of Thrones as some parts have been shot here.
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Peristil Square is the real Roman court, where you can soak up the architectural majesty of old Split. Afternoon cups of coffee don’t get more dramatic than this, that’s for sure!
Diocletian made his public appearances at just this plaza and his devoted subjects would prostrate themselves in front of the former emperor.
Still standing are the two 3,500-year-old Egyptian sphinxes brought to the city by Diocletian. The epic stone monuments around the square have endowed Peristil with fine acoustics so you could definitely catch an opera or theatre performance in the summer.
Where to stay in Split?
Residence by Vestibul Palace
The luxury boutique hotel Residence by Vestibul Palace offers 5 luxury apartments and a comfortable longer stay for the guests. Each apartment luxuriously decorated and furnished. All suites equipped with all modern facilities. Split Airport is 12 km away from the hotel. The museum and cathedral are also very near to Residence by Vestibul Palace.
Hotel Park Split
The traditional 4-star Hotel Park Split offers elegantly decorated rooms and suites for the guests. The famous Bacvice Beach is very near to the hotel. Many rooms come with a spectacular view of the sea. You’ll get all standard facilities and comfort with elegance during your stay. The famous Diocletian’s Palace is just 1 km away from the hotel. There is a bar, outdoor pool, large terrace, and restaurant at hotel Park Split.
Marvie Hotel & Health
Marvie Hotel & Health is a 3-star modern hotel where you can experience a unique concept of premium healthcare service during your stay. All rooms and suites are nicely decorated. It offers all standard facilities and comfort. You’ll enjoy the sea views and get the complete relaxation at this new hotel in Split.
→ Check out these activities in Split