With a historic city center full of beautiful sights, Split is a great city for a pleasant city break. What are the best Split attractions? 16 tips.
Why should you visit Split?
Split is the second-largest city in Croatia after Zagreb and a great city to explore. Why? Much of the old city center is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It contains a maze of narrow streets and squares full of beautiful ancient buildings.
In addition, it is located by the sea and is also a good place for a beach vacation. From Split, you can make many fun day trips. For example, several boats go from the harbor to various islands per day, but you can also visit beautiful national parks and other historic cities. In conclusion, Split is a great base for a vacation in Croatia!
What are the best Split attractions?
What are the most fun Split attractions and what are the best things to do in Split?
Visit Diocletian’s Palace
Diocletian’s Palace is arguably the highlight of Split. In the middle of the old city center, you will find the remains of the Diocletian’s Palace from the fourth century. It consists of several buildings and squares. It is full of huge pillars, statues, marble floors and there is even a sphinx. It’s like you’ve landed in a Roman movie (there are often men dressed as Romans in the square too).
Tip Diocletian’s Palace is the place to learn more about the history of Split. During an organized tour, you can ask all your questions to a professional guide.
The Cathedral of Saint Domnius NIE
In Diocletian’s Palace, you will find the Cathedral of Saint Domnius (also known as Split Cathedral). The oldest part of the palace is the octagonal mausoleum of the fourth-century Roman Emperor Diocletian.
The bell tower next to it is more recent. Originally built between the 12th and 16th centuries, it collapsed in the 20th century. The current bell tower dates from 1908 and you can climb it. From the top, you have a great view of Split.
Statue of Gregory of Nin
The gigantic statue of Gregory of Nin is a must-see while you’re in Split. Gregory of Nin was a bishop in the Middle Ages and a very important person in the history of Croatia. He provided the basis of Croatian nationality and that the old Croatian language was preserved (otherwise everyone here would have spoken Latin).
If you walk past it you will see that his toes are a lighter color. That’s because many people think that rubbing his feet is a lucky charm. Do you also make a wish?
Zlatna vrata (Golden Gate)
The statue of Gregory of Nin stands next to Zlatna vrata, also known as the Golden Gate. This is an ancient city gate from the fourth century and part of the Diocletian’s Palace. It is an impressive structure to see and the gate leads you to the Old Town where you can immediately get lost in the beautiful old streets of Split.
Walk or relax on the Riva Promenade
The Riva is a long and wide promenade along the water. Here you will find countless restaurants with terraces. In addition, it is full of palm trees and benches to relax on. There are also several small pop-up souvenir shops. It is a great place for a walk or to settle down on a bench and look out over the water.
Discover the beautiful squares of Split
In the old town of Split are several beautiful squares. It is wonderful to wander around the narrow streets and then suddenly discover such a square. When you’re in Split, make sure to check out these squares:
- Trg Republike – Prokurative: large square overlooking the water. On both sides you have stately red-colored buildings with arches.
- Trg braće Radić: on this square you imagine yourself in the Middle Ages. On one side you can see an old city wall with a tower and on the other side beautiful historic buildings.
- Narodni trg – Pjaca (People’s Square): this is one of the main squares of Split, with the fifteenth-century town hall (now a museum) on the north side. Through the old gate on the east side of this square you arrive at the Palace of Diocletian.
Visit the market
On the east side of the city center, you will find a large daily market. Here you can buy fresh fruit and vegetables. There are also many stalls with souvenirs here. So if you’re still looking for gifts, this is the place to buy them. Make sure to bring cash.
Discover Game of Thrones filming locations
Did you know that many scenes from Game of Thrones were shot in Split? Especially in (the vicinity) of the Palace of Diocletian, you can recognize a number of places. For example, the streets are frequently used and you may recognize the basement of the palace as the place where the dragons were held captive.
Tip Do you want to discover all film locations? Then it is a lot of fun to book a special Game of Thrones tour. During this guided walking tour you will discover many filming locations and you will immediately learn something about the history of Split.
Hike to the viewpoint on Marjan Hill
Would you like to visit a more quiet place and do you like a nice view? To the west of the city center, you will find Marjan Hill. Here is a large park where you can enjoy a walk and check out the great viewpoint. From here you have a beautiful view of the old town and the harbor.
Etnografski muzej Split
What to do in Split when it rains? I myself had a lot of bad luck during my city trip to Split, it poured most of the time. Fortunately, there are a number of museums that are definitely worth visiting. The Etnografski muzej Split (ethnographic museum) is definitely a must! In this museum, you can mainly see utensils and clothes that people used to wear in Split and other regions nearby.
The highlight of the museum is the ancient terrace from which you have an amazing view of the old center (especially Diocletian’s Palace) of Split.
Muzej grada Splita
Another fun museum to visit is Muzej grada Splita, or the city museum. In this museum, you will learn more about the origin and history of Split. For example, there is a large scale model of Diocletian’s Palace, so that you have a good idea of what it looked like in the past.
You can also find various paintings and statues that used to be in the city. The square in front of the museum alone is worth a visit since it is absolutely beautiful.
Souvenir shopping in the basement Diocletian’s Palace
Under the Palace of Diocletian is a huge cellar, which is largely used to sell souvenirs. Here you will not only find the usual souvenirs (mugs, magnets, and t-shirts) but also slightly more luxurious souvenirs, such as jewelry. A good place to go shopping for a nice gift.
Fun Day Trips from Split
Split is in a good location to discover even more beautiful places in Croatia on a day trip. How about for example:
The town of Trogir is only half an hour’s drive from Split and is very popular as a day trip from Split. The historic city center, which is located on an island, is in its entirety on the UNESCO World Heritage List (yes, they have a lot of that in Croatia) and is very beautiful. In Trogir, there is a beautiful cathedral where you can climb the tower for the most beautiful view.
Krka National Park
Krka National Park is only an hour’s drive from Split and is full of natural beauty. Here you can see steep cliffs, waterfalls and beautiful lakes. What’s great about it, is that you can swim here in some places (unlike the Plitvice Lakes).
Do you have no transport yourself and do you have no patience for the local bus? You can also book an organized tour to Krka National Park from Split.
The city of Šibenik is only an hour by car (or bus) north of Split and this city also has a beautiful medieval city center. In addition to several large fortresses (hello, beautiful view!), you can get lost in all the super narrow streets in the city center. Be sure to take a look at the Cathedral of St. James, a beautiful building that was also used as a filming location for Game of Thrones (The Iron Bank).
Visit the islands
Several ferries depart daily from Split to the nearby islands. For example, the islands of Brac, Hvar, and Vis are very popular. Can’t choose? From Split, there are also various tours to smaller islands. With this full-day tour, you will visit five different islands and the famous Blue Cave.
Tip! Save with the (free) Split Card
Many cities nowadays have a special city pass and that is also the case in Split. The big difference? You can get the Split Card for free! There are some conditions though. You only get it if you stay 5 or more nights in Split in the summer (April to September) or if you stay 2 or more nights in in Split the winter (October to March).
What can you do with the Split Card? You can visit a number of museums for free (including Etnografski muzej Split and Muzej grada Splita) and you also get a significant discount on many museums and activities.
You can pick up the Split Card at one of the Tourist Information Points. Check this website for more information.
Food & Drinks in Split
What are the best restaurants in Split? And where can you have a nice cup of coffee? A few recommendations:
- KaKantun: coffee & gin. A very cute cafe for a nice cup of coffee in the morning or an alcoholic drink in the evening. The nearby D12 is also a good place to have a coffee.
- Villa Spiza: cozy and affordable restaurant in an alley. The menu changes daily and many regional products are used in the dishes.
- SILK – Pan-Asian Fresh Street Food: do you fancy asian food? Then this is the place to be! Also great for take-out.
Where to stay in Split
What are the best places to stay in Split? A few recommendations:
- € En Route Hostel – a modern hostel, only a 10-minute walk from the center.
- €€ Sirius Luxury Rooms– beautiful guest house with a gorgeous terrace.
- €€€ Heritage Hotel Antique Split – luxury 4* hotel in Diocletian’s Palace.
Would you rather check out all the possibilities yourself? Visit Booking.com to check out the most complete offer.
Tips for a great vacation in Croatia
Would you like to discover Croatia yourself? These websites are very useful if you want to book a trip to Croatia:
- Find the cheapest plane tickets via Skyscanner. There’s an international airport very close to Split.
- Do you prefer to take the train? That’s a great idea! That’s what I did. From The Netherlands, I traveled by train to Salzburg, and then on to Zagreb. Check the Rail Europe website for tickets and a timetable. In Croatia itself, it is best to continue your journey by bus.
- From my own experience, I know that Flixbus is good and cheap when you’re traveling in Croatia. With this bus company, you can reach almost all (tourist) places.
- Check Booking.com for the best hotels, hostels, and apartments. Are you looking for a place to stay away from the crowd? Check out the Nature House website for beautiful places to stay outside of the city center.
- Check Rental Cars or Discover Cars for the best deals on rental cars in Croatia.
- You can find great tours and tickets for attractions at Get Your Guide.
And these travel guides are full of tips for more beautiful places in Croatia:
Fodor’s Essential Croatia: with Montenegro & Slovenia
You can also read more about the most beautiful places in Croatia on this website. For example, also read these articles:
- The most beautiful places in Croatia | Bucket List
- Fun things to do in Šibenik
- 15 Tips for an amazing Dubrovnik vacation
In the coming months, many more articles about beautiful places in Europe will appear on this website. Would you like to stay updated? Subscribe to the newsletter.
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