Split Travel Guide

Split, the gateway to the Dalmatian isles, is Croatia’s second most populous municipality and the biggest one on the Dalmatian coast. This ancient city has a plethora of history and culture and serves as an ideal starting point for any trip in Croatia.Split is famed for its shore Old Town, marvellous beaches and Diocletian’s Palace…

Town History

Split’s remarkable history extends back around two and a half millennia, beginning as a Greek outpost in the third or fourth century. Its location and the strength of its successive sovereigns made it a strategical hub in Eastern Europe, so much so that Emperor Diocletian commissioned an extravagant palace to be built here in 295 AD. This colossal edifice took ten years to build and was inhabited by the emperor himself for 8 years until his death. The city has been governed by rulers such as the Venetians, Austrians and French with some breaks of autonomy along the way. As a result of its illustrious past, Split’s Old Town is now one of the most splendid examples of Roman architecture known today and has earned recognition from UNESCO as a World Heritage Site – no wonder why it is such an appealing destination for tourists!

Best way to get to Split

In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of low-cost European airlines that operate direct flights to and from Split. Most destinations across Europe can be reached in 1-4 hours by flight. For international travellers, it is necessary to book a flight that lands at Zagreb International Airport first and then catch a connecting plane or bus ride to Split. Split Airport is approximately 20 kilometres away from the Split city centre. There is an affordable shuttle service that takes around 45 minutes to reach the port area from the airport; tickets cost around EUR10 per person. The bus station situated in the centre of town is only a short walk away from both the Old Town and Split Port.

What to do while I am in Split?

Explore The Old Town

The Old Town of Split, with its winding streets and cobbled alleyways, is the perfect place to explore and get lost in. For thousands of years, people have packed these streets and passages, and you’ll immediately feel transported back in time as you walk through the polished stone architecture. There are plenty of open-air restaurants, bars and cafes to enjoy a delicious Mediterranean meal, with fresh local seafood being a particular specialty.

Go to see Diocletian Palace

Diocletian’s Palace is the centre of the city and houses 220 buildings and over 3,000 people. This amazing palace can be accessed from any of the four gates that used to protect the city walls; the Golden Gate, Silver Gate, Iron Gate, and Bronze Gate. Going in through the Bronze Gate will take you from the Riva to the only part of the Palace that remains completely undamaged, the Basement.

Split Promenade – The Riva

The Riva, located by the sea and lined with palm trees, cafes, bars and restaurants, is one of the most popular areas in Split’s Old Town. It is a great place to relax and enjoy locally made ice cream. The Riva is also known as the unofficial social hub of Split, where locals and tourists gather to drink coffee or order lunch.

The local Green Market

The Green Market in Split is a beloved local spot for purchasing fresh produce. Also known as the Soul of the City, the market is located east of Old Town and offers an array of fruits and vegetables. Tourists and locals alike flock to the market daily to buy their groceries.

Visit Krka National Park

There are eight national parks located in Croatia, each with its own unique beauty and diversity. The Krka National Park is the most popular park to visit near Split because of its waterfalls, lush flora, and impressive walking trails. If you are looking to explore a national park while in Split, Krka should not be missed. You can either drive or book a bus tour to get to Krka National Park from Split. The drive takes just over an hour each way.

Read more about Krka National Park here.

Get to know Dalmatian Islands

As the entryway to the Dalmatian Islands, you can’t visit Split without investigating the amazing neighbouring islands! Brac, Solta, and Hvar are all inside a 2-hour ferry ride of Split and there are many departures daily, allowing you to easily jump on and off, investigating each destination as you go!

If you’re looking for a stress-free experience, a 7-day CoastCroatia cruise may be right for you. This type of trip allows you to explore a new place each day while your accommodation, most of the meals and activities are planned in advance.

What about accommodation in Split?

If you are in search of an accommodation experience that is unique and would like to be able to tell your friends and family where you stayed during your time in Split, then booking a room within Diocletian’s Palace is the way to go! There is a vast array of accommodation options inside the palace walls, from luxury hotels to guesthouses. If you’re looking for something less expensive, there are also plenty of options just outside the city walls that are still within walking distance of all the attractions.

Towns in Split district

Omiš

The town of Omiš is located in the centre of Omiš Riviera, a small town situated on the mouth of river Cetina, and only a 35-minute drive from Split. Omiš is readily accessible by the local bus that operates frequently throughout the day from the Split Bus Station. Similar to every other coastal town in Dalmatia, Omiš has a long and rich history dating back to Roman times. However, the town was most popular and well-known (actually, infamous) during the 9th, 10th and 11th century when it served as home to notorious Almissa pirates. These pirates, along with their comrades from the Neretva region, caused great havoc throughout the Adriatic Sea. People of Omiš are still proud of that period and rightfully so – at one point in history they had brought even the mighty Venetian Republic to its knees! This beautiful coastal town is dominated by 2 pirate fortresses: Mirabela and Fortica, that offer breathtaking views across Adriatic for those who are daring enough to hike them!

Read more about Omiš here.

Makarska

Makarska is a coastal town situated on a peninsula, 88 kilometres south of Split, which is sheltered by the Biokovo mountain range. In recent years, it has become increasingly popular with travellers as a stop-off point between Split and Dubrovnik due to its convenient location. Makarska boasts beautiful pebble beaches, waterfront markets, adrenaline-pumping water sports and renowned nightlife! The quickest way to get to this seaside town is by one of the daily buses from Split, which take approximately 1 hour. The roads are well-maintained and the local buses are comfortable and reasonably priced!

Šibenik

Šibenik is a picturesque coastal town located 88 kilometres north of Split. This waterfront town features beautiful architecture and the stunning St James Cathedral; a UNESCO-protected structure blending Gothic and Renaissance styles that towers over the city. The town of Šibenik is built in a sheltered natural harbour, allowing you to enjoy coffee and cake on the waterfront Riva, or explore the wealth of medieval forts, cathedrals and churches located close to the water. There are multiple bus departures daily from Split to Šibenik, and the journey is approximately an hour long.

Trogir

Trogir, a picturesque seaside town located just 40 minutes from Split, is definitely worth a visit. This charming town looks like it was taken right out of a medieval village! It’s complete with stunning architecture, impressive fortifications, and cosmopolitan restaurants. Trogir is the perfect place to experience authentic Croatian culture. Spend your afternoon strolling through the beautiful Old Town, swimming or relaxing by the water. If you’re planning on staying overnight, be sure to experience a local restaurant or waterside café in the evening!