Most important things to do in Split, Croatia
Whether you want to explore its rich history, just lay out on the sun at the nearest beach or enjoy the amazing foods and drinks in local restaurants and bars, we got you covered.
Pick one or five things to do, no matter if you’re traveling to Split for a day or for a whole week, and be sure to soak up the feel of this lovely town!
1.Go to Split old town
One of the first things people do is visit old town. The layout of Split actually leads you to the old town, as it is located in the city center, surrounded by all of the other neighborhoods that all lead to it, with an exit to the seaside.
The main attraction of old town is the Diocletian’s palace. It has been built in the 4th century by the emperor Diocletian, as his retirement home. The palace is considered to be the most important attraction of Split, almost intact by the hand of time.
The little square of the palace is called Peristil and it is considered to be the most beautiful square, not only in Split, but in Croatia or even Europe.
2. Visit the World’s oldest cathedral
The cathedral of St. Domnius (Croatian: Kaledrala Svetog Duje) is a Catholic cathedral. It is a complex of two parts, the church part that was a mausoleum before, dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The other part is the bell tower that is dedicated to St. Dominus. It is located at Peristil.
3. Climb the bell tower
If you’re not afraid of heights, be sure to climb this little bell tower on a sunny day – it's the symbol of Split. The tower is very old, and the stairs are iron and you can see the bottom of it very well. This is just a fair warning :) The entry ticket is cheap, but the view is just so sweet.
Since the bell tower is located in the old town, up there you are able to see all the cute red roofs from the stone houses that people live in, but also a nice sea view and surrounding islands including the ferry port and Marjan hill!
4. Stroll through Riva, down to Matejuška and sea side
Split' waterfront, Riva, the pride and joy of every local. This is the place where everybody wants to go to on a nice sunny day.
Palm trees with white benches under them to rest and enjoy some local ice cream while looking at the sea and the boats, seagulls flying around, people walking and chatting.
On the east side of Riva, you can find the entrance to the Green market and on the west side you can find the Republic square, St. Francis church with a recognizable big round clock and a fountain in front of it. Continue to walk down the so called “west coast” of Riva, newly renovated area and you will end up at a nice park called Zvončac.
Behind this park, by the sea side you will find Sustipan. It is a little hill full of nice greenery and the view is so nice. There is also a little church and people enjoy afternoons over there.
5. Visit Marjan hill
Marjan hill is also one of the symbols of Split. It is a park-forest, very well kept for recreational sports and enjoying nature in a safe environment. The hill is surrounded by some of the most popular beaches such as Ježinac, Kašjuni and Bene beach.
The easiest way to reach it is to walk along Riva, pass the St. Francis church and find a chunk of stairs (a 10-minute climb) to reach the Vidilica viewpoint. Vidilica is the most popular part of Marjan hill – a place to enjoy a postcard view of the city and have a refreshing drink in that one bar called Teraca Vidilica (Vidilica terrace).
Besides all the nice nature and spectacular views, there you can find tiny historic churches such as St. Jere Church, a church of St. Nicolas the Traveler, a church of Our Lady of Good Counsel and a church of Our Lady of Seven Sorrows.
6. Attend a walking tour to learn about 1700 years old rich history of Split
If you’re up for it and have time, do sign up for a walking tour in Split. You can find them very easily in the city center and they usually last about 1 to 2 hours. You can also book one at the reception of your hotel, they are all good.
It is the best way to get to know everything about the Diocletian’s palace, the people and the architecture, but also about the way of living in Split back in the middle ages up until today. You will find out a lot of important information about places such as Jupiter’s temple and Vestibul.
7. Hit the beach of your choice
The season of swimming often times starts early in the year and ends later. Nowadays you can enjoy a quick swim from May up until October. The best weather is in July and August, but a lot of people still go to the beach in low season time.
The most popular beach is a sandy beach called Bačvice, but also some nice ones with little pebbles are Kašjuni or Ježinac. Beaches in Split are fun and also safe, since a lot of people love going to the beach just to freshen up with a jump in the sea, to later be able to sit in a bar and enjoy some drinks while just chilling or playing cards.
8. Visit Mestrović gallery
Meštrović gallery is the legacy of the most popular and renowned Croatian artist and sculptor Ivan Meštrović. He himself built this amazing complex with a help of a couple of talented artists. He wanted it to be a home to retire and a place to exhibit his work.
He donated the entire gallery to Croatia, including hundreds of sculptures, drawings, paintings, architectural drawings and furniture. He also donated the entire documentation of his life, such as photographs, letters, articles and more.
You can find a statue of Gregory of Nin (Grgur Ninski), standing tall in the old town, a work of Ivan Meštrović. People often rub the toe of the statue and make a wish. For this reason you will find the toe to be very shiny.
9. Visit the Green market and the Fish market
Green market is located at the end of old town. It is a place where not only fresh fruit and vegetables are being sold, but also a place to find out a bit about the temper of the people. This soul of the city called Pazar is a must see.
There you can find old ladies sell fresh produce yelling and calling you to try it. Do try it and bargain with them to get a good price for a kilo of seasonal strawberries or apricots.
Fish market is also a place to visit and walk by a bunch of freshly caught fish while noticing a strong smell that locals are so used to. This one is located on the opposite side of Green market, at the famous Marmontova street – other end of old town.
The fish and other sea food sold on the fish market is the one caught in the Adriatic Sea and it is the fish cooked in authentic Croatian cuisine for centuries.
10. Enjoy Dalmatian cuisine and beverages
Cuisine and drinks such as wine or local craft beer are a special part of Split that you must experience while visiting. There are a lot of traditional Dalmatian dishes to try, wine to taste and desserts to enjoy.
You can read all about the best food from tasty Dalmatian cuisine on the blog and find out all about foods with different meat, olive oil, sea food but also vegetarian and vegan options.
Frequently asked questions about Split, Croatia
Now, after reading these recommendations about the things to do in Split, Croatia, you can check some questions people often have that we have answered for you below.
Is Split, Croatia worth visiting?
Split is the second largest city in Croatia. Besides its rich history, it is the most important tourist location in the country since it is connected to amazing islands such as Brač and Hvar.
It is also connected to other important places to visit such as Krka waterfalls, city of Trogir and even Dubrovnik. This is why we strongly believe that Split is worth visiting.
What is Split, Croatia known for?
Split is best known for its old town, specifically the 17 centuries old Diocletian's palace where the world's oldest cathedral is located.
It is also one of the locations where popular series Game of Thrones was filmed.
Also worth mentioning, it is popular for a lot of successful athletes such as Goran Ivanišević, Wimbledon champion, and many more that are born and lived in Split.
Is Split, Croatia safe?
Yes, Split is a safe city. It is a small city where a lot of people have the "pusti me stat" mindset, meaning "let me be". People in Split like to chill, eat good food and relax. The biggest social issue is an argument over a game of cards or something.
This is a simplistic way of describing the citizens, of course, since there can always be some exceptions.
However, you can feel free to walk around and have fun. During the high season, a lot of people are walking from the main promenade Riva all the way to Bačvice beach, where the nightlife is most active - dancing to good music, night swimming and other fun stuff.
How long do you need in Split, Croatia?
You can stay in Split only a couple of days and enjoy all the attractions mentioned above and then go on to the next place.
However, a lot of people have recognised the great location and connectivity of this city. People are booking up to 7 days in Split and then take day trips to other places.
Is Split, Croatia expensive?
We would not say that Split is cheap, but also not so expensive. It is in the mid range of prices for travelers. As in any city, you can find less expensive alternatives for the most popular, expensive ones, such as meals and drinks.
You can find a place to eat a standard meal for about 8 euros. Standard pizza for one person can be found for 6 euros and a pizza slice can be found for 1,30 euros.
There are a lot of places that locals love to go to and those ones are well loved for the price and service. Just ask your hotel or accommodation host for some good recommendations.
Which is better Hvar or Split?
Hvar is very popular for its amazing nature, beaches, great for unique Dalmatian cuisine and for the party life. You will not be disappointed if you stay at Hvar.
Just keep in mind that Hvar is very expensive during the season. This is why a lot of people like to stay in Split and then take day trips with a ferry or a catamaran to visit Hvar.
There is also a lot more things to do in Split then at Hvar. It is actually up to you and your preferences.
Is Split or Dubrovnik better?
Both Split and Dubrovnik are amazing. We understand that often times, people must decide between cities, since there is only so much vacation days available.
Dubrovnik also has a rich history and is such a good city. The only difference is that is it very expensive and for this reason people tend to go to Split more, since the historic experience and nature is very similar.
They are about 3,5 hours apart when travelling by a bus or by car, so you can always consider day trips for both locations. So, to get from Dubrovnik to Split you can just take the bus at the main bus station and it will take you to the city center of Split. It is very easy.
The buses are air conditioned and go pretty frequently. You can also rent a car, of course.
What is the best area to stay in Split?
The best area to stay in Split is by far the city center, but specifically the east side, closer to Bačvice beach. We have our recommendations of course, the best hotels to stay in Split, Croatia that you can check are Royal suites or Royal suites Sky and book a room there, since their location is just amazing. They are both located at the same area, only 80 meters apart.
5 minutes by foot to get to Riva and also 5 minutes of walking to get to Bačvice beach. This is an amazing central location, but not that noisy such as accommodation in the palace.