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Best things to do & places to stay:

Last updated: 07 November, 2022
Expert travel writer: Jane Foster

Split is a dream destination for those looking to combine cultural sightseeing with outdoor pursuits, or culinary adventures with a seaside chill-out.

Split’s main attraction is its UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Town, centred on the ancient palace built by Roman Emperor Diocletian, and the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque buildings that grew up inside and around it.

Beyond the city, the Marjan Peninsula offers mellow footpaths and stunning sea views, while nearby excursions include island-hopping along the coast, rafting and canyoning in the Cetina valley, hiking on Mount Biokovo and soaking up some rays on the Makarska riviera.

Orientation

Split is Croatia’s principal port for ferries to the Dalmatian islands and Italy. Based around Diocletian’s Palace (295 AD), the old town is the main attraction, with several boutique hotels and plenty of bars, restaurants and cafés.

West of here lies the picturesque village of Varoš (home to the Meštrović Gallery) and the tip of the Marjan Peninsula, with Mount Biokovo to the south east.

The bucket list experiences our writer says you must do in this destination

Diocletian’s Palace

Split, Dalmatia, Croatia

A vast 3rd-century AD palace was Roman emperor Diocletian’s retirement home. It now forms the core of Split’s stunning, UNESCO-listed historic centre. In later centuries, medieval, Gothic, Renaissance and baroque buildings were erected within the citadel’s sturdy white-marble walls.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free

Krka National Park

Split, Dalmatia, Croatia

A glorious National Park, with steep wooded canyons, dramatic waterfalls (that you can swim in) and rare wildlife. It’s one of the most important natural habitats in Europe.

Best for ages: 6+ | Free

Other worthwhile experiences in this destination if you have the time or the interest

Bacvice Beach
Experience

Bacvice Beach

Split, Dalmatia, Croatia

A Blue-Flag, sandy beach in a sheltered bay just a ten-minute walk from Diocletian’s Palace. Locals come here to drink morning coffee at the seafront cafés and play picigin, a bizarre ball game unique to Split.

Best for ages: Any | Free

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Overview >
Stone building set alone on cliffs near Bol in Dalmatian Islands
Experience

Blaca Hermitage

Brac, Dalmatia, Croatia

Perched on a remote mountain cleft on Brac island, the Hermitage dates back to the 15th century, when Ottoman Turks took shelter in a cave. They stayed, built outwards and by the 18th century it was a Hermitage serving three local villages.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free

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Hike up Mount Biokovo

Split, Dalmatia, Croatia

Hike the rugged heights and nature parks of Mount Biokovo for stunning views down across the Adriatic.

Best for ages: 13+ | Free | 5 hours

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this destination, plus helpful tickets and transfers

City Bike Tour of Split

City Bike Tour of Split

Split

Enjoy a guided bike tour as you discover the history, culture and the nature of this Mediterranean pearl by cycling through the streets of d...

€40 | Rating 4.91 / 5 [204 ratings]

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Tour supplied by:

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Exclusive: 'Game of Thrones' Walking Tour in Split (entrance tickets included)

Exclusive: 'Game of Thrones' Walking Tour in Split (entrance tickets included)

Split

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the hit HBO series 'Game of Thrones' on this 3.5-hour tour of the show's filming locations in Split — it's a...

€79 | Rating 4.60 / 5 [164 ratings]

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Tour supplied by:

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Grand Split Walking Tour with Diocletian's Palace

Grand Split Walking Tour with Diocletian's Palace

Split

This tour is a great option if you are short on time or have other plans, but want to learn more about the beautiful city of Split. Your gui...

€14 | Rating 4.88 / 5 [50 ratings]

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Tour supplied by:

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Highlights of Split Private Rickshaw Tour

Highlights of Split Private Rickshaw Tour

Split

Enjoy an unique way that we have created for exploring the city of Split. Receive knowledgeable insights from your local guide as you soak u...

€33 | Rating 4.95 / 5 [263 ratings]

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Tour supplied by:

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Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay in this destination

Hotel Peristil

Split, Dalmatia, Croatia

Cosy welcoming old-fashioned hotel and restaurant, located within Diocletian’s Palace, between the cathedral and open-air market.

Official star rating:

Hotel Marmont Heritage

Split, Dalmatia, Croatia

Slick, comfortable hotel with a popular restaurant in the heart of Split’s glorious old town. The perfect base to explore the city. Adults only.

Official star rating:

Divota Apartment Hotel

Split, Dalmatia, Croatia

Hip aparthotel in a cluster of old stone cottages with minimalist interiors, plus a garden spa offering Oriental wellness activities

Official star rating:

Hotel Vestibul Palace

Split, Dalmatia, Croatia

Small, luxurious boutique hotel with an elegant fine-dining restaurant, tucked away within the ancient walls of Diocletian’s Palace.

Official star rating:

When to go

High season (July-Aug) sees the old town hot and crowded, with many people passing through to take ferries to the islands; on the plus side, the Split Summer Festival creates a vibrant nightlife.

The shoulder season (May-June, September-October) is possibly the loveliest time to visit – the weather is dry and sunny, the sea warm enough to swim, and the old town busy but not packed.

During low season (November-April), Split is far quieter and the weather somewhat unreliable. However, this can also be a rewarding time to visit as the locals will have more time for you.

Getting there and away

Split International Airport is located near Kastela, 25km west of the Old Town. The cheapest way into town is to catch the airport bus that meets all incoming flights, dropping passengers at the end of Split’s seafront promenade, directly in front of Diocletian’s Palace and just a five-minute walk from the ferry port.

Taxis are also readily available and several car-hire companies are based at the airport if you’re planning on exploring beyond Split.

Getting around

If you’re staying in Split’s car-free Old Town you can explore everything on foot. The only city bus most visitors will need is the no.12, which runs west along the coast to Bene, on the tip of the Marjan peninsula, passing the Meštrović Gallery en-route.

Car rental is readily available for day trips; alternatively, frequent local and inter-regional buses run down the coast to Omis and Makarska.

Where to stay

Visitors coming to Split primarily to explore its cultural attractions should base themselves in the magnificent, car-free Old Town, which is home to several boutique hotels as well as plenty of bars and restaurants.

Where to eat or drink

In Split’s car-free Old Town, there’s a plethora of eateries serving traditional Dalmatian cooking with an emphasis on seafood, as well as plenty of busy cafés and small romantic bars – most have outdoor tables.

Along the coast, you’ll find more modern restaurants with an international slant serving contemporary Mediterranean cuisine – some have impressive sea-view terraces. For noise reasons, Split’s half-dozen late-night clubs are also on the coast, outside the historic centre.

Where to shop

The Old Town is packed with small boutiques selling shoes and clothes (mainly imported from Italy, though Croatian designers are making their mark), plus foodie treats such as wine and olive oil.

For handmade jewellery and etchings of Split’s old town, head for the stalls in the podrum (underground chambers) between the Peristil and the seafront. The pazar (open-air market), selling fruit, cheese, cured meat and bread, is the place to stock up for picnics.