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23 Best things to see & do in Split

  • Split, Dalmatia, Croatia

Last updated: 15 June, 2024
Expert travel writer: Jane Foster
  • Split, Dalmatia, Croatia

Colonnade in front of large tower

Bucket List Experience

Diocletian’s Palace

Facing Split’s seafront promenade, this vast 3rd-century palace – now integrated into the historic centre – was Roman emperor Diocletian’s retirement home. The emperor’s apartments overlooked the sea, while servants and soldiers occupied the rest of the complex, which centres on the Cathedral and Peristil, where Diocletian made public appearances.

Later on, medieval, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque buildings were erected within the white marble walls, and it became a city. Today, it’s a world-famous UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Split’s must-see attraction.

Good for age: 18+

  • Dalmatia, Croatia

Aerial view of Paklinski Islands in Hvar, Croatia. Turquise water bays with luxury yachts and sailing boats. Toned image.

Bucket List Experience

Sail the Dalmatian Islands

With sheltered waters, a steady breeze and a plethora of blissful, uninhabited islands close to the mainland, the Dalmatian islands are made for sailing.

Hoisting a sail is the ideal, and most flexible, way to explore this beautiful and still largely unspoilt archipelago, discovering secret coves, swimming in azure waters off the boat, and stopping in local towns.

Charters tend to be for a week and various itineraries are available. The main ports of call are the islands of Korcula and Hvar.

Adult price: £600

Good for age: 13+

Duration: 3-7 days

  • Split, Dalmatia, Croatia

A small island with a Christian monastery on river Krka called Visovac, Croatia (Europe)

Bucket List Experience

Krka National Park

The Krka National Park, though small at only 142 sq km, is one of the most important natural habitats in Europe, home to a staggering 222 bird species, 18 different types of bat and more than 800 species of plant life.

It’s most famously home to the spectacular Skradinski Buk waterfall, where 17 cascades plunge 45m into an emerald-green basin – great for swimming. Footpaths and wooden bridges meander around the waterfalls, and lead upriver to the Roski slap waterfall (known as the ‘necklaces’ for the strange water patterns created). It’s lovely walking – look out for otters, golden eagles and peregrine falcons along the way.

A park shuttle boat connects the two waterfalls, and also stops at the tiny island in the middle of a lake capped by the 15th-century Franciscan Visovac Monastery. There’s also a 19th-century watermill with ethnographic museum.

Good for age: 8+

  • Hvar, Dalmatia, Croatia

Hvar's Old Town

Bucket List Experience

Hvar’s Old Town

One of the most picturesque towns in the whole of the Croatian archipelago, Hvar Town is an elegant patchwork of historic Venetian townhouses and palaces, many carefully restored, opening out onto the marble-flagged St Stephen’s square.

Behind the square, terracotta-roofed houses rise up to overlook the horseshoe-shaped harbour, lined with bars and restaurants, with wide promenades leading off in both directions to quiet coves and pine-fringed beaches.

Sightseeing is best puncuated with coffees, or a cold Posip (Croatian white wine) from one of the café terraces above the main square (Teraca is particularly good), which are perfectly-placed to watch the yachts and wooden fishing boats glide in and out of harbour.

At the days’ end, go for dinner at Maconoda, on the narrow stone alley between the main square and hilltop castle – home to the best seafood in Hvar.

Good for age: 18+

  • Split, Dalmatia, Croatia

Split is part of the coastal Dalmatia region, meaning local cuisine is dominated by fish and seafood. Classic Mediterranean flavours – tomatoes, parsley, garlic and rosemary – are often paired with fish.

Dalmatian ham is as salty and delicious as prosciutto; platters of ham, local cheese and olives is a popular starter. Deep-fried fritters are a favourite sweet snack, sharp with lemon zest and Schnappes.

Traditional hearty Dalmatian dishes are served in atmospheric, family-run konobas – rustic taverns with exposed stone walls and wooden tables and benches. Croatia’s Italian heritage is seen in pizzerias and gelaterias on every street.

Good for age: 18+

Duration: -

  • Dalmatia, Croatia

Seafood dominates – expect high-quality shellfish, and fresh fish barbecued and served whole, plus quality local wines. Classic Mediterranean flavours – tomatoes, parsley, garlic and rosemary – are often paired with fish.

Croatia’s Italian heritage is seen everywhere, with pizzerias and gelaterias in every town.

Good for age: 18+

Duration: -

  • Split, Dalmatia, Croatia

Rising directly behind the seaside resort of Makarska, Mount Biokovo is Croatia’s second-highest mountain, with the 1,762m peak of Sveti Jure affording amazing views out to sea and inland to Bosnia-Herzegovina.

A large portion of the south-facing slopes have been declared a nature park, and clearly marked hiking paths lead from Makarska to the top. Wild and totally unspoilt, Biokovo’s pastures are populated by hardy chamois goats and mouflon sheep, both endangered species.

Good for age: 13+

Duration: 5 hours

  • Dalmatia, Croatia

Vineyard in Dalmatia, Croatia, at the Adriatic coast.

Bucket List Experience

Dalmatian Islands Wine Region

Croatia has a long history of wine making, stretching back some 2,500 years, with many indigenous grape varieties still in use. (Croatia is also home to the oak forests that produce most of the oak casks favoured by wine producers across Europe).

Sprinkled throughout the islands are a number of excellent family-run vineyards open to the public during the summer. Tastings of the region’s truly excellent wines usually takes place in a stone cellar, where the wines are stored, often accompanied by platters of savoury nibbles.

If you’re lucky (and you often will be), the winemaker will be present to explain something about the winemaking process and the history of the vineyard.

Good for age: 18+

Skradinski Buk

  • Split, Dalmatia, Croatia

Waterfalls flow into pool with tourists swimming

Experience

This picturesque collection of 17 cascading waterfalls is one of the highlights of the Krka National Park. Wander the 2km walking track, or put on your bathers and swim in the river waters. Go early if you can – it gets crowded in summer.

Good for age: 4+

  • Split, Dalmatia, Croatia

The picturesque Cetina River, which lies south east of Split, runs through a spectacular high-sided rocky canyon – the Cetina Gorge – descending over a series of waterfalls and light-moderate rapids to meet the sea at Omis.

Half-day white-water rafting excursions tackle a 10km stretch of the river; during summer it’s a fairly gentle descent (grade I-II rapids), with time to take stock of the beautiful scenery. Spring and autumn see slightly more exhilarating rapids, but even then, it’s never more than an occasional grade III. You’re really coming for the setting and to escape into the great outdoors – hence why it’s such a popular day trip from Split.

If you don’t fancy rafting, there are kayaking and full-day canyoning options too. It’s also possible to try free climbing on the steep-sided rocky cliffs in the Cetina valley.

Adult price: £35

Min age 8

Good for age: 8+

Duration: 3-4 hours