Visit Split, Croatia’s Dalmatian capital, it could be the hottest low-key travel spot… There are beaches, fresh seafood, culture, history, tradition and beautiful architecture.
Split is also Croatia’s second largest city, and one of the Adriatic’s most vibrant port cities. There are many sites to visit, the most famous being Diocletian’s Palace, a World Heritage Site. From Split, you can also take many day trips to neighboring towns. The night life and restaurants are also world-class.
How to visit Split, Croatia?
Split is one of Croatia’s prime points of entry and is accessible by plane, boat, bus, train or car.
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There are restrictions in place affecting U.S. citizen entry into Croatia. Visit the Embassy’s COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 in Croatia.
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Many airlines and low-cost carriers are flying to Split, so it’s cost-effective to plan a trip there with a wide flight choice. Split airport is 15 miles (25km) west of town and is connected to most major European capitals. After an approximately 30-minute ride, coach buses drop passengers off along the main port.
Split has a massive ferry port with boats coming and going to the islands–Solta, Brac, Vis, Hvar, Korcula–and down to Dubrovnik. Whilst car ferries operate year-round, many passenger ferries are summer only. Check this Split ferries link for more details.
The Split bus station is a hectic place with buses running along the coast and further afield. A bus ride from Dubrovnik takes around 4 hours, and from Zagreb around five hours. For more info, go to buses to Split.
All international trains pass through Zagreb. From there, there are two or three trains to Split every day. There are no trains to Dubrovnik or anywhere else along the coast however. See more on trains to Split.
It takes around four hours to drive from Zagreb to Split by motorway.
Where can you go from Split?
What makes Split a great place to visit, is that you can easily plan day trips to nearby attractions…
Plitvice Lakes National Park
Okrug Gornji Bay
Okrug Gornji Bay is situated on the Island of Ciovo which is accessible by bridge. It has a great beach that scallops around the bay. It’s an ideal family vacation spot as you can easily rent a villa or apartment near the beach with easy access to restaurants, cafe’s bars, water sports and a water taxi to Trogir Old Town!
The water off Okrug Gornji Bay is crystal clear, but the beach is very rocky…
In Okrug Gornji Bay, you can have the best of both worlds – beach by day and old town culture and Trogir’s nightlife if you feel like partying! Okrug used to be a fishing village in the 15th Century and is one of the oldest places on the island of Ciovo.
The archipelago of picturesque islets completes the beauty of this town, while numerous small coves and beaches in its near vicinity are favored by those who prefer privacy. The town offers many types of sports: scuba diving, tennis, soccer, basketball, parasailing on the beach or visiting various nearby islands with boats. Okrug Gornji is an ideal place for families with children and younger generations in need of entertainment. It’s connected by a bridge to Trogir which ensures a variety of entertainment and cultural events.
The port of Trogir is a favored destination of seafarers because it is well positioned and naturally sheltered.
Trogir is also known as “museum city” as it’s rich in cultural monuments. There are many places to visit in the city’s old town, Kamerlengo fortress, tower of St. Mark, sculpture of the Blessed John of Orsinij, chapel of St. Jeronimo, Ćipiko palace, renaissance church of St. John the Baptist, portal of Radovan, museum, pinacotheca and many others.
This Trogir promenade reminds me a lot of the French Riviera. It has similar vibrancy and atmosphere.
We opt to have dinner at Big Daddy, which has a great location by the water front. I was pleasantly surprised by the fresh and tasty food, at such a touristy place.
After dinner, we stroll around the Old Town.
Trogir old town is quaint and fun to window-shop! There are all types of little shops, cafes and bars.
Trogir Cultural Summer – Various entertainment events are held throughout the summer in the old city center: musical evenings (classical music concerts, local and international musical stars and chamber music), folklore exhibits and theatrical events.
Every 30 minutes there is a regular bus number 37 from Trogir to Split operated by a local bus company ”Promet”.
Must-visit places in Split
Split is famous for its rich history, with numerous historical monuments. Do not miss the opportunity to visit Diocletian’s palace – the heart of the city, the Iron Gate, statue of Gregory of Nin, cathedral of St. Duje, church of St. Francis, concathedral of St. Peter, main court, St. Anne’s monastery, city basement and numerous others.
There are many excursions and adventures to do from Split. Viator offers several private and small group tours by walking, cycling or by boat. Check out this list of Split and Trogir tours.
On the top of the list of places to visit is Roman Emperor Diocletian’s Palace, which is practically a city in itself. Originally created for the Emperor in 295 AD, the old city of Split was constructed for his retirement. The inner workings of the old city are filled with narrow cobblestone streets and high arches and well preserved.
Travel back in time to the ancient Roman Empire during this Viator guided walking tour of Split with a knowledgeable local guide strolling through the ancient Dalmatian city, learning about its rich culture and history. Learn more about this UNESCO World Heritage site while taking a relaxing walk through the streets, squares and the grandiose Diocletian’s Palace. Stop by the Cathedral of Domnius, St Anthony’s monastery and St Francis church.
Peristil Square, which was originally used for celebrations to honor Diocletian as the living son of Jupiter, is the heart of the old town. Across from the steps of the square is Lvxor Café & Restaurant, rumored to be one of the oldest bars in the city and named for the Egyptian city of Luxor. Several stone sphinxes constructed during the reign of Pharaoh Tuthmosis still sit within the Square, as “the guardian of the imperial square.”
Facing the square is the City’s most historic monument: Diocletian’s Mausoleum, also known as the Cathedral of St. Domnius.
A few steps away are the Split Ethnographic Museum (Etnografski muzej Split) and the Split City Museum, both great for tourists eager to learn more about the city’s culture, traditions and history.
We exit through the basement halls on the on the seaside
When you visit Split, you cannot miss the Riva. This is where the Split airport buses usually drop off passengers. Running along the side of Diocletian’s Palace, the Riva is a seafront promenade lined with tall palm trees, bustling cafés, and shaded benches. Stretching from the bronze map of Split to the popular Marmontova shopping strip, it’s one of the busier places in town. It’s great to relax in one of the many cafes and bars and enjoy a drink while enjoying the view.
Pjaca (or People’s Square), is first mentioned in 13th century as St Lawrence’s Square, and it was the first inhabited part of Split outside the Diocletian Palace. The Pjaca is the central stage of the city life, where the city’s authority was housed in the Gothic building of the Old Town Hall, today an exhibition centre.
The city clock has been ticking for centuries on Pjaca, unique by its 24 instead of 12 indexes. Every building on Pjaca has its story, each is a witness of history and the spirit of the city.
It’s the perfect place to relax and enjoy a drink while people watching.
The Silver Gate
The Silver Gate was used to enter the palace from the east towards the west, through the main street, all the way to the Iron Gate and to Pjaca, the central city square.
On each side of the gate the remains of the octagonal towers are visible, and we can imagine the former beauty of the construction.
Silver Gate has recently enriched its history with the greatest event for all the Split Catholics, when in the year 2000 Pope John Paul II passed through them admiring the beauty of St Domniuses Cathedral where he later prayed.
The Farmers Market
Everywhere I travel, I love to visit the local market. We can learn a lot about a new place through what type of products are sold in the market, the attitude of the merchants and the habits of the shoppers. The activity, noise, sight and smell all tell a story.
The farmers market in Split is located just off the East or silver gate. The market is divided into several sections for produce, prepared products or cooked foods, meat products, clothing and tourist related items. The floral market is really gorgeous.
The market starts relatively early and lasts for most of the day and is very popular with both the locals and the tourists.
The Beach Life in Split
The sea water around Split is clear and sparkling. Beaches spread for several kilometres east and west of town. The closest beach is Bacvice in the east with its lively bars, restaurants and ice cream parlors. Locals love Kasjuni at the foot of Marjan hill. Ovčice Beach is further way, but is more secluded and private.
Get tips about how to travel to Dubrovnik, another fascinating destination in Croatia, here.
Fjaka is the Dalmatian art of doing absolutely nothing. The best way to enjoy Split is to slide into a seat at one of the many cafes lining Riva and watch the world go by. Or relax in your sun chair on the beach and let your mind wander into daydreaming. That’s fjaka!
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