Visiting Split, Croatia: The Ultimate Guide for First-Time Visitors
The second-largest city in Croatia, Split, is sometimes disregarded by tourists in favour of more well-known locations like Dubrovnik and Hvar. However, it’s worth visiting Split because it has a fascinating cultural heritage, beautiful architecture, and hidden jewels. We’ll take you on a tour of Split’s hidden gems in this guide, showing its distinct beauty and charm.
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Brief Overview of Split and Its History
Split is a picturesque seaside city in Croatia that provides visitors with the ideal fusion of natural beauty, history, and culture. The second-largest city in Croatia is renowned for its well preserved Roman ruins, breathtaking beaches, and exciting nightlife. In this article, we’ll give you a quick rundown of Split’s background and discuss why it’s important to pay a visit.
Diocletian, the Roman Emperor, built Split as a retirement palace in the fourth century. One of the city’s top attractions, the palace is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Split was ruled by a number of different nations after the Roman Empire fell, including the Byzantines, the Venetians, and the Austrians. Split is a bustling city nowadays, drawing tourists from all over the world.
Why it’s Worth Visiting Split
- The Diocletian’s Palace: In Split, the palace is a must-see destination. It is a stunning display of Roman engineering and design and has been kept incredibly well. The palace’s multiple structures, courtyards, and underground tunnels are open to visitors to explore.
- Beautiful Beaches: Split is home to some of Croatia’s most beautiful beaches, including Bačvice, Žnjan, and Kasjuni. These beaches offer crystal-clear waters and plenty of opportunities for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports.
- Rich Cultural Heritage: Split has a vibrant cultural history. Visitors can visit the city’s numerous art galleries, theatres, and museums, including the Croatian National Theatre, the Ethnographic Museum, and the Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments.
- Vibrant Nightlife: Split is a city that knows how to party. Visitors can enjoy a wide range of nightlife options, including bars, clubs, and live music venues.
In general, Split is a city with something to offer everyone. This picturesque coastal city offers a wealth of things to see and do, whether you’re interested in history, culture, or the surrounding natural beauty.
Getting to Split: Transportation and Best Time to Visit
The prominent tourist location of Split, Croatia, has a lot to offer travellers. Knowing your travel options and the ideal time to go to Split is vital if you’re planning a vacation there.
- By Plane: Split has its own international airport, which is located approximately 25km from the city center. Many major airlines offer direct flights to Split from cities across Europe, making it easily accessible.
- By Bus: Split is well connected by bus to other major cities in Croatia, as well as other European destinations. There are also frequent buses to nearby towns and villages.
- By Ferry: Split is a major ferry hub, with regular services to the nearby islands and coastal towns, as well as other destinations along the Adriatic coast.
Best Time to Visit:
The shoulder season months of May, June, September, and October are the best times to visit Split since the weather is still nice but there are fewer tourists around. Split experiences its busiest travel season in July and August when the weather is warm and sunny, but the city may become highly congested. Even though Split’s winters can get very chilly, the holiday season brings a festive atmosphere and fewer visitors.
Regardless of the route you use to arrive to Split, it’s crucial to make travel arrangements in advance, especially during the busiest months. Making the most of your trip to Split is important because there is so much to see and do there.
Depending on their interests and budget, travellers to Split can pick from a variety of lodging options. Here are a few of the most well-liked Split lodging options and neighbourhoods:
Types of accommodations available
- Hotels – Split has a variety of hotels ranging from budget to luxury. Many hotels are located near the city center, making it easy to access popular attractions.
- Hostels – Split has a good selection of hostels, which are perfect for budget travelers. They offer shared or private rooms, and some even provide breakfast.
- Apartments – Visitors can rent an apartment in Split, which is a great option for those who want more privacy and space. Many apartments are located in the city center or near the beach.
- Guesthouses – For a more intimate and homely experience, visitors can stay in a guesthouse. They are often run by locals and offer a more personalized experience.
Popular areas to stay in Split
- Old Town – The heart of Split, Old Town is where the city’s main attractions are located, including Diocletian’s Palace and the Riva Promenade. It’s a great area to stay in if you want to be close to the action.
- Bacvice – Bacvice is known for its sandy beach and vibrant nightlife. It’s a popular area for young travelers and those who enjoy the beach and party scene.
- Marjan – Located on a hill overlooking the city, Marjan is a quiet and peaceful area with stunning views of the sea and the city. It’s perfect for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city center.
- Znjan – Znjan is a newer area of Split with modern apartment buildings and a long stretch of beach. It’s a great area for families and those who want to stay in a more residential area.
Overall, Split offers a wide variety of lodging options, so guests can find something to fit their needs and budget.
Must-See Attractions when visiting Split
There are numerous must-see sites in Split that will excite any first-time visitor. There is no shortage of things to see and do in this dynamic city, from the historic ruins of Diocletian’s Palace to the natural splendour of Marjan Hill. Some of the main sights to consider on your schedule are as follows:
One of the most spectacular Roman ruins in the entire world, this Split landmark is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The palace, which was constructed by the Roman emperor Diocletian in the fourth century, has stood the test of time and is today a maze of shops, eateries, and museums.
Cathedral of Saint Domnius:
One of the earliest Christian structures in the world, this magnificent church is housed within the boundaries of Diocletian’s Palace. Originally constructed as Diocletian’s mausoleum, it was eventually transformed into a cathedral and currently houses an incredible collection of artwork and artefacts.
Marjan Hill, a well-liked location for hiking, outdoor recreation, and picnicking, provides stunning views over the city and the Adriatic Sea. It’s the ideal place to unwind and relax away from the hectic city centre.
Peristyle Square, which is in the centre of Diocletian’s Palace, is a well-liked location for people-watching and taking up the energetic spirit of the city. There are numerous cafes and restaurants on the square, which is surrounded by stunning architecture.
The Riva Promenade, which stretches along the water, is a well-liked location for strolling, people-watching, and taking in the sea vistas. It’s a terrific site to watch the sunset or stop at one of the many cafés and eateries along the way for a quick meal.
Split has something to offer everyone, regardless of their interests in history, art, or the great outdoors. Just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what this beautiful city has to offer are these must-see sights.
Hidden Gems in Split, Croatia
Although the Diocletian’s Palace and the Cathedral of Saint Domnius are unquestionably the most well-known sights in Split, there are a lot of other things worth visiting as well. Here are five undiscovered attractions you ought to include on your itinerary:
- Galerija Mestrovic: Ivan Mestrovic, a well-known Croatian sculptor, is honoured in this museum. Some of Mestrovic’s most striking sculptures may be found in the museum, which is housed in a stunning villa surrounded by gardens.
- Ethnographic Museum: This museum is dedicated to the ethnographic heritage of the Dalmatian region. The museum is located in a beautiful 16th-century palace and features exhibits on traditional clothing, crafts, and customs.
- Green Market: This bustling market is the perfect place to experience local life in Split. The market is open every day and features a wide variety of fresh produce, meat, and fish.
- Sustipan Park: This park is located on a hill overlooking the sea and offers stunning views of the surrounding area. The park is the perfect place to take a stroll and enjoy the beauty of Split.
- Church of Our Lady of Good Health: This small church is located near the Diocletian’s Palace and is often overlooked by tourists. The church features beautiful Baroque architecture and a peaceful atmosphere.
You will gain a greater grasp of Split’s culture and history as well as a new perspective on the city by discovering these hidden gems.
Outdoor Activities to partake when visiting Split
Marjan Hill Hiking
Split’s Marjan Hill is a well-liked hiking location with beautiful views of the city, nearby islands, and the Adriatic Sea. The hill offers a number of trails with varied degrees of difficulty and is covered in a thick pine forest. While the more difficult paths demand more time and effort, the easiest route begins in the city centre.
Split has several beaches that are ideal for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports. The most popular beach is Bačvice, located just a few minutes’ walk from the city center. This sandy beach is equipped with showers, changing rooms, and a range of water sports activities. Other beaches in Split include Žnjan, Kasuni, Bene, and Kastelet, all of which have their own unique charm.
Rock climbers can find many chances in Split and the surrounding area. With over 80 defined routes of different complexity, Marjan Hill is one of the most well-liked climbing locations. The surrounding towns of Omi and Trogir also contain a number of climbing locations. A fantastic opportunity to push one’s physical limits while taking in the spectacular views of the city and the Adriatic Sea is to go climbing in Split.
Cultural Experiences in Split, Croatia
Experiencing the local culture in Split is one of the nicest parts of travelling there. There are many possibilities to really experience Croatian culture when travelling, from authentic cuisine to exciting festivals and activities. Here are a few cultural opportunities you shouldn’t pass up:
Traditional Croatian Cuisine
Croatian food is a delicious fusion of Central European and Mediterranean flavours, with a focus on locally sourced, fresh ingredients. Among the meals you must try are:
- Pasticada: a slow-cooked beef stew in a rich sauce, typically served with gnocchi or mashed potatoes
- Buzara: a seafood stew made with mussels, clams, and other shellfish in a tomato-based sauce
- Octopus salad: a refreshing dish made with tender octopus, onions, and potatoes, dressed with olive oil and vinegar
- Strudel: a sweet pastry filled with apples, cherries, or cheese
Local Festivals and Events
Split is renowned for hosting exciting festivals and events all year long. The most well-liked ones consist of:
- Ultra Europe: a massive electronic music festival held in July, featuring top DJs from around the world
- Days of Diocletian: a historical reenactment of life in the Roman Empire, held in August in Diocletian’s Palace
- Split Summer Festival: a month-long cultural festival featuring theater, music, and dance performances, held in July and August
- Grape Harvest Festival: a celebration of the local wine harvest, typically held in September or October
You won’t want to miss a folklore performance if you’re interested in Croatian traditional music and dance. These performances frequently include vibrant costumes, upbeat music, and complex choreography. The KUD Jedinstvo and the Lado Ensemble are two well-known ensembles.
Croatia has a long history of producing wine, so you absolutely must sample some while you’re there. Plavac Mali, Dingac, and Posip are some of the more well-known varieties. The Putalj Winery and the Paradox Wine & Cheese Bar are just two of the wineries and wine bars in and around Split that provide tours and tastings.
There are many cultural activities you may take part in during your trip to Split, regardless of whether you’re a foodie, a music fan, or you’re just interested in the local customs. Don’t be scared to experiment and respect the culture of the area!
Day Trips from Split
There are several day trip alternatives from Split, making it a fantastic place to start your exploration of the region. Some of the top day trips you can do from Split are listed below:
A charming town called Trogir is only 30 minutes from Split. It is renowned for having a mediaeval old town that has been conserved effectively and has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition to visiting the St. Lawrence Cathedral, visitors can stroll through the winding alleyways and take in the Renaissance and Baroque buildings.
Approximately 30 minutes from Split is the little town of Omis, which is found near the mouth of the Cetina River. It is renowned for its beautiful beaches, pure waterways, and outdoor pursuits like rock climbing and rafting. Along with visiting the Mirabella Fortress, visitors can stroll through the mediaeval town centre.
Only 15 minutes separate Split from the mediaeval village of Solin. The old Roman city of Salona’s ruins can be seen there, as can the former capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia. The Salona Archaeological Museum and the archaeological site are open to visitors.
A little settlement called Klis is roughly 30 minutes’ drive from Split. It is renowned for having an amazing fortification that was built in the seventh century. Visitors can tour the fortress, which was depicted in the popular television series “Game of Thrones,” and take in breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.
Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or outdoor activities, there’s something for everyone on a day trip from Split.
Nightlife in Split offers a wide variety of options for visitors looking to experience the city’s vibrant energy after dark. Here are some of the top places to check out:
Popular Bars and Clubs
- Central Club: This nightclub located in the heart of the city offers a lively atmosphere and features some of the best DJs in Croatia.
- Ghetto Club: This hip-hop club is a popular spot among locals and visitors alike, known for its energetic crowds and great music.
- Tropic Club: With its tropical-themed decor and dance floor, Tropic Club is a popular destination for electronic music lovers.
Traditional Croatian Music
- Figa Food Bar: This cozy restaurant serves traditional Croatian cuisine and features live music performances by local artists.
- Konoba Varos: A local favorite, Konoba Varos offers a warm and welcoming atmosphere along with live music performances of traditional Croatian music.
Wine and Cocktail Bars
- Paradox Wine & Cheese Bar: This wine bar offers a wide selection of local and international wines along with delicious cheese plates.
- Black Cat Cocktail Bar: This speakeasy-style bar serves up creative cocktails in a stylish setting, perfect for a night out with friends.
No matter what your tastes are, Split’s nightlife scene has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking to dance the night away or enjoy a relaxing drink, there are plenty of options to choose from.
Getting Around Split: Tips and Transportation
Many of the major sights of Split’s Old Town, which dates back centuries, are within easy walking distance of one another. However, there are a number of solutions available for individuals who favour using public transit.
- Buses: There is a robust bus system in Split that links the city centre with the neighbouring districts. Bus tickets can be purchased at newsstands or while riding the bus. It’s crucial to remember that newcomers may find the transportation system complex, so it’s a good idea to seek assistance from locals or hotel personnel.
- Taxis: In Split, taxis are easily accessible and can be called or flagged down on the street. Before boarding the taxi, especially for longer trips, it is advised to come to an agreement on the fare.
- Bikes and scooters: In Split, there are many opportunities to rent bikes and scooters, which can be a pleasant way to explore the city and its environs.
- Ferry: Split is a major transportation hub for the Dalmatian Coast, with regular ferries connecting the city to the nearby islands and towns.
Tips for Navigating the City:
- Wear comfortable shoes and be ready for some uphill walking because Old Town streets can be congested and twisty.
- It’s a good idea to carry a map or download a map app to help navigate the city.
- Be aware of pickpockets, especially in crowded areas like the market or on public transportation.
- It’s crucial to remember that parking in Split might be pricey and challenging to obtain if you want to drive there. When possible, it is advised to take a taxi or the public transportation system.
You can maximise your time in Split by being familiar with the various modes of transport and municipal navigational advice.
Security and Safety
Although Split is generally a secure city for tourists, it’s always vital to take safety precautions.
Typical ripoffs and how to avoid them
Split is susceptible to scams, just like any other tourist destination. Taxi drivers overcharging visitors and pickpockets in busy places are two of the most prevalent frauds. Make careful to negotiate a price with the taxi driver before boarding and keep your valuables locked away in crowded places to prevent falling victim to these scams.
Contact information for emergencies
To contact emergency services in Split, dial 112. You can reach the appropriate services, such as the police, ambulance, or fire department, by dialling this number in the entire European Union in case of an emergency.
Another smart move is to maintain a copy of your passport and other crucial papers in a hotel safe or other secure location. Contact your embassy or consulate as soon as you can for assistance if you do suffer a crime or misplace your passport.
You can guarantee a secure and pleasurable trip to Split by adopting a few easy safety measures and remaining alert of your surroundings.
Tips for Budget Travel in Split, Croatia
Don’t worry if your travel plans to Split, Croatia, are on a limited budget. Here are some suggestions for enjoying Split to the fullest without blowing your budget:
Split provides a selection of lodging options at different pricing brackets. Hostels and guesthouses are excellent choices for travellers on a tight budget. In comparison to hotels, they provide communal or private rooms. Another excellent choice is camping, especially in the summer.
In Split, there are numerous free or inexpensive things to do. Explore the Diocletian’s Palace, stroll along the Riva Promenade, stop through the Green Market, or climb Marjan Hill for breathtaking cityscape views. A day at one of Split’s many beaches is another option, as is renting a bike to explore the city on two wheels.
The cost of eating wonderful Croatian food need not be prohibitive. Consider traditional fare like pasticada, a beef dish that is slowly cooked, or cevapi, a grilled meat dish. Local bakeries and markets are another place to find inexpensive food, where you can pick up a fast sandwich or a burek, a savoury pastry.
These pointers can help you enjoy Split, Croatia, to the fullest while yet living within your means.
Language and Communication
It is often beneficial to learn a few basic words and phrases before visiting a different nation. Although English is widely spoken in Croatia, the official language is Croatian, therefore it is always appreciated when visitors try to communicate in the native tongue.
- Hello: Bok (BOH-k)
- Goodbye: Doviđenja (doh-vee-JEN-yah)
- Please: Molim (MOH-leem)
- Thank you: Hvala (HVAH-lah)
- Yes: Da (dah)
- No: Ne (neh)
- Excuse me: Oprostite (oh-PROHS-tee-teh)
- Sorry: Žao mi je (zh-ow mee yeh)
Tips for Communication:
- Learn a few basic phrases before your trip, and practice them so you can use them confidently.
- Use gestures and facial expressions to help convey your message if you are having trouble communicating verbally.
- Speak slowly and clearly, and try to enunciate your words as best you can.
- Be patient and understanding with locals who may not speak your language fluently.
You may contribute to making your trip to Split more pleasurable and interesting by making an effort to learn some fundamental Croatian phrases and being aware of your communication style.
After discovering Split’s finest attractions, it’s time to review some of the city’s other undiscovered attractions, outdoor activities, cultural experiences, day trips, nightlife, transit choices, safety advice, and inexpensive travel suggestions.
Split has many hidden jewels to explore, ranging from the grand Galerija Mestrovic and the Ethnographic Museum to the lovely Sustipan Park and the little Church of Our Lady of Good Health. You may find fresh fruits, vegetables, seafood, and gifts in the vibrant Green Market.
Rock climbing, kayaking, and hiking are some of the most exhilarating activities for outdoor enthusiasts. On the beaches close to Split, you may also bask in the sun and go swimming in the clear seas.
Overall, Split is a must-visit location that appeals to a wide range of travellers, including history aficionados, nature lovers, foodies, and partygoers. Don’t be reluctant to discover this wonderful Croatian treasure and make priceless memories.
Is Split in Croatia worth visiting?
Yes, it is worthwhile to travel to Split. Split has something for every kind of traveller with its stunning coastline, fascinating history, mouthwatering cuisine, and dynamic culture.
Which is better Split or Dubrovnik?
This is arbitrary and subject to personal preferences. Split has a more metropolitan vibe with a vibrant nightlife scene, while Dubrovnik is recognised for its beautiful Old Town and magnificent seaside views. Before choosing which city to visit, it’s important to think about what kind of holiday you’re looking for as both offer their own distinctive charms.
How many days do you need in Split Croatia?
To truly explore Split and its surroundings, we advise staying there for at least two to three days. However, there are lots of day trips and activities to enjoy if you have more time.
Is Split Croatia a walkable city?
Yes, Split is an extremely pedestrian-friendly city. The historic Old Town, which is pedestrian-friendly and simple to get around on foot, is where the majority of the major attractions are situated. Be prepared to work out, though, as there are some hills and steps to negotiate.
What to avoid in Split Croatia?
It’s crucial to be careful of frequent scams and pickpocketing, like with any well-known tourist location. Don’t flash expensive jewellery or carry a lot of cash. Keep in mind that several of the beaches outside the city centre have poor water quality.
What is the best month to visit Split Croatia?
The shoulder seasons of May through June and September through October are the ideal times to visit Split since the weather is moderate and there are less tourists around. However, July and August are the finest times to go if you want to take in the vibrant summer atmosphere and enjoy swimming in the Adriatic Sea.