Split is a an incredible city, located on Croatia’s picturesque Dalmatian Coast. It is popular for its beaches, scenic views, water excursions, and of course it’s main fortress, Diocletian’s Palace. Although there are similarities between Dubrovnik and Split- they both are enclosed by city walls with gorgeous white stone and contain an abundance of cathedrals, shops, bars and cafes- it’s truly a MUST to see both cities, as they are so unique in their own way.
- When To Go To Split
- How To Get Around
- Where To Stay
- Where To Eat
- What To Do
- Day Trips From Split
- Travel Tips
When To Go To Split
May- September are the best months to visit Split, but note that the peak season is in June-August, so there are going to be a LOT of people around. Cruise ships board at the port in Split and unload thousands of tourists at a time as well, causing the streets to be super crowded. If you’re like us and you want to travel a bit in the off season, head to Split at the end of April, just as the season is gearing up. The streets will be more calm and you’ll have a much better experience overall. You can absolutely explore all this city has to offer in one-two days, although I highly recommend more time so you can explore the neighboring cities and sights.
How To Get Around
Luckily, Split is a walking city and everything can be done on foot. If you’re into getting to places a bit faster, there is a great public bus system that’s really affordable and super easy to use. Taxis are abundant as well, although we never personally used one. If you’re planning to take a few day trips to other nearby cities, or road trip Croatia, I highly suggest renting a car. We had so much fun exploring Croatia at our own pace. We had the BEST experience renting a car from M.A.C.K Rent-A-Car. They were super speedy, affordable and made the pickup in Split and drop-off in Zagreb totally seamless.
Where To Stay in Split
There are an abundance of hotels, hostels and Airbnb’s to stay at in Split. We are avid Airbnb users, as we travel with our furry dog, Miesha. Plus we usually stay in cities for an extended period of time to really get to know the place. Our Split Airbnb was AMAZING and one of the nicest we’ve stayed in thus far (and we’ve stayed in over 40). Our host, Barbara was so kind, genuine and very responsive. The condo was absolutely gorgeous with modern amenities and a balcony, and it was located just 10 minutes walking from the ocean. If you’re staying with Airbnb, then you MUST STAY HERE! For $33 off your first AIRBNB booking, click HERE for my discount code!
Where To Eat in Split
There is an ABUNDANCE of food in Split, so you’re bound to feel totally overwhelmed. We’d been in the Balkans for months, so we were definitely looking for a change of cuisine. We basically ate at all the great restaurants that didn’t serve local, Balkan food, except for a few.
Zinfandale- Zinfandale was the BEST restaurant we ate it during our time in Split. If you’re looking for a sit-down restaurant that’s a bit more upscale, then this is your place. The atmosphere was awesome, with live music and great service. The wine selection was on point and the cheese board was one of the best we’ve ever eaten. Tip: Get the house made ravioli for dinner, you won’t be disappointed.
Bota Sushi- We lived in Asia for 2.5 years, so we basically seek out sushi in every city that we go to ever since we left. We loved Bota so much that we ate here twice, although it is a bit more pricey (you get 4 pieces in a roll versus the standard 8 that we are used to). The service was fantastic as well. Tip: Order the Tiger Roll & Spicy Salmon Rolls, they’re both amazing!
Krafne Kod Mate- If you only listen to ONE recommendation for food from me, let Krafne Kod Mate be it! Krafne Kod Mate has delicious, local pastries, that are all homemade and will literally melt in your mouth. Get the donut filled with chocolate (the best). It is so light and fluffy and absolutely mouthwateringly delicious. It was NOTHING like the donuts that I’ve eaten back in the states, which are heavy and make you feel terrible after eating them. If chocolate isn’t for you, they also make the donuts stuffed with vanilla custard. The cheese danish is also the bomb (I basically ate everything on their menu-haha). Their pastries are super affordable (about $1USD per pastry) and did I mention their option 24 hours?! You’ll be going back the next day for more (or maybe late night after the bar), I promise!
Bepa- Bepa is awesome because it’s super causal, has outdoor seating and GREAT local cuisine. They have options for vegetarians and vegans as well, which was fantastic (the Buddha Bowl was delish).
Fabrique- My guilty pleasures in life are beer and wine. We always search for a great pub with good draught beer in every new city. Fabrique had exactly what we were looking for. They offer great outdoor seating so you can people watch while sipping on local or imported draft and bottled beer. We went here several timesbecause we loved it so much! Tip: Order the Grimbergen Double Ambree draught. It’s Belgian and it’s magical.
Brasserie on 7- If you’re looking for good food and FANTASTIC cocktails with EPIC views, then Brasserie on 7 is the place to be! We went here at least 5 times during our month in Split for their craft beer and cocktails. They’re located right on the main waterfront strip, which offers up unforgettable ocean-front views and people watching. TIP: Order the summer spritzer, you’ll thank me later.
What To Do in Split
There are SO many things to see and do in this incredible city, but it’s all about what interests you. Luckily, there is something for everyone in here with history, hikes, water sports, cocktails, markets and SO much more!
Hike Marjan Hill
We LOVE hiking and exploring. There’s nothing like breaking a sweat to get some epic views of a new city and Marjan Hill offers that up 1,000 fold. What’s cool is that you can explore this section of Split in two different ways (and they’re both free, unless you rent bikes).
- The Easy Way- Maybe you don’t feel like hiking for miles to explore a park, maybe wilderness isn’t your thing or maybe you had too much wine to drink last night. Either way, Marjan has a local entrance that won’t cause you to break too much of a sweat to see some beautiful views of the city. Head to the street entrance near Restaurant Ozujskou and follow it up to the right, where you’ll find 300 white marble steps up to the top. There, you’ll have beautiful views of Split with just a short little trek.
- The Dora-the-Exlorer Way- We love the GREAT outdoors, especially in new countries. We made an entire half-day adventure to Marjan Hill, by hiking the ENTIRE loop (see map 2 above). You can totally rent bikes and do this as well, but we explored it on foot. The total distance was about 5 miles and took us around 2 hours total. There are multiple routes and I truly wish we would’ve explored them all.
Explore Diocletian’s Palace
Diocletian’s Palace is located in the Old Town. It is an ancient marble palace built in the fourth century by Roman Emperor Diocletian, with 220 buildings inside its walls. It’s SO fun to get lost inside the city, exploring all its winding narrow streets and courtyards. You’ll find an endless amounts of cafes, bars and restaurants. Suprisingly, about 3,000 people still live inside its walls. You can see them bustling about their day if you stop on the streets and take a look up. You’ll view people hanging laundry, windows open with residents chatting inside, children playing in the streets and friends meeting for coffee (and usually a cigarette). Entry is free, which is a total bonus.
The Statue of Gregory of Nin
Constructed by the famous Croatian artist Ivan Mestrovic in 1929, the statue of Gregory of Nin is an important part of Diocletian’s Palace and shouldn’t be missed. Gregory of Nin was a well known bishop in Croatian history. He proposed that the Catholic mass should be held in the local language rather than in Latin. He is viewed as a protector of Croatian identity and its political interests, as well as a symbol of patriotism. The statue is massive, standing at 8.5-metres (28 ft) in height. Be sure to rub his foot for good luck!
Climb the Bell Tower of the Cathedral of Saint Domnius
If you’re looking for incredible views of Old Town, then you MUST climb the Bell Tower of the Cathedral of Saint Domnius. This cathedral is actually the oldest Catholic cathedral in the world that is still in use in its original structure. Climbing the bell tower is not for everyone, as the steps are very steep with a few very narrow (but short) passageways. If you’re claustrophobic, have a fear of heights or have mobility issues, it’s best to skip this one. Entry costs 20 Kuna or 3 Euros, which is well worth it! Once you’re at the top, you can take in 360-degree views of the city and ocean below.
Sea Kayaking & Other Water Excursions
Sadly, we missed out on this one. If you love to explore by water, then a kayaking adventure is definitely a must do! We were super impressed with the customer service of Red Adventures and will certainly take one of their guided kayak tours the next time we visit!
If you’re looking to explore the area more by motor boat, Split Sea Tours offers an AWESOME day trip to explore 5 different islands: the Blue Cave, Komiza, Blue Lagoon, Milna Vis & Hvar. It’s a GREAT way to see all the various sights nearby, especially if you’re pressed for time.
Day Trips From Split
One of the coolest aspects about Split is that you can take SO many day trips to various incredible cities and sights nearby. If you have time, I highly suggest you see them all! You can purchase a hired tour from the city of Split to all of these places, go by public bus or ferry or rent a car. We chose to rent a car from M.A.C.K Rent-A-Car to explore Klis Fortress and Krka National Park on our way to Zagreb, which worked out perfectly.
Hvar Island is a VERY popular tourist destination from Split and, thanks to Jadrolinija Ferry, you can get there in about an hour. This makes it super easy to take a day trip to Hvar, although it is highly recommended to stay overnight. Climb up Spanjola Fortress for incredible views of the city, explore St. Stephen’s Square or rent a scooter or bikes and explore the entire island. It’s also known for its incredible nightlife, so stay over and get your party on!
Just a 25 minute drive form Split, Klis Fortress gained popularity after it was featured as Mereen in Season 4 of the HBO Show Game of Thrones. The views of the city of Split from Klis are AMAZING, as it sits atop a steep cliff. The fortress itself is well preserved, despite being constructed back in the 5th century. You can hire a tour to go to Klis, rent a car, or go by public bus. Bus #22 leaves from just outside the Croatian National Theatre and goes to and from Klis. Do note that it only goes on weekdays. You can take Bus #34, #35, or #36 from the central bus station on Sukoišanska Street on the weekends. Entry is 40 Kuna ($6.30USD) per person. They’re open from 9am-4pm daily, but note that Klis is closed each Monday.
Krka National Park is just over an hour drive from Split and is one of the most beautiful places we’ve ever been! You can hire a tour to go to Krka, rent a car, or take the public bus (in season only) from Split to Skradin. There are multiple entrances for Krka, but the most popular is Skradin, as it is closest to the famous waterfall. It also involves the least amount of walking (just 2km) compared to the other entrances. Upon arriving in Skradin, you’ll purchase tickets at the ticket office located near the waterfront. Tickets include entry to the park and the ferry boat transport. The ferry leaves every hour and takes about 20-30 minutes, winding through the beautiful nature-filled views of Krka. Get your camera ready, because it is absolutely gorgeous!
Upon arriving at the area with the waterfall, you’ll have multiple options for food and treats as well as public bathrooms. Be sure to bring your swimsuit to swim in the water near the waterfall, it so clear and refreshing! The hike around the waterfall is a MUST do, as its so peaceful and walks your through the lush forest. All around you’ll hear the water running while walking through so much greenery. Fortunately, dogs are allowed here as well! Miesha rode on the ferry with no problem and walked around with us for 2 hours near the waterfall. The cost for the entry tickets with boat return is 110 Kuna per person ($17.34USD).
A Bit Further Than a Day Trip…
Dubrovnik is a coastal city, located about 3-4 hours south of Split. This city absolutely stole our hearts and is easily one of our favorite places of all time. The city walls are totally unique and like no other place we’ve ever been. For more information about this incredible city, check out my Blog Post with all the details! If you’re a super Game of Thrones fan like us, there are SO many locations in Dubrovnik where filming took place! I’ve outlined them all for you in a complete Game of Thrones Tour Blog Post, so you can do it yourself while you’re there and save the cash!
Located just 2 hours south by bus from Dubrovnik, Kotor is truly a unique city located on the water. The ride alone is absolutely gorgeous, winding along the water with the mountains in the backdrop. The view from atop the fortress offers up some of the most gorgeous views that I’ve ever seen before! If you have time, stay for a night or two to visit Budva and Perast as well. For more information about visiting Montengro, check out my Blog Post: 5 Reasons Why Montenegro Needs to be on Your Travel List!
Plitvice Lakes National Park
Sadly, we didn’t have enough time to visit Plitvice Lakes National Park while we were in Croatia. Croatia’s First National Park, Plitvice offers up 300 square km of beautiful lakes, waterfalls and nature to explore. It was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979. It’s best stay at least one night here (or more if you have time) to explore all it has to offer. Fortunately, dogs are allowed at the park, so we’ll certainly be back with Miesha one day!
Currency-The currency in Croatia is the Kuna.
Gym-If you’re looking for a GREAT gym, then Joker Fitness is the BEST place to workout in the city. In all our travels, this is one of the nicest gyms we’ve ever seen. Located inside the Joker Mall, this gym is HUGE. It offers up an abundance of machines, 6 squat racks, free weights and cardio machines. For a one month unlimited membership, you’ll pay 280 Kuna ($44.15USD) if you go before 4pm. A one time visit will cost you 50 Kuna ($7.88USD)
Get LOST- My favorite part about visiting Split was getting lost inside the city. Roaming around the white marble walls with its winding alleyways, restaurants, and cafes was absolutely unforgettable.
Other Related Posts:
- Dubrovnik, Croatia: The Best of the Balkans
- Game of Thrones in Dubrovnik, Croatia
- Zagreb, Croatia: A 24-Hour Itinerary
- Video: Dubrovnik, Croatia From Above (Drone)
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