Brimming with historical sights, ancient monuments, top-tier restaurants, luxury hotels, museums, and sandy beaches, Split is the most popular tourist destination in Croatia.
It stretches across both its surroundings and a central peninsula, lying on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea in the Dalmatia region.
This magnificent city is linked to the Apennine peninsula as well as the Adriatic islands. So aside from being a popular holiday resort, Split is also one of the biggest transport hubs and ferry ports in Southeast Europe.
Plus, it’s the ideal base for exploring nearby islands and other tourist places in Croatia.
A mix of ancient architecture and modern buildings makes Split appealing to tourists. With so many attractions and landmarks, there’s plenty to do and see in Split. Visitors can enjoy chilling out on the beaches, strolling along the seafront promenade, visiting art galleries, and much more.
Do you need more ideas on how to spend your vacation in Split and have the time of your life? Here are the best things to do in Split, Croatia.
6+1 Things to Do in Split, Croatia
1. Wander Around Split Old Town
Where to start your journey? Old Town Split, Croatia is the best starting point for the exploration of this stunning city. It’s set in an antique Roman palace that dates back to the fourth century.
While this place is easy to reach thanks to its location, you may have a hard time finding your way around since it is easy to get lost in a labyrinth of narrow cobblestone streets. Even if you have already visited this place and know it well, there’s always something new to discover like new passages, hidden alleyways, etc.
This historical site is a favorite place for both locals and visitors where they spend most of their time. It’s full of restaurants, shops, bars, and landmarks. The Diocletian’s Palace is the most important landmark of Split Old Town and it deserves a special review. Other attractions worth visiting include:
- Cathedral and Bell Tower
- The town’s gates
- Temple of Jupiter
- Grgur Ninski Statue
- Fruits’ Square
2. Explore Diocletian’s Palace
The legendary Diocletian’s Palace is a must-visit attraction during your stay in Split. This fourth-century historical complex covers an area of about 40,000 square meters, dominating the historic core of the city.
The palace has been constructed as a retirement villa for Diocletian – a Roman emperor from 284 to 305. Upon completion, it doubled as both a military facility and Diocletian’s home.
Today, this well-preserved 1700-year-old palace is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites that brings life to Split. You can visit it on a Split Walking Tour that allows you to explore the palace while learning more about the life of Diocletian and Roman history.
You will see!
Another thing that adds to the popularity of this marvelous palace is that it’s one of the filming locations of Game of Thrones in Croatia. That has been drawing even more visitors to Split.
Atmospheric and dark, the subterranean halls of the palace and nearby alleyways served as the Meereen streets in this fantasy drama TV series. If you’re a fan of this popular series, then you should go on a Game of Thrones Split Tour to learn more.
3. Climb the Bell Tower for Spectacular Views of Split
If you want to enjoy panoramic views of the city and surrounding area, head to the top of the Cathedral of Saint Domnius. This adorable cathedral is located in the center of the Split’s historic complex. It was built in the fourth century. The Romanesque-style tower bell was constructed in the 12th century and rebuilt in the 20th century.
Reaching the bell tower of this tall cathedral is not easy at all. You need to climb about 200 stairs that are very narrow and steep in some places. Don’t worry, the staircase is safe and there are extended areas where visitors can take a rest.
While this strenuous adventure will leave you breathless, it’s well worth it. Once you reach the top of the 59-meter high tower, you will be rewarded with awesome views of the entire city and harbor.
It is also an ideal place to take some photos!
4. Cycle Around Marjan Hill
Continuing suggesting you things to do in Split, Croatia, we have to mention that many people discover this lovely city by going on a Split Cycling Tour. Stop at different points across the city and visit local beaches as well as other sights.
Marjan Hill is the endpoint of the tour. Towering above Split, it’s a great spot to enjoy panoramic views of the city. This large recreational area combines the best beaches and medieval churches with parks and green areas with Mediterranean pine and cypress trees. There are a lot of forest paths where both locals and tourists go for a stroll.
Local residents have special relationships with this natural zone. They regard it as a guardian angel and symbol of Split. Before you head to Marjan Hill, keep in mind that it’s pretty steep and around 170 meters high.
If you crave exercise and fresh air, this should not be a big problem. You will encounter the Jewish cemetery as well as two old churches — St. Jerome and St. Nicholas — along the way.
5. Admire Krka National Park
Following the Krka River, this captivating national park is located in central Dalmatia just an hour’s drive away from Split. This wonderful place offers many tourism, recreational, educational, scientific, and cultural activities.
However, most people come here to admire the lofty Skradinski Buk, a natural pool that’s fed by numerous waterfalls. The tallest waterfall is nearly 50 meters high. Stradinski Buk is surrounded by lush greenery and it’s emptied by a lot of cascades. That creates a fabulous scene you’ll feast your eyes on for hours.
6. Stroll Along the Riva
Take the time to walk this seafront promenade in the heart of the city. You will get a better sense of the local culture and people while soaking up the beauty of the coastline. Running the whole length of Split Old Town, Riva is lined with souvenir shops, restaurants, bars, hotels, and eateries.
There’s St. Francis church, Republic square, and a delightful fountain on its west side, as well as a green market on the east side. They are all worth visiting.
This adorable promenade is a favorite place for residents and tourists alike. In addition to enjoying an evening or morning stroll, many people come here to feel the city’s vibe and have a drink in cafes or bars. It is the perfect spot for watching the luxurious yachts and Adriatic sunset too.
During the day, Riva is usually quiet, but it gets more dynamic and noisy in the twilight.
What else can you see and visit in Split? The list would be too long, but if you have a lot of time, you should also visit:
- Statue of Grgur Ninski
- Peristil Square
- St. Duje’s Cathedral, and
- Klis Fortress
That’s not all! No visit to Split is complete without heading to the beach and having a dip in the sea. This is especially true if you visit this seaside destination in the summer.
Bonus: Spend Some Time On the Beach
The Adriatic Sea is pretty warm from Jun to September and hence ideal for a refreshing dip. One of the coolest things about this city is that the beach is close and easy to reach by foot regardless of your current location in Split.
Located only 10 minutes’ stroll from the ferry terminal and Split bus station, Bačvice is no doubt the best beach here. This sandy, buzzing beach accommodates over 10,000 people at a time.
The sun-soaked, lively atmosphere of this half-moon beach welcomes everyone. There are nightclubs and bars almost by the sea. Besides Bačvice, other beautiful beaches worth mentioning include Firule, Bene, and Kašjuni Beach.
Once you visit the most popular historical sites and tourist attractions in Split, spend an afternoon at the beach. Swim, chill out, sunbathe, relax, and have fun. Stroll along the promenade in the evening when the sun goes down.
What better way to end up your day than sipping a cocktail at a beach bar and watching the sunset next to the sea.