When it comes to exploring all of the various holiday destinations on offer, an array of tropical destinations may come to mind. One of which should without a doubt be the tranquil oasis that is the wonderful city of Split, that is located in Croatia. Boasting the title as the second largest city of Croatia, Split has a lot to offer as it is perfectly in the heart of Dalmatia, where the Adriatic blues mix with a vibe that’s part Mediterranean cool, part Italian verve. This means that if you are looking for things to do in Split – you are absolutely spoilt for choice.
This coastal gem truly has the most inspiring attractions that will both surprise and delight you, including Marjan Park, Diocletian’s Palace, and the picturesque Riva waterfront of Old Split to name a few.
Trust us when we say that there are so many great things to do in Split. It’s also an ideal spot for island-hopping to hotspots including Brac, Hvar, and the often-overlooked Solta. So, lets not waste any more time and get straight into all of the adventures that await you.
Related Read: A Solo Traveler’s Guide to Split
Things to do in Split, Croatia
It definitely does without saying that the crown jewel of Split is the 1,700-year-old Palace of Diocletian and the wonderful Split City Museum, Ethnographic Museum and new Gallery of Art. However, you would be missing out on several key sites if you only went to these locations as there’s plenty of other pearls waiting to be discovered.
All you need is the official tourist office map (free at the Tourist Bureau in the Peristyle and available at all hotels).
This beautiful hill is located within a peninsula nearby the old town of Split. This is truly a wonderful spot to get away and get lost in the dense trees in the middle of the park or to bike on a paved path. The lush greenery will have you feeling like you have walked into a one of Mother Nature’s many wonders.
2. Teraca Vidilica Cafe
Now THIS is a café with an incredible view. Not only will the food on offer delight you, but the picturesque scenery makes for the perfect backdrop too. Just keep in mind that you have to hike before getting to this café, so be prepared for a workout too – but it will totally be worth it.
3. Diocletian’s Palace
For those who enjoy exploring all of the places of cultural and historical significance, this spot is definitely for you. This is an ancient palace built for the Roman Emperor, Diocletianat. It was built during the turn of the fourth century AD, which today forms about half of the old town of Split.
4. Stand Up Paddle Boarding in Split
This one is for all the water babies who enjoy days spent out in the water. Take advantage of the clear blue waters of Croatia and do paddle boarding. You can do paddle boarding at a variety of places around Split, you can also book online.
5. Mama’s Burger Bar
If you consider yourself quite the foodie, you will want to keep in mind that Split can get expensive for food especially in the high season. If you are looking for a great bite to eat, we recommend Mama’s Burger Bar as they have wonderful for burgers of course and salads too. The meals are hearty, and all of their ingredients sustainably grown. Better yet, all of it is on offer at an affordable price.
6. Bacvice Beach
It wouldn’t be possible to oversell this incredible beach as this one and only beach in Split is absolutely fabulous. This beach will take you to another time and world. The waters are heavenly blue and quite clear. So, make sure to add this to your must-see list!
7. 4Coffee Soul Food
Split, like many parts of Croatia, appreciates coffee. Italian style coffee is the popular type of coffee served in Split. If you are looking for a great coffee spot, we highly recommend T4Coffee Soul Food as they serve the most exquisite single origin coffee with zest.
8. Join a walking tour
Split is perfect to explore on foot, so why not join one of the many walking tours of the city (like this one)! To make it even more interesting, join a themed walking tour like this Game of Thrones location tour. You won’t regret joining either one of these options!
Split walking tour itinerary
Where to start?
As a general rule of thumb, it is recommended that you use the tall bell tower of the Sv. Duje Cathedral, which can be seen from most points in the city, as your compass. This way you are able to get your bearings when needed when visiting Split, Croatia. It’s in the center of the Peristyle in Diocletian’s Palace. From the Peristyle, the basement of the Palace leads directly to the Riva, the waterfront promenade.
Where the Riva begins is where the two small ferry ticket booths are. This is where the airport bus comes and goes and where the cabs are. Most tourist buses also stop here. The road curving along the harbour away from the Riva takes you to the main Jadrolinija terminal and all the ferries (both local and international) as well as to where the cruise ships dock.
You will also want to note that opposite where the Riva begins is the Green Market. It is a great place to buy everything you need for a picnic. And in front of the Green Market is one of the key bus stops in the city—including the #60 bus that takes you straight to the beaches in Podstrana and all the way to the terrific coastal town of Omis (it runs twice and hour, pay on board, 25kn, or buy a ticket at the kiosk right there for 20kn).
OK, now that you can’t get lost, let’s begin our sightseeing with a walk through the Palace.
Note that you can do it yourself by using our exclusive pull-out map of the actual streets or hire a professional guide at the Sightseeing/Guide Bureau in the Peristyl at the top of the steps. They aren’t hard to miss so you will be fine!
You may also want to keep in mind that you generally need to allow a good two hours for the walking tour.
After stopping for a coffee or a snack (Element, just to the right of the West Gate of the Palace on Bajamonte ul has the city’s best selection of coffee and Rizzo, a local favorite, with a tiny shop in a square off Marmontova, has sensational sandwiches), it’s time for a walk.
You will want to start walking in the direction of the Riva and walk to the end where Sv. Frane Church is (remember that it’s the one with the clock tower in Croatia). Now continue walking up the street just to the right of the church and in about 15 minutes you’ll be high up on Marjan Hill with the best overlook of the city anywhere. Take a moment to take in this incredible sight!
This is the Varos section of the city, where there are old, wonderful streets and interesting stone houses, ancient churches and more for you to explore. When looking for things to do in Split, especially in this area, you will want to continue walking up—the street will get steeper and steeper, but it’s not a hard climb – so don’t worry. When you get to the top, make a sharp left, up a short staircase and you will be at the highest outdoor café in the city and a fabulous overlook.
Next to the actual café building is one of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in Europe. To visit, just ask the café staff for the key! If you want to continue your walk, a steep path up from the café will take you to some ancient tiny churches and hermits caves—and an even more glorious city/sea overlook that you will not want to miss. Give yourself an hour or two for the walk up, around and down. That way you aren’t rushed!
Back down at the Riva, diagonally across from the Sv. Frane Church is a bus stop. You can’t miss it, there’s a bus shelter with a small newsstand next to it. The #12 bus to Bene runs a couple times an hour—the schedule is posted on the shelter for you to look at. For a few dollars (10kn), you can take a gorgeous 20-minute bus ride out to Bene where you can swim, enjoy a cool forest, and even play tennis on clay courts! But make sure you get out at the Mestrovic Gallery and enjoy the gorgeous garden and gallery of the “most important sculptor since the Renaissance”, Igot Merstrovic (1883-1962), the only artist to be given a one man show during his lifetime at the N.Y. Metropolitan. Oh, and we can’t forget about the amazing gift shop too! After enjoying this marvelous place, go back out and catch the #12 all the way to Bene, where you can swim, bike and hike through miles of parkland by the sea.
Also, at this end of the Riva is the Prokurative, a handsome square whose Italian architect designed to remind him of St. Marks in Venice. Notice the wonderful faces on the upper façade? Now follow them until they all of a sudden stop. Why? Re-called to Venice, the architect never finished his dream! Crazy right? You will also want to enjoy a coffee and a snack at Spalatin, under the umbrellas, and then enjoy a stroll up Marmontova ul. (Perpendicular to the Riva). Do keep in mind that it’s the most popular pedestrian shopping street in Split and just up on your right, if you get there before noon, is the bustling Split Fish Market. The highest quality fish are inside the small building at the rear of the market. Sometimes you can see a giant tuna head and enormous tuna steaks being cut. There are some mighty strange looking sea critters here—ask the hawkers what they are, most speak enough English to help you. If you are renting an apartment, by all means buy what looks great and enjoy!
With so many things to do in Split, Croatia you won’t have a minute of boredom!