From great accommodations to amazing sights and landmarks, this complete Split Travel Guide will help you navigate through everything you need to know before coming to Split.
The Split was once an ancient Greek colony and the Roman Fort of Diocletian’s Palace, but today it’s one of the most popular Croatian summer destinations.
It’s home to wonderful culture and architecture, as well as astonishing natural sights.
It’s at its most alive in the summer when it’s full of people, but it can show you its beauty any time of the year.
It’s a great foodie destination because it has a great number of traditional taverns called “konobe”, but also a number of modern restaurants with international cuisine. There are some Michelin-awarded restaurants which we definitely suggest you visit. If you like fresh fish and seafood, this is the perfect part of the world for you.
Split is a popular tourist destination, so you can rest assured that it has everything a tourist could need when visiting.
A complete travel guide to Split, Croatia
- A complete travel guide to Split, Croatia
- Restaurants in Split
- Accommodation in Split
- Traveling to Split
- Frequently asked questions
Where is Split?
Split is one of the most popular cities in Croatia, the biggest city in the region of Dalmatia, and the second biggest in the whole country.
It’s a coastal city located on the eastern Adriatic shore underneath Marjan Hill, on the Marjan peninsula. Aside from Marjan, there are a lot of other hills and mountains surrounding Split on its mainland side.
In terms of the sea, a number of islands are close to Split: Brač, Hvar, Šolta, and Čiovo are visible from the city, and many more can be reached by ferry.
Here you can find Split on Google Maps.
Weather in Split
Like most towns on the Mediterranean coast, Split has a fairly warm climate. Official categories would be humid subtropical and Mediterranean January, but what that means is that Split has hot, dry summers and mild winters.
Even though the winters are mild, you have to be aware that it can get pretty cold when the “bura” is blowing. It’s a cold northern wind that can make any sunny day instantly colder. This is particularly often in January, which is the colder month.
As for the rain, it can get wet in Split at any time of the year, but the wettest season is in November, so keep that in mind while packing your luggage.
When is the best time to visit Split, Croatia?
Split is a famous summer destination, so the best time to visit it is the months from May to October. Most of the festivals and activities happen at this time, and the city is most alive during the summer.
It’s hot enough that you can swim, and since there are a number of great beaches in Split, you should visit some of them. Keep in mind that June, July, and August are tourist months, so the city can get a little bit crowded, especially in the evening.
So if you want to avoid a crowd of people on narrow streets, I suggest you visit Split in May or September. Here in Croatia, school starts at the beginning of September, so the city will be much calmer in the second half of that month.
TIP: If you’re not visiting Split just as a summer destination but would rather discover its architecture and mountain nature, you should visit it in spring. The city will be relatively tourist-free, and it won’t be too cold to stroll around or take a hike.
How many days do you need in Split, Croatia?
Well, it depends on what you would like to see and do. Split can be visited on a one-day layover and still be a great experience, but most people stay here for at least three days.
Don’t get me wrong, you can see a lot in just one day, but you’ll have to prioritize and thus won’t see everything that this city has to offer. A three-day stay is somewhat better since you’ll have time to visit the landmarks, go for a swim, and maybe even take a small out-of-town trip.
What we’d honestly suggest is taking a 5-day break in Split—this way, you can really get to know the town. Split isn’t just its architecture or just the nightclubs; it has so much to offer and, in my experience, you can get a lot of it done in 5 days.
TIP: While in Split, consider taking a one-day trip to one of the neighboring islands; you can even take your car on the ferry.
What to see in Split, Croatia?
There are a lot of things you can see in Split, but I’ll only list some of them – you can find more information in the “21 best things to do in Split” post.
The first and most popular is Diocletian’s palace. You can’t really miss it while in Split since the old town core is formed inside of it. This is the most recognizable landmark in Split and it delights thousands of tourists every year.
Ivan Meštović Gallery
A visit to the Ivan Meštrović Gallery is a must. It’s a beautiful museum of one of the greatest Croatian sculptors and artists, which is located in his family’s former mansion. In the summer, there are concerts in front of it, in the middle of the Mediterranean garden filled with native plants. It’s really one of a kind, and it’s just a 15-minute walk from the Central Bus Station.
The Cellars of Diocletian’s Palace
The Cellars of Diocletian’s Palace, or “Grote”, is also a must. They are located underneath the palace, and you can enter them through the Brass Gate from the waterfront and exit on the inside of the palace.
The cellars are filled with local artists selling their work, whether it’s paintings, sculptures, jewelry, or even garments. Don’t be fooled, it’s not just a town’s market.
Some of these artists are well known, and a lot of people come to the Cellars every year just to purchase artwork from their favorite artists.
The Peristyle or Plate of St. Domnius
The Peristyle or Plate of St. Domnius awaits you just as you exit the Cellars. This is a wonderful place to visit in the summer because it’s not uncommon to stumble across a performance of Verdi’s Aida or bump into Roman soldiers from Diocletian’s time.
What to do in Split, Croatia?
There is as much to do as there is to see in Split. It’s a lively town, especially in the summer. The activities that Split offers will satisfy everyone from kids to older people, art lovers to sports enthusiasts. You can find more things to do in our post “21 best things to do in Split“.
The absolutely first thing you need to do is drink a coffee or take a stroll on the Split waterfront, or as we call it “Riva”.
It’s the most lively part of town, no matter the season, with a lot of cafes and restaurants, as well as a bar and some pastry shops.
Split’s “Riva” is probably the most popular waterfront in Croatia, and you can’t say you visited Split if you haven’t at least taken a stroll. Moreover, it’s a great way to get from the Central Bus and Train Station to the Diocletian’s Palace or the Meštrović Gallery, which we mentioned before.
Visit some of the beautiful beaches in Split. The most popular beach is Bačvice, which is near the bus station, so you can incorporate a swim into your day in the town. It’s a place for young people to hang out, meet new friends, and play some “picigin.” “Picigin” is a ball game that was actually invented on this beach and has since then become a popular game on all pebbled Croatian beaches.
Visit the Gallery of Fine Arts – it’s near the exit of Diocletian’s palace and houses over 5000 works made by European and Croatian artists. Split has a lot of museums, and this is only one of them, but we guarantee you it’ll be worth your time to visit any of them.
Try the local cuisine. You can’t visit Dalmatia without trying the local cuisine. This part of Dalmatia’s specialty is “soparnik”; a pizza-like pastry filled with spinach, garlic, and olive oil. Also, there’s “kroštule” if you’d like to try something sweet. You can be sure to get a home-cooked Dalmatian meal at any of the many “konoba” taverns; just find some of the many “konoba” taverns and eat.
Discover the history of the Roman Spalato – the whole old town is an ancient jewel. You can really get a feeling like you’ve traveled back in time to the Roman Empire and discovered some of this city’s great architecture from a long time ago.
Take a walk on Marjan Hill. This is Split’s mountain guardian. Marjan is a popular spot for both local people and tourists for sports activities; going for a run or a walk, and even taking a swim because some of the best natural beaches are just beneath it.
Go to a concert. Split has a lot of festivals and concerts, both outdoors and indoors. It has a big arena on the outer side of the city, but a lot of concerts actually take place in the old town itself. The music program is the best in the summer, but the clubs are open any time of the year, so you should definitely find something for yourself.
Visit the Mosor Observatory. Mosor is a mountain near Split to which there are bus lines and it’s accessible by car. It’s home to the Mosor Star Village, which often has lectures and workshops, and in August, there are organized Perseids watching, often accompanied by a jazz concert. If you’d like a really unique experience of gazing at the stars while listening to classical music, you should definitely visit Mosor.
Restaurants in Split
Croatia is home to a lot of great recipes, and no matter where you go, you can get good quality local cuisine.
Split is just the same – it’s a great city for food enthusiasts, from people who prefer traditional local cuisine to those who like to try something new every day and easily get bored with traditional recipes. It’s filled with restaurants, pastry shops, and high-quality bakeries.
What’s Dalmatian cuisine like?
It’s a type of Mediterranean cuisine that has a lot of fish and seafood in general, a lot of grilled or baked meat, cooked vegetables, and all kinds of pasta and risotto.
Even though you’re on the Adriatic coast, you can still get a lot of meat dishes and classic Balkan foods like “ćevapi” or “kebap”. If you order fried squid, you’ll probably get it with a side of Pommes Frites; this is one of the most beloved meals on our coast.
A meal that is special in this part of Dalmatia is the black risotto, which owes its name to the fact that it’s made with squid ink. Our suggestion would be any kind of grilled fish with cooked vegetables (spinach with potatoes) since it’s the most classic meal for our whole coast.
Lunch and dinner restaurants in Split
This is a classic Dalmatian konoba that offers traditional cuisine and a real insight into what the people in Split have been eating for decades.
The great thing is that they only cook with natural ingredients which are available depending on the season – as they confirm on their site.
The fish is always fresh, so you can be sure that the food will be top quality. One downside is that they open at 17:30 (5PM), so you won’t be able to get there for lunch but don’t give up.
5 stars on TripAdvisor
Sinovčića ul. 5, 21000
tel:+385 95 707 0777
Fetivi is another traditional Dalmatian tavern decorated in the true spirit of Croatian konobas. It’s true to its original goal and offers great local food, but it keeps its prices in a reasonable range.
It’s good to know that Fetivi has received a Bib Gourmand Michelin award, so be sure to check it out.
4.5 stars on TripAdvisor
Tomica Stine 4
tel:+385 21 355 152
It’s another great place that offers food made with fresh and local ingredients. It’s a small and cozy restaurant in the city center, which sometimes has a queue for the entrance, so you know it must be good.
4.5 stars on TripAdvisor
tel:+385 91 152 1249
Pastry shops and bakeries
This is one of the oldest bakeries in Split, dating back to 1949. It’s both a pastry shop and a bakery, and none of its products are of lesser quality than the others.
They have great wraps, pizza, and soparnik, but also amazing cakes and puff pastry desserts.
Accommodation in Split
You’ll find a wide offering of accommodation in Split, no matter what you’re looking for.
There are big hotels with full service, apartments, hostels, and many more, so everyone will find something for themselves depending on their budget and wishes. Here are some of our favorites from various categories.
JeS Old Town Luxury Rooms
This accommodation is located near the city center, just around the corner from the Natural History Museum and within a short walking distance from Bačvice beach. It offers luxury rooms and has a 9.2 rating on Booking.com. A great thing about this property is that it has a garden, which isn’t often found this close to the city center.
Radisson Blu Resort & Spa
If you’ve read our post about The Best Beaches in Split, you’ll remember the Radisson Hotel. It’s a luxury hotel near the city center with a few great beaches in its vicinity. This is a great option for those used to staying in big hotel chains and full service.
Trip Advisor: 8.5
Dvor is located in Varoš from where you can easily get to the city center and it’s filled with old stone houses and historical views. It offers a terrace for hanging out as well as everything a good hostel needs.
Heritage Hotel Antique Split
If you want a unique (but a little bit pricey) experience, this is it. The Heritage Hotel is located INSIDE the Diocletian’s palace, and the view from its windows is one of a kind. The food is said to be great, and you’ll definitely enjoy a stay at this place if you plan to spend some time in your room.
What’s the price range?
It depends on the time of the year, but it ranges from 60 euros in the non-tourist months to up to 200 euros in the summer months, especially in July and August. Generally, it’s cheaper the further you are from the city center, but it also depends on the type of accommodation.
Hostels are often the cheapest option, with some of them going for 10 euros a night. A lot of people decide to rent an apartment, which has become really popular since it gives you independence.
Is Split a party town? Clubs and nightlife in Split
It could be said that Split is a kind of party town. Even though you can definitely have a peaceful stay without any noise, you can also have a lot of fun in this city at night. It’s filled with bars, clubs, and nightlife, and a lot of young people from all over Europe come to its festivals.
Remember that 18 is the legal limit for consuming alcohol, though, because some of these festivals are really strict about that. Here are some of our favorite places to go out.
Academia Club Ghetto
One of the bars we already talked about in our “21 best things to do in Split” is Ghetto, located in the old town, only a few minutes from the waterfront. It doubles as an art gallery, and it’s often a place for great concerts, especially acoustic ones. A Ghetto is a place where young artists show their work so it’s great if you want to check out the modern Split art scene. The good thing about it is that it opens at 17 or 18:00 so you can also get coffee at this place.
Marvlvs Library Jazz Bar
This is also an alternative bar, which is located in the birthhouse of Marko Marulić, one of the greatest Croatian writers. If you’re lucky, you might stumble onto a literature evening of Croatian or international authors.
This club opens at 1 am and it’s one of the favorites of the local population. It has two stories, and each one has a different type of music. This is a place where you can meet a lot of young, party-loving people.
This is not a bar, nor a club, but you should definitely visit it if you want to hang out like the locals do. It’s a small place at the end of the waterfront, on the opposite side of the Central Bus Station. You’ll recognize it by a lot of young people drinking and listening to music. This is a good place to start your evening and meet new people.
This is the festival Split is probably most famous for. Next to music, it’s the biggest festival in Croatia and it’s full of people from all around the world every year. If you’re a fan of techno music, make sure to visit Split in time for Ultra.
Does Split have a beach?
Split has a number of beaches, and you can read all about them in our post “The Best Beaches in Split”. The most popular one is Bačvice which is nearest to the city center. Split’s largest beach is Žnjan which is a pebbled beach, only a 15-minute drive from the Central Bus Station.
The Kašjuni beach is at the foot of Marjan Hill, so it offers a wonderful view of the mountain while you’re in the sea. A lot of Split’s beaches have thick Mediterranean forests around them, so you can get some natural shade.
On most of them, there are water activities and all kinds of equipment for rent – from parasols to water skis.
Traveling to Split
There are many ways to get to Split from all parts of Croatia. As the second largest Croatian city, Split is well connected with a lot of other cities.
Regular bus lines run from Zagreb, Rijeka, Pula, Zadar, Šibenik, Dubrovnik, and Makarska, as well as a number of smaller towns. Buses are relatively frequent, but not all of them tend to be on time, so prepare your nerves if you’re coming from a smaller place to Split because you might wait a while.
A lot of the buses are new, so it’s a really comfortable ride, but it can get a little bit crowded in the summer if you’re traveling from Makarska to Split because the locals use those routes for their daily commute.
There are also train lines from Zagreb to Split; this used to be the most popular way of getting to Split in the 20th century, but it lost its popularity to buses. Trains are the most popular with students because they have student discounts and are for local students commuting from Split to Zagreb.
By cars and rental companies
By far, the best way to get to Split is by car. Whether you rent a car or drive yourself, it’s a good idea to have one or rent a scooter if you want to explore the nearby towns, mountains, and remote beaches.
If you’d like to rent a car in Croatia, read all about it in our post “Car Rental in Croatia”.
Split has an airport just half an hour from the city center, so you can book a flight directly to Split, without stopping in Zagreb or Dubrovnik, depending on where you’re coming from.
There are a lot of cheaper flights, but one thing that might be missing from Split Airport is RyanAir flights.
If you’d like to travel with RyanAir, you’ll have to buy a plane ticket to Zagreb and then travel some other way to Split, like a taxi from Zagreb airport where you need to book in advance first, but for someone, this might be the most cost-expensive option.
Split public transport
Split has a number of city bus routes, but none of them operate in the town core, that is, in Diocletian’s palace and around it. They are frequent and a good way of getting to Marjan or some of the beaches, but you won’t need them to discover the old town.
Split also has an intercity bus route for neighboring villages and towns like Trogir and Makarska, so you can visit any of the smaller places from Split to Makarska with a less than 10 euro ticket.
ATMs and money exchanges in Split
Just like in all of Croatia, the currency in Split is the Croatian Kuna (HRK), but Croatia will be transitioning to the Euro, so soon you’ll be able to pay with Euros everywhere. A lot of places have already started accepting Euros because of the large number of tourists, but in the future, you won’t need the Croatian Kuna anywhere.
If you don’t come bearing Euros or Kunas, there are a lot of money exchange offices. One thing you need to pay attention to is the conversion rate. Tourists are often victims of bad conversion rates because they go to the nearest money exchange place without checking the reviews first. The best tip I can give you is EXCHANGE YOUR MONEY IN A POST OFFICE. “Hrvatska Pošta” has money exchange services and you can find them in many places in town, such as the Central Bus Station. Of course, there are other good money exchange options, but with this one, you can’t go wrong and it’s the easiest to remember.
ATMS are in a lot of places, and you can find their locations on Google Maps or your bank’s app. Keep in mind that the ATM machines that don’t belong to any bank may take bigger provisions than the regular ones, so be sure to look for your bank’s ATM first.
As for paying in stores and cafes, all big stores accept both credit cards and cash, but small tobacco places often accept only cash. If you’d like to pay with a card in a café, remember to mention it while ordering, not after you’ve got your drink.
Frequently asked questions
How far is Split from Dubrovnik and Zagreb?
Split to Zagreb by car is a 4-hour journey, but if you’re coming in the summer months, prepare for traffic, especially on the weekends.
On average, a bus route from Zagreb to Split will take you 5 and a half hours if it’s a direct line, that is if it goes on the highway all the way.
We suggest you check if it’s a direct line before purchasing a ticket because you definitely want to avoid stopping in every village near Split.
How far is the airport from Split?
If you’re going by taxi from Split Airport, it takes you half an hour from the airport to the Central Bus and Train Station. If you’re going by bus, it’ll take you around one hour from the airport.
Remember that some rental companies that do their work in Split also offer rent-a-car service at the airport, so if you’re planning to rent a car in Split, skip the taxi drive to the city and book it in the airport office or online through this link.
Are there Ubers in Split?
Yes, just like in all of the bigger Croatian cities, Uber is available in Split.
How do you spend your day in Split?
Get a coffee at the waterfront or one of the wonderful old-town cafes first thing in the morning. No Croatian starts their day without a cup of coffee. If you’d like to avoid people, we’d suggest you go for a swim before heading to the landmarks since it’s not so crowded early in the morning. Then, refreshed and awake, you can take a stroll through the old town.
This is a great activity before lunch, and you’ll have plenty of energy for navigating the city. Also, it’s a little bit less crowded before lunch than after. For lunch, head to one of the restaurants on our list.
In the afternoon, you can visit one of the museums or galleries, such as the Meštrović Gallery, or take a walk in Đardin, a beautiful city park. In the evening, go for a drink in the Ghetto Bar and then head to one of the clubs that play the music you like. And there you have it: a perfect day in Split!
Is Split, Croatia, worth visiting?
We could write you an essay on the topic, but the short answer is YES! If you’re into beautiful architecture, history, culture, and art, or if you love nature, the sea, and scuba diving, this is the town for you.
It offers a great number of activities for any age and interest. Swim at one of the beautiful beaches in and around Split, or explore nature at Marjan Hill and Mosor. And at the end of it all, you can sit for a coffee on the Riva and enjoy the view.