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
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”, are 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 Split’s beautiful beaches. 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 acturisottosally take place in the old town itself. The music program is the richest 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.