Split is the second largest city in Croatia after the capital Zagreb, and sits nestled on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea, spread over a central peninsula and its surroundings. The city is bright and lively, with lots going on and plenty keep you busy. It’s easy to spend at least a few days in Split, and doing everything on this list will take around 4-6 days depending on pace.
1. Diocletian’s Palace
The most famous site in Split, Diocletian’s Palace lies right in the centre of town and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979. This ancient palace was built for the Roman Emperor Diocletian in around 4AD. Diocletian was born in Salona which was a large Roman town just to the north of today’s Split, so this was his beautiful home and military garrison on the coast.
It’s important to note it’s not really a palace anymore, instead it’s parts of a palace that once existed – with its walls and structures now embedded within Split’s Old Town.
2. Cimb Marjan Hill
Marjan Hill provides the best viewpoint out over Old Town Split, and it takes around 2.5hrs to complete the climb from the centre and get back again. The trail is easy to find and takes you through Pine Forest, past the Church of St Nicholas and past a lovely restaurant called Terace Vidilica with views out to the sea. If you allocate a morning or evening to it, it works perfectly to avoid the heat and go at a leisurely pace to enjoy it fully.
3. Riva Waterfront
Riva Waterfront is the area in Split lined with palm trees separating the Old Town from the sea. It’s lovely to stroll along and admire all the crazy yachts in the harbour, the perfect spot for lunch or a drink.
4. Old Town Split
Speaking of the Old Town – whilst Diocletian’s Palace is undoubtedly the highlight, the whole Old Town area is beautiful. There are lots of nice streets, hidden courtyards and balconies galore, plus a gorgeous theatre building. There’s also a Game of Thrones Museum and if you’re not in to that – Froggyland – with over 500 stuffed dead frogs on show! The dream.
5. Split Archaeological Museum
This lovely museum houses artefacts from Diocletian’s Palace and nearby Salona, which was an important Roman city. It’s the oldest museum in Croatia and we really enjoyed a couple of hours exploring.
6. Take a trip to Trogir
The first stop on the list outside the centre of Split is the beautiful waterfront peninsula of Trogir. A short 30 minute drive or 1hr bus brings you here to stroll the town square, see St Mark’s Tower and the Castle, and climb the Bell Tower of the Cathedral for beautiful views out across the water. We loved the fact that Trogir was a maze of narrow roads, stairways, and arches and easily spent 4hrs exploring.
7. Explore Klis Fortress
Around a 20 minute drive/40 minute bus ride from Split lies the impressive Klis Fortress. Steeped in history, it looks down across the Dalmatian Coast with some of the most epic views on offer in the region. It was also used as the Game of Thrones filming location for the city of Meereen during Season 4.
8. Speed over to Hvar
Another perfect day trip from Split is to take a 1hr boat trip over to Hvar, one of the most famous Croatian Islands. Hvar is the kind of place that every street you turn down, you have to get your camera out and take photos it’s just SO beautiful. We enjoyed plenty of cocktails in the sunshine with wonderful views and tasty food, plus climbing for the views from the Spanish Fortress is a must.
We thought Split was beautiful and a great section of our Croatia trip, offering something different to Dubrovnik but both unique in their own ways.