Split is arguably the most scenic port city in Croatia where a truly historic center is nestled between the sun, sea and mountains. For many visitors, Split is also a launchpad for reaching the Islands and for taking day tours to the Blue Lagoon, Blue Cave and nearby UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
But what exactly should you do in Split?
In this article, we take a look at some of the most interesting attractions and experiences that you should actually consider while visiting Split. Just so you know, this is not a list of places to eat or drink but rather a guide to what you should see and do in the city of Split. Also, this is not a list of the best tours in town or how you can get from one place to another.
For this reason, let’s quickly consider how to get around along with the food and drink scene in Split:
How to Get Around the City of Split
Did you know that much of Split is pedestrianized? It’s true, you can walk safely from one side of town to the other without having to worry about traffic. With this in mind, public transport is not all that important and the hassles of renting a car can be avoided. Either way, getting around Split and traveling between attractions is relatively easy and often more affordable than most other cities.
About Day Tours and Boat Trips from Split
On the other hand, you will need some form of transport to visit many of the most exciting attractions outside of Split. For instance, most visitors choose to book day tours to nearby UNESCO sites and boat tours to the islands such as Vis and Brac. Just so you know, it’s important to book these tours a long time in advance of your trip to Split to avoid disappointment. After all, many of these day tours are fully booked and visit the most popular places to see near the city of Split.
A Quick Word About Eating Out in Split
Locals in Split are highly sociable and this is no more evident than in the vibrant coffee scene. More on that later. It’s true, from bistros and local eateries to world-class dining, there is simply no end of places to eat in the city. In this respect, there is also something for every budget and a wide range of eating options can be found in almost any café or restaurant. As for specifics, Figa Food Bar is popular in the Old Town, while Hvaranin restaurant in Varos is great for Dalmatian cuisine.
About the Vibrant Nightlife in Split
In terms of nightlife, Split is also home to one of the most exciting bar scenes in Croatia. Aside from clubs, this means that traditional bars can be found on every corner and the nightlife in Split is well-known for having a very lively atmosphere. For traditional bars, try Cakula, Congo and the Antique Bar on the Riva. On the other hand, backpackers will love the noise at Charlie’s Bar and Jazzbina Pub on Sinjska Street is a favourite haunt for music lovers of all ages.
Now, let’s take a closer look at exactly what you need to do while in Split:
10 Things You Need to do While in Split
1. Exploring the Magnificent Architecture of Split on Foot
Believe it or not, the historic center of Split is located inside an immense Roman palace and this iconic high street is the vibrant heart of the city. It’s true, the Diocletian Palace is an incredible remnant from a very old world and you can actually walk around this magnificent feat. Meanwhile, the nearby Cathedral of Saint Domnius dates back to the 7th century and is widely known as the oldest Catholic cathedral on the planet. Similarly, Republic Square and the entire Old Town is always best witnessed on foot – something that comes naturally when most of a city is pedestrianized.
With this in mind, walking the cobblestone streets is a fantastic way to explore the fine architecture of Split, and take advantage of the absence of traffic. Whether you have any interest in this architecture or not, this effort should still give you a very distinct taste for the atmosphere in Split.
2. Witnessing a Most Unusual Light Show on the Blue Cave Tour
Situated on the island of Biševo, the Blue Cave is an atmospheric cave with the most sensational colors. In case you might be asking yourself, the cave is more than twenty metres long and twelve metres deep and boat tours can take visitors inside to witness a truly magical light show.
You see, as an underwater passage, the cave can be dark. However, the water in this cave will illuminate when light comes inside and this helps create such an unusual phenomenon. For visitors, this cave is the most exciting encounter and attraction to visit near Split.
However, you will need to organize these tours for a certain part of the day as there is a best time in which to see this famous light show beneath the surface. In fact, it’s important to book ahead of time as the Blue Cave Tour is one of the most popular day trips from Split and this is not surprising given that Biševo is located nearby.
3. Go Swimming, Snorkeling or Sightseeing at the Blue Lagoon
As you may know, there are no coral reefs to be found in Croatia but there are many more features that stand out on the archipelago and this is certainly true about the lagoons.
Just so you know, such lagoon’s are formed when a shallow body of crystal clear water fills in the gaps between a cluster of small islands. More specifically, “the Blue Lagoon” refers to the most impressive of these lagoon’s which can be found between the Krknjaši islands.
When it comes snorkeling, swimming or just taking in the scenery, there are few places as majestic as the Blue Lagoon. What’s more, there are many boat tours to the Blue Lagoon which makes this attraction especially easy to access.
4. Visiting UNESCO Sites and Taking Day Trips from Split
Less than one hour drive from Split, you can visit two iconic UNESCO World Heritage sites at Trogir and Split. Further afield, you can take a ferry to Stari Grad or a seaplane to Pula, while Plitvice Lakes is easily accessed just down the A1 Motorway. As already mentioned, boat tours to the Blue Lagoon, Blue Cave and Bol are also easily organized and most of these options are available on the daily.
In short, there are endless UNESCO World Heritage sites and day tours to enjoy from the city and this is often why visitors choose to visit Split instead of elsewhere along the Adriatic Coast. Day trips are also the best way to incorporate many of these places into a short amount of time, while the presence of a guide can help illuminate and bring the experience to life.
5. Visit the Market Next to the Silver Gate
Located next to the Silver Gate of the Roman Palace, the main market is a very busy and vibrant hub at the center of Split. For many visitors, this is an excellent opportunity to sample the fresh fruit and exotic flavors of the Mediterranean, while soaking in a truly local and cultural experience.
At the same time, you will find an unimaginable number of products in this market, from fish and vegetables to clothing, shoes and sun cream. Also, this is arguably the most cultural activity on the list and a chance to meet the locals, while sampling some of the local products of services.
Either way, this main market near the Roman Palace offers an exciting encounter for visitors and a great way to see a very local side of this increasingly modern city.
6. Sample the Highly Social Coffee Scene in Split
Let’s be honest, many cities and countries around the world are famous for providing a memorable coffee experience. As with many such places, Split is renowned for having a unique blend and some of the best coffee shops in Croatia. On the other hand, you should know that locals treat coffee as a process and take an almost ritual-like approach to drinking coffee.
That is to say, drinking coffee is an opportunity to get together and maintain relationships with friends and family. In this sense, coffee is a social event and this meaningful approach can be sampled at every turn on a visit the Split.
But where should you actually go?
Try one of the many café’s on the Riva!
7. Re-Living the Famous Scenes from Game of Thrones
As you may know, Game of Thrones is the most successful television series of all time and many scenes from the series can be found in the city of Split. In fact, you will find a number of tours that include these attractions such as Klis Fortress, the Diocletian Palace and even the quarry at Žrnovnica. Now, these are just a few of the most famous spots but the truth is, there are many more that fans will be amazed to encounter. That being said, whether you watched Game of Thrones or not, these iconic attractions never fail to impress and excite any visitor to Split.
8. Uncover One of the Most Primitive Times in Croatian History
While these are many remnants of Roman Times in the city, you can find many more at the settlement of Solin. Situated just outside the city, this beautiful town is home to public baths and the leftovers of an awe-inspiring amphitheatre. What’s more, you can also uncover the story of the Slav forces who fled from the town and learn how these very primitive people lived in troubling times. Aside from these famous landmarks, there is also an Archaeological Museum with mosaics, tools and artifacts from Early Christian and Ancient Greek Times.
9. Taking a Boat Tour to Visit Bol Town on the Island of Brac
Split is the ideal starting point for visiting the many islands in Croatia. While Hvar and Vis are popular, Bol Town and the island of Brac is arguably the most interesting of these boat tours.
But why Bol town in particular?
You will find stunning resorts and excellent facilities around Bol town. However, this is also an incredibly scenic island with some of the most beautiful beaches and coastline in Croatia. Although Bol is without the historical sites that you might find elsewhere, there is a wonderful 2km promenade along the island, a beautiful hiking trail and one of the most iconic beaches in Europe – Zlatni Rat Beach.
10. Visit the Beaches Near Split
Croatia is well-known for having an endless lineup of stunning beaches and rugged coastline. For many new arrivals, it will come as a surprise that the city of Split is home to several of these beaches.
For instance, Bacvice beach is just a short walk from the Diocletian Palace and the perfect place to escape the noise at any given time. Featuring a quiet cove and superb shingle beach, this hidden treasure is always worth the trip. Meanwhile, Kaštelet, Kašjuni and Trstenik ensure that for every day you might stay in the city, there is always another beach to discover.
Whether you spend a few days or even a week, there is simply no end of things to do in Split. For many attractions, it’s not necessary to make arrangements prior to arrival but the many boat tours or day trips should always be booked in advance. Either way, Split is a magnificent and truly historic city where excellent food, exciting attractions and friendly locals can be found at every turn.
By the way, are you planning a visit to Split?
We can help arrange your boat tours and day tours to each of the above-mentioned attractions.