A city of marble along the sunny Dalmatian Coast, Split is widely-known for it’s beauty and rich history. Filled with adventure, shopping, gorgeous views and delectable cuisine, Split should be high on every traveler’s bucket list. Although it’s true that there’s more to see in Split in the summer months, many of the city’s best attractions can be enjoyed in the off-season as well, and for a much cheaper price. As someone who’s been lucky enough to visit Split in multiple seasons, please enjoy my tried-and-true itinerary for Split, Croatia.
For a guide to some basic Croatian, see my post The Top Sights in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
where to stay
Although Split has no shortage of hotels, my favorite visit was spent in a charming Airbnb on the outskirts of the city. Ivana and Ljubica were extremely kind and accommodating hosts and you could tell that the apartment was built and furnished with great care. Although it’s a bit on the smaller side, it fit a family of four very comfortably.
The apartment is located on the way up Marjan Hill, which means you get to appreciate the stunning views over the city below! You can find the listing here.
If you’re visiting Croatia solo or are traveling on a tight budget, Split has plenty of great hostel options as well. En Route Hostel and Goli & Bosi Design Hostel are my two favorite hostel options in Split. Goli & Bosi has the best location, right in the city center, but En Route has the best breakfast I’ve ever had at a hostel. You can’t go wrong with either choice!
the best split, croatia itinerary
TOUR DIOCLETIAN’S PALACE
As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the most famous tourist attraction in Split, you can’t miss a tour of Diocletian’s Palace. The palace was built by the Roman Emperor Diocletian as his retirement home in the 4th century AD and is widely known as the best preserved Roman remains in the world. The site, and the dungeons below, was also used as a filming location for HBO’s Game of Thrones!
Diocletian’s Palace is so massive that the original structure makes up a large amount of Split’s Old Town! There are restaurants, shops and local residences built directly into the old facade.
The best views of Split can be seen from the Bell Tower, if you’re daring enough to brave the questionable staircase to the top…
EXPLORE OLD TOWN SPLIT
Split’s charming city center is decorated in white marble and stuffed with quaint souvenir shops and restaurants serving fresh seafood! Locals and tourists alike can be seen wandering the narrow, cobblestoned streets, stopping occasionally for a gelato or a Ožujsko lager. Give yourself plenty of time to explore and appreciate the beauty of Split’s Old Town.
HIKE THE MARJAN HILL
Marjan Hill is another great vantage point to take in Split’s spectacular city views. From the city center, it’s only a 10 minute walk to the very edge of the park. There’s a little restaurant at the top of the stairs, Vidilica, that’s a great spot to have an espresso and breakfast!
Our Airbnb was on the way to the top of Marjan Hill, hence the amazing views.
RELAX ON THE RIVA
The Riva is the main street in Old Town Split. It’s the stretch of shops and restaurants along Split’s main harbor. Flanked by palm trees, the Riva is a great spot to spend an hour exploring! Since it’s the busiest part of the city, the restaurants and shops on the Riva tend to be a bit more expensive than the rest of Old Town, but the scenery is worth an extra couple bucks on a sunny day!
AND TAKE PICTURES WITH THE SPLIT SIGN
Don’t miss the famous “Split” sign at the end of the Riva!
THE MESTROVIC ART GALLERY
The Mestrovic Gallery is the perfect way to spend a rainy day in Split! Ivan Mestrovic was one of the most prominent Croatian artists of the 20th century and the gallery showcases hundreds of his most famous paintings and sculptures.
SPLIT’S GAME OF THRONES MUSEUM
Most fans picture Dubrovnik when they think of GoT, but Split also has its fair share of filming locations. In fact, Split recently opened their Game of Thrones museum! Although most of the exhibits are prop recreations by locals, my favorite part are the photographs showing scenes from the show and their corresponding filming locations in or around Split. It’s exciting to walk around Old Town and realize you’re standing in the spot famous scenes were filmed.
GO WHITE WATER RAFTING
Now that you’ve had plenty of time to explore the city center, why not head outdoors for some fresh air? We spent a day white water rafting on the Cetina River and it was one of my favorite experiences in Croatia. Pinta Rafting runs a great excursion that includes transportation both ways, all necessary rafting gear and certified guides for €34 per person. You can also stay for the optional lunch afterwards, which I would definitely recommend (the food is delicious)!
JOE’S BEACH BAR
If you’re visiting Split in the summer, head down to Joe’s Beach Lounge & Bar for the perfect beach day. Joe’s includes a cocktail bar, restaurant, massage parlor, kayak rental, paddle board rental and a long stretch of Croatian white-sand beach. What more could you want on vacation?
BOOK AN ISLAND CRUISE
The Dalmatian Coast is known for its crystal blue waters and beautiful beaches. There’s no better way to experience the coastline than an island cruise! There are plenty of cruises to choose from on my two favorite excursion sites, Viator and Get Your Guide. If your cruise takes you to Okrug Beach, make sure to buy a ticket to one of the inflatable waterparks. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
EAT DELICIOUS SEAFOOD!
Since almost the entire country is coastline, Croatia is famous for its fresh and delicious seafood. Split also tends to be much cheaper than Dubrovnik, so make sure to eat your fill while you’re there!
And make sure to check out my guide to the best restaurants in Split, coming to the blog soon!
TAKE A DAY TRIP TO KRKA NATIONAL PARK
Krka is one of Croatia’s famously beautiful national parks. Krka National Park is only an hour drive outside the city, so it’s the perfect addition to your Split, Croatia itinerary. It would be a shame to leave The Dalmatian Coast without experiencing Krka’s stunning waterfalls! It’s easiest to visit by car, but there are many excursions available that will take you there by bus.
TAKE A DAY TRIP TO MOSTAR
If you have more than four days in Split, I would recommend renting a car and driving the 2.5 hours across the border to Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Mostar is an incredibly beautiful city with a rich history dating back to the 15th century. The city is home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Stari Most, the stone bridge pictured below. When the bridge was built by the Ottomans in 1566, it was the longest bridge in the world.
My favorite fact about Mostar is that the city is known as the bridge between the East and the West, or the bridge between Islam and Christianity. One side of the bridge is Christian and the other side is Muslim. Mostar remains the most diverse and historically rich city I’ve ever visited.
If you get a chance to visit, make sure to sample some traditional Turkish coffee and baklava!
If you enjoyed this itinerary for Split, Croatia, make sure to check out my similar posts featuring the Dalmatian Coast…
And be sure to follow my adventures on Instagram @madisonsfootsteps!