Split is a port city in central Dalmatia. The 1,700 year old city is an important cultural, urban and tourist center. The Roman emperor Diocletian left an important legacy here. The cultural and historical monuments of that time are the city’s heritage.
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Split, a popular Croatian town
Split is Central Dalmatia’s commercial, administrative and cultural center. It is the second biggest city in Croatia after the capital Zagreb. Split is located on the Adriatic coast and is an attractive vacation destination in Croatia. The city has many beaches and faces several islands that visitors can cruise to. As a port town, its industry thrives in shipbuilding. Fruit and vegetable growing is the main economic activity of the surrounding area. Fresh and quality products can be found on Split’s markets such as the one in Pazar.
Split has an excellent tourist offer. It includes different types of accommodation such as hotels, apartments and rooms for rent. The local cuisine can be discovered through the many restaurants in the city, especially the konobas. These typical Dalmatian restaurants offer authentic regional dishes such as fried fritters called fritule.
What to do in Split?
When it comes to entertainment, the city of Split has no shortage of things to do. There are many important cultural and entertainment events in the summer. The “Split Summer” festival takes place from mid-July to mid-August. You can enjoy many artistic events during this festival, such as theatrical performances, operas and concerts. The streets, squares and stores of Split are lively at this time of the year. Nightlife lovers will be thrilled with the many bars, discos and nightclubs.
The celebrations of the city’s patron saint, St. Domnius, are held from late April to early May. Several religious ceremonies, sports competitions, concerts and other activities are organized for the locals. The Diocletian Days begin in May and last until the end of September. These days mark the beginning of the summer with different activities related to the Roman era that marked the city. The opening and closing ceremonies feature performances by Roman fighters and parades in period costumes.
The best time to come to Split is between May and September. The activities offered and the mild weather in the off-season and hot weather in the middle of summer attract more people.
What to visit in Split?
The city of Split was built around the palace of the Roman emperor Diocletian who ruled the Roman Empire from 284 to 305 AD. This palace and the historical center of the city are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. You can see the palace’s facade and the Split harbor from the Riva. The Riva is the main pier of the city, designed for walking, it is lively both during the day and at night.
You should not miss the ramparts, the three gates (gold, silver and iron), the emperor’s mausoleum located in the cathedral of Sveti Duje, the Peristyle of the main square and of course the temple of Jupiter located south of the Peristyle. The Diocletian’s Palace is a major attraction in Split, and the changing of the guard takes place every day at noon in the summer. There is also a shooting site near the palace for the famous series Game of Thrones.
Marjan Park is a national forest located on the western peninsula of the city. There are many trails and views of the sea. It has an exceptional view of the city and the surrounding hills. Walking on the Marjan Hill is a great escape from the city for the whole family.
The picturesque and charming cobbled streets of Old Split are very popular. You can admire the palace walls and discover other cultural and historical sites such as the impressive statue of Gregory of Nin. It is a custom to touch his big toe for good luck and good fortune.
St. Domnius Cathedral
The catholic cathedral Sveti Dujam sits in the middle of the remains of the Diocletian Palace. It houses the mausoleum of the Roman emperor that was originally built there. The Cathedral of St. Domnius in Split is a must-see when visiting the palace.
The Mestrovic Gallery
Rodin’s leading student donated his house and some of his works to Croatia. You should visit the Ivan Meštrović Museum in the city, and the sculptures of the artist will not leave you indifferent.
The Croatian National Theater organizes several dozen high quality opera, ballet and dramatic theater performances every year. It is reasonably priced and of high quality. The facade of the HNK in Split is worth a visit.
Lovers of old stones can go to the entrance of the city of Split, where Solin is located. This town is home to one of the most important archaeological sites on the eastern Adriatic coast. The fortress of Klis, further north, was built in the Illyrian period and offers one of the most beautiful views of Split.
The beaches of Split
You can’t go on vacation in Split without enjoying the sea. You will find many beaches and swimming areas in the city and its surroundings. The most popular beach is Bacvice, a sandy beach located on the outskirts of downtown Split.
The other beaches on the coast are usually located in small coves with small pebbles. When visiting Marjan Park, there are several places like Jezinac Beach and Kasjuni Beach where you can cool off at the foot of the hill. On the other side of the city, the beaches of Firule and Trstenik welcome both groups of friends and families.
The waterfalls of Krka, which are easily accessible by car, are only an hour away from Split. This series of waterfalls is located in a green national park and provides an enchanting setting for a relaxing day out.
Accommodations in Split
Split is one of the most important tourist cities in Croatia. There is a lot to do in Split. You can stay there for a weekend, but you will need more days if you also want to visit Trogir or the surrounding islands.
There are charming rental apartments in the historical center. They are not always very practical, with difficult access by stairs or the impossibility of parking your car.
The modern city outside the center has more comfort and the apartments and villas for rent, as well as the hotel chains, are of good quality. It is less charming than the old town, but the city is far from being unpleasant.
For those on a smaller budget, there are several youth hostels in Split. The campsites are quite far from the center. You should be careful not to choose a place directly on a busy street, such as in the harbor area, where cars board the ferries to the islands.
How to get to Split?
You can reach Split by car, bus, train, plane or ferry from another port city. Despite being located next to the ferry terminal, a train trip is not the best option. The train ride from Zagreb is quite slow and takes about 6 hours. A bus trip can be faster.
The Split airport, also called Split Resnik airport, is located along the road to Trogir. It takes an additional half an hour to get to the center of Split from the airport.
Visiting the islands around Split
Split is the main departure point for boats and ferries to other Croatian ports and to the surrounding islands. There are ferry lines from Split to all the islands of Central Dalmatia, as well as to Ancona in Italy. There are also ferry lines to Pula, Venice, Dubrovnik and Greece.
When you plan a vacation in Split, you should definitely arrange a cruise to the nearby islands. Islands like Brac, Vis, Korcula or Hvar located off the Dalmatian coast are still wild and full of surprises.
The island of Brač is the closest to Split. There are beautiful hikes on this island with breathtaking views from the top. The island of Hvar, with its olive groves on one side and its marina on the other, attracts many visitors with its nightlife. The next stops on the cruise are Vis and Biševo, where the blue cave is located, which will be appreciated by history and scuba diving enthusiasts.