Split Croatia Travel Guide – Explore Split as a Local
How was Split Croatia Travel Guide compiled?
I get a lot of questions from tourists and travelers that visit Split in Croatia. This is a no surprise at all since I am a local from Split that works as a tour guide. And of course, I pretty much have to repeat same information all the time. This got me a little tired of talking and therefore I decided to write to write an article about this topic. I hope that here you will find some interesting information about this beautiful city. I have compiled “Split Croatia Travel Guide” for your dear traveler. Enjoy your reading!
What makes the city of Split so special?
Split is a beautiful Mediterranean city located on the central part of the east Adriatic Coast. It sprawled from the roman palace of the emperor Diocletian. Here is a link to a great article about Diocletian’s Palace in Split if you want to read more about it. This is the only city in the world that grew out of the roman imperial palace and hence attracts the visitors from all over the world.
Of course, beautiful Croatian coastline with more that 1100 islands is the main attraction for tourists and travelers that visit Croatia. Split is right in the middle of Croatian coastline and therefore a great springboard for the exploration of Croatian coast. However, if you decide to stay in Split and spend few days exploring it, you will not regret it. Let’s not hesitate anymore, let’s go right to the point!
Split Croatia Travel Guide – Table of content:
1. History of Split
Split has 23 centuries of history. Accordingly, text about its history should be huge and very descriptive. I have already done it in the Diocletian’s Palace in Split article. Here below you can also find a timeline about the history of Split. That is an overview that will give you all the information needed. However, if you would like to go into depth with this matter, I suggest you to sign up for the Best of Split Walking Tour.
2. Split Croatia Travel Guide for Split weather
Split is located on the Adriatic coast and hence enjoys the benefits of the Mediterranean climate. That means that summers are hot and dry and winters are mild and rainy. Average temperature in the winter time is around 8°C (46°F), and average temperature in the summer time is 25°C (76°F). Highest temperatures in the summer time go up even until 38°C (100°). Sea temperature in the summer time can go up to 26°C (78°C). And that is of course perfect for a great swim!
So, if you plan to visit Split, you can pretty much do it all year round. Although, I should say that the summer time would be perfect for visit. Spring and fall are in the shoulder season and accommodation prices are consequently much lower that during the main tourist season. In other words, this is the time of year when everything is cheaper and the weather is still nice. You might also take these seasons into consideration when you plan your visit to Split.
3. Travel Guide for Hotels in Split Croatia
I like private accommodation, don’t get me wrong. However, whenever my budget allows it, I always tend to stay in hotels. Split is known for many small boutique hotels that are located in the downtown area. In addition to those hotels there are few bigger hotels just outside the city center. Most popular hotels in Split are:
1. Radisson Blu Resort Split
This 4 star hotel is located approximately 3 km from the city center. It is known for the great SPA area, service, hospitality and 252 newly renovated rooms. It also has a pebble beach under its concession. Radisson Blu Resort Split is the largest hotel in Split.
Pros are that you are definitely getting up scaled Radisson service in this hotel. Cons are that you would need to take a taxi to Split city center. Taxi fee from Radisson to the city center is approximately 50 Kuna/7 Euro.
2. Hotel Park
This 5 star property has a very long tradition since it was established in 1921. It is located on the Bacvice beach area and hence not too far from the city center. It consists of 72 newly renovated room, SPA area, conference rooms and by all means is one of the best hotels in Split.
Pros are that this hotel is within walking distance from the port of Split and from the old town. Bacvice beach area is just across the street. Cons are that some beach noise could be experienced at this hotel.
3. Hotel Vestibul Palace
This luxury 4 star boutique hotel is located in the very heart of Diocletian’s Palace in Split, Croatia. With this in mind, you should expect to be treated as an emperor! You definitely get a royal treatment in this 7-room property!
Pros are that this hotel is very centrally located. Main sites in the old town of Split are within the walking distance from it. Cons are that you can’t drive and park at this hotel. Because of that, you should need to contact in advance for parking/luggage arrangements.
4. Hotel Marmont Heritage
Hotel Marmont Heritage is located in the medieval part of Split, only few minutes away from Diocletian’s Palace. Free WiFi is available, as well as an on-site restaurant which offers fresh and local cuisine.
Pros are that this hotel is very centrally located. Main sites in the old town of Split are within the walking distance from it. Cons are that you can’t drive and park at this hotel. Because of that, you should need to contact them in advance for parking/luggage arrangements. Parking needs to be paid separately – 27 Euro/day.
5. Palace Judita Heritage Hotel
Here is one of my favorite properties here in Split. Although it is located on the Pjaca Square (very heart of the medieval town) it is a quiet oasis. A hotel for lovers of culture, is an extensive four-storey building, on which the fundamental historical and cultural periods of medieval and modern Europe can be observed. For this reason, this property awaits your arrival.
Pros are that this hotel is centrally located. Everything is near by. Cons are that you can’t drive and park at this hotel. Because of that, you should need to contact them in advance for parking/luggage arrangements.
4. Split Croatia Travel Guide for private accommodation in Split
Sometimes, we are all running on a tight budget, and we can’t afford hotels. I know, hotels offer the best accommodation. However, this is not a concern in Split. By all means, the city of Split and its surrounding area have one of the best private accommodations in the world. Airbnb in Split area, booking. com, Homeaway and other online platforms offer outstanding properties! In addition to that, many owners of these properties are really hospitable and friendly.
I won’t go into details in this section since there are hundreds of excellent properties in Split. By all means Airbnb would be the best platform to look them up. I strongly believe that this online platform offers best private accommodation in Split.
5. Best restaurants in Split
Restaurant scene in Split has gone through real Renaissance since 2010. So, traditional restaurants still exist in Split. However, many new restaurants have been opened, and I have to say that most of them are really great. In this chapter, I will mention 5 restaurants you should not miss when visiting Split:
1. Bokeria kitchen and wine
This restaurant opened in 2014, and it is rated as the best restaurant in Split. It lures the people with its colors and Mediterranean flavors. If you are looking for a place to enjoy the simple, high-quality food and good wines, Bokeria is a place for you. I would just have one advice here – book early to avoid disappointment!
2. Zrno Soli
Zrno Soli is a fine dining restaurant located in the town’s marina. The restaurant has a beautiful terrace overlooking the sea, boats in the marina and the town. The view over the lighted town is especially nice at night time. The food is fresh, well-cooked and innovative. Definitely, it is a very good restaurant with beautiful views and friendly and efficient service. This is one of the fine dining Split restaurants.
I need to say that Dvor is a fantasic restaurant with outstanding views! It is on the Michelin Guide for Croatia. This is a place where you can eat international and local food. Staff is really friendly and the food is delicious. If you are going for local food here – definitely order black risotto!
Articok is simply fantastic! It blends traditional Croatian cuisine, together with the modern caring and attentative staff. It is definitely a place where you can eat great pasticada (local beef stew that is truly a delicacy)! Restaurant is located in the town center, few minutes away from the main promenade – Riva.
5. Konoba Varos
This “old school” restaurant is located in the part of town called Varos. Konoba Varos is a place where you can get a taste of real Croatian cuisine! Restaurant interior hasn’t been updated since 1980’s, however don’t be bothered with it. Food here is superb. Order black risotto, pasticada, peka, or some other local Croatian dishes and enjoy your life! This is a must visit restaurant in Split!
6. Best beaches in Split
Has Split got a beach? By all means! There are at least 20 beaches in Split. Mostly they have pebbles. The only sandy beach in Split is Bacvice beach. Here is the map of the best beaches in Split, Croatia (just the nicest ones are highlighted):
In other words, most popular beaches in Split are:
1. Kasjuni – is a beach located on the south slopes of Marjan hill. It is a beautiful pebble area with the crystal clear water. By all means, this is (at least for me) the most beautiful beach in Split. Here, you can enjoy a great swim and admire Marjan Hill at the same time! There is a great Joe’s Beach Bar at the same location, a place where you can zip a beverage and rent a beach chair if you like. Changing facilities are available on the beach.
2. Bacvice – this beach is only 1 km away from Diocletian’s Palace. It is located on the east side of Split Ferry Port. Also, it is known as the only sandy beach in Split. Since Bacvice beach is the closest one to the old town, keep in mind that this really a busy place in the summer time. Changing facilities are available on the beach. Also, this beach has has dozen of Cafes where you can enjoy the beverage and soak up the sun.
3. Bene – is located on the north side of Marjan peninsula. Beach is also known for the tennis courts and good Cafes that are near by. Changing facilities ar available on spot.
5. Kastelet (Obojena beach)
This beach is the seaside of Mestrovic Gallery. It is a beautiful pebble area with crystal clear water. In my opinion – this is the second nicest beach in Split. There are two Cafes on the beach and the changing facilities.
5. Znjan – is 2 km long and therefore is the longest beach in Split. It consists of numerous little bays with lovely pebble areas. There are many Cafes on the beach. Water is crystal clear on this lovely beach.
6. Ovcice – a lovely pebble beach located just next to Bacvice beach. There is a cafe near by and changing facilities as well. Definitely look it up once you arrive to Split!
7. Ten Best Things to do in Split, Croatia
From Split Croatia Travel Guide I have summarized 10 Best Things to do in Split. This is a list of things you should do if staying just for a day or two in Split. Please try to cover as much as you can!
- 1. Visit Diocletian’s Palace
- 2. Private Split Walking Tour
- 3. Enter the Cathedral of St. Domnius
- 4. Visit Pazar
- 5. Go for urban swim in Split
- 6. Sample some local food
- 7. Hike Marjan hill
- 8. Visit Mestrovic Gallery
- 9. Have a coffee on Riva
- 10. Touch the toe of Gregory of Nin
1. Visit Diocletian’s Palace
Diocletian’s Palace is the best preserved roman palace from the late antiquity in the world. And it’s right here, in Split! This is a very unique palace, a first place that was protected by UNESCO in Croatia (in 1979). It was recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Site since this roman imperial palace evolved into medieval town of Split in the 7th century AD (truly unique event). Therefore, you can still walk the streets of this beautiful roman structure.
Definitely, this is nr.1. thing to do in Split. Main sites of the palace include Vestibule, Peristyle Square, Jupiter’s Temple, Golden Gate, Cathedral of St. Domnius, Substructures of Diocletian’s Palace etc. However, I strongly suggest you to take a guided walking tour in the palace. Main reason for that is for you to get the historical background of this fascinating structure.
Old town in Split can be extremely busy during the peak of the tourist season. Therefore, I suggest you to visit the old town really early in the morning in the summer time (if possible). Also, by doing this you will avoid the summer Mediterranean heat.
2. Do a Private Split Walking Tour
If you want to avoid being stuck on a massive group tour (see above) book a private tour experience in Split. Hence, we are moving to the Private Split Walking Tour. There are many private walking tour that are being offered in Split. However, I suggest you to take a Private Split Walking Tour. Why do I suggest this particular one?
First of all, I definitely think it offers good value for the money. Duration of the tour is 2 hours, which is not neither too long nor too short. Of course, main reason why I think you should take this tour is because it will take you to the main highlights of the old town in Split. Unlike most of the walking tours in Split this one includes the visit of the Cathedral and Jupiter’s Temple. Admissions for the Cathedral and Jupiter’s Temple are included too.
Also, this is a custom made tour just for you and your group. With that in mind you know that no other participants will join your group. That is great, since the guide is there just for you, and you do the tour at your own pace. Perfect!
Always look for a private tour that includes admissions for various sites (cathedrals, temples, etc). Although many tours in Split seem to be very similar, try to select a tour that will give you the best value for the money.
3. Enter the Cathedral of St. Domnius
This is a must visit site, since the Cathedral of Split is one of the oldest cathedrals in the world. Octagonal building, that is being used as a cathedral, was actually the burial site of the Roman Emperor Diocletian. Hence, this building has 1700 years of history. It was converted into cathedral in the 7th century A.D.
If you booked Private Split Walking Tour, you don’t have to worry about visiting the Cathedral of St. Domnius (Split Cathedral). This tour will take you inside the cathedral. However, if you opt to go to cathedral on your own, you can buy a ticket and visit it. Also, you have an opportunity to climb the belfry of St. Domnius, but you would need to buy a separate ticket for it.
In the light of previous information, a good tip for you would be to buy a combined ticket for this site. In other words, this combined ticket includes admission for the Belfry, Cathedral Treasury, Cathedral of St. Domnius, Jupiter’s Temple and the chapel of St. Lucia. Combined ticket price is 45 kuna (approximately 6.5 Euro).
4. Visit Pazar
By all means you should not miss this place! Pazar is a farmers market that is located in the very heart of the old town. It is a very picturesque and vibrating place where you could buy and sample some local food products. Its vibe is unique, don’t forget to negotiate the prices with the locals!
Always look for seasonal food. That means that you will get it in a form of a fresh product. E.g. look for strawberries and cherries in May, peaches in June, July and August etc…
5. Go for urban swim in Split
Split is a great town for urban swim. What does it mean? Split is located on the Adriatic coast. As a result of that, there are some beaches within walking distance of the old town. Bacvice beach is a sandy beach which is the closest to the old town. It is located at the the end of the ferry port, 1 km away from Diocletian’s Palace. Although, Bacvice beach is very close to town center, I would suggest you to go for a swim at one the pebble beaches that are located at the slopes of Marjan hill. Sea is clearer here, all beaches here are very scenic and beautiful.
Kasjuni beach is a pebble beach located on the south slopes of the Marjan Hill. It is approximately 3 km (1.8 miles) away from the old town. However, you don’t have to walk all the way to it. You can simply take a local bus nr. 12 from the monastery of St. Frances on Riva promenade (Sv. Frane in Croatian). Here is a link with the bus 12 timetable.
6. Sample some local food
In the past few years, restaurant scene in Split has grown a lot. Great influx of tourists and travelers from all over world has impacted its growth. Mostly, these restaurants serve international food. However, you can still look for traditional dalmatian (Croatian) food in some restaurants.
And here are typical local food delicacies in Split: pasticada (local beef stew), crni rizot (black cuttlefish risotto) and soparnik (local savory pie). Of course, you can get this type of food at some local restaurants in Split.
Best local restaurants in Split (where you can find local specialties) are: Konoba Varos, Villa Spiza, Corto Maltese and Articok. Generally speaking, most of the restaurants in Split are good. However, some of the restaurants (mainly on the main locations) are more expensive that the others. To sum up – go along with the list that I gave you and you will be happy with the value for money ratio!
7. Hike Marjan hill
If you think that Split is just a mix of the old town and some modern concrete buildings – you are wrong! Split hosts also a huge park forest called Marjan. This is a place where the locals come to rejuvenate their bodies and souls. They do the bike rides here, go for jogging and hiking. And you should hike it too, since this is definitely a thing to do! There are various walking trails you can take on Marjan hill.
There are many walking trails, but I suggest you to walk along Maragunicevo Setaliste. This trail will give you nicest views, plus you will get to see three medieval churches along the way (churches of St. Nicholas, Our Lady of Bethlehem and the church of St. Jerome). The above picture was taken from the same trail.
8. Visit Mestrovic Gallery
This is for sure a must do thing in Split – a visit to Mestrovic Gallery. Ivan Mestrovic was a great Croatian sculptor, known as Michelangelo of 20th century. He lived in Split for many years. Therefore, his villa is still there. Moreover, in his testament, Mestrovic donated this villa to Croatian people in 1952. Because of that donation, his living place was converted into Mestrovic Gallery where many of his sculptures are being exhibited today.
I am sure that you will appreciate this art in a very unique and beautiful setup. Mestrovic Gallery is overlooking the Adriatic and it’s offering some great photo opportunities. Also, there is a beautiful cafe at Mestrovic Gallery, this is a place where you can zip your coffee and chill out in a beautiful environment!
Mestrovic Gallery is located on the south slopes of the Marjan Hill. It is approximately 2.5 km (1.5 miles) away from the old town. There is a long walk to it from the old town. However, you don’t have to walk all the way to it. You can simply take a local bus nr. 12 from the monastery of St. Frances on Riva promenade (Sv. Frane in Croatian). Here is a link with the bus 12 timetable.
9. Have a coffee on Riva
Riva is the main waterfront promenade in Split. Consequently, it is one of the most visited places in town. Definitely, it became the center of social life in this town long time ago. It’s possible to have a coffee and soak up the atmosphere of Split right Riva. Mild Mediterranean climate also contributes to the great local experience. If you like people watching, this is the place for you!
In terms of service – cafes on the main promenade are not the best in town. However, pick any cafe because Riva promenade has great scenery. You don’t want to miss it, just relax and enjoy!
10. Touch the toe of Gregory of Nin
Statue of Gregory of Nin is a masterpiece of the famous sculptor Ivan Mestrovic. Mestrovic lived in Split for a long time and, because of that, a lot of his artwork is still in Split. Statue of Gregory was made in 1929, and since then, it is one of the symbols of Split. Gregory of Nin was a bishop of the Croatian church at the beginning of the 10th century. Since he was in charge of Croatian church, he fought for the use of Croatian language among the clergy. However, supporters of the Latin language in the church service prevailed. As a result of that Gregory had to abdicate and had to leave his position of a bishop.
This massive statue was made of bronze and it is 7.5 meters tall (25 feet). In addition to that, this statue has a very impressive toe on its left foot.
Touching the toe of the bishop Gregory is a top must do thing, not only in Split, but in Croatia as well. Therefore, it should be on your bucket list. Locals tend to think (due to some local superstitious beliefs) that the touching of this toe will bring them luck (it’s like a good luck charm). I have tried this many times, but this has never worked for me. However, it might work for you dear traveler, come visit us and try!
Yes, Split it safe. Generally speaking, Croatia as a country is safe. Street crime rate is low. Chances of you being robbed on the street are second to none. However, there are some areas in Split where some incidents/brawls were reported (i.e. Bacvice beach area with its clubs).
Yes, you should definitely visit Split in Croatia. This city is the second largest in Croatia, located on the beautiful Adriatic coast. Split has really unique history and it is a combination of ancient and modern (city sprawled from the palace of the Roman Emperor Diocletian). Plus there are other beautiful sites in Split like: Mestrovic Gallery, Marjan hill, beautiful beaches etc…
There are multiple ways of getting from Split to Dubrovnik. You can get to Dubrovnik by land, by air and by the sea. Here is a complete list of different ways:
1. Driving from Split to Dubrovnik
2. Private transfers between Split and Dubrovnik
3. Split to Dubrovnik by bus
4. Split to Dubrovnik by ferries and catamarans
This depends on where you come from and what your income is. Just kidding! I would just say that Split is not as expensive as some towns in western Europe. However, Split is more expensive than many towns in central and eastern Europe. Of course, cost always depends on what you do in Split and on the type of your traveling preferences.
This is a tough question since both towns are magnificent. Although Dubrovnik is probably the most visited town in Croatia, I would give slight advantage to Split. I prefer Split because of its better location, vibe, friendly locals and magnificent history. I say, Split is better than Dubrovnik!
Split is located in the middle of east Adriatic coast. That is in the south part of Croatia. Because of that, locals in Split enjoy the benefits of mild Mediterranean climate.
Citizens of Split always say that this is the most beautiful city in the world. It is very hard to dispute them because of two reasons: 1.city itself is incredibly beautiful, 2. it is very hard to argue with them (they are indeed stubborn local patriots).
However, I tend to agree with the people from Split since I am a local too! It is truly a pleasure to live here, I enjoy every day in this magnificent place. And I have only one suggestion for you: Put Split on your bucket list when visiting Croatia. This is definitely a place you should not miss. I hope that this article will help you explore it. Take care, I wish you all the best dear reader!