Why is Split one of the most visited destinations in Croatia?
Over the last decade, the port city of Split has transformed into one of the most popular destinations not just in Croatia, but in Europe.
And that’s for a good reason!
Split boasts a blissful combination of a city break and a beach retreat. You can spend your days lapping up the Croatian crystal waters, exploring Split Old Town or simply relaxing at the beach.
Split has a rich history and culture
The Old Town is steeped in history, dating back 1,700 years. You can get lost in the labyrinth of stone streets or climb the bell tower to admire the views. From up above, you will overlook those distinctive red roofs that have made Croatia recognisable across the world!
The vibe wouldn’t be there without the people. The locals of Split really bring the city alive. Their relaxed way of life is infectious and you can’t help but embrace it. The laughter and conversations seem to get trapped within the walls of Split, drifting through the streets and creating a bustling atmosphere.
Couple this irresistible atmosphere with some incredible Mediterranean cuisine, and you can see why Split becomes a lot of people’s favourite city.
How long should you spend in Split?
3-5 days is the perfect amount of time to spend in Split. It gives you enough time to properly explore the city, absorb its history, relax on the beach and do a few day trips.
Split is a city that you’ll be eager to come back to again though!
Although Split doesn’t feel that big, it’s the second largest city in Croatia, after Zagreb.
Even if you stay outside of the Old Town, you’ll be able to get to most places by walking. A lot of people’s first instinct will be to stay in the Old Town, but here is more. Some of the areas in the city that we talk about below might catch your fancy too.
Here are our 3 favourite areas to stay in Split:
Location #1: Old Town Split – the best place to stay, close to everything
The Old Town is probably the best place to stay in Split for most people. Part of Split’s charm are the winding stone streets and bustling daily life. Getting to stay in and amongst this is almost magical.
From a practicality side, you’ll be close to everything that you need. The Old Town is where the majority of restaurants, cafes and bars are located. You won’t have far to walk once your belly is full of delicious Mediterranean food or one too many Croatian wines.
Accommodation in Old Town Split
Prices do tend to be slightly higher in the Old Town, with private rooms starting at around €45 per night in high season. Airbnb is thriving in Split, so it’s worth checking for places on there too.
There are a lot of amazing accommodation options in Split, but you can’t get much better value in the Old Town than Luxury Rooms Lucija and Luka. It’s situated right on the main square!
Location #2: Bacvice – next to the beach, but still close to the Old Town
Split offers a great combination of city and beach. During the summer months, a day at the beach is a welcomed break from the heat. The area of Bacvice is right next to Bacvice Beach.
It’s a pretty small sandy beach, but the water is delightful and shallow for around 100m.
If you stay in Bacvice, you’ll only be a 15-20 minute walk from the centre of the Old Town. It’s a nice place to stay in Split if you want a more peaceful escape.
Accommodation in Bacvice
Accommodations are similarly priced to the Old Town, but you might be able to find something slightly cheaper. Here you’ll find hotels, Airbnbs and plenty of hostels.
Sandwiched between Bacvice and the Old Town, you’ll find the budget-friendly Stone House. With your own private balcony you’ll be able to see the Old Town from your room.
Location #3: Veli Varos – step back in time and enjoy the peace staying next to Marjan National Park
While Bacvice is located east of the Old Town, Veli Varos can be found west of Split Old Town. Staying in this area feels like you’re stepping back in time.
This area boasts cobblestone streets, bordered on either side by traditional stone buildings. It almost has a medieval feel to it.
Don’t worry though, it hasn’t been left behind in time. There are still plenty of cute cafes and less touristy restaurants here, that will only be a few metres from your accommodation.
It’s a nice little retreat from the constant crowds that can fill the Old Town during the summer months. You’ll also be right next to the beautiful Marjan Park.
Accommodation in Veli Varos
There are slightly fewer accommodation options in Veli Varos, but the ones you do find tend to be boutique hotels and apartments.
Food in Croatia is an interesting blend of Mediterranean and Central European flavours.
Split offers a great variety of delicious food to try, with a large proportion of it involving seafood. You’re by the sea, so it makes sense!
Split is a touristy city, so inevitably you’ll find lots of ‘tourist trap’ restaurants. These tend to be overpriced and just not that great.
Try out any of our recommendations below and you definitely won’t be disappointed. Here are our top 3 spots for incredible food:
Villa Spiza – new, handwritten and unique menus everyday
Villa Spiza is one of the best places to eat in Split. The restaurant is modest and homely, offering well flavoured, simple and wonderfully delicious food.
You could literally eat here every night while you’re in Split. They change the handwritten menu on a daily basis. This really adds a personal touch to the experience.
On their menu, you’ll find a small selection of well-prepared dishes, often centred around seafood and pasta.
Vege Vegan Street Food – delicious and cheap vegetarian/vegan food that you don’t want to miss
Whether you’re vegetarian or not, this is a great place to grab a mouth-watering lunch or a cheap dinner.
Vege Vegan Street Food is a stall at the end of Split’s main market. It offers a few tables and bar stools, and that’s it. Run by a single-handedly female owner, who cooks everything for you right in front of your eyes.
We highly suggest trying one of her burritos. They’re huge and full of flavour.
Ela’s Ice Cream & More – some of the best gelato you’ve ever tried
As Croatia is growing in popularity as a holiday destination, so is its expertise in ice cream and gelato.
If you ask anyone for a gelato recommendation in Split, it will be Ela’s Ice Cream. They have a wide variety of delicious flavours that they allow you to try beforehand.
Our favourites are the vegan chocolate, the white chocolate and the raspberry ice cream.
How to get around in Split
The majority of Split’s main attractions are located within the Old Town, which makes it extremely easy to visit. You just walk!
If you’re looking to venture outside of the city, along the coast to Togir or up to Klis Fortress for example, then you’ll need to look at other modes of transportation.
Lucky for you, we go into detail on them below.
Whether you’re staying in the Old Town or just outside, you’ll be able to walk to pretty much anywhere you want to go.
The walks are actually quite nice as you get to explore the city more, or maybe find a hidden restaurant.
A lot of the Old Town is pedestrianised, which makes walking a much more enjoyable experience. No worries that you’re going to be run over by a car!
If there’s a group of you and you don’t want to tackle public transport, then taxis are a good way to get around Split. More specifically Uber.
Uber’s tend to be cheaper than taxis in Split. For example a taxi from Split airport to the Old Town costs around 260 KN (€34.50), whilst an Uber should cost around 205 KN (€27). Both are still high in price, so we’d recommend the airport bus.
Split’s bus network is pretty extensive and can get you to most places that you want to go – Split airport, Trogir, Klis Fortress.
It’s an inexpensive way to get around, as a ticket costs only around 14 KN (€1.85), depending on where you’re going. A lot of the buses run very early in the morning until midnight.
Most buses run from Split’s Bus Terminal, or you can use the app Split Bus. The app will show you all of the bus timetables and where your nearest stop is.
A car can be a great way to get around Croatia, but when it comes to staying in Split, they’re not that ideal.
There’s virtually no parking within the Old Town, so you’ll have to find somewhere outside of the walls to park your car. Most places will also require you to pay to park there.
Hiring a car is still a good option. There are plenty of rental car companies both at Split airport and within Split itself.
Particularly in the peak season, we’d recommend hiring a car in advance. You can compare and book online with Skyscanner, where you’ll find car rental in Split for around 640 KN (€84) per day.
Now that you’ve finished reading this guide, you’re almost ready for your adventure in Split. The next step is to create your personalised itinerary with our top picks of things to do in Split. Simply choose your favourite activities and places to visit, and you’re all set to make lasting memories in Split.
Our favourite places to stay in Split
Important: Tourism in Croatia is very seasonal. Much of the available accommodation in Croatia is fully booked in the summer, but many sites are closed in the winter months. With July and August being the peak season, rates can rise 3 times as high as compared the low season or shoulder months. We recommend booking your accommodation at least 1 month in advance to lock in better rates.
These modern and airy apartments, situated in Split centre are just moments away from the famous Diocletian’s palace, Bacvice Beach and a not unimportant - a delicious local bakery.
Watch the world go by on your own private balcony, or just relax after a day of exploring Split in your newly renovated, air-conditioned room. Nothing is too much for the host, Goran, who can give you the best insider tips.
Located within the pedestrian zone of Split’s Old Town, you can’t be closer to the centre than this hotel. The rooms offer a stunning blend of modern and old, with each one having a seating area, minbar and coffee machine.
You’ll struggle to find a fault in this hotel, especially when the hosts are so incredibly kind and helpful.
Kate is a writer, (ex)Management Consultant and avid traveller. She recently returned from a 2-year career break exploring the world and decided corporate life wasn’t for her. She’ll soon be testing life as a digital nomad. She’s visited over 40 countries and fell in love with Latin America in particular. Her travelling has inspired a passion for yoga, salsa, hiking and Spanish.