#1 Join a Free Walking Tour and learn about the magical city of Split
One of the first things that we recommend doing whenever you arrive in a new city is to join a (free) walking tour.
Free walking tours are a popular concept where you are not obligated to pay anything. Still, it’s greatly appreciated that you tip your tour guide at the end if they did a great job.
The Spectacular Split Walking Tour takes you on a trip back in time. You’ll get to learn about the Greek, Roman, Venetian, Ottoman, French and Austrian influences that have made Split the city it is today.
Instead of just admiring the stunning structures in Split, you will learn about their history, the people that used to frequent them and some interesting myths.
Where do you visit on the tour?
Some of the places you visit on this tour are Diocletian’s Palace, the Cathedral, Diocleciano’s room, Temple of Jupiter and many more.
As well as learning about the past, your guide will explain what life is like now in Split and the future intentions for Croatia.
All of these are packed in a tour of around 1.5 hours. The tour begins by the Split sign, near the harbour.
#2 Wander around Diocletian’s Palace, a centrepiece of Split
If you decide not to join the free walking tour, you’ll inevitably end up visiting Diocletian’s Palace anyway.
The palace dates all the way back to 284 AD. It was built by the Roman Emperor, Diocletian, who decided that he needed a very grand and luxury holiday home to retire in.
Built from limestone and marble the palace still remains incredibly intact. helping you to picture life back then.
#3 Admire the stunning waterfalls at Krka National Park
When you see pictures of Croatia, Krka National Park is usually one of the photos used to entice tourists.
Who wouldn’t be convinced after seeing the stunning and powerful waterfalls, cascading into the brilliantly turquoise waters?
Krka National Park has 16 plunging waterfalls, lush hiking trails and a monastery sitting on an island in the middle of the lake.
Krka also has a slight edge over Plitvice Lakes National Park – the second most popular waterfalls in Croatia. In contrast to Plitvice, Krka offers the opportunity to swim in certain areas of Krka.
Split is the most popular place to visit Krka from as it is only about a 1.5-hour drive.
The entrance fee is €13.30 per adult and the national park is open 08:00 to 20:00 every day during the high season.
How to visit Krka National Park from Split?
Krka National Park is about a 1.5-hour drive from Split, so if you have your own car, it’s pretty easy to get to.
During the summer months, buses run frequently from Split to Skradin – the closest bus terminal to Krka. The bus costs around €10 each way.
A far more popular way to visit the Krka falls is to join a tour from Split. This way you don’t have to worry about anything!
This full-day tour to Krka National Park has all the right ingredients for a perfect day. It includes transportation there and back, gives you free time to explore the waterfalls and a river cruise down the Krka river.
The tour only costs €16 (not including the entrance fee). This is only slightly more expensive than going by public transport and much cheaper than going by taxi.
Before we get on to the fortress itself, we have to mention the view. The view alone is a good enough reason to visit Klis Fortress. Due to its location on the mountainside, the fortress overlooks the whole of Split and the Adriatic Sea.
What is Klis Fortress?
Klis Fortress is over 2,000 years old and has been occupied by a number of people, from the Romans to the Ottomans.
The fortress makes you feel like a kid again as you can explore everywhere at your own leisure. Another bonus is that only 15,000 people visit it a year, so there shouldn’t be too many people or any queues.
There are also a number of museums dotted throughout the fortress where you can learn about its history. There also seems to be a Game of Thrones museum being set up too.
How to visit Klis Fortress
Entrance to Klis Fortress costs €8, but you’ll also need a taxi to get there.
The easiest way to get up to the fortress is to get an Uber. It will cost around €13 each way and takes around 30-minutes.
There’s also a local bus that runs from Split to the town of Klis every hour or so. This takes slightly longer than a taxi, but is a cheaper option.
#5 Climb the Bell Tower for amazing views of Split
Split’s iconic bell tower is attached to the Cathedral of St. Dominus.
The cathedral was first built in 305 AD as the Mausoleum of the Emperor Diocletian and was later converted into a Catholic cathedral.
The bell tower came later, in the 12th century, and was later rebuilt in the 20th century.
There are 180 pretty steep steps to get to the top of the bell tower, but at 60m you’ll have the most incredible view. It’s one of the best viewpoints to get a shot of the distinctive red-roof buildings.
How to visit?
You’ll need to buy a ticket to visit the bell tower. This ticket is often bought as part of a combination ticket with some of the other popular attractions in Split. The two options you have are:
Green ticket includes 3 sites: The Cathedral, Bell tower, Treasury for €9.
Purple ticket includes 5 sites: The Cathedral, Crypt, Baptistery, Treasury, Bell tower for €11.
TIP: Our compact Split Travel Guide shows you the best areas to stay, restaurants you don’t want to miss and many more tips for your visit to Split!
#6 Take a boat trip to see the Blue Lagoon and nearby idyllic islands
Tons of boat trips leave from Split every day. You’ll be spoilt for choice when choosing which one to get on.
Whether you decide to take a ferry to one of Split’s nearby islands or want to join a tour, you will be spoilt for choice.
If you don’t have enough time to dedicate a day or overnight stay, a tour is a great way to visit Brac and Hvar. You’ll get to visit places like the famous Blue Lagoon, the nearby town of Trogir and a number of other islands.
You’ll also have the opportunity to explore new places around Split and go swimming in the sea. When the sun’s shining, there’s nothing better than spending the day on a boat.
#7 Relax on the beach and enjoy Croatia’s crystal clear sea
With Croatia’s summer months averaging around 25°C, you’re probably not going to say no to a beach day.
Despite being a popular city destination, Split also has a number of beaches and places to go for a swim. Croatia’s water is crystal clear in most places and a delightfully refreshing temperature.
Our favourite beach in Split is Bacvice Beach. It’s a sandy beach about a 15-minute walk from the Old Town.
It may not be the prettiest beach you’ve seen in your life, but it is a lovely place to relax amongst locals and go for a dip.
What makes Bacvice Beach slightly unique is that for around 100m the water is still incredibly shallow. It makes it safer for kids, allows you to play ball games in the water, and you don’t have to go fully in if the water is a little chilly.
Other great beaches to visit
If you head towards Marjan Park and walk along the coast, you’ll discover a number of pebble beaches.
There are also small rock pools and roped-off areas where you can go swimming. It’s like a swimming pool in the sea!
We’d recommend checking out Ježinac Beach and Kasjuni Beach. Both of these beaches are also really nice places to watch the sunset at the end of the day.
#8 Visit some of your favourite Game of Thrones scenes in Split
Game of Thrones became a big part of a lot of our lives, as we watched to see who would take the Iron Throne.
The popular TV series is now also a fascinating aspect of Croatia and in particular Split.
Split has taken advantage of its new unique selling point. You’ll find plenty of Game of Throne souvenir shops and agencies selling tours.
#9 Stroll along Split’s promenade by the harbour and yachts
The promenade in Split is located just in front of the harbour. It’s a lovely place to stroll along, especially during sunset or in the evening.
You’ll find markets selling arts and crafts, people performing and also locals meeting up just enjoying life.
Whilst you’re walking past all of the huge yachts that are moored in the harbour, pick which one you’d like to buy. It’s fun to dream!
#10 Get a taste of Split’s vibrant nightlife
Split has a growing reputation for its nightlife. The city is full of bars and restaurants that are buzzing with both locals and tourists.
Charlie’s Bar is one of the most popular spots in the city, especially amongst the younger crowd. The place gets so busy that everyone streams onto the street and parties there.
You could also join the famous Tower Pub Crawl to explore more bars and clubs in Split. If you’re looking for a somewhat relaxing night, then definitely go and enjoy the live music put on by Lvxor Cafe and Restaurant. The live music is performed out onto Peristyle Square, whilst people sit on the steps enjoying a drink.
#11 Take a trip down the coast and visit the beautiful city of Trogir
Trogir is another UNESCO World Heritage Site just a 30-minute drive up the coast from Split. This stunning historical city sits on an island, connected to the mainland by bridges.
It’s a quintessential Croatian city, where there’s nothing better to do than get lost in the labyrinth streets.
It’s the perfect place to enjoy an Italian pastry under the palm trees, overlooking the canals. Trogir also has a number of great Italian restaurants serving authentic pizza, seafood and pasta.
Once you’re full up on food, wander around and admire the sights such as the Cathedral of St Lawrence, the remains of the city walls and Kamerlengo Fortress.
It’s simply a lovely place to spend the day!
How to get to Trogir from Split
Driving to Trogir is the easiest way to get there. It takes around 30-minutes in the car.
If you don’t have a car, then there’s a bus that runs between Split and Trogir. The great part is that the bus doesn’t take that much longer, around 40-minutes, and only costs around €2.70.
The canyoning is what attracts thrill seekers. As a matter of fact, some people head to Split purely to take on the canyoning.
This extreme canyoning tour will have you rappelling down cliff faces and hiking from rock to rock. And the most fun of all: sliding down rapids and through tunnels, as well as jumping from high cliffs.
It’s a full day of adrenaline and certainly one that you’ll never forget!
#14 Climb Marjan Hill for a glorious viewpoint of Split
If you haven’t already done enough steps exploring the Old Town, walk up Marjan hill.
The Marjan peninsula sits to the west of Split Old Town and has a series of trails all across it.
If you want the satisfaction of reaching the top, you can climb to the top of the hill, but the best viewpoint of Split is actually from Prva vidilica na Marjanu.
You’ll still need to walk up a number of steps to get to the viewpoint, but this should only take you around 10-minutes.
#15 Explore the ancient Salona Roman ruins
Salona was once the capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia. It used to be home to over 60,000 inhabitants and held great significance amongst the empire.
Now its old glory lies in the suburbs of the town of Solin, 5 km from Split city centre. It’s a great place to visit if you’re into ancient history and ruins.
The star of the show is the ancient amphitheatre that was believed to have been built in the 2nd century and is able to accommodate between 18-20,000 spectators.
The Salona Hollow church ruins are also another draw. As you walk through the ruins you can imagine what life used to be like back in the Roman Empire.
Entrance to Salona ruins is around €4.
#16 Learn about Split’s history in the city’s museums
Split has an incredible history running from ancient times all the way to the present day. This rich history is displayed very well in Split’s numerous museums.
Here are our top 2 museums so you can prioritise which ones to go to:
Archaeological Museum – the oldest museum in Split, founded in 1820. The museum is home to findings from the nearby Roman capital of Salona, mosaics, pottery and ancient coins. The pieces on display cover both the Greek and Roman periods. Entrance is €6.65.
Split City Museum – is housed in the 15th-century gothic palace, worth visiting just to see the building. Inside the museum. There are paintings, weapons, photographs and documents covering Split’s history. Entrance is €2.70.
#17 Learn about olives and olive oil at the Olive Museum
At the moment, you also got access to the recently built Olive Museum as part of your ticket to Klis Fortress.
The museum is only a 20-minute walk from the fortress, so it’s worth a visit.
The museum teaches you about olive development, the different varieties, harvesting, processing, storage and how to use olive oil properly.
There’s also a gift shop that has a lot of samples to try. You can try a selection of different olive oils, sauces and raw bars. This part is great!
The gardens that the museum is set within are also beautiful to walk around. Plus there’s a small restaurant that uses a lot of the ingredients grown within the grounds of the museum. The 3-course menu offers unique and playful flavours.
#18 Do some shopping at the Second Hand Shop
Whilst a lot of people don’t come on holiday with the intention of shopping, the Second Hand Shop might be an interesting visit.
Shopping sustainably and buying second-hand clothes is becoming ever more popular, and you can see why with places like this.
Spread across two floors you’ll discover every type of clothing for both men, women and kids. There are also a ton of accessories like bags, belts, shoes and scarfs.
How much are the clothes?
The Second Hand Shop has a great pricing system, it’s done by weight. New shipments are brought in every Monday. To start with, a kilo is €16, but as the week goes on, the prices drop.
By Saturday, a kilo costs only €2.70! Bargain!
Rounding it up
Now you’ve picked the best things to do in Split, it’s time to start ticking off that bucket list. Not sure how to plan your trip? Our guide is here to help! You’ll find out how long to stay in Split, where to eat, how to get around and more. Happy planning!
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.
Based in Bali, Maarten’s passion for travel is undeniable. In 2016, he decided to quit his job as a stock analyst and started doing what he always dreamed of: travelling through South East Asia and helping other people plan their trips. When he is not working on Gecko Routes, you’ll find him surfing in the ocean or exploring the best gems of Indonesia.