15 Unique Things to do in Split, Croatia
The city of Split in Croatia amazes with a wide range of spectacular things to do, many historical and cultural treasures and great beaches. The charming city center, along with the world-famous Diocletian’s Palace, has been on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1979 and is therefore a real visitor’s magnet. But not only in the old town can you discover a lot of attractions. There are also countless interesting places that you can visit in the vicinity of Split. But which places shouldn’t you miss in Split?
In this post we reveal the 15 best things to do in Split, the most beautiful attractions nearby and, additionally, we will provide you with useful travel tips!
The UNESCO World Heritage Site and the most famous attraction in Split is the 4th century Diocletian’s Palace. This palace complex forms a large part of the old town of Split, with the remains of around 200 buildings still well preserved. After the Roman era, the complex was converted into an inhabited fortress, which changed over the years due to cultural influences. There is a lot to discover during a tour of the Diocletian’s Palace, such as the Peristyle, the Podrumi, the Sveti Duje Cathedral and the Vestibule.
Another must in Split is a visit to the picturesque harbor promenade, also called the Riva. It is the heart of the city center and inspires vacationers as well as locals with its unique ambience. On a walk along the palm-lined promenade, you will enjoy a wonderful sea view and find many boats at the fishing port. The pretty historic town houses are particularly chic. Here you can enjoy your coffee in one of the countless restaurants and bars.
Another interesting place to visit in Split is the Vestibule inside the Diocletian’s Palace. It was once the antechamber to the imperial apartments. Unfortunately, however, the imperial bedrooms are no longer preserved. Nowadays you stroll through this passage on a sightseeing tour and come to Peristyl Square. Just around the corner of the vestibule is the Ethnographic Museum, another interesting attraction in the city center.
A real highlight of the city is the Peristyle, the central square of the Diocletian’s Palace. This place used to be a kind of reception room for imperial visits. Nowadays you can watch the town hustle and bustle in a fantastic setting on the steps of the peristyle. The magnificent facades are particularly beautiful here and the original Roman columns and arches make this square one of the most interesting attractions of Split.
Cathedral of Saint Domnius (Sveti Duje)
Beautiful and one of the main sights of Split is the impressive Cathedral of Saint Domnius, also known as Sveti Duje. A visit to this sacred site is almost a must on every city tour. This church was once the mausoleum of the Roman emperor Diocletian and his wife Prisca. Later, however, this resting place became a church, which is now considered the oldest Catholic cathedral in the world. For a small entrance fee you can also visit the inside of this church.
A visit to the striking bell tower is also worthwhile. You reach the church tower by 200 dizzying steps and the reward is a spectacular view of the city.
The basement (podrumi) of the Diocletian’s Palace is one of the world’s best-preserved ancient building complexes of this type and an important place to visit in Split. Nowadays, there is a museum here and beautiful souvenirs, some of them handmade, are on sale at the stalls. Art exhibitions, concerts and theater performances are also taking place here. The Podrumi connects the harbor promenade with the Peristyl square and is, therefore, the starting point for many city tours.
The Golden Gate
The Golden Gate in Split was called Porta Septemtrionalis in Roman times and was only renamed Porta Aurea “Golden Gate” during the Venetian rule in the 16th century. It is the most magnificent and beautiful of the four palace gates and a visit is highly recommended.
Statue of Gregory of Nin
The approximately 8-meter-high statue of Gregory of Nin is located in front of the Golden Gate and is one of the most photographed attractions in Split. This work comes from the most famous Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović, who is considered a kind of patron saint of the city. Legend has it that if you caress the big toe of the statue, it will bring luck.
Pjaca Square, also known as People’s Square, is one of the most beautiful places in the historic old town. Here, the picturesque facades and beautiful city palaces enchant the visitors. Also interesting is the old city clock, which has 24 digits instead of the usual 12 digits. If you like, visit the art gallery in the old town hall or simply enjoy the incredibly nice flair with a cozy coffee.
Fruit Square – Voćni trg
Voćni trg is the former fruit market of the city of Split. Local farmers’ goods used to be sold here and today specialty markets are still sometimes held there. During a walk you will discover many attractions, such as the octagonal Venetian tower from the 15th century, the magnificent Palace of the Milesi family and the statue of Marko Marulić.
Marjan Forest Park
One of the best things to do in Split is to enjoy the beautiful Marjan Park. This forest park is located on a peninsula west of the old town and it is a recreation center for the locals. Here you can take wonderful walks, jog or hike while enjoying the wonderful landscape. Since the forest park is on a hill, you have a wonderful view of the old town and the deep blue sea. There are also beautiful beaches along the coast, which are great to swim and relax in summer.
There is also a lot to see in the Marjan Forest Park. Hiking trails lead through the park, alongside magnificent viewpoints and really beautiful chapels and small churches. The two most interesting of the approximately 12 churches are the Church of St. Nicholas and the Church of Sveti Jere.
During a visit to the port city, the beautiful beaches of Split persuade tourists to jump into the cool water. Many are surprised about the fantastic bathing opportunities right in the city. One of the most beautiful beaches is Kasjuni beach. It is located on the southern side of the Marjan Forest Park and scores with a picturesque long bay, crystal-clear water and a wonderful holiday atmosphere.
Tip: Near to Kasjuni beach there are some fabulous accommodations, which combine beach and culture. The Unique House Split is very popular.
Ivan Mestrovic Gallery
The Ivan Meštrović Gallery is an art museum just outside the old town, dedicated to the work of the sculptor Ivan Meštrović from the 20th century. In addition to the most important works by Mestrovic, the gallery also has a beautiful garden and a pretty café where you will have a fantastic view of the sea.
Ruined City of Salona
One of the ultimate best things to do in Split is to visit the ruins of Salona. The former city was the center of Roman life in Dalmatia. If you walk through the ancient open-air museum, you will admire, among other things, columns that are around 2,000 years old, visit the old graves of the great necropolis and a well-preserved amphitheater, which at that time offered space for more than 12,000 spectators.
The Klis Fortress is one of the largest of its kind in Dalmatia and a must see in Split. It is located around 14 kilometers from town center. Because of its eventful history and its central location, it is often nicknamed “the key of Dalmatia”. From the top of the fortress you will enjoy amazing views over the sea and the landscape around Split. On a sightseeing tour you will discover a wide variety of viewpoints, gates and towers, as well as a small museum. In addition, scenes from the famous series Game of Thrones were filmed here!
Excursions from Split
Due to its central location, Split is a wonderful starting point for excursions along the Dalmatian coast and into the offshore islands. During a visit, you have the opportunity to explore some of the best and most beautiful Croatian attractions and national parks. Here are the best things to do near Split that can be done in half a day or on day tour:
- Sibenik: The old town of Sibenik, which is really worth seeing, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is located around 80 kilometers from Split. On an excursion you can visit the old fortresses and the Cathedral of St. Jacob.
- Krka Waterfalls: Around 90 kilometers from Split is the Krka National Park, which is one of the most beautiful natural highlights in Croatia. Here you hike through a unique ecosystem and can even bathe in the waterfalls.
- Trogir: The UNESCO World Heritage Site Trogir is a popular destination from Split and can be reached in just 28 kilometers. The historic city with its many interesting sights is particularly special.
- Primosten: The city of Primosten is picturesquely situated on a peninsula and is one of the most popular holiday resorts in the country. The former fishing village delights with its romantic old town and many great beaches.
- Omis: The historic town of Omis is around 25 kilometers from Split. The imposing Centina Gorge, the small beautiful old town with the fortress and many great beaches are just a few of the highlights.
- Brac: One of the most beautiful islands close to Split is the island of Brac. Famous for its Zlatni Rat Beach, one of the most popular beaches in Croatia, it is definitely worth a detour!
Fantastic places to stay in Split
A wide range of recommended accommodations and hotels in Split make a holiday perfect here. Many of the best places to stay are either in the old town, by the harbor or at the beautiful city beaches. Here are the top recommendations for fantastic accommodations in Split:
- Heritage Hotel: The Heritage Hotel Cardo impresses with its perfect location right in the complex of the UNESCO-protected Diocletian’s Palace. This brilliant hotel has only 5 rooms, each very individually and uniquely decorated!
- Backpacker Hostel: The cozy Ćiri Biri Bela Boutique Hostel convinces backpackers with top equipment and a great location in the old town.
- Holiday House: The Unique House Split is located near the beach Kasjuni and inspires with a fantastic location. The perfect villa for a very special holiday in Split.
- Parc Hotel: The Hotel Park Split impresses with its proximity to the city and the beach. This dream hotel convinces with a great breakfast and a wonderful pool.
Tip: If you want to spend your vacation on the beaches of Split, you can read here: The 10 best beaches in Split
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