Split is the second largest city in Croatia, after it’s capital, Zagreb. Split was once merely known for being an excellent transit port for buses, boats, planes and trains, but is now a very popular tourist destination.
Over the years Split has been ruled under many empires including the Roman and Austro-Hungarian empires. You can see these cultures reflected through the city’s architecture and cuisine. Also, if you’re a fan of Game of Thrones then I am sure you know some of the show was shot here, so you can walk the streets of Meereen and Braavos.
Travelling continuously and moving everyday can get exhausting, so I chose Split as a base to stay for three nights and had planned to go on two day trips (Hvar and Krka National Park) from there. I wouldn’t recommend staying more than 4 days as the Old Town is really small and you can see everything in one day.
1. Riva Promenade, 2. Part of Diocletian Palace, 3.-4. People’s Square, 5. The bell tower of Cathedral of Saint Domnius,
What to do:
- Visit the Old Town- The Old Town of Split became a UNESCO world heritage in 2014. Get lost as you walk through the cobbled stone streets, old alleyways and quaint souvenir shops. Allow about 3-4 hours to wander around. There are also walking tours available.
- Diocletian Palace- This is an ancient palace found in the Old Town, built for the Roman Emperor Diocletian at the turn of the fourth century AD.
- Cathedral of Saint Domnius- This is the Catholic cathedral in Split, Croatia. The cathedral is the seat of the Archdiocese of Split-Makarska, headed by Archbishop Marin Barišić. Croatia is a very Catholic country filled with many beautiful churches.
- Pazar market- The market is located right next to the east wall of the Diocletian Palace. The market is filled with delicious, fresh fruit, flowers and little nick-nacks to buy. I went everyday I was in Split, the fruit was soo tasty.
- Statue of Grgur Ninski- This statue was created by the most famous Croatian sculptor Ivan Mestrovic. The statue is six feet tall- I had trouble photographing it properly. Apparently, if you touch his thumb you will have happiness and realise your own desires!
6. Republic Square, 7. Old Town, 8. Cathedral of Saint Domnius,
- People’s Square- This square is located in the centre of the Old Town and is one of the main attractions in Split. The square is filled with stunning buildings such as the Renaissance clock, and delicious restaurants with local cuisine and international delicacies.
- Republic Square- This square is neo-renaissance style, decorated by three side columns while the forth is open to the sea. It is on the outskirts of the Old Town and when I visited there was barely another soul there. The bright red building is in contrast to the rest of the city, making it quite a notable building to visit. You will pass here if you walk up to Marjan Hill along the Riva.
- Marjan Hill- This hill provides a beautiful lookout over the city of Split. It is about a 15 minute hike up to the top but the views make up for the sore legs and sweaty face. There is also a beautiful restaurant you can dine at next to the lookout.
- Riva Promenade- The promenade is filled with cafes, restaurants and ice-creameries. It overlooks the beautiful Mediterranean coast, so you can spend an afternoon sitting in a restaurant watching the boasts float in and out of site. If you need a boat anywhere, it will depart from the Riva Promenade area.
- Bacvice Beach- This is Split’s main beach. The water was a glistening blue, and obviously very busy during the middle of the day. Try to get there early to get a comfortable spot!
9. City Walls, 10. Locals hanging out their washing, 11. Diocletian Palace,
- Getting to Split- I caught a bus from Zagreb, but you can also opt for the train option if you prefer that. Throughout my travels I used FlixBus or GetByBus. I don’t know why, but of all the European countries I have visited, Croatia had the worst public transport. Almost every bus I took was late.
- The bell tower of Cathedral of Saint Domnius- The bell tower boasts beautiful views over Split for 20kn.
- Cost- Split was more expensive than Zagreb, but less expensive than Dubrovnik. I paid $100AUD per night for an AirBnb 20 minutes walking distance from the Old Town. A meal from a restaurant cost between $20-$30AUD. I would say Croatia has become a reasonably pricey country to visit, especially for the Australian dollar.
- Book early- If you plan on visiting Split in peak season (July-August), book at least a month ahead or accommodation and transport could be booked out.
- Not going to plan- As I mentioned, Split is a great base for a day trip or two. My plan was to get into Split by 2pm and explore the Old Town for 5-6 hours. Then I was going to visit Krka National Park the next day and Hvar the day after that.
- However, this didn’t quite go as expected as life and nature apparently had other plans. My bus was late into Split, arriving at 5:30pm so I didn’t have the first afternoon to explore Split. I decided I needed to spend the next day touring around Split instead of going on the day trip to Krka. Then the day I visited Hvar it rained the whole time, and I’d unfortunately purchased my ticket in advance so there was nothing I could do. However, in Hvar there isn’t much to do besides swim and hike up to the viewing point, so I got an early ferry back to Split…
- But that’s life! Sometimes things like this happen, and you don’t get to see everything you want because the weather is yucky or the bus is late. I’ve found it’s best to just accept that these things happen and wake up the next day ready for a new adventure.
12. View from the bell tower of Cathedral of Saint Domnius, 13. Riva Promenade, 14. Old Town, 15. Corner of Republic Square, 16. Old Town,
The accommodation that I stayed in was my least favourite place I stayed throughout my latest European adventure only because of how far away I was from the Old Town, so I won’t bother sharing my location. Split is a tiny city and yet I was 20 minutes walking from the Old Town and 15 minutes from the beach, and it wasn’t even cheap! I would suggest searching for accommodation near Republic Square/Marjan Hill or Bacvice Beach.
17. View from the bell tower of Cathedral of Saint Domnius, 18. Peoples Square, 19. Riva Promenade, 20. Part of Diocletian’s Palace, 21. Bacvice Beach,
The best time to visit Croatia:
I visited Croatia in July and it was very hot. July and August are the peak travel times as that is summer school holidays for Europeans and Americans, and it is Australia and New Zealand’s winter so they’re looking to escape the cold.
I would suggest visiting in April-May or September-October in the shoulder seasons as the weather will be much more pleasant going in to or out of summer, prices will be slightly cheaper and there will be less tourists!