Split, Croatia Travel Guide: Complete Guide for First-Timers

May 4, 2021

A once industrial town and a port that used to be just a big city on a map, Split has turned into one of the top destinations in Croatia.

Croatia’s second-largest city; Split is a vibrant and cultural center of the Dalmatian coast. It’s a buzzing city where you can immerse yourself in history and do your trip like a local.

Split is a perfect summer vacation spot and it has it all. The sights are within walkable distance and it’s an excellent base point for day trips and exploration of the Split area in Croatia, as well as other popular destinations, such as Dubrovnik, Krka national park, and more!

Split is a type of town where modern meets old. Its transformation from a port town to the hottest tourist destination has been an impressive one. Whether you’re just passing through with Croatia travel packages or staying for a while, Split gives you plenty to do to keep you busy for a while.

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What’s great about the city is also its location since it enables its visitors to further explore Croatia in possible directions: the capital city Zagreb to the East, the magical Dubrovnik to the South, and a hidden gem of Istria with its charming Rovinj to the North.

Top things to do in Split

Explore Split Old Town: Diocletian’s Palace

The Old Town of Split is located inside the walls of Diocletian’s Palace. The entire complex is about 1.700 years old and is nowadays a UNESCO heritage site.

Diocletian’s palace

For those who love history and those who love to observe it from a distance, Split might be the thing of interest since its Old Town is a living open-air museum where history accompanies you through its narrow streets, hidden passages, as well as most Split sights.

The Four Town Gates

These four gates Bronze, Golden, Silver, Iron gate, all lead to the Peristil, the historic center of Old Town.

Golden gate, Diocletian’s palace

A bell tower of St. Dominus Cathedral (or Split Cathedral)

The views from the top are spectacular and a must if you’re in town. Plus, the Cathedral is considered the oldest catholic cathedral in the world!

Split Cathedral

A central square of the Palace, Peristyle (Peristil)

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Varos Veli, a peasant quarter (and one of the oldest neighborhoods in Split)

To escape the crowds, sit down at a local bar or café and observe traditional stone houses.


Visit a market for a real pulse of the city: Pazar and Peskarija

Visit Split’s green (Pazar) and fish (Peskarija) markets in Split to get a better feel of the city; observe the locals and their daily chores.

Pazar, green market

Experience Riva Like a Local

Riva is a famous Split promenade, lined with cafes, restaurants, and bars; you’ll find locals sipping coffee, chatting, and spend their time sipping beer and hanging out with friends. To experience Split the local way, sit down, have a coffee, and take a few hours to observe the vibe!

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Riva, seafront in Split

Marjan Hill for Best Split Views

Head out of the Old Town to Marjan hill if you want to experience amazing views of the city and escape the crowds. It’s also a lovely spot to observe the sunset or to take a short hike through the thick pine forest.

Marjan hill, Split

Soak up the Sun on a Beach

Split is a coastal town so head out to the beach and relax for a day while swimming in the crystal clear Adriatic Sea, lazing in the shade, and soaking in your Croatian vacation. There are a couple of beaches in Split to choose from Znjan, Bacvice, Trstenik, and Bene beach.

Bacvice beach, Split

Test Yourself in a Game of Picigin

Invented in Split at the beginning of the 20th century, picigin is a beach ball game, played in shallow water. This sport is an amateur one so there aren’t any formal rules, but feel free to walk down to Bacvice beach in Split and observe the locals play it. Perhaps you can join in for a bit of fun time as well! 

Split game picigin

Taste the Local Delicacies

Split restaurant scene is rich and diverse. Whether you’re into tapas, wine bars, cheap eats, or fine dining, the town has it all, and they all proudly showcase the mouthwatering cuisine of Dalmatia. Some of the must-try dishes include: black risotto, Dalmatian fish stew, Pasticada stewed beef, among others. If you’re not too hungry, indulge your tastebuds in a delicious prosciutto or cheese platter. 

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Immerse into Culture, Sports, or Nightlife

Whether you’re into culture, nightlife, or sports, Split has something for everyone. You can visit a festival or two in the summer (though you’d have to check the updates regarding Covid-19), see a football match, or just enjoy live music in one of Split’s many cafes and bars.

Dance with us in Split!

Hop On a Game of Thrones Tour

While many GOT filming locations are in Dubrovnik, the area around Split and the town itself hosted shots linked to Daenerys Stormborm and her journey to Mereen. The scenes were filmed at Diocletian’s Palace and Klis Fortress (which is a must for a day trip).  

Split filming location at 2:22

Split Travel Guide: What you need to know

Where is Split?

Split is located in the central part of the Dalmatian coast on the Adriatic Sea, on a small peninsula, close to the island of Brač.

Split location in Croatia

What’s the best time to visit Split?

Split is a destination you can visit all year round but take into consideration that the peak months, July and August are the best for a dip in the sea.

If you want to avoid the crowds, it’s best to visit Split in May, June, September, even though you can still enjoy sunny days in October. After all, the summers are dry and hot, while winters get wet and mild.  

Where should I go from Split, Croatia?

Split can be a great base for further exploration of the Dalmatian coast, whether you want to do it yourself, with a private tour, or maybe even a small cruise ship experience.

Split is conveniently located in the central part of the Dalmatian coast, which gives you enough options to pick your next destination. We recommend the island Brač or Hvar, one of Croatia’s national parks (Krka or Plitvice are great options), or a trip further south to Dubrovnik. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can also hop over to Bosnia and Herzegovina to stroll around the small yet charming town of Mostar.

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Is Split or Dubrovnik better?

That depends on your taste and demands. Split is larger than Dubrovnik with a better location in case you’re looking to discover more of Croatia. But if you’re in the country and want to make the most of your stay in Croatia, we recommend you visit both. If you’re not too skilled at planning your own vacation or even refuse to do so, hopping on a private tour is the best option, especially if

  • You have limited time
  • Want to completely relax
  • Can’t be bothered by searching for transportation
  • Don’t speak the language
  • Want to make the most of your vacation

Is Split safe for tourists?

Just like the other towns and cities in Croatia, Split is safe for tourists. But we advise you to keep an eye on your belongings (there may be pickpockets!) and don’t carry large amounts of cash with you.

Do they speak English in Split, Croatia?

You’ll find people speaking English and other foreign languages in many tourist places around Croatia, especially those in the hospitality business and younger people.

Split travel guide: Is It a City Worth Visiting?

Conveniently located on the Dalmatian coast but not too far south, the city of Split has become one of the most popular travel destinations in Croatia and for a good reason.

If you’re looking for a vacation that’ll get you actively involved in the culture, history, and the general vibe of the country, Split is an excellent place to consider.

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The city gives you plenty of activities to keep you busy; from exploring its Old Town, an open-air museum, lazing on one of Split many beaches, tasting local delicacies, and living like a local, to day trips that help you create memories to bring back home with you.

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What’s more, if you want to explore more of Croatia, Split is a good base point that allows you to go island hopping and exploring some of Croatia’s most impressive islands, as well as other destinations on any travel bucket list: Dubrovnik, Plitvice national park, or even Zagreb!


National Parks of Croatia Tour
8 days

Split to Dubrovnik with Hvar – Southern Croatia
6 days

Croatian Coast Tour from Opatija to Dubrovnik
8 days

Grand Croatian Tour from Zagreb to Dubrovnik
9 days

Highlights of Croatia Tour
5 days

Zagreb to Dubrovnik Tour with a Flight
6 days


Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Montenegro Tour 11 days
National parks of Croatia and Slovenia Tour 10 days

Best of Croatia and Slovenia Tour
9 days

Vienna to Dubrovnik via Slovenia
10 days

Budapest to Dubrovnik via Slovenia
10 days