Discover the fascinating Old Town embraced by the ruins of an old Roman palace. Enjoy fresh seafood by the local kitchen. Hike in the woods and let the scent of the pine trees ease your mind. Finally refresh yourself by having a dip in the turquoise water of the Mediterranean Sea.
Things to do in Split
Split has spread over an area where Diocletian, the Roman emperor from 284 to 305, had a large fortified palace built for his retirement. A big part of the over 1700-year-old palace area has since been deteriorated or destroyed, but parts of it are still in place. The area is now the eastern part of the Split Old Town, and full of apartments, shops, hotels and restaurants.
The Brass Gate south of the area connects the beach boulevard Riva and Peristil Square, that was once an inner courtyard of the palace. In between, there's an underpass where tourists can look for souvenirs to bring back home.
There's the Silver Gate in the east and the Golden Gate in the north of the area. The Iron Gate, between the Peristil Square and the Narodni Square, doesn’t stand out from the surrounding buildings and may go unnoticed.
Having access to the palace area is naturally free of charge. There are some attractions, however, where an admission fee is required. Such attractions include the well preserved underground parts of the palace (excluding the previously mentioned underpass) and the Cathedral of Saint Domnius and its bell tower.
The Cathedral of Saint Domnius is considered the oldest Catholic cathedral in the world, because it's located in the Diocleatian's Mausoleum, dating back to 305. However, the cathedral itself wasn't built until the 7th century.
The bell tower offers great views over the Old Town but bear in mind that the stairs to the top are long and steep.
Marjan Hill is located right next to the Old Town, offering a nice alternative to the city life - not to mention the perfect view to the sea. There aren't many attractions on the hill as such, but it’s a perfect setting for hiking in the beautiful pine forests.
There are several beaches at the foot of the hill, which are accessible along the shoreline as well.
To climb to the Marjan Hill, there are a couple of stairs to choose from. The longer but more gradual ones ascend along the street Senjska ulica, which begins close to the water fountain at the western end of Riva. The shorter but steeper stairs begin at Marasovića ulica. Both stairs end at the same café by a viewing place, with a fantastic view over the Old Town and the port. The place is numbered 10 on the map (zoom the map to see the dashed line indicating the stairs). Neither of them is an easy climb on a hot day, but it’s worth the effort. The uphill continues a bit longer after the café. If you wish to climb to the 360° viewing terrace, there are still some stairs to climb.
Many of the roads at Marjan Hill are available for cars as well. It's quite comfortable to walk at the edges of the roads though, and the traffic isn’t that bad. There are hardly any places to get beverages after the café, except for the beach areas. It's therefore best to bring your own water bottle along.
Beaches in Split
There are several pebble beaches in Split. The further you go from the city center the more space there usually is.
The busiest beach, Bačvice, is located at the very heart of the city (tag 15 on the map). The surrounding bay is shallow, and there’s also a sandy beach area at the bottom of it. As the beach is packed with sunbathers in the summer, they tend to spread themselves on the grass and concrete areas to enjoy the sun.
If you walk eastwards from Bačvice, you'll come across several beaches. Ovčice is the nearest one right around the corner, and Firule situates thereafter. Walk past the marina, and there’s almost a continuous stretch of beaches all the way to the Žnjan Beach (numbers 17 and 18 on the map).
On the western side of the city center, the beaches are located at the foot of the Marjan Hill, west of the port area. The distance from the Old Town to Ježinac and Kaštelet is about two kilometers, while Kašjuni Beach is some three kilometers away. On the northern side of the hill, there's the Bene Beach.
Islands and cruises
The world-famous Croatian archipelago is at its finest just in front of Split. The Split port is the busiest port in Croatia, and there are plenty of options for everyone to explore the islands. Of the most famous islands in Croatia, Hvar and Brac are located within or less than an hour-long boat ride away.
Trogir is a medieval city located on a small island. It resembles the Diocletian's Palace in Split, with walls, gates and a small city inside. Trogir is located only 6 kilometers away from the Split airport, so it could be a good place to spend time, for example, before an evening flight. Or perhaps consider spending a few nights in both, Split and Trogir, to enjoy a multi-center holiday. More information: Trogir.
Shopping in Split is concentrated mostly to the malls that are located a little outside the city center.
There are plenty of clothing stores also at Marmontova, which is a pedestrian street on the western side of the Old Town. It is marked on the map with a red line.
Two popular malls:
On the eastern side of the Diocletian's Palace, there's an outdoor market place called Green Market. As the name suggests, it's a place to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. There are also areas for buying clothes, sunglasses, etc. around the market area.
Below, there are some examples of restaurant and hotel prices in or near the Old Town. As you can see, you can save a lot by avoiding the popular summer months.
The costs of hotel rooms are median prices at Booking.com.
Pizza in restaurant
Steak in restaurant
33 cl beer in restaurant
Hotel room, 3-4* (April)
Hotel room, 3-4* (July)
From the airport
The airport of Split is a little over 20 kilometers away from the Old Town. There is no train connection.
The airport bus is operated by Pleso prijevoz. The journey takes about 30 minutes and costs 30 kunas (about 4 euros).
Of the public buses, number 37 runs between Trogir and Split, with a stop at the airport. Bear in mind, however, that the stop is not in front of the terminal, but on the road going past the airport instead. So, you must walk about 300 meters from the terminal to the bus stop.
The journey takes about 50 minutes. More information and timetables here.
Weather in Split
Winter: In the winter, there’s a typical Mediterranean winter weather in Split. Along with the mild temperatures, there’s high humidity and frequent rain. The average daily high temperatures usually vary between 8-15 °C. At night, sub-zero temperatures are possible but unlikely. Extremely strong Bora winds can sometimes hit Split in the winter.
Spring: Spring is a great time to visit Split. Bear in mind, however, that the water is still cold and may spoil the fun, if you’re a keen swimmer. The daily high temperatures surpass 20°C early in the spring, but the evenings aren’t that warm and there’s often a cold wind blowing. Therefore, it’s best to have a coat with you. May is already a very warm month with temperatures going constantly over 20°C and closing in on 30°C. It rains less in spring compared with winter and autumn months.
Summer: From June to August the sunshine is pretty much guaranteed. It really gets hot in Split, as the temperatures climb to 30 °C and above.
Autumn: September is still a warm month with frequent beach weather. The temperature in September stays well above 20 °C and at night around 20 °C, but the total rainfall is higher in comparison to August. In mid-October, the weather cools down to under 20 °C, and it rains more often. October, November and December are the rainiest months of the year.
Text and images: Jussi Ryynänen
Translation: Janne Hietanummi