Over the years, Split has consistently been growing more and more popular among tourists. It is a top destination with loads of cultural heritage and historical buildings going back hundreds of years. Oh, and there’s a huge number of amazing festivals to choose from. What was once a city from which you’d only go to other amazing Croatian places has become a place that captivates your imagination and makes you want to come back again and again. It’s no surprise that a Roman emperor chose this place to build a huge palace just for himself. No doubt, this is one the best destinations in Europe and a top summer Mediterranean destination. One day in Split is therefore an experience you really can’t afford to miss. This is the Mediterranean at its finest!
What’s the best time to visit Split?
Split is a city that can be visited throughout the year. That being said, however, do keep in mind that summer is peak season here, with tourists starting to come as early as April. Also, the tourist season ends somewhere in early fall, but July and August is when you will see most visitors. However, since winters are relatively mild around here, it may be worth exploring the city during that time. Keep in mind, though, that there are fewer events around.
Speaking of events, the number-one event you can visit every summer is Ultra Europe. Some of the best DJs in the world along with tens of thousands of fans from all over the world flock to the city, so if you’re a fan of this type of music, this festival is a must. Do note that the prices in Split peak at this time. The Mediterranean Film Festival is also quite cool if you’re a movie lover, and Split Summer Festival offers some great performances in the jaw-dropping heart of the Diocletian’s Palace.
What’s good to know about Split?
The city itself offers a combination of rich history and architecture, stunning natural surroundings and numerous beautiful beaches. The most famous one is Bačvice , but if you’re looking for a place that is less crowded, you may want to head out of town, towards Omiš. Be advised, traffic jams are not uncommon during summer!
The core of the city is the Ancient Roman Palace – Diocletian’s Palace, built in the 4th century AD and continuously inhabited until today, which means that you can witness 17 centuries of the city’s history simply by walking down the narrow stone streets.
The locals are absolutely crazy about their football club, Hajduk Split. So don’t be surprised when you see the club’s emblems everywhere and graffiti supporting the team. If you have the time, do go and take a tour of the stadium, Poljud, because it is considered to be an architectural masterpiece. The fan shop there will provide you with plenty of interesting souvenirs.
One Day in Split Itinerary – Top Things to Do in Split, Croatia
Welcome to sunny Split! The second-biggest city in Croatia and the largest one in the region of Dalmatia has a lot to offer to every visitor. There is stunning architecture, great food and many other things for you to explore and enjoy. Follow this itinerary and make the best of your trip even if you’re short on time – these are the top sights and things to do on your one day in Split.
Visit Split’s Old Town
Head to the Old Town right in the morning to start your one day in Split. If you happen to visit the city during the peak season, it’s the only way to avoid huge crowds. Start your walking tour at the north entrance of the Diocletian Palace near the Gregory of Nin Statue and make a wish by rubbing his golden toe. It will surely come true! If you’re into some morning coffee, there is a nice sidewalk café in the Gallery of Art (Galerija Umjetnina) just across the northern wall of the Palace. You can always check out the exhibition after you finish your coffee.
Enjoy the Panoramic View from the Bell Tower of the Cathedral
Wander through the narrow streets of the Old Town and finally find your way to the ancient square Peristil and the Cathedral of Saint Domnius. Visit the cathedral and don’t forget to climb the bell tower for the most beautiful panoramic view of the city. There will be a small price to pay to enter, but it shouldn’t be more than a few euros.
Visit the Substructures and Riva Promenade
Continue your Diocletian’s Palace tour and go down to the Palace substructures (the Diocletian’s Palace cellars). You can do the whole Substructure Tour at a very reasonable price, or you can just visit the central part that’s free of charge. There, you can buy some souvenirs or jewelry at the underground market and continue your walk on the main promenade called Riva. Fun fact – a part of the Game of Thrones show was shot here. In fact, the palace doubled as the city of Meereen’s throne room!
Enjoy a stroll along Riva sit down for some coffee
The Riva Promenade is the most iconic outdoor space in Split and it’s the place where locals enjoy their coffee in the warm weather. Apart from coffee shops, there are some nice restaurants, but also some very delicious ice cream shops. There are numerous benches where you can bask in the sun or relax in the shadows of the palm trees.
Walk a bit to the west, and visit the newly renovated West Coast Promenade. There you can enjoy a delicious espresso and an even more beautiful sea view. Do it in a relaxed mood as locals do; one coffee shouldn’t last less than 1 hour.
By now you must be hungry. Fortunately, there are many great restaurants around. You should definitely go for some of the Croatian specialties – pašticada with gnocchi (a stewed beef dish cooked in special sauce) or lamb with peas. If you prefer seafood, black risotto is a local specialty and the way to go.
The restaurant Fife started as a local place with great traditional dishes and pretty fair prices. Although it can get a bit crowded in the peak season, it’s still a great place if you want to try local cuisine. Villa Spiza is another restaurant favored by the locals – mostly serving Mediterranean and local dishes. Corto Maltese also comes highly recommended, with a mix of Croatian and Italian dishes.
Take in a Great View from the Marjan Hill
After lunch, it’s time to burn some calories and climb hundreds of stairs up to the viewpoint Prva vidilica on Marjan Hill. It’s a great place to admire the surrounding islands on one side and the stunning mountains on the other. The bar with the terrace overlooking the city is a nice place to grab a cup of coffee or some fresh orange juice. There’s also a restaurant here, a fantastic place for a dinner under the stars with your significant other.
Relax at a beach
No one day in Split would be complete without a trip to one of the beaches. So, why not spend a part of your afternoon there? Since the city itself is a peninsula, there are multiple options to choose from. The one sandy beach, and also the most popular one, is Bačvice. However, there are loads of great pebble beaches below Marjan. Kašuni or Obojena could be your perfect choice.
Watch a Beautiful Sunset
The sunset in Split can get really magical as the sun sets behind the island of Čiovo. The perfect spots to watch that spectacle are Zvončac and Sustipan Park. These are also nice places to chill after an exhausting day since there should be a bar with a nice view nearby. Sit down and just enjoy the fact that you’re here for a minute.
Sit down for a nice Split dinner
There are many nicely decorated, newly opened restaurants in the narrow streets of the Old City. Bokeria offers magnificent food with a mix of modern and traditional flavors, and the interior is gorgeous. Artičok restaurant is a charming place you definitely must visit, and also one of the best value deals in the center of Split. Consider Oštarija U Viđakovi too, a traditional and exceptionally cozy restaurant with quite decent prices.
You should always check out some event sites to find out about what’s happening in Split on that particular night. The nice bars are mostly located in/around the Old City. Check out the Ghetto bar for some cocktails and music or Bačvice for some beach clubs. In the off-season, clubs Judino Drvo and Central could be your best choices.
Where to stay in Split?
When it comes to Split, most of the sightseeing is within walking distance of the city center or right at the very heart of the city. Therefore, the best option would be to stay close to the city center.
Trumbićeva obala 18, 21000 Split, Croatia
The newly-opened Hotel Ambasador is a five-star beauty that will make your stay in Split an exquisite one. Located just outside of the Old Town, it is in an ideal position for sightseeing. Furthermore, it provides spectacular views of the city’s harbor and the nearby islands. The design of the rooms is nothing short of beautiful, plus you can enjoy a wonderful terrace, an outdoor pool, a sauna, a fitness centre and many other amenities. Luxury at its very finest!
Kralja Zvonimira 6, 21 000 Split
The stylish Hotel Luxe in Split is just a 5-minute walk from the main city beach Bačvice, still super close to the Diocletian‘s Palace. The unique interior, magnificent views, and facilities like sauna, jacuzzi, and gym (free of charge) make it one of the top hotels in Split. The breakfast is very tasty, and the staff are exceptionally friendly and willing to go the extra mile to help you out. You simply can’t go wrong with this fantastic hotel!
Ćiril-Metodova 7, 21000 Split
Hotel Marul is another hotel at the very heart of the city. It features an à la carte restaurant and a bar, plus there is a wonderful garden outside where you can enjoy all of that in peace and quiet. Rooms are decorated in pastel tones and elegantly furnished, with some of them offering a balcony with an amazing view. There is also a children’s playground close by, which parents will certainly know to appreciate. Certainly a choice worthy of your consideration.
Radmilovićeva 71, 21000 Split, Croatia
Anyone looking for a hostel in Split cannot do better than Hostel Dvor. Its excellent location puts you close to the main sights, and the lovely terrace can make your morning coffee quite an experience. The place is also impeccably clean and in a very quiet part of the town, so you will always get a good night’s sleep here. Dvor is everything a hostel should be and more!
DAY TRIPS FROM SPLIT
While Split is certainly a beautiful city, due to its modest size, one day should be enough to see most of the things that are worth seeing there. After all, that is why most visitors only spend one or two days before exploring the rest of the coast or the nearby islands. Here are some of those hidden gems that you may not have heard of.
Krka National Park Day Trip
Somewhat reminiscent of the more famous Plitvice Lakes National Park, the waterfalls of Krka National Park, especially Skradinski Buk, are a sight to behold. Surrounded by traditional watermills, the river Krka once also powered the world’s second-oldest hydroelectric power plant. Since the National Park is only an hour’s drive from Split, there’s no excuse for missing its pristine natural beauty.
Blue Cave and Hvar Day Trip
You may have noticed that Croatia has a lot of islands. Choosing the right island to visit and getting familiar with the ferry system can sometimes seem like a hassle. Additionally, if you’re strapped for time, there’s no chance you’ll get to see anything on your own. Luckily, there are several popular day trips that will take you to see all of the most popular nearby sights, allowing you to experience something a little different, such as the Blue Cave, the Green Cave, and Stiniva Bay. The blue cave, entered by boat, is jaw-droppingly beautiful, while Hvar, especially the Old Town, is one of the most exclusive destinations in Croatia.
Day Trip to Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik, the “Pearl of the Adriatic”, is certainly the most famous city in Croatia, and one of the best holiday destinations in the Mediterranean. While it may take around 3 hours to get there, the trip is well worth it. The city’s unique history and architecture fascinate thousands of visitors each day. Only Napoleon was able to get past its impenetrable walls, while in recent years, it has been run over by Game of Thrones fans looking to walk the cobbled streets of King’s Landing.
Extra tips for visiting Split
– At the start of 2023, the euro became Croatia’s currency, so if you’re already using it, you don’t have to worry about exchanging it.
– If you’d like to explore the nearby islands, definitely check out Sea Tours Croatia
– Even though the tips in the bars and restaurants are never included in the price, it is customary to tip at least 10%.
– Almost all coffee bars and restaurants have free Wi-fi. If the password’s not written on the receipt just ask the waiter for one.
– Taxis in Split are cheap compared to most of Europe, but Uber is definitely a much cheaper option.
– If you just move a bit from the Old Town and the sea coast, the restaurant and bakery prices can go down by as much as 50%.
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Anca is a travel writer and the founder of One Day Itinerary - the biggest collection of travel itineraries for those who are time-limited or just want to maximize their time while traveling. Although she easily becomes homesick for Croatia, she thinks travel is essential to her happiness. She has traveled to more countries than she is years old and doesn’t plan on changing that fact. In her travel guides she aims to inspire people to travel whenever they have a spare day (or two).