By getting more and more popular each year, especially in the summer, Split definitely earns its title as of one the best destinations in Europe, and a top summer Mediterranean destination. It’s a connection city to many islands and smaller coastal cities, as well as some cities and villages inland. If you happen to spend one day in Split, it’s still enough time to check out the most interesting sights and attractions as well as some less touristy areas, spend some time at the beach, and get to know the local culture.
What’s the best time to visit Split?
Late spring or summer. It can get pretty crowded from 1st of July until the 1st of September, but on the other hand, it’s the time when there is so much more to do and areas to explore due to the warm and sunny weather. Skip it in the winter.
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 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.
One Day in Split Itinerary
Follow this guide 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 the Old Town
Head to the Old Town right in the morning. (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 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.
Panoramic View from the Bell Tower of the Cathedral of Saint Domnius
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. It’s good to mention that the ticket will cost you only 20 kunas (less than 3 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 the price of 20 kunas, 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.
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. Beside 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.
It’s Coffee Time
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.
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, go for mussels, black risotto, or grilled fish. 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.
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.
Relax at the Beach
Spend some afternoon time at the beach. Since the city itself is a peninsula, there are multiple options to choose from. The one sand beach, and also the most popular one, is called Bačvice, but there are dozens of great pebble beaches under the hill on Marjan. Kašuni or Obojena could be your perfect choice.
Watch the 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 the Jadran beach and the Sustipan park. It’s also a nice place to chill after an exhausting day.
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.
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 beach 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 near the city center.
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. Unique interior, magnificent views, and facilities like sauna, jacuzzi, and gym (free of charge) make it one of the top hotels in Split.
Design Hostel Goli & Bosi
Morpurgova Poljana 2, 21000 Split
Design Hostel Goli & Bosi is an awarded hostel situated in a 19th-century warehouse, designed by the famous Croatian architect and one of the most unique hostels anywhere in the world. It’s only 2 minutes walking to the Diocletian’s palace and just a few meters to the sea and the main city promenade Riva.
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 games 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 a sight to behold, 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
– You should keep in mind that the euro is not excepted in Croatia, so you should change your money upon arrival.
– If you’d like to explore islands near by, definitely check 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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Make sure you have everything you need
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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).