After spending a few days in Dubrovnik, kayaking and exploring the filming location of Game of Thrones, we moved on to Split. We spent a whole week in Split and used it as base to explore the surrounding areas. We went on day trips to Omis, Krka National Park and on a boat trip to Hvar. Split is one of the most popular and beautiful cities on the Dalmatian coast in Croatia, and there are lots of amazing things to do in both the city and around it. In this guide I’ve outlined all the best things to do in and around Split, Croatia.
Before you read on, have you sorted your accommodation in Split already? If not, check out my guide on the best places to stay in Split here!
- 1 About Split
- 2 Best things to do in Split, Croatia
- 3 Best day trips from Split
- 4 Where to stay in Split
Split is about a four-hour bus journey from Dubrovnik. This is quite long but I find buses are one of the best transport modes around this part of Europe, much easier than if we had rented a car. The city centre or Old Town of Split isn’t as clearly defined as that of Dubrovnik with its high city walls. There is however the whole area of the Diocletian’s Palace, surrounded by other cute medieval streets. We used Split more as a base from which to go on day trips, however we managed to explore a lot of the city anyway, especially of the best restaurants and places to eat! We had one of the best meals of our trip at a restaurant called Bokeria.
Best things to do in Split, Croatia
Visit Diocletian’s Palace & the cathedral
The main square by the Diocletian Palace is always lively and bustling with action, in evenings there is even a bar that puts cushions on the steps for you to sit, so that you can have a drink there and enjoy live music. We wanted to take photos in the square without other people around and had to go there before 7am in order to do that. You can also go up the bell tower of the cathedral in the centre of Split. We did this at 7:30am just after taking photos of the main square, but I can imagine it’s a lot less fun when it’s busy. The staircase that you have to walk up to get to the top is extremely narrow, and if there had been traffic coming the other way I’m not sure I would have felt comfortable doing it. To be able to go up the bell tower you have to pay a fee of 15 HRK, access to the cathedral is a separate ticket and will cost you another 20 HRK. As we only wanted to see the view we got only the bell tower ticket. While you walk up it anyway there are spots with windows that look into the cathedral so you can get a glimpse of it anyway.
Go to Kasjuni Beach
Despite being famous for its beaches, not all Croatian beaches are actually very good. There are two main beaches within walking distance of Split. Bacvice beach is the most popular one as it is very close to the city centre and is a sandy beaches. For these exact reasons however it is also usually terribly crowded. Our AirBnb host recommended us another beach; Kasjuni beach, saying it was the best in Split where the locals go to get away from the tourist crowds (with a premise like that, how could we not go)! Kasjuni beach is a bit further away from the town centre, on the other side of Park Marjana, You can walk there which, despite the beautiful views from the park over the Croatian islands, can be quite tiring to do under the sun as it can take up to two hours. We didn’t realise this so we decided to walk there, on the way back however we got an Uber for 27 HRK which was well worth it.
Go to the Park Marjana viewpoint
To get to the less touristy beach recommended by our AirBnb host we had to cross Park Marjana. The whole park is pretty big (as we found out after two hours of walking under the sun searching for this magical beach) but a short 15-minute walk from the Split harbour, right on the edge of the park, there is a beautiful viewpoint over all of Split. You can easily walk here from Split, with only the last couple hundred meters of the walk being directly uphill. Once you reach the top however you will be able to enjoy the beautiful view that you can see in photo below. There is also a little bar where you can sit down, have a drink or food and enjoy the view.
Do a sunset SUP tour
If you’ve ever been stand up paddling (also known as SUP) or even if you haven’t, Split is a great place to do so. It always depends on the weather conditions on the day but generally speaking, the sea around Split is fairly calm, which makes it very easy to stand up on a board and paddle around. We did a sunset SUP tour which was a very fun experience, we got to see the sun go down and turn everything around us red, and we then turned on the lead lights under our boards to explore more of the coast. Just make sure to bring a jacket with you, even in summer it can get chilly once the sun goes down!
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Best day trips from Split
I was in Split for week and while it’s a beautiful city, there are also lots of stunning things to do around it that you can visit on day trips from Split. One of my favourite was the trip we did to Omis. We took the local public transport and it took approximately half an hour to get there by bus. Omis is a beautiful small town, located just next to the Cetina Canyon. The town itself is quite small, we easily walked around the whole old town in half an hour. One of the main points of interest, which we thought is definitely worth a visit, is the local fort. You have to walk up quite a steep path to reach it, plus a very narrow ladder to reach the roof of the fort, but the views over the town and sea are well worth it.
Zip-line in the Cetina Canyon
Since we were already in Omis we then went zip lining in the Cetina Canyon. It was my first time ever zip lining, and if I said I wasn’t scared, I would be lying. The stunning views more than made up for it. We drove up to the top of the canyon, and then did 8 lines to get back down to the bottom of the mountain. The first line is the longest, 750 metres long, lasts for 45 seconds and is 150 metres up. It’s also the one with the most stunning view. The others after it are a mix of in between trees smaller ones and a couple more with beautiful views. Our guides were helpful and funny, trying to break the tension for the scared first-timers. Despite the initial fear we really enjoyed it, and would happily do it again.
Visit Krka National Park
One of the things I really wanted to do when I was planning this Croatia trip was go searching for waterfalls. I’d seen so many incredible photos online of Plitvice and Krka that I just had to see them for myself. They do day trips also to Plitvice from Split, but after our 4-hour bus from Dubrovnik the other day, we weren’t in the mood for a 10-hour return trip to Plitvice. So we went to Krka National Park instead, which is just a 1-hour coach journey to Skradin, and then a short ferry ride from there to the waterfalls. We did an organised tour that picked us up from Split harbour and took us directly to Krka National Park. On top of the excursion you have to pay 150 Kuna entry to the National Park, or 50 Kuna if you’re a student. The boat trip from Skradin to the waterfalls with its beautiful green views and scenery was, to us, even better than the much awaited waterfalls.
Krka National Park was beautiful, but we thought it was way too busy. We arrived quite early in the morning and walked around the park first, then went back to the main lake where you can also swim. We thought that maybe in the meanwhile some people would leave, but we were very wrong. By the time we walked all the way round the falls the swimming lake and tanning park around it had filled up with people. You might be looking at my photo and thinking, “hey, but there’s no people in that photo!” that’s because we walked all the way round the lake beyond the line of buoys to get photos without people. Watch the video to see what it was really like. Krka was beautiful but the amount of people there spoiled the beauty of it. I’d love to come back out of season and enjoy it without the crowds.
Do a boat trip to Hvar
From Split we then went to Hvar for a couple days. We took a ferry to get there, which takes just over an hour. On the day we arrived we decided to rent a car for 48 hours, so that we could go explore the island and beaches alone without having to wait for public transport. When we saw a pink beetle car in the parking lot of the rental company it was love at first sight, we just had to rent it. However we ended up getting scammed by the rental company, having to return the car on the afternoon of the first day without a refund, hence losing all the money we had paid. We then found out it’s a popular scam in certain parts of the world.
The rental contract we signed included a small sentence that said that if we got caught breaking the speed limit or any other traffic laws they could take the car back, no refund. We were driving (at a normal speed) on our way to dinner when a scooter stopped in the middle of the road in front of us, and an angry guy (that then turned out to be the owner of the car rental company) started yelling at us to get out of the car. Needless to say it was a slightly traumatic experience. We ended up arguing with them and spending a large chunk of our evening with the police. The language barrier made it hard to conclude on anything, so in the end we had to give back the car and lose the money.
Despite our bad experience with the car rental company we absolutely loved Hvar! It didn’t quite live up to the party island stories we had heard, but we still enjoyed the nightlife. On the brief afternoon we had a car we drove to the other side of the island, where we had a lovely lunch on the beach. One of the best things to do in Hvar is walking up to the fort, where there are some beautiful views over the harbour and old town. The fort is clearly visible from the town, and there are signs that point up to it. Entry to the fort is about the equivalent of 3 GBP. We also had a great time at Hula Hula Beach Bar, famous for its sunset and beach parties. If you’re looking for more advice on cool things do around Split, check out these 12 must-see day trips from Split.
Where to stay in Split
The best places to stay in Split are around Diocletian’s Palace and the Old Town centre. These areas however can obviously be a little more expensive so we chose to stay in an apartment just outside the Old Town, called Zorro Apartment. We were a short 10 / 15-minute walk away from Diocletian’s Palace so we never felt like we were too far from the centre, plus we saved a bit of money staying further out so that was a win-win situation. In Hvar we stayed at a place called Apartments D&S which was similarly close enough to the centre but also just outside it so as to be cheaper.
Have you been to Split or in the areas around it? How did you find it? Let me know in the comments below! I had been to Croatia before, but only to Dubrovnik, I am very glad we made it to Split and surroundings this time, as I really enjoyed it! This is how we spent a week in Split; I had a great time chasing waterfalls at Krka National Park, zip-lining in the Cetina Canyon, doing a sunset sunset paddle tour, and getting ripped off by the car rental service in Hvar. These are some of the best things to do in Split and surroundings in my opinion, I’d love to hear your thoughts!
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