‘The city of Diocletian and St. Domnius’, a city under the Marjan and ‘the city of picigin’ are just a few names that describe Croatia’s second-largest city. Split is the largest city in Dalmatia and has a rich history influenced by Greeks, Romans, Venetians and many others that have left their mark. It has glorious architectural buildings and monuments, beautiful nature, and an easygoing Dalmatian lifestyle.
Split is a lively and vibrant city with fantastic food and wine experiences and is a city of culture where you can go to cultural performances, theatres, museums and concerts. Split hosts the Ultra Europe festival and several scenes of the famous Game of Thrones were filmed in Split. Many popular Croatian singers, actors and sports players come from this city. So come and discover what’s special about this city and here are some things to do in Split you will love.
- Split, Croatia
- Top 3 Tours
- 20 Things To Do In Split
- 1- Explore Diocletian’s Palace
- 2- Visit The Cathedral Of St.Domnius
- 3- Listen To The Acoustics In Peristyle Square
- 4- Be Amazed By A Capella In Vestibul
- 5- Touch The Lucky Toe of Grgur Ninski
- 6- Drink Coffee Along The Riva Waterfront
- 7- Take A Break At A Marjan Forest Park
- 8- Explore The Life of Ivan Mestrovic
- 9- Visit The Museum of Archeological Monuments
- 10- Play Picigin On Bacvice Beach
- 11- Take A Selfie On Prva Vidilica
- 12- Climb Klis Fortress
- 13- Deep Dive Into The Blue Cave
- 14- Relax On Hvar Island
- 15- Wander Around Dalmatian Pompeii In Salona
- 16- Explore Republic Square Prokurative
- 17- Get Lost In Veli Varos
- 18- Take A Look At The Venetian Tower
- 19- Get An Adrenalin Rush On The Cetina River
- 20- Explore Trogir
Top 3 Tours
- Spilt Game of Thrones City of Dragons – Follow in the footsteps of Daenerys and explore the filming locations of the Game of Thrones.
- Split Speedboat Tour – From Split, explore the Blue Cave, Hvar and Vis on this exciting speedboat tour.
- Split Old Town and Diocletian’s Palace – Go on a walking tour to explore the charming old town.
20 Things To Do In Split
1- Explore Diocletian’s Palace
Taking almost half of the Old Town, this ancient Palace was built in Roman times, in the 4th century, by Emperor Diocletian.
It was built for residential and military purposes, divided into four parts and two main streets.
The southern part belonged to Emperor as a residence and for different ceremonies, while the northern part was a military base.
Diocletian’s Palace is the best-preserved example of old Roman architecture built in white limestone, combined with Venetian and medieval architecture.
Today, it’s a lively area surrounded by coffee shops, hotels, restaurants, and museums.
It’s also where Game of Thrones was filmed, with scenes shot in the mystical catacombs and underground hallways.
There are several tours to discover this gem. Check them out here:
2- Visit The Cathedral Of St.Domnius
The Cathedral of St. Domnius holds the title as one of the smallest cathedrals in the world and was once the mausoleum of the Roman Emperor Diocletian.
The same Emperor persecuted Christians, including St. Domnius, a patron saint of Split.
The cathedral is within Diocletian’s Palace.
After his death, the Christians who returned to Split removed his sarcophagus and replaced it with the bones of St. Domnius.
What’s interesting to see is the bell tower, baptistery, treasury and the Crypt of St. Lucy.
The bell tower is Gothic in style and offers a panoramic view of Split.
The baptistery was once known as the temple of Jupiter and was built in the 2nd century by the Emperor.
The treasury holds many historic paintings and sculptures.
The entrance ticket to the Cathedral Of St.Domnius varies depending on how many things you want to see and I recommend seeing the lot. Check out this walking tour.
3- Listen To The Acoustics In Peristyle Square
The main square of Diocletian’s Palace was used back in his time as a central point where he was celebrated as the living son of Jupiter.
He presented himself as Divine, where subjects would kneel before him, kiss the hem of his cloak and prostrate themselves.
In the 13th century, when the Pjaca town hall was constructed, Peristyle became a religious place.
It’s an example of Roman culture.
Peristyle is noteworthy for its acoustics, making it a perfect place for operas, concerts and other musical performances.
The famous Summer Split Festival is held in Peristyle Square. Check out this walking tour.
4- Be Amazed By A Capella In Vestibul
This impressive Roman monument was an entrance to the residential part of Diocletian’s Palace, with marbled walls, rectangular from the outside and round inside.
It was once covered with a cupola painted in a glittery mosaic, but today it’s an empty space that makes the perfect acoustic sound for a capella performance of traditional Dalmatian songs.
The southeast side houses a stunning luxury hotel called Vestibul.
5- Touch The Lucky Toe of Grgur Ninski
If you need a bit of luck, visit the 8.5 m (27.89 ft) bronze statue of Grgur Ninski, and according to legend, if you touch his big bronze toe, luck will come your way.
Grgur Ninski was the bishop of another Croatian city called Nin from 900 to 929.
During that time, the title holder was the head of the entire Croatian Church and under the protection of King Tomislav.
Grgur Ninski brought the Croatian language and national Glagolitic script to the church and created solid Christian roots in the Croatian kingdom.
Famous Croatian sculptor Ivan Mestrovic made the statue.
Many people don’t know that there are other two locations with his statue and big toe. So, if you find yourself in Nin or Varazdin, rub his shiny toe.
6- Drink Coffee Along The Riva Waterfront
Riva is a lovely pedestrian promenade with bars, restaurants and shops and is one of the main attractions in Split.
The Dalmatian people enjoy socialising over a cup of coffee, chatting and taking life easy.
If you walk this promenade, you will see that no matter the time of the day, the bars and cafes are always full of people.
Palm trees and white benches complete the scene and a beautiful view of the Adriatic Sea.
To experience the Dalmatian vibe, you have to visit Riva.
7- Take A Break At A Marjan Forest Park
Marjan Forest Park is one of the natural trademarks of Split.
The beautiful green park is next to the city centre and it’s a lovely spot to take a break, run, walk a dog or have a picnic.
It starts from Marmont Street and stretches to the western part of the town for 6.6 km (4.1 miles).
The highest point is Telegrin, 178 m (584 ft) and has 314 steps uphill.
Besides stunning nature and amazing panoramic views of the town Split, you will find the cultural heritage of famous Croatian sculptor Ivan Mestrovic in his gallery and historical remains in the Museum of Croatian Archeological Monuments.
8- Explore The Life of Ivan Mestrovic
Ivan Mestrovic is one of the most famous Croatian sculptors of the 20th century.
Most of his artwork is in the gallery in Marjan Forest Park.
What’s special about the gallery is it was built in the 20th century according to his design with the main purpose of being his residence.
Over time, it became his work and exhibition place.
In the gallery, you can find his bronze, wood, gypsum and marble sculptures.
Besides sculptures, there are also designs, furniture, documentation and architectural drawings.
Some famous sculptures by Ivan Mestrovic are Zdenac zivota, located on the main square in Zagreb, Job and Grgur Ninski in Split, The Winner in Belgrade.
9- Visit The Museum of Archeological Monuments
Discover the culture of Croatia during the Middle Ages, from the 7th to 15th centuries as this museum is a perfect place to explore the tangible and intangible remains of that era.
Throughout the years, due to the wars, the museum has moved from Knin, Sinj, Klis and finally to Split.
It holds a variety of stone monuments, jewellery, weapons, a collection of interlacing-ribbon and figures from the Middle Age.
There’s a range of Croatian epigraphic monuments and many more. The entrance is free.
10- Play Picigin On Bacvice Beach
Visiting Split in the summer season without taking a swim on the beach Bacvice is like you haven’t been there.
It’s one of the most famous sandy beaches in the town, usually full of locals.
Water is very shallow, making it convenient for the famous beach game Picigin.
The game is played with a small ball and at least two players who aim to keep the ball in the air as much as possible.
Picigin also belongs to UNSECO’s non-material heritage, so I’m sure you will not want to miss that experience.
11- Take A Selfie On Prva Vidilica
The viewpoint on Marjan Hill, placed around 200 m (656 ft) above the Riva this place has a breathtaking view of the Old Town and the Adriatic Sea.
To get to the viewpoint, you have to climb the Marjanske skale steps, which usually take five to 10 minutes.
At the top, there is a restaurant with the same name, one of the city’s most luxurious restaurants, mainly due to its location.
12- Climb Klis Fortress
Located 20 minutes north of Split in Klis village, this fortress offers a stunning view of the town Split.
With 2000 years of history, including Illyrians, Romans, Mongols, Ottomans and Croatian royalty, this fortress provides the opportunity to explore the walls and underground chambers where some of the Game of Thrones scenes were filmed.
The admission fee for adults is 9 euros and for children 3 euros. As it’s a popular attraction, it’s worth reserving your tickets to skip the lines.
13- Deep Dive Into The Blue Cave
The Blue Cave on Bisevo Island is a natural, hidden gem and a fabulous attraction to explore in summer.
Formed by the erosion of the limestone, the cave gets its turquoise-blue colour from the sunlight reflecting off the sea.
On a calm and sunny day (between 11 am and 1 pm), the sun’s rays pass through an underwater opening, illuminating the cave with an ethereal blue light.
It’s an otherworldly sight but if you want to see it without the crowds don’t visit in July or August.
The entrance fee is 13,5 euros from July till August and 9,50 euros for all other periods. You may like to join this tour.
14- Relax On Hvar Island
A little patch of paradise in the Adriatic Sea, the sunniest and longest island in Croatia, is delightful to visit.
The island is charming to explore with small stone houses, narrow cobbled streets, blue sea, beaches, and green vegetation.
Smell the scent of fresh pine trees, listen to the sound of crickets and discover hidden caves and bays.
Besides natural and cultural experiences, you’ll also find the best party experiences in one of the many beach bars on the island.
Hvar is a big island that includes Hvar Old Town and Pakleni islands, so if you decide to go there, spend a couple of days.
From Split, take the 45-minute ferry ride to Old Town Hvar or check out this tour.
15- Wander Around Dalmatian Pompeii In Salona
This small, ancient Roman city 5 km from Split hides the rich cultural heritage of Roman times.
Dalmatian Pompeii was a stronghold and harbour of the Illyrian Delmati in Salona.
There’s an ancient Roman amphitheatre built in the second century AD by Danish architect and archaeologist Ejnar Dyggve.
In the east of Salona, there are remains of the Hollow Church from the 11th century, mentioned in the coronation of King Zvonimir in 1075.
Salona is an undiscovered gem that is worth visiting. Find out more.
16- Explore Republic Square Prokurative
If you enjoy wandering around Split’s beautiful, cobbled streets, don’t miss Prokurative.
Also known as Republic Square, it’s the central gathering point for locals and hosts a variety of concerts and cultural events during summer.
It contains three neo-Renaissance palaces coloured in red with decorative arcades, which makes it an impeccable gem of a forgotten time.
17- Get Lost In Veli Varos
In the 17th century, fishermen and farmers built the Veli Varos neighbourhood between Diocletian’s Palace and Marjan Hill.
This old part of the town is made of typical Dalmatian stone houses with green windows and small, narrow, cobbled streets that witness the way of life in medieval times.
In Veli Varos, you can find several churches, such as the Pre-Romanesque Church of St Nicholas, the Church of St Cross, the Franciscan Monastery, and the Church of St Frances. Check out this walking tour.
18- Take A Look At The Venetian Tower
Dating back to the 15th century, this octagonal Venetian tower represents the only remaining monument of the Venetians who once ruled the town.
Between the 15th and 18th centuries, Split was under the rule of the Venetians who built a castle outside Diocletian’s Palace along with five towers to defend against Turkish raids and pirates.
Centuries later, everything was destroyed except this tower which stands proudly on Fruit Square today.
The tower isn’t open to explore but you can walk along the square and admire a piece of history.
19- Get An Adrenalin Rush On The Cetina River
If you get overwhelmed with historical and cultural sightseeing, try an adventure activity.
The Cetina River is known for having the best rafting adventures along its Grade 3 route, which is suitable for beginners.
Surrounded by Dinaric Alps and the beautiful landscape of Omis, it’s popular for different adventure activities.
Besides rafting, various other activities include climbing, hiking, ziplining and paragliding. Find out more about rafting here.
20- Explore Trogir
30 km from Split, this UNESCO World Heritage gem dates back to 380 BC and has a rich history brought by Greeks, Romans, Hungarians and Venetians.
It’s a true example of Roman and Renaissance architecture, with medieval streets with stunning views of the Adriatic Sea from the waterfront promenade.
You’ll need a whole day to explore this gem near Split. Find out more here.