The 10 Best Things to Do in Split

Rooted in its ancient Greek origins, Split derives its name from a local shrub, reflecting its humble beginnings as a small settlement. When Roman Emperor Diocletian decided to retire in Split in the early 4th century, it catalyzed its transformation, and the rest is history. 

Today, Split stands as Croatia’s second-largest city after Zagreb, and is often hailed as its most alluring. Beyond its historical narrative, the city unfolds as a multifaceted destination with an endless list of things to see in Split. 

To guide you through this captivating city, our experts have curated a list of the 10 best things to do in Split, from exploring the historical attractions to the best people-watching spots and more.

Explore Diocletian’s Palace

Diocletian’s Palace, Split
Diocletian’s Palace, Split

Exploring Diocletian’s Palace stands out as one of the best things to do in Split. As a distinguished UNESCO World Heritage Site, this beautiful palace plays a pivotal role in showcasing some of the globe’s finest examples of impeccably preserved Roman architecture. Its significance as a historical monument and a vibrant hub within Split’s attractions is huge.

Situated in the heart of Split Old Town, Diocletian’s Palace is a captivating blend of ancient grandeur and contemporary allure. The buildings within the complex have undergone a remarkable transformation, now housing a diverse array of establishments, such as boutiques, art galleries, wine bars, cafes, coffee houses, and restaurants. 

This fusion of historical heritage with modern amenities enhances the overall experience, making it one of the most compelling things to see in Split.

Climb the Bell Tower of St. Dominus for a View Over the Old Town

Climbing the Bell Tower of St. Dominus is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Split, providing visitors with a captivating panoramic view of Split Old Town. Situated within the precincts of Diocletian’s Palace, the Cathedral of Saint Dominus holds historical significance as the mausoleum of the emperor.

Embarking on a climb up the nearly 200-foot-high bell tower is a great activity for those wanting to snap a picture and take home a memory. The vantage point allows visitors to appreciate the intricate layout of Split Old Town, showcasing where ancient architecture and modern life meet. Beyond the city’s confines, the view extends to the radiant blue horizon of the Adriatic, offering a breathtaking vista of coastal beauty and making it one of the standout things to see in the Split.

Tour the Palace Cellars

Touring the Palace Cellars emerges as a fascinating activity, firmly establishing its place among the best things to do in Split and adding to the array of Split attractions. Originally serving as the entrance to the grand Diocletian’s Palace, these cellars held multifaceted roles, functioning as a channel for deliveries and a reception area for noble guests during the Roman era. Post Diocletian’s era, the cellars transformed, serving as storage facilities and waste disposal sites.

A significant archaeological excavation uncovered a treasure trove of well-preserved artifacts from the period, offering a tangible glimpse into the historical past. Among the discoveries was a large press, evident of the ancient winemaking practices that thrived within the palace confines, contributing to the rich viticultural history of the region.

The Palace Cellars, with their storied past, encapsulates the essence of Split Old Town’s layered history. Beyond its historical significance, the cellars have garnered pop culture recognition, notably serving as the backdrop for Daenerys Targaryen’s dragon training scenes in ‘Game of Thrones.’ This blend of historical authenticity and pop culture positions the Palace Cellars as one of the most interesting things to see in Split, giving visitors a chance to live out their on-screen fantasies whilst on a journey through time.

People Watch Along the Riva Promenade

Riva Promenade, Split
Riva Promenade, Split

Engaging in people-watching along the Riva Promenade also stands out as one of the best things to do in Split, seamlessly blending into the fabric of Split attractions. The Riva is a picturesque waterfront promenade that has become an integral part of local life in Split Old Town, offering a captivating glimpse into the leisurely pace of Croatian culture.

The term ‘fjaka,’ embraced by locals, encapsulates the essence of this experience. Translating to ‘the art of doing nothing,’ fjaka encourages people to savour the present moment and let go of their worries. Choosing a spot at one of the cafes or restaurants lining the promenade becomes an invitation to witness the ebb and flow of daily life in Split, observing locals and tourists as they enjoy the scenic views.

 

Visit Klis Fortress

Exploring Klis Fortress is a captivating addition to the repertoire of the best things to do in Split, extending the scope of Split attractions beyond the confines of the Old Town. Situated in the hills behind Split, Klis Fortress boasts a storied history dating back to the 7th century when it was constructed as a defensive stronghold against potential invaders.

Beyond its historical significance, Klis Fortress has gained recognition among ‘Game of Thrones’ fans as the iconic city-state of Meereen, further elevating its appeal and cultural resonance.

The high setting of Klis Fortress provides visitors with a jaw-dropping panoramic view, allowing them to appreciate the picturesque landscape that surrounds Split. The fortress itself unfolds a narrative of the past, showcasing Roman baths, temples, and an amphitheater. 

This cultural and historical immersion seamlessly integrates into the array of things to see in Split, offering a well-rounded experience that transcends the boundaries of the Old Town.

Sip Coffee in Republic Square

Indulging in a coffee-sipping experience at Republic Square emerges as one of the noteworthy activities among the best things to do in Split. Nestled in the heart of the city, this Venetian-style square seamlessly integrates into the mosaic of Split attractions, offering both locals and visitors a vibrant and dynamic space to unwind.

Surrounded on three sides by a neo-Renaissance palace, Republic Square encapsulates the charm of Split Old Town while providing a distinctive ambiance. The square serves as a hub for coffee enthusiasts, boasting multiple coffee shops and eateries with outdoor tables spilling into the square. 

Beyond its role as a coffee haven, Republic Square serves as a cultural focal point, hosting various events such as festivals and concerts. This multi-functional space adds depth to the spectrum of things to see in Split, contributing to the city’s reputation as a cultural and social hub.

Hike Up Marjan Hill

Marjan Hill, Split
Marjan Hill, Split

Embarking on a hike up Marjan Hill is one of the best things to do in Split for outdoor enthusiasts. Situated just northwest of Split Old Town, Marjan Hill offers a serene escape nearly 600 feet above, providing an impressive view point that overlooks Split, the Adriatic Sea, and a variety of Croatian islands.

The ascent to the top of Marjan Hill is a relatively easy hike, making it accessible to a wide range of visitors. The journey not only offers respite from the urban hustle and bustle but also immerses hikers in the natural beauty of the region. If you’re wanting to make the most out of Croatia’s stunning landscapes, Marjan Hill emerges as an ideal location to witness a breathtaking sunset over Split and the Adriatic Sea.

Marjan Hill is adorned with a nature reserve, many scenic trails, and panoramic viewpoints, so it should definitely be at the top of your list of things to see in Split.

Relax on the Beach

Taking time to relax on the beaches near the Riva Promenade is a leisurely activity that complements the diverse offerings of the best things to do in Split. The availability of beaches within easy reach of the city further enriches the array of Split attractions, allowing visitors to enjoy the coastal charm alongside the historical allure of Split Old Town.

Bacvice, positioned a mere 10-minute walk from the ferry terminal, stands out as one of the most popular beaches in Split. Distinguished by its status as the only sandy stretch within the city limits, Bacvice offers a unique coastal experience. 

Here, visitors can wade into the shallow, crystal-clear blue waters, providing a refreshing contrast to the urban landscape. This beach becomes not just a place to unwind, but also a picturesque setting to relax and immerse yourself in Croatia’s natural beauty, offering a different take on things to see in Split.

Browse or Buy at the Green Market

Exploring the Green Market stands out as an essential activity among the best things to do in Split, seamlessly blending into the vibrant tapestry of Split attractions. Conveniently located near the east wall of Diocletian’s Palace, the Green Market is a hub of local trade that attracts both residents and visitors in Split Old Town.

This bustling marketplace offers a diverse array of seasonal products sourced from local farms, making it a focal point for fresh and authentic culinary experiences. From vibrant fruits and vegetables to flavorful herbs, cured meats, and artisanal cheeses, the Green Market provides a sensory journey through the region’s rich gastronomic offerings.

Beyond the culinary delights, visitors can explore unique local products such as herb-infused olive oils, homemade wine, and lavender packets. The market’s offerings extend beyond consumables, with an array of souvenirs available, giving visitors a chance to take home a piece of Split’s cultural richness.

Sample the Local Wine at a Wine Bar

Red Grapes, Croatia
Wine, Croatia

Indulging in local wine at a wine bar is a must-do among the best things to do in Split, adding a flavorful dimension to Split Old Town. Croatia, with its long legacy of winemaking, presents a unique opportunity for wine enthusiasts to explore a diverse range of local vino that might not be as well-known outside the country.

Numerous wine bars in Split offer an immersive experience, allowing visitors to sample and appreciate the distinct characteristics of over 60 grape varieties cultivated in Croatia. This experience is not just about enjoying the flavors but also delving into the cultural and historical significance of Croatian winemaking.

Some notable local wines to explore include Babić, known for its full-bodied red profile, offering a robust and intense flavor experience. Plavac Mali, one of the most popular red wines in the region, is celebrated for its bold and complex taste, reflecting the unique terroir of the Croatian vineyards. For those favoring white wines, Posip is a standout choice, characterized by its fresh and fruity notes, providing a delightful contrast to the red varieties.

Whether enjoying the wines within the atmospheric ambiance of Split Old Town or venturing into the city’s modern wine bars, this experience invites visitors to savor the flavors of Croatia, leaving them with a deeper appreciation for the country’s winemaking traditions.

Summary 

Exploring the best things to do in Split allows visitors to seamlessly weave through the historical charm of the old town and delve into the diverse attractions scattered across the city. 

From discovering the rich history of Diocletian’s Palace to enjoying the panoramic views atop Marjan Hill, Split unfolds as a destination that caters to a wide range of interests. As visitors delve into the dynamic cultural tapestry of the Green Market, the coastal retreats near the Riva Promenade, and the hidden gems like Klis Fortress, they not only partake in the best things to see in Split, but also experience activities that go beyond the conventional tourist trail. 

Split, with its harmonious blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, beckons travelers to uncover its many layers, ensuring an enriching and memorable exploration.

Planning a vacation to this Croatian gem? Why not have a browse of Unforgettable Croatia’s luxurious small-ship cruises and private tours to inspire you?

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