Croatia’s historic second city, Split, lies on the beautiful Dalmatian coast where the steep Mosor mountains meet the deep waters of the Adriatic. The heart of the old town is encased within the ancient Roman walls of Diocletian’s Palace. Venture outside this UNESCO-listed hub and you’ll find a variety of architecture from high-rise apartments to a glossy waterfront marina. And that sums Split up – it’s an exhilarating mix of old and new.
By day, Split has a lot to explore. Whether you love diving into the culture and history of a new place, hitting the shops or heading to the beach for some serious relaxation, you’ll find this a thriving city with lots going on. And by night, it really comes alive with an endless array of late night cafés, restaurants, live music venues, bars and clubs. For an unforgettable night out, try and catch one of Split’s legendary beach parties.
Just 30km along the coast from Split lies the medieval town of Trogir. It’s actually located on a tiny island linked to the mainland by a bridge. It’s a beautiful place to soak up some history with many wonderful, well-preserved buildings lining the marble streets. The seafront is a lovely place for a stroll to watch the boats and you’ll find a huddle of bars and restaurants serving up tasty Croatian dishes.
Nestled at the foot of the looming Mount Biokovo, the former fishing village of Baska Voda has embraced tourism and is now a modern beach resort. With forests, mountains, the river Markarska and some rather dazzling beaches on offer, this is a great place to kick back amongst nature.
The relaxed city of Zadar is a fascinating place. From the ancient ruins to the cosmopolitan nightlife, there’s lots to discover. For something a bit different, we recommend visiting the unique Sea Organ – a musical instrument powered by the wind and the waves. Combine the unusual noises with one of Zadar’s famous sunsets and you’ve got a truly memorable experience. This coastal city is also a great starting point for some island-hopping across the waters of the Adriatic.
Split’s most prominent historic site is the mighty Diocletian’s Palace. This vast marble complex was built by the Romans in the 3rd century for Emperor Diocletian to retire to. Its ancient walls now circle the city’s old town with its traditional cafés, shops and restaurants. Scale the bell tower for amazing sea views, then stroll through the atmospheric streets before settling in for some people-watching at a pavement café.
Gallery of Fine Arts
Split has some great cultural offerings and we think the Gallery of Fine Arts is one of its best. Housing a collection of huge paintings and sculptures spanning the last eight centuries, this gallery could certainly keep you busy for a while. Discover the great Croatian artists of the past, such as Mato Celestin Medović and Branislav Dešković, as well as today’s up-and-comers.
Boat trip to Brac or Hvar
Hop on a boat at Split harbour to visit some of the Dalmatian islands you can see from the shore. Brac is famous for being a windsurfing hotspot and boasts a beautiful white pebble beach with fantastic sea views. It’s neighbour, Hvar, is a historic port town with some idyllic beaches. Don’t miss the Renaissance cathedral and a trip to the lavender fields. There are many other islands in this patch of the Adriatic so the island-hopping world is your oyster!
We love a city with a beach – and Split has several gorgeous ones. The closest to the city centre is Bacvice urban beach with its shallow waters and lively beachfront cafés. Continue along the coastal promenade and you’ll find many more beaches to lay your towel on. Ovcice Beach is a family favourite thanks to its fantastic playpark and trampoline, while the pebbly Trstenik has a glamourous feel and a luxurious spa.
Perhaps the loveliest of Split’s beaches are located at the foot of Marjan hill with their backdrop of pine forests and relaxed vibe. The beaches here are quieter than the urban beaches and offer spectacular views across the bay.
The food in this region of Croatia is, perhaps unsurprisingly, often inspired by the sea. Fresh local seafood, such as oysters, prawns and squid are in abundance here – and the local chefs make good use of them! Croatian cuisine has humble origins and often features rustic dishes like fish stew, soups and pasta. The historic influence of Italy has been embraced in Croatian food, so you’ll find the familiar flavours of rosemary, oregano and olive oil in many dishes. Try the ‘peka’ (an iconic Dalmatian dish of seafood and vegetables roasted over a roaring fire) and the njoki, which is the Croatian version of gnocchi. And don’t miss the local tipple, rajika - a heady brandy made from grapes.
Split has an exciting culinary scene and is fast becoming a favourite foodie destination. Not only can you sample the best of authentic Croatian food, but you’ll also find a daring and diverse selection of inventive international eateries. And the best part? Eating out here is pretty affordable so you can do lots of it!
Holidays to Split are an exhilarating blend of the traditional and the modern, of nature and architecture, of beach life and city life. It rolls a whole lot into one ancient Croatian city! Whether you want a relaxing break with plenty of beach and café time or a lively holiday hitting the bars, we think sunny Split has something for everyone.
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Split not stolen your heart? Check out our other fantastic Croatia holidays for more inspiration.