A First Timer’s Travel Guide to Visiting Split, Croatia

By Anjali Chawla

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Are you visiting Split and looking for the best travel guide to Split? Your search ends here! Our Split travel guide has everything you need to know before planning a trip to Split, Croatia.

Read More: Best Places to Visit in Croatia

Before You Plan a Trip to Split

Visiting Split Travel Guide

Adriatic’s most riveting port and the soul of the Dalmatian coast, Split is Croatia’s second-largest city after Zagreb.

Split has come to be an insanely popular tourist destination in Croatia for many reasons:

  • It’s culturally and historically page one.
  • It serves as the main gateway to Croatia’s awe-inspiring and gorgeous archipelagos like Hvar, Vis, Biševo, Brač, Šolta, Čiovo, Drvenik Veli, and many more.
  • It makes an excellent base for discovering the other gems of Split-Dalmatia county like Solin, Trogir, Makarska, Baska Voda, and Sibenik, each less than an hour’s drive away.

Where is Split in Croatia?

Stretched over a central peninsula, Split is beautifully placed on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea. Owing to its connectivity to the Adriatic islands and the Apennine peninsula, this lively port city is the major transport hub in Croatia.

Read Next: Uber-Cool Things to do in Zadar, Croatia

A Little Bit About the History of Split

The city was discovered around the 3rd and 4th century BC as a Greek Colony of Aspálathos, however, it emerged on the world map in AD 305 when the Roman Emperor, Diocletian built his palace here.

From Byzantines to Venetians to Croatians to Austrians to Italians to Partisans to Germans to Yugoslavs, the city changed hands many times over a period of time before getting independence in 1991.

As the centuries transpire, the Croatian town of Split has inhabited itself around Roman Ruins keeping them intact.

Beautifully preserved, Split boasts one of the best Roman ruins outside of Rome.

Now, with trendy boutiques, chic shops, lively bars, charming cafes, and tourist-friendly attractions, Split has burgeoned to become a city that beautifully drapes its old and new elements.

old town split croatia

Best Time to Visit Split

If you ask me, May and September are the best months to visit Split or rather enjoy Split to the fullest, no matter what the guidebooks say.

How Many Days in Split?

One day is enough if you just wish to explore Split. But, if you want to discover the hidden gems in Split plus the islands and towns around Split, you need at least a week.

We spent three days in Split out of which a day is spent exploring Split, two days are spent exploring the towns of Trogir and Šibenik as day trips from Split.

After that, we headed to Vis Island from Split and spent three days exploring Vis as well as the tiny islands around it. We took a day trip to Blue Cave from Komiza, Vis, and loved it to the core.

Hvar is another beautiful Dalmatian island that can be visited from Split.

It’s famously known to be the sunniest island in Croatia with 2700 sunny hours per year. If you plan to visit Hvar, check out the very best things to do in Hvar.

If you aren’t planning to spend a night or two at one of its lavish islands that lie just offshore, you can extend your stay in Split to take a day trip to one or two of the Croatian islands.

In fact, we’d recommend booking yourself the best of all – this five-island tour from Split.

Check out this Croatia Island hopping guide to explore the best of the Croatian Islands.

With 3 days in the Split itinerary, you can cover the nearby coastal towns of Trogir, Sibenik, and Salona.

Or you can also make Split your home base for exploring Plitvice Lakes National Park and Krka National Park.

So, you should assign the days as per what you plan to see in and around Split.

split dalmatian coastline

How to Get to Split?

Getting to Split is easy as the city is well-served by air from the rest of the world, and by bus, train, and ferry from Europe and the UK.

You can fly into Split Airport (SPU) from anywhere in the world though most of the routes outside of Europe would involve long layovers and a change of airlines at Zagreb or Vienna.

There are regular train, bus, and ferry services to Split from other Croatian as well as European cities. Check the Die Bahn website for train schedules, the Split Bus Terminal website for bus schedules, and the Croatia Ferries website for ferry schedules.

Most of the catamarans and ferries are run by Jadrolinija, Kapetan Luka, and Bura Line so you might want to check their individual websites.

We enjoyed driving from Plitvice Lakes National Park to Split in our rented car. It was a smooth and beautiful drive. You can’t beat the comfort of your own wheels.

Read More: Coolest Things to do in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Split Airport Transfer

Split Airport is about 25 km (15 miles) west of Old Town. You can rent a car, hire a taxi or Uber, or catch an airport shuttle or a local bus.

Croatia Airlines Shuttle in 40 kuna takes you to the city center in about 45 minutes.

You can find many other shuttle services just outside the airport terminal building that drop off at the Split main bus terminal.

You can catch the local bus numbers 37 and 38 from the main road bus stop outside Split Airport to Split Local Bus Station (Sukoisan) from where you can either walk (15 minutes) or catch another local bus or taxi to the Split Old Town.

A taxi from Split Airport to the city center costs somewhere around 200 to 300 kuna and takes less than 30 minutes.

Alternatively, you can pre-book the private or shared airport transfer with Get Your Guide or Viator.

How to Get Around Split?

If you plan to explore Split Old Town, you can easily get around on foot owing to its pedestrian-friendly nature.

There are a plethora of free as well as private guided walking tours one can take to understand Split’s geography and history.

Free Tour Split offers free walking tours though they aren’t actually free as everyone is expected to pay based on their experience with the tour guide. Tourists normally pay anywhere between 10 to 25 Euros.

Check Reviews of Free Tour Split on TripAdvisor.

Private tours offer a more in-depth experience.

But, if you plan on exploring nearby beaches, wineries, or other towns on Dalmatian Coast, you might want the comfort of your own car.

You can rent a car at Split Airport or at various locations in the city. Read our guide to renting a car in Europe to know more.

Renting a car is the best way to get around but obviously, it isn’t the most economical way.

We absolutely rely on and recommend Discover Cars to rent a car wherever you go.

If budget is your concern, Promet Split (Split Local Bus System) has got you covered. A one-way ticket to destinations within the center of Split costs about 11 kunas and 13 kunas to travel outside the city center.

The buses also carry you to all the tourist destinations out of Split like Trogir or Omis for 21 kunas or so.

Ticket prices are calculated as per the number of zones you travel.

There’s an option to purchase a 24 or 72 hours ticket too. 24 hours ticket costs 30 kunas for one zone and 60 kunas for all zones and 72 hours ticket costs 75 kunas for one zone and 150 kunas for all zones.

Split main bus station for local buses is located at Trznica while you can catch the bus from a local bus stop across from the ferry terminal.

You can buy the tickets directly on the bus or from Tisak or Promet kiosk.

Taxi and Uber are also available options but at a bit higher cost.

A hop-on-hop-off bus is a great way to get around the city and explore with ease.

Ferries run from the terminal (Trajektna Luka Split) in Split Old Town to nearby islands like Hvar, Brac, and Vis. Ferry tickets can be booked online or at the ferry terminal office.

What to do in Split?

Split Old Town is one of the best places to visit in Split. Stroll the Old Town, admire the Diocletian Palace, and breathe in the vibes of the port city at the Riva promenade while shopping for souvenirs at little popup stores or sipping coffee at one of the cute cafes.

Venture a little out of Old Town to hike Marjan Hill which takes you to a lookout point where you can enjoy the best views over the city of Split, Croatia.

How can you not enjoy one of the many gorgeous Split beaches? Trstenik Beach is the best!

We have a detailed post about the best things to do in Split, Croatia for you.

diocletian's palace split croatia

Day Trips from Split, Croatia

As I said, Split is a great base to explore the nearby Croatian islands and towns, here are our top 6-day trips from Split suggestions:

1. Hvar
2. Vis
3. Klis Fortress
4. Trogir
5. Šibenik
6. Krka National Park

Here’s a detailed post about the best day trips from Split, Croatia for you.

What and Where to Eat in Split

Dalmatian cuisine includes some of the best Mediterranean recipes with a lot of local fresh ingredients like fish, beef, octopus, lamb, green chard (blitva) wild herbs vegetables, honey, and olive oil.

Must-Eat

  • Black Risotto
  • Paški sir Cheese: sheep milk cheese from the Croatian Island of Pag
  • Soparnik: a traditional pie with Swiss chard (blitva) filling
  • Fritule: Croatian fritters or pastry resembling little doughnuts
  • Rožata: Croatian custard pudding
  • Smokva torta: Fig Cake
  • Mandulat (bademovac): Almond mandible
  • Prosciutto: thinly sliced, dry-cured, uncooked ham
  • Fresh Grilled Fish
  • Paradižet or Floating Island: a dessert consisting of meringue (egg whites and sugar) floating on crème anglaise (custard sauce)

Where Locals Eat

Read More: Best Things to do in Zagreb, Croatia

Where to Stay in Split

Old Town being the soul of Split is hands-on the best area to stay in Split, Croatia as the city’s most famous historical and cultural attractions, top landmarks, best restaurants, and cafes are located here.

Best Hotels in Split Old Town

Best Hostels in Split Old Town

Best Apartments in Split Old Town

Best Guest Houses in Split Old Town

Airbnb has some great choices too.

Booking.com

We sincerely hope our travel guide to Split, Croatia helps you plan a perfect visit. If you have any questions, let us know in the comments section below. We’ll be happy to help as always.

And if this post helped you in any way, can I ask you to please share it with the world?

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Anjali Chawla

A story-weaver and a travel blogger based in Delhi, Anjali left her corporate job to see what having life exactly feels like and never looked back. Her 14-year-old daughter is her best travel buddy. She aspires to travel to all the seven continents with her family. Antarctica remains her dream destination. Books, mountains, colorful doors and windows, blue skies, sunsets, open roads, cobbled streets, undiscovered places, and beautiful minds inspire her. Join her as she unclothes the beauty around the world, one place at a time.

2 thoughts on “A First Timer’s Travel Guide to Visiting Split, Croatia”

    • So glad that our post could be of your help and give you the desired info. That is what we aim for. And going on a yacht sounds like an amazing adventure. We would love to hear about your experiences. Do share them. Have a wonderful holiday.

      Reply

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