An Introduction to Split, Croatia

When it comes to top Croatian coastal cities, Split is a close second to Dubrovnik. While Dubrovnik is without a shadow of doubt the most breathtaking destination, Split is the most surprising and “real.”

Split Croatia Travel Overview

Home to nearly 180,000 people, Split is Croatia’s second-largest city, second only after the capital city of Zagreb.

Although the suburbs may consist of rather ugly concrete apartment buildings, the historic core of Split is astoundingly beautiful. The Old Town is the beating heart of the city.

Split Croatia Travel Overview: View from the Cathedral of St. Domnius
Old Town seen from the Cathedral of St. Domnius

Highlights in Split

Split’s history dates from the Roman Empire. At the turn of the 4th century, Roman Emperor Diocletian decided to retire from his function and ordered the construction of his retirement palace. After the emperor’s death, the palace continued to be used as a coastal retreat by Roman aristocracy before being abandoned afterward. In the 7th century, Slavic invasions made the local population seek protection in the old palace ruins. They stayed there and established a medieval town amid the crumbling Roman ruins. Nowadays, Diocletian’s Palace still is the center of life in Split.

Split Croatia Travel Overview: Diocletian's Palace
Diocletian’s Palace

There are many highlights in Split’s old palace, such as the Cathedral of St. Domnius, a colonnaded square called Peristil and the phenomenally impressive Basement Halls that lie underneath the palace.

Diocletian’s Palace makes up half of the Old Town. The other half is the medieval town that grew just outside the palace’s western walls.

Split Croatia Travel Overview: Medieval city center
Medieval Split

Between the Old Town and the City Harbor lies the superb seafront promenade, known as the Riva. Lined with cafés, restaurants, street food stalls and souvenir shacks, this is an amazing place to go for a sunset walk.

Split Croatia Travel Overview: Seafront promenade or Riva
Seafront promenade

I would suggest that you spend a minimum of two days in Split. You can also stay a bit longer, for there are a number of great day trips from the city, including those to the Dalmatian islands of Hvar and Vis, and to the old harbor town of Trogir, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

About Bram


Bram is a Belgian guy who's currently living in the USA. For over four years now, he has been wandering the globe, with jobs here and there in between. So far, his travels have taken him to four continents and twenty-two countries. Bram likes to try different styles of travelling: from backpacker and adventurer to tourist and local, he has been all those stereotypes and probably will be many more in the future. You can follow his adventures on his travel blog, on Twitter and on Facebook.

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