Rediscovering the Mediterranean: Split and its treasures

The city of Split is one of the largest cities in Croatia, second only to the capital of Zagreb. Located in the coastal region of Dalmatia, it’s the center of all things related to tourism and a beautiful Mediterranean destination visited by thousands each year.

Things to Do in Split Croatia: A view of Split from Marjan hill
A view of Split from Marjan hill

Things to do in Split, Croatia

Split’s most important cultural landmark is the Diocletian’s Palace: built by the Roman emperor Diocletian in 305 AD, it gradually formed the center of the city, which grew around it for centuries. Diocletian had built it as his retirement residence, although it had capacities to support a military garrison as well. The palace remained in use long after the Romans abandoned it: people occupied it or conducted business there, a practice which continued to this day, as there are many shops (especially souvenir shops) and restaurants within its walls. There is no entrance fee if you wish to explore the ground level, although there is a paid tour through the palace’s underground.

Things to Do in Split Croatia: Peristyle inside Diocletian's Palace: Photo by Following Hadrian /  CC BY-SA 2.0
Peristyle inside Diocletian’s Palace: Photo by Carole Raddato / CC BY-SA 2.0

Just a few minutes away from the Palace lies a hill which serves as the city’s main park – Marjan. The park is covered with a pine forest, surrounded by the city on one side, and the sea on the other.

Things to Do in Split Croatia: City harbour and Marjan hill
City harbour and Marjan hill: Photo Asterion / CC 2.5

People of Split come there for walks and recreation for centuries: nowadays there are plenty of cycling and jogging tracks, sports courts and the local zoo. There are also ruins of numerous small churches built over the centuries, some featuring interesting early-Christian architecture.

Things to Do in Split Croatia: City and Marjan hill seen from Split Cathedral tower: Photo by Alistair Young / CC BY-SA 2.5
City and Marjan hill seen from Split Cathedral tower: Photo by Alistair Young / CC BY-SA 2.0

People of Split take great pride in the Cathedral of St. Domnius, the patron saint of their city. The unused mausoleum of Emperor Diocletian was gradually turned into a church several centuries after the Romans left. Thus the church bears marks of both Mediterranean and Romanesque architecture and is often featured on Croatian postcards.

Known for its cobble beaches, start your summer holiday by sunbathing on the Bacvice beach. This symbol of the city is adored by tourists and locals alike, although it can be a bit crowded in late July and August. It’s a place of watersports as well, from parasailing to jet skiing, but most notably, the picigin, a local invention which spread throughout the coastline.

Things to Do in Split Croatia: Bacvice, the most known beach in Split: Photo from ToCroatia
Bacvice, the most known beach in Split: Photo from ToCroatia

Since Split is a focal point of the entire Dalmatian region, there is an international airport some 25 kilometers west of Split: this makes the city reachable from all major European cities, especially in the summer when the lines are more frequent. Once you reach the airport there are bus lines running to the city center. Also, you can opt for a taxi transport from Split airport to get you directly to the city or take you on a short tour around it as well.

Things to Do in Split Croatia: The entrance of Split Airport terminal: Photo by Ballota / CC BY-SA 3.0
The entrance of Split Airport terminal: Photo by Ballota / CC BY-SA 3.0

If you’re travelling from some other part of Croatia, we suggest you take the bus: there are plenty of lines every day from virtually every Croatian city (especially from Zagreb, Zadar, Sibenik, Rijeka and Dubrovnik) and there is a few different bus companies providing lines several times a day. Although the city has a train station, we’d suggest using it only if you’re going to or from Zagreb or Sibenik, as you’ll have to change seats for any other destination in Croatia, and the trains tend to be slow.

Things to Do in Split Croatia: Plenty of hotels and cafes at city Riva (sea promenade): Photo from Virtual Tourist
Plenty of hotels and cafes at city Riva (sea promenade): Photo from Virtual Tourist

Split has more than 2000 hotels varying in price and quality, and there is also an option of renting private accommodation – you can either rent a room or an entire apartment. Such apartments are most often owned by locals who make a living by renting them to tourists: a simple Google search will help you find dozens of those, although you can also make the arrangements once you reach the city: look for people who hold signs “sobe” (rooms) or “apartmani” (apartments) – most likely you’ll see several when you first set foot on Split.

About Goky

Young passionate traveler and aspiring writer engaged in writing about great travel destinations from around the world. Beside traveling and writing, my other passions are cycling and exploring the nature.

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