Must-See's in Split
From its sunny seaside to its bustling city streets, there’s always something great going on in Split. The largest city in Dalmatia, it offers a myriad of attractions and charms: a ruggedly mountainous coastline; a wide variety of beaches; important historic sites, architecture and Roman ruins; trendy boutiques, cafés and nightclubs, and incredibly welcoming locals. Here are our picks for some of the top things to see and do in this sensational city.
Considered to be among the most imposing Roman ruins, Diocletian’s Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of Croatia’s top sites, and the main attraction in Split. Roman Emperor Diocletian built this massive “retirement home” at the turn of the fourth century AD. Today the ancient fortress forms the old town of Split, with a jumble of restaurants, shops, and apartments lining the narrow cobblestone streets. The old town is one of several Croatian locations where scenes from Game of Thrones were filmed.
The Riva Promenade
Known as “the city’s living room,” The Riva is an historic and scenic harborside walkway where locals and visitors converge. Shops, restaurants and bars dot the pedestrian-only thoroughfare… a hub of activity with street performers, vendors, and exciting events from political rallies to cultural celebrations. Lined with palm trees, gardens and benches, the promenade is also a great place to rest and watch the throngs of passersby; choose to face the azure sea and yachts in the distance, or the Diocletian’s Palace and other striking structures.
Minutes from the city but worlds apart, Marjan Hill is naturalist’s wonderland. This protected park is blanketed in dense pine forest and boasts several beautiful beaches, making it a refreshing retreat from the summer heat. Completely surrounded by the city and the sea, it yields astounding views of the city, surrounding islands, and the nearby mountains of Mosor and Kozjak. The park has tennis courts and is replete with hiking, bicycling, and jogging trails. It’s the perfect spot for a picnic, and also has a restaurant on-site, halfway up the hill.
Beaches and Islands
The crystal clear waters of the Adriatic beckon swimmers, snorkelers and sailors alike. And since Split is situated on a peninsula, its beaches are plentiful as well as diverse. From sand to pebble to rugged rock, each is unique in character. Bačvice Beach, for example, is a popular sandy beach that tends to attract locals and younger tourists. It‘s here that the ball game of picigin was born – the only beach game protected by law as a part of cultural heritage. The proximity of this beach to bars and nightclubs keeps it quite populated year-round. On the other hand, Bene Beach, named after the church of St. Benedict that once stood there, offers plenty of secluded as well as shady spots. Perched at the edge of the pine forest on the south side of Marjan Hill, Bene is a stone beach that is favored by locals and families.
Beyond the beaches of Split are its neighboring islands - Brač, Hvar, Šolta and Čiovo. Accessible only by boat, these idyllic isles offer quiet, sandy beaches, spectacular snorkeling, and colorful villages.