Although Croatia‘s second largest city, Split is often viewed as a jumping off point for adventures to the islands beyond. The peninsula on which it rests might jut out invitingly into the Adriatic, but visit vibrant Split today and it won’t take you long to realise that it’s very much a destination in its own right.
Dramatically located between pine-strewn mountains and the turquoise sea, the city’s roots stretch right back to ancient Greek colonists and the Roman Emperor Diocletian who retired here in a suitably large palace. The city has arranged itself around Diocletian’s grand retirement home, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, within which a multitude of treasures abound. Take a look inside to discover Split’s most fashionable boutiques, trendy cafes, and the best restaurants and bars which are sometimes built into the ancient walls and share space with an imposing cathedral and an array of Roman relics. Outside of the palace walls you’ll find Split’s medieval quarter of cobblestone streets filled with ancient churches and many of the city’s best museums and galleries.
Split offers an opportunity to see Dalmatian life as it’s really lived. You’ll soon discover that the city’s main public beach, Bacvice, is an integral part of daily city life. Join the locals in its sparkling blue-flag waters and you might even be invited to to take part in a game of picigin, a beloved local sport that involves keeping a ball up in air and out of the sea for as long as possible. Afterwards, stroll down the marbled “Old Riva” seaside promenade in the shade of the palms and people-watch from one of its cafes. Split’s nearby seaside towns which are full of quiet charm, and of course the surreal green and blue lakes of the Plitvice National Park, are also easily accessible on day trips.
When to go
Split is a vibrant living city, with plenty going on throughout the year. July and August are popular for visitors when the weather is hot and the city busy. May, June, and September are particularly pleasant with warm weather that's great for hiking and cycling and less visitors.
What to do
- Take a tour of Diocletian’s Palace, a Unesco World Heritage site and one of the world’s most impressive Roman monuments
- Walk through the medieval quarter and explore Split's finest museums and galleries
- Stroll down the renovated and marbled "Old Riva" seaside promenade or people-watch from one of its cafes
- Climb up the forested Marjan hill for great views over the city
- Explore Split's neighbouring seaside towns by bike
- Take a day trip to the Plitvice National Park
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