Along the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia, you’ll find the seaside city of Split. There are plenty of things to do in Split. The second-largest city in Croatia offers a mix of modern amenities and ancient history but it’s mostly known for the fortress complex at its centre.
The sprawling fourth-century palace includes over 200 buildings. Within the walls, you’ll find a never-ending selection of bars, shops, cafes, and hotels. It’s a bustling city with a crowded waterfront and fresh seafood in almost every restaurant.
Don’t know where to start your journey? Plan out your trip with this guide to the best Split attractions…
Table of Contents
- What to do in Split: Top attractions & places to visit
- Walk among the ancient buildings of Diocletian’s Palace
- Climb to the top of the St. Dominus Cathedral Bell Tower
- Enjoy outdoor dining and get lost in the streets of Old Town
- Take a stroll near the waterfront or swim in the sea
- Get another view of Split from the Marjan First Lookout
- Climb to the top of the ruins of Klis Fortress
- Where to stay: The best hotels for sightseeing in Split
What to do in Split: Top attractions & places to visit
Walk among the ancient buildings of Diocletian’s Palace
Covering the centre of the Old Town of Split, Romans built Diocletian’s Palace over 1700 years ago. The massive complex includes numerous buildings that remain mostly intact. When exploring the palace, you’ll have the chance to sit at outdoor cafes nestled between the ancient buildings.
If you don’t have a lot of time in the city (and especially if you only have 24 hours in Split!), the palace is one of the most important things to see in Split and a must for any Croatia itinerary. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the best-preserved examples of Roman architecture.
While many older European cities have castles and churches from the medieval period, the palace is over a thousand years older. It also covers more ground and includes more buildings compared to just about any other site.
The outer walls extend through the centre of Old Town. At its peak, the palace housed over 9,000 people and included a mixture of watchtowers, gates, military camps, and villas.
Climb to the top of the St. Dominus Cathedral Bell Tower
Many of the best places to visit in Split are within the walls of Diocletian’s Palace. The top attractions include St. Dominus Cathedral, which is one of the oldest Catholic cathedrals in the world.
The cathedral is still in use. If you’re travelling to Split on a Sunday, expect a large crowd for Mass.
It was built in the seventh century and offers an impressive view of the rest of the city. To reach the most popular Split sightseeing point, you need to climb the Bell Tower at the top of the cathedral.
The Bell Tower is not as old as the rest of the cathedral, having been thoroughly restored and reconstructed in the last 100 years, but it does give you the best place to look out over the city.
Enjoy outdoor dining and get lost in the streets of Old Town
The Old Town of Split surrounds the palace. This is where the ancient heart of the city starts to blend with modern architecture and amenities. It’s also home to the impressive People’s Square.
With the older buildings of the palace as a backdrop, the People’s Square is one of the most visited Split points of interest. On multiple sides, you’ll see rows of restaurants and cafes with outdoor tables along with crowds of tourists and locals.
The Old Split is worth visiting during the day or night. During the day, you’ll constantly pass other tourists going between sights. In the evening, you can hear live music coming from almost every bar. It’s a busy area with endless opportunities for fun and excitement.
Take a stroll near the waterfront or swim in the sea
If you want to know where to go in Split for fresh seafood, head to the waterfront. The Riva Promenade along the harbour offers a modern setting and a complete contrast compared to Old Town and the palace complex. You can enjoy a break from the stone-paved roads and historic architecture.
The Riva caters to tourists. It’s a pedestrian-friendly promenade with no shortage of cafes, souvenir shops, and ATMs. The promenade also includes many bars, which become quite lively in the evenings.
The harbour also borders the edge of the city, making it easy to travel to and from the other major Split landmarks. You can start your day here before exploring Old Town or end your day here and enjoy a cocktail at any of the numerous bars or restaurants.
Get another view of Split from the Marjan First Lookout
While the Bell Tower on top of St. Dominus Cathedral offers a great view of the city, there is another spot to gaze out over the ancient buildings. To the west of the city is Marjan Hill, which includes a manmade lookout spot called Marjan First Lookout.
If you get to the top of the hill, you’ve gone too far. You also won’t get a great view as your line of sight is blocked by trees and other vegetation. The lookout spot is part-way up the hill and includes a long stone railing.
The railing leads to a plateau and terrace where you can take a breather and snap a few panoramic photos of Split. This is one of the top Split attractions yet it’s overlooked by most tourists. Thanks to the seclusion of this spot, you can take your time and enjoy the view without standing shoulder to shoulder with other visitors.
Climb to the top of the ruins of Klis Fortress
If you run out of ideas for what to do in Split, head away from the city and to the nearby Klis Fortress. The fortress was built on a hill next to the city and provides another viewpoint for looking out over Split and the Dalmatian Coast.
The hill is part of the mountain pass between the Mosor and Kozjak mountains, which are just a short trek from Split. You can hike to the fortress, take a shuttle, or ride a taxi, making it a fun half-day excursion from the centre of the city.
Reaching the fortress, you climb over 1000 feet above the city of Split, which you can see from the lookout points situated throughout the fortress. It also contains an interesting museum where you can check out ancient armor and traditional Croatian uniforms.
Where to stay: The best hotels for sightseeing in Split
As the popularity of this Dalmatian Coast city continues to soar, so too does the difficulty of choosing where to stay in Split. Undoubtedly, you’ll get the most mileage out of your itinerary by staying in the lovely Old Town. Here are a few choices to get your Split accommodations search started…
- Apartment Venus of the Palace: A superb apartment within Diocletian’s Palace that, unlike others in this popular area, won’t break the bank.
- Booking.com | Agoda
- Palace Inn Rooms: A lovely guesthouse with a super central location within Split’s old city walls. Rooms offer amazing views unto Old Town.
- Booking.com | Agoda
- Hotel Slavija: An excellent mid-range option that mixes modern amenities & furnishings with the ancient character of a delightful historic building. Be sure to grab one of the rooms with balconies to peer onto the Old Town in style.
- Booking.com | Agoda
- Villa Split Heritage Hotel: A modern luxury hotel set in a 10th-century building that shows off all its best features from exposed wood beams to stone walls. The location in Split’s most satisfying area can’t be beat.
- Booking.com | Agoda