The biggest town of coastal Croatia, Split, is the focal point of tourism, culture and sports in Croatia. Adored by tourists for it's natural beauties, entertainment options and a unique atmosphere it’s a perfect destination for a well-rounded Croatian holiday. Whether you like partying, sunbathing, sports or history – Split will have something for you. Here are our recommendations for a holiday in Split.
The Old Town of Split developed over the course of centuries around its famous landmark: Diocletian’s Palace. The Palace, built in late 3rd century AD, was built by the Roman Emperor Diocletian as his retirement residence. The town which would eventually become Split has developed around the Palace long after it was abandoned by the Romans. Certain parts of the Palace are still standing and are included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. You can explore the ruins, its walls and basements, learn a lot about Roman lifestyle or just enjoy the architecture.
The entire Croatian coastline is perfect for a beach holiday and Split is no exception: among the dozens of beautiful pebble beaches be sure to visit the most famous of them - Bačvice beach. Just a few minutes’ walk off the town center it’s a great place to catch some sun. It is kid friendly, the sea is warm and clear, there are plenty of watersports going on and the beach is dotted with beach bars. It’s a great place to meet some locals; perhaps they’ll introduce you to the popular local beach sport - the ‘picigin’.
Dalmatian cuisine is widely renowned for its seafood delicacies, and what better place to try it than in Dalmatia’s largest town? Although there are dozens of nice restaurants in Split, we suggest you look for the type of tavern called “konoba”, which offer traditional dishes and local wines. The cuisine of the area mostly consists of fish (grilled sardines are a delicacy), olive oil, mild spices and cooked vegetables. The winemaking tradition is strong as well, especially in the nearby islands, with dozens of authentic sorts of both black and white wine.
The best way to learn about the history of Split and the region is to explore its museums. The people of Dalmatia were sailors for hundreds of years, and the sea was always a crucial factor, influencing the local way of life. To learn more about this, start your exploration of Split culture by visiting the Maritime Museum, then proceed to the Archeological Museum. It exhibits more than one hundred thousand artifacts from all periods of Split’s history, some even from prehistoric times. Finish your tour by paying a visit to the Gallery of Fine Arts, featuring thousands of pieces of local art.
Marjan is Split’s main park; a charming green hill perfect for a relaxing walk. Some half an hour away from the center by foot, it’s a great place to spend the afternoon: the park offers cycling tracks and hiking trails, and there are basketball, volleyball and tennis courts as well. The city zoo is there, and if you have an interest in history, you can explore ruins of dozens little churches dotted around the hill. Marjan can be a lively place, especially in the weekends when the locals come to enjoy the nature.
The nightlife scene is the richest in the summer with plenty of clubs and beach bars playing various genres of music, hosting domestic and foreign bands and DJs. But, there is something that going on thru all year. The biggest party of the season is the Ultra Music Festival held at annually Poljud stadium, attracting more than forty thousand electronic music fans with an impressive line-up and legendary atmosphere.
Packed with cafes, bars, tourist shops, souvenir vendors and whatnot, the main promenade – or the ‘Riva’ in Croatian – is the place to be in Split: it’s where concerts, manifestations and exhibitions are held, it’s where people come to socialize in the evening, and it’s perfect for enjoying a drink in a warm Mediterranean evening. Highly popular among tourists and locals alike, you can expect crowds at almost all times of a day; it’s by far the liveliest place in Split, perfectly capturing the very essence of the town: a relaxing, uplifting atmosphere over a beer.
There are more than a thousand islands in the Adriatic. Although less than a hundred is settled you have a huge number of attractive destinations to visit so yacht charter tourism is highly popular in Croatia. You can rent a boat or a yacht from one of the numerous local charter agencies (there are several in Split) and go sailing and exploring the coastline and the islands. Of course, the agency provides you with a skipper who operates the vessel, with your help. Split’s favorable geographical location will enable you to visit spectacular islands such as Brač, Šolta, Hvar or even Vis.
Solin is a little town, just five kilometers off Split, known for the ruins of Salona, a Roman town which was once the center of the region. The Roman town reached its peak under Emperor Diocletian, but was later destroyed by invading Avars and Slavs. Still, the ruins remained to tell the story of this unique place even today: explore the ruins of a 2nd century amphitheater or the Manastrine, a burial site for early Christians.
Quite a hit in recent years on a global scale, Roomescape games have opened up in Split a few months ago. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, Roomescape is a live game designed from groups from two to five players: players are put in a space (most often several rooms) in which they have to act as a group, solve puzzles and achieve their objectives in a wide range of scenarios. Roomescape is a great way to spend a rainy afternoon, as its combination of creativity, adrenaline and mystery will spark up your imagination.