Split is a coastal city located on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea in Croatia, and is the largest city on the Croatian coast as well as the largest city in Dalmatia. Its location on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea has made it a popular tourist destination and an important hub for intraregional transport, connecting it to the Apennine Peninsula and the Adriatic islands.
It was established in the 3rd or 2nd century BC by the Greeks as Aspálathos and became the site of the Roman emperor Diocletian’s Palace in 305 AD. It played an important role as an intraregional transportation hub and a well-known tourist destination, serving as a connection point between the Adriatic islands and the Apennine Peninsula.
After the sack of Salona, the ancient capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia, by the Avars and Slavs, the fortified Palace of Diocletian was settled by Roman refugees. Split became a Byzantine city and later came under the control of Venice and the Kingdom of Croatia. During the early modern period, Split remained a Venetian city, a heavily fortified outpost surrounded by Ottoman territory. It became part of the Habsburg monarchy in 1797 and was eventually granted to the Austrian Empire following the Congress of Vienna.
The city underwent various political changes over the centuries, including Byzantine, Venetian, and Habsburg rule, and In World War II, it was annexed by Italy, re-occupied by Germany, and eventually liberated by the Partisans in 1944. After the war, it became a part of Yugoslavia, and in 1991, Croatia seceded from Yugoslavia during the Croatian War of Independence.
Learn Quickly about Split in Rick Steves’ Travel Guide
Split’s Historic Center
Split’s historic center houses several ancient edifices and structures, among them the Diocletian’s Palace, constructed by the Roman Emperor Diocletian in the 4th century AD. The Palace, which is considered one of the finest-preserved examples of Roman architecture globally, is the most conspicuous feature of the historic center. In addition, the center also accommodates the Cathedral of Saint Domnius, built in the 7th century and regarded as one of the oldest Catholic cathedrals worldwide. Other noteworthy landmarks in the historic center are the Temple of Jupiter, the Peristyle, and the Golden Gate. The historic center attracts a large number of tourists, providing them with an opportunity to explore the city’s rich cultural heritage and past.
Check out this Split Video Travel Guide by Rok Goes Around
Things To Do In SPLIT as detailed in this Video by Rok:
00:00 – Introduction to Split
00:43 – Klis Fortress – Game of Thrones filming location: This medieval fortress near Split might look familiar if you ever watched The Game of Thrones. It sits on a pass that separates two mountains and it was used to control the coast. With more than 2.000 years of turbulent history it offers great view of modern Split.
02:20 – Marjan Forest Park: park right above the harbour looking down at Split. It has been cherished by the citizens for generations since it is only 15-minute walk from the city centre.
03:31 – Mestrovic Gallery: Ivan Meštrović is the greatest Croatian sculptor. He worked in 20th-cenutury and his works are in every corner of the city. Beautiful grand villa is an art gallery and art museum dedicated to his work and used to be his home.
04:44 – Bacvice Beach: the most popular party beach with restaurants, cafe bars and nightclubs. This beach is also the birthplace of a special beach game called picing that is played in the shallow waters.
06:03 – Republic Square: one of the main gathering places in Split. Citizens know it as Prokurative after the building with arches. It was built in the middle of the 19th century by a Mayor, who was keen to emphasise Split’s ties to Italy.
06:55 – Strossmayer’s park: emperor Diocletian walked through the Golden Gates as he entered his grand Palace for the first time on the 1st of June 305. The gates are part of the north wall of the Palace. And on the outside is this nice tree-shaded park with the Art Gallery and monument of Bishop Gregory of Nin. It is believed that rubbing bishops toe brings happiness and makes your dreams come true.
08:16 – Split waterfront: the living room of Split. It is the most popular and most important public space in the city. Riva is a pedestrian zone with cafés, restaurants and gelato places. It is also a stage for numerous cultural and entertainment events and place where people of Split welcome their successful athletes.
09:43 – The People’s Square: first inhabited part of Split outside the Diocletian Palace, where Split’s nobility lived. It has beautiful venetian and renaissance houses and palaces that surround the square. Here is also one of Splits landmarks, small and beautiful clock tower with a bell on top. The clock is unique for showing all 24 hours with all 24 digits on the one dial.
11:20 – Cathedral of St. Domnius: symbol of Split, the oldest Roman Catholic cathedral in the world that remains in use in its original structure. It is also considered to be one of the best-preserved ancient Roman buildings still standing. Next to the cathedral is the iconic bell tower that was built in the 13th century. It is a true landmark of Split and can be recognised from the distance. You can climb its steps and get great views of Split and Adriatic.
12:56 – Diocletian’s Palace: Game of Thrones filming location: Roman Emperor Diocletian gave up the throne of the Roman Empire and decided to retire here in his huge retirement palace. Over the centuries people adapted parts of the palace and significantly changed its original appearance, but the outlines of the Imperial Palace are still visible. Substructures of the palace represent one of the best preserved ancient complexes of their kind in the world.Rok Goes Around
Split’s Historic Centre was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979, recognizing the city’s significance as a cultural center in Croatia. Split boasts a rich literary tradition dating back to medieval times with prominent authors such as Marko Marulić, and more contemporary writers known for their humor like Miljenko Smoje. While Split has a strong cinema tradition, few films have been shot in or around the city. Nevertheless, it has produced famous actors such as Boris Dvornik. The city is also famous for Ivo Tijardović and his operetta “Little Floramye,” both of whom represent the old traditions of Split.
Getting to Split Centre from the Airport
A cheap way to transfer between Split city center and the airport is to take the Croatia Airlines bus, which is available to everyone and has a timetable corresponding with flight arrivals and departures. The bus ride takes about 30 minutes, costs around 6 euros each way, and tickets can be bought on the bus in cash.
The bus stops outside the airport arrivals area, and passengers can catch it by walking to the right where the buses are lined up. Another option is to take the Promet Split bus, number 37, which picks up and drops off passengers in front of the airport on the main road. A 1-way ticket costs 4 euros and can be bought from the driver in cash.
Exploring the Spirit and Exuberance of Split
Situated on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea, Split is a coastal city in Croatia, renowned for its rich history, stunning beaches, and lively nightlife. With over 200,000 inhabitants, it is the largest city in the Dalmatia region and the second largest in Croatia. The city is well-connected to other destinations in Croatia and abroad through a large ferry port and an international airport. As a transportation hub for the Dalmatian coast, buses and ferries operate regularly from Split to nearby locations, including Hvar, Brac, and Dubrovnik. Split has a lot of attractions that are worth exploring, including the Diocletian’s Palace, the Cathedral of Saint Domnius, and the Riva Promenade. Here are some places that you should visit while in Split:
- Diocletian’s Palace: The Diocletian’s Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage site that was built in the 4th century AD. The palace is an impressive structure that houses several ancient buildings and ruins. The palace is one of the best-preserved Roman buildings in the world and is home to many historical landmarks, including the Cathedral of Saint Domnius, the Temple of Jupiter, and Peristyle Square.
- Cathedral of Saint Domnius: The Cathedral of Saint Domnius is a beautiful cathedral that was built in the 7th century AD. The cathedral is located within the Diocletian’s Palace and is a must-visit attraction for its architecture and stunning views.
- Riva Promenade: The Riva Promenade is a lively pedestrian area that runs along the Split waterfront. The promenade offers stunning views of the sea and the harbor and is a great place to relax and enjoy the city’s ambiance.
- Marjan Hill: Marjan Hill is a natural park located in the heart of Split. It is a beautiful green oasis in the heart of Split and offers stunning panoramic views of the city, the sea and the surrounding islands. The hill is perfect for hiking, jogging, cycling or just enjoying a picnic in the lap of nature.
- Bacvice Beach: Bacvice Beach is the most famous beach in Split, known for its crystal-clear water and fine sand. The beach is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and playing beach volleyball.
- Trogir: Trogir is a historic town located near Split, known for its stunning architecture, beautiful beaches, and lively atmosphere. The town is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is perfect for a day trip from Split. Learn More about Trogir Bus Line. Also you can Visit Trogir using Local Bus Number 37 from Split which is also slightly cheaper but takes a bit longer. Here is the link -> Promet Trogir to Split Bus – Number 37
- Krka National Park: Krka National Park is a beautiful nature reserve located near Split, known for its stunning waterfalls and crystal-clear lakes. You can take a day trip from Split to Krka National Park and spend a day exploring the park. Bus Details Here.
- Plitvice Lakes National Park: Plitvice Lakes National Park is a beautiful nature reserve located further away from Split, known for its stunning waterfalls, lakes, and lush forests. You can take a day trip from Split to Plitvice Lakes National Park and spend a day exploring the park. For Buses to Plitvice Lakes National Park , Check out this GetbyBus Link
Check another Video Travel Guide on Split by Lucas World Travel
Exploring the Islands
There are several islands located near Split that are worth exploring. Here are a few:
Hvar Island in Brief
Hvar Island is one of the most popular islands in Croatia and is known for its nightlife, beaches, and historical landmarks. You can take a ferry or catamaran from Split to Hvar Island. There are several ferry companies that operate on this route, including Jadrolinija, Krilo, and Kapetan Luka. The ferry ride takes about 2 hours, while the catamaran ride takes around 1 hour. Ferry and catamaran schedules vary depending on the season, with more frequent departures during the summer months.
You can take a ferry from Split to Stari Grad, which takes approximately 2 hours. From Stari Grad, you can take a bus or taxi to Hvar Town, which takes around 20 minutes. The bus station is located next to the ferry terminal in Stari Grad. You can also rent a car or scooter in Stari Grad to explore the island. Alternatively, you can take a direct catamaran from Split to Hvar Town, which takes around 1 hour.
HVAR Important Websites
- How to Reach HVAR
- HVAR Local Bus Timetable (Scroll Down and you will see a Download File Link)
- Important Towns and Villages in HVAR
- HVAR Tourism Official Website
Brac Island in Brief
Brac Island is a popular destination known for its natural beauty, historical landmarks, and rich cultural heritage. It is the third largest island in the Adriatic Sea located southeast of Split, and can be accessed by ferry or catamaran from Split and other nearby ports. The island features stunning beaches, clear blue waters, and famous landmarks such as Zlatni Rat beach, Blaca Monastery, Vidova Gora mountain, and the Dragon’s Cave. Brac is also famous for its white limestone, used to build the White House in Washington, D.C. and Diocletian’s Palace in Split. Bol’s Golden Horn beach on the island of Brač is a cape that stretches out 400 meters into the sea. The shape of its peak is ever-changing, influenced by the ebb and flow of the waves and sea currents.
Visitors can explore the island’s historic towns and villages, including Supetar, Postira, and Sutivan, which offer a glimpse into the island’s rich cultural heritage and history. The island’s economy is based on agriculture, fishing, and shipbuilding, and is renowned for its production of high-quality olive oil and wine. Supetar is the largest town on the island and serves as the main port and transportation hub. Brac Airport, which offers flights to and from Zagreb and other Croatian cities during peak season, is also located on the island.
Important Websites for Brac:
Vis Island in Brief
Vis Island, located about 45 kilometers southwest of Split, is a highly sought-after destination in Croatia, renowned for its untouched natural beauty, clear waters, and relaxed ambience. It is the furthest inhabited island from the Croatian mainland and has a population of approximately 3,500 people. Vis boasts of several charming towns and villages, including Vis town, Komiza, and Rukavac, that allow tourists to delve into the island’s rich cultural history. It is famous for its tranquil and secluded beaches, with Stiniva Beach voted as Europe’s best beach in 2016, and its delectable gastronomy, where fresh seafood and local wine are crowd-pleasers.
Agriculture, fishing, and winemaking are the island’s primary economic activities, and it is renowned for producing some of Croatia’s best wines. The island is accessible by ferry from Split and other nearby ports, with regular connections to Vis town and Komiza. Vis spans over an area of 90.26 square kilometers, and Hum, its highest point, is 587 meters above sea level. The largest settlements on the island are Vis town on the eastern side and Komiža on its western coast. Vis Tourism Official Website
Food and Drink:
Croatian cuisine is a blend of Mediterranean and Eastern European flavors, and Split is no exception. Here are some local specialties that you should try:
- Pasticada: Pasticada is a traditional Dalmatian dish made with beef, vegetables, and red wine. It is a Croatian beef stew that is slow-cooked in a red wine sauce and served with gnocchi or pasta or mashed potatoes.
- Cevapi: Cevapi is a popular Balkan dish made with grilled minced meat and served with flatbread.
- Seafood: Being a coastal city, Split is famous for its fresh seafood. Try the grilled fish or black risotto.
- Fish Market – A must-visit for seafood lovers. The market is located near the Riva Promenade and offers a range of fresh seafood options.
- Octopus Salad – A popular seafood dish that is made with octopus, red onions, tomatoes, and parsley.
- Dalmatian Wine – The region is well-known for its excellent wines, including Plavac Mali, Babic, and Posip.
Public Transport in Split
Split, Croatia has a good public transportation system that includes buses, trains, and ferries. The following are some details about public transportation in Split, including useful websites:
The Bus System – Promet Split
Buses in Split are operated by Promet Split, which has a network of more than 20 bus lines covering the city and surrounding areas, which includes 19 city routes and three night routes. The buses are modern, air-conditioned, and relatively affordable. There are also several suburban lines to places outside the city, such as Trogir (bus line 37), Klis fortress (bus line 34), Solin (multiple bus lines), and Omis (bus line 60).
Buses are also available on the islands of Ciovo and Solta. It’s important to note that the local bus station in Split, called Sukoisan Autobusni Kolodvor, is different from the main bus station located near the port. The local bus terminal is situated approximately 1km inland from the sea, and it takes about 10 minutes to walk to the entrance of the Diocletian’s Palace area. You can buy tickets at kiosks, newsstands, and the bus station. Alternatively, you can use a contactless smart card, which can be topped up with credit online or at kiosks. Refer the following Links of the Official Websites for more details.
The Train System
The Train System in Croatia is not as extensive as the bus system, but there are a few train routes that operate in and around Split. The trains are operated by Croatian Railways, and they connect Split to cities like Zagreb, Rijeka, and Osijek. Croatian Railways Website
Ferries: Split is a major ferry port, with regular services to nearby islands like Brač, Hvar, and Vis, as well as other destinations along the Adriatic coast. The ferries are operated by several companies, including Jadrolinija, Kapetan Luka, and Krilo.
Other Transportation Means :
Taxi: Taxis are readily available in Split, and there are several taxi stands throughout the city. You can also book a taxi through an app such as Uber or Bolt.
Bike Rental: If you want to explore the city on two wheels, there are several bike rental shops in Split. You can rent a bike for a day or longer, and cycle along the beautiful coastal path. Split Bike Tours
Overall, public transportation is a convenient and affordable way to get around Split and explore the surrounding areas. By using the above websites and services, you should be able to easily plan your transportation and enjoy your trip to this beautiful coastal city in Croatia.
To Make Online Bookings for Buses in Croatia for Travel to and from Split, Refer the Following Useful Links
Useful Websites for Public Transportation in Split:
Split Port and Important Ferry Lines
Split Port is a major transportation hub on the Croatian coast, connecting the city of Split to various islands in the Adriatic Sea. The port has multiple ferry terminals, each serving a different destination. There are several ferry lines operating from Split port, with some of the most popular being Jadrolinija, Kapetan Luka, and Krilo. These ferry lines connect Split to various destinations such as Brac, Hvar, Vis, Korcula, Dubrovnik, and Ancona (Italy).
Jadrolinija is the largest and most well-known ferry company in Croatia, and it has been operating since 1947. It connects Split to all major Croatian islands, including ferries to destinations such as Brač, Hvar, Korčula, and Dubrovnik. Learn more here – Jadrolinija Website. Krilo is another private ferry company that connects Split to Brac, Hvar, and Korcula. Its website Link – Krilo Website
It is important to note that ferry schedules and prices may vary depending on the season, so it is advisable to check the websites for up-to-date information. The port of Split is easy to navigate, and there are plenty of signs to guide travelers to the appropriate ferry terminals.
In addition to the passenger ferry terminal, Split Port also has a cargo port and a marina. The cargo port serves as a key gateway for goods entering and leaving the region, while the marina caters to private boats and yachts. Split Port Website