Returning back to the age of Roman Empire has never been easier! Only 25 minutes by bus from Split and you’ll get a perfect half-day trip with your friends or family. We’re giving you a detailed guide on how to get to Salona, what to do in the archaeological park and some of the insider tips which might be useful for the visitors.
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How to get to Salona
There are several ways to get to Salona Ruins and although there is just one official entrance, the site can be entered from different sides. Here are some of the possible options of getting to Salona:
If you are coming from Split, you should take local city bus line No. 1 (Starine – HNK) which departs from the bus stop in front of the National Theatre in Split (Gaje Bulata Square). The bus leaves every 30 minutes on working days and Saturdays and Sundays every hour from 05:30.
- Since there are no indications in the bus for the passengers to know where to get off, then count the stops starting from the National Theatre (16 stops in total)
- You will see the Salona Ruins sign before the bus stop, a hotel to your left and a supermarket to your right. You should get off at that stop.
- Cross the road to the side where the hotel is located and keep going in the southeast direction. After some 100m you should see big gates which lead to the ruins and the museum where you can buy the entrance ticket.
Another option of getting to Salona Ruins is by bus lines No. 2 and No. 37 (also known as the airport lines). These bus lines pass by the ruins but the bus will drop you off on the southern part of Salona. Main entrance to Salona is located on the northern side.
Here’s the bus stop where you should get off:
Once you get off the bus, go up the stairs (see photo below) until you reach the elementary school. Keep going in the direction of west until you reach the street crossroad and then turn right to reach the Amphitheatre.
There are two parking places available, one at the main entrance (A) and the other at Amphitheatre entrance (B) so it’s up to you to choose the one that suits you the best. In the map below you can find instructions on how to get to Salona by car.
What to see in Salona
The museum inside Salona Ruins is not really that big, it has only two rooms with several artefacts found in Salona, but that is pretty much all you can expect. However, the most important findings and exhibitions can be found in the Archaeological Museum in Split. NOTE: The ticket you buy for Salona Ruins can be also used as the entrance ticket for the Archaeological Museum and vice versa, however, it needs to be used for both within 7 days from ticket purchase. The museum mostly serves as a ticket office and a souvenir shop. You can get gifts for your family and friends such as handmade jewelry, guides about Salona on different languages. Also, don’t forget to stroll around the beautiful garden next to the museum!
Although not as big as the amphitheatre in Pula or Rome, Salona Amphitheatre is of great importance for the history and culture of the locals. The amphitheatre was built in the second half of the second century AD. It is believed that it could have accommodated between 15 000 and 18 000 people which, at that time, made around ⅓ of whole population of Salona. Not to mention that Salona used to be the capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia. You’ll find the amphitheatre at the western part of Salona. If arriving by bus line 37, this is the entrance you will use to enter the Ruins of Salona. Fun fact, Salona Amphitheatre was used for the purpose of filming tv show The Dark Tower, Stephen King’s novel adaptation.
Located at the very entrance of Salona archaeological park, Manastirine Necropolis are probably the best preserved complex in the entire Salona. Back in Roman times, the dead were buried at Manastirine. The most notable person buried here was St. Domnius, the patron-saint of Split whose corpse was later transferred to today’s Split Cathedral. Interestingly, Frane Bulic, the Croatian priest and archaeologist who led the majority of archaeological expeditions, was also buried on Manastirine under a cypress tree.
The thermae were the iconic and most typical building one could find during times of Roman civilisation. In other words, the thermae were public bath complexes and the majority of ancient Roman cities had at least one bath. The families who were wealthier had private thermae built in their houses. The Ancient Salona had several public baths but the most important thermae are those in the eastern part of the archaeological park, called the Great Thermae. Today, the area usually serves as a place to have a picnic or play sports like badminton of frisbee.
Good to know when visiting Salona
To get the best of the day trip to Salona, here are some of the rules and pieces of advice you should follow:
- Since there are no paved walking paths in Salona, it can be a bit hard to get around for wheelchair users. The paths in Salona are part pebbled part macadam.
- Proper footwear is a must, because in some parts of the archaeological park the paths can be slippery because of the small rocks.
- During summer there’s a chance of snake encounter, particularly in the parts which are covered in high grass so try to avoid walking off the marked paths.
- Bring a water bottle, you can also fill your water bottle in Tusculum Garden on a fountain tap since the water is drinkable.
- Sunscreen and a cap or a hat are also recommendable during summer because there are not many shadowed parts.
Where to eat nearby Salona
Although there are no food stalls inside the archaeological site or any kind of vending machines, visitors can buy themselves something to eat in a nearby Konzum supermarket or grab a pastry in a bakery in front of the supermarket. If you are looking for a restaurant, you can find one 10 minutes by foot from the Salona Ruins. Just follow the road (Ul. Don Frane Bulica) where the bus No. 1 stops in the direction of east or catch the same bus line and get off after two stops. Cross the road and you’ll see Gurman Restaurant to your right. The restaurant offers local specialties for affordable prices.
Where to sleep near Salona
Even though Salona is mostly just a day or a half-day trip from Split, some visitors take a room in Hotel Salona Palace which is located just before the entrance to the archaeological park. The hotel has 4 stars, an outdoor pool, a bar and a restaurant. A perfect choice if you are looking for an overnight stay outside the hustle and bustle of Split during busy summer months.