Split Croatia

18 Best Things To Do In Split, Croatia (My Hometown)

As you embark on planning a journey through the amazing coastal Croatia, it’s no surprise that your thoughts wander around the destinations you opt to visit. Since our last blog post was about Dubrovnik, I suppose it crossed your mind – Is Split nicer than Dubrovnik? I’d say Split has more to offer in terms of nightlife, day trips, and cultural experiences.

From rich architecture and delicious cuisine to an easy-paced way of life, Split has a range of attractions and activities that cater to everyone’s taste. And the best part is – the prices are slightly cheaper than in Dubrovnik.

That’s why I took my time to prepare 18 Best Things To Do In Split, the city I grew up in and know like the palm of my hand!

1. Get Lost in the Old Town and Diocletian’s Palace

The Palace, located right in the heart of Split, was built by the Roman Emperor Diocletian in the 4th century AD. Today it’s more than just a relic of history – it’s where all the life of the city is happening.

While working at a travel agency, I often directed tourists to the palace. Interestingly, many expected a grand structure like Versailles or Buckingham Palace. They were rather surprised when I revealed, “actually, you’re in it.”

Nevertheless, people appreciate the seamless blend of ancient charm and modern ways that define life within the palace walls.

Wandering through its labyrinthine streets you will encounter charming cafes hidden in narrow streets, small boutiques offering unique souvenirs, and art galleries showcasing local talent. 

The real fun happens when you turn your navigation off. Who knows what you will discover?

Peristil square in front of cathedral Saint Domnius 
Peristil Square in front of Saint Domnius cathedral

2. Rub the Toe for Good Luck

To each his own, but just to clarify, I am not talking about a foot fetish over here. This is a tradition that many locals keep alive throughout the years.

Grgur Ninski, or Gregory of Nin, as you would call him, was a Croatian bishop who lived in the 10th century. This bronze statue, crafted by renowned sculptor Ivan Meštrović, stands tall as the embodiment of the city’s spirit. It is located near Đardin and the Golden Gate of Diocletian’s Palace. 

Rubbing the toe of Grgur Ninski has become a unique tradition believed to bring good luck and to make a wish come true to those who participate. The repetitive touching caused the thumb to stand out noticeably, as it lost its bronze hue.

The act is not related to the religion of Split, but is more of a fun thing to do when passing by the statue. 

Grgur Ninski statue in Split
Grgur Ninski statue in Split

3. Enjoy the Fresh Air on Marjan Hill

Find a peaceful retreat from the city in the natural beauty of Marjan Hill. Ideal for unwinding, this spot attracts runners, walkers, bikers, and hikers to its scenic trails.

If you want to get a hold of the whole city, don’t climb up the hill hoping for the best view. Instead, go to Prva Vidilica, which is very easy to reach from the Old Town. And no, you don’t need to bring your hiking shoes. 👟

All you have to do is follow the coastline at the Riva promenade until you reach the end of it, not far from the St. Francis church. Over 300 stairs will appear on your right, and soon you will realize why they are well worth the climb.

I love the café at the top that carries the same name. It’s a nice place to reward yourself with a cup of coffee after the exhausting climb. 

Aerial view of Marjan hill
Aerial view of Marjan hill

4. Show Your Outfit at the Riva Promenade

We ladies from Split are known for our fashion flair.

Every sunny weekend we gather our friends for a coffee on Riva, enjoying the rays of sunshine that are (yet) gentle. Finding a perfect spot seems less of a hassle when we know that we might get photographed for our outfit if luck smiles upon us. 

As we update our friends on what’s new in our lives, we occasionally steal a chance to gossip and people-watch. 

There is a variety of cafe bars and restaurants along the coast that suit every taste.

Personally, I wander until I find the first available spot to sit, and let me tell you – some days it feels impossible. It’s like trying to find your way through a maze of coffee addicts! ☕
But all in all, it is very easy to immerse yourself in Split’s vibrant atmosphere.

You can properly learn from us how to enjoy the sun and do nothing!

Riva promenade
Riva promenade

5. Get a Perfect View From the Heights

I can’t say this is one of my favorite recommendations, as I am afraid of heights and not a big fan of narrow spaces.

I love enjoying the view of the city, but I hate the way to get there, you feel me?

However – if I were a tourist in Split, I would most probably conquer my fears and climb those uneven stairs on the Bell Tower of St. Domnius Cathedral.

The view from the heights is simply amazing! You get to reward yourself with the panoramic vista of ancient streets filled with people and the Adriatic Sea stretching out to the horizon.

The Bell Tower is not only a perfect place to get a view, but also serves as a great background for your pictures.

However, beware of the fact that it does get busy at the top, you’ll most likely have to watch out for people going up and down the same stairs.

View of the Bell Tower from the Old city
View of the Bell Tower from the Old city

6. Have a One-Day Trip to the Surrounding Islands

Considering all there is to do, a question arises: is 2 days enough in Split Croatia?

I’d say 2 to 3 days are enough if you want to see all of the main attractions in the Old Town, but if you want to explore more than the center has to offer, I’d say three days is a minimum. People who extend their stay by a few days often seize the chance to explore the nearby islands.

Split serves as a great starting point for island-hopping adventures. The most sought-after destinations include Brač, Hvar, Šolta, Korčula, and Vis, each offering unique charm and attractions.

However, if your time is limited, I suggest focusing on either Brač or Hvar. These islands are easily accessible and offer plenty of activities, especially during the summer months.

Moreover, the islands made our list of 22 Best Things to do in Croatia, so you can check it out and get some inspiration on what destination could be the next one to suit your needs.

7. Unveil Treasures of the Green Market

Believe me when I say that this amazing place sells much more than fruits and vegetables. 

I feel like “open market” or “flea market” would be a much more appropriate name, but in Split we decided we shouldn’t worry about additional names so we just call it Pazar. 🤣

It is a place where locals gather to buy fresh products, cheeses, olive oil, lavender, and other local delicacies and handcrafts. You can also cop a piece of clothing, accessories, or souvenirs for your loved ones.

Also, if you’re feeling extra romantic, you’ll find the prettiest tulips and roses here. 💐

I love the vibe of this place, and what I appreciate most about it is the fact that people sell the products of their gardens and the creations of their hands.

A local peeling peas in the Green market
A local peeling peas in the Green market

8. Listen to Local Klapa Groups

Experience the heart and soul of Split through the enchanting melodies of a local klapa.

These traditional-looking acapella groups are often gathered all over the historical core of the city. 

You’re most likely to encounter them along the bustling Riva promenade, in the main square called Peristil, or under the open sky at Vestibul.

Additionally, keep an ear out for announcements of cultural events. Many cultural festivals in Split feature klapa concerts, providing opportunities to experience this cherished Croatian tradition firsthand.

Klapa singers inside the Vestibul
Klapa singers inside the Vestibul, source: encirclephotos.com

9. Dine at the Best Restaurants in Town

As a big foodie, I believe I’ve savored the culinary delights of nearly every restaurant in Split. You could count the exceptions on one hand.

From restaurants that serve traditional seafood to tasty delicacies of international cuisines, Split homes some of the best restaurants in Croatia. 

Nothing can beat the à la peka hoba – a traditional octopus meal I always order when I eat in Šug, one of my favorite places in the old town. 

Moreover, if you’re traveling with your significant other, surprise them with a romantic dinner at Grašo, with amazing views of the city lights.

Other spots worth a visit are Uje Oil bar in the Old Town, Pandora Greenbox with its great vegan options, Fig Split with its international cuisine, and Dvor which holds a prestigious Michelin star.

Octopus meal in Šug restaurant
Octopus meal in Šug restaurant

10. Explore the City After Dark

No matter how much I try to have more cozy nights in with my favorite Netflix series, I can’t run from the fact that I love a good night out. 

Summer is the best time to explore everything the clubs have to offer. It is also the time of the year when numerous clubs play mainstream pop, hip-hop, and techno music.

One of the most loved places in the city center is Central Club. It features amazing dancers who entertain from elevated cages above, while frequently welcoming famous DJs to its stage. 

If you’re looking for a nice Instagramable place to have a drink I recommend Boiler Club & Dining. Prepare to spend a little more, but the stylish ambiance and tasty cocktails make up for it.

Outside of the tourist season, most clubs play the upbeats of Balkan music. With that said, if you want to feel like a local for the night, get your best outfit and head over to Vanilla or Kauri for a night filled with energetic crowds. 

The crowd at Central Club
The crowd at Central Club, source: centralclub.hr

11. Attend a Game of Hajduk

Hajduk is probably the most loved football club in the country, and I’m not saying that just because it is my hometown club.

Attending a football game in Split is more than a sports event – it is an immersive cultural experience that embodies the locals’ passion for their city. 

Whether you’re a die-hard football fanatic or just someone who’d like to experience this amazing moment, a Hajduk game in Poljud promises a great experience of Croatian football culture.

Hajduk’s lovers are Torcida, known for their great passion and loyalty to the club. Also, around town, you might encounter graffiti art and stickers dedicated to this community.

Aerial view of Poljud
Aerial view of Poljud

12. Try Krafne u Mate

Are there any locals reading this? Well, I couldn’t leave this one out! 

Eating zero-hole doughnuts after a night out has become a cultural moment for all locals. 

If you hear the locals mentioning Mate, chances are that they are talking about this renowned bakery. It gained popularity not only because they work all night, but also for the fact that their doughnuts really are the best

Serving warm delicacies straight from the oven is their specialty, ensuring that every bite feels like a taste of perfection.

Other than the famous doughnut, you can also buy burek, pizza, bottled beverages, and chocolate milk. 

Just so you don’t get confused, this place is called Slastice kod Mate on Google Maps.

Krafne u Mate
Slastice kod Mate, source: index.hr

13. Learn How to Play Picigin

Along with briškula, trešeta, and balote, picigin is one of the most important games in Split. Not only that, but it’s a protected cultural asset of Croatia!

This legendary game was created at the most popular sandy beach in Split – Bačvice.

It is believed that the game brought to Split was supposed to look like water polo, but since Bačvice has very shallow waters, it led to the game as we know it today.

The point is to kick the ball and don’t let it fall. The game has no net or points like water sports do – you just stand in a circle with your friends and kick the small ball around.

A very known tradition is playing picigin at the Bačvice beach on the first day of the New Year.  

Game of picigin
Game of picigin, source: Jutarnji.hr

14. Swim Along the Shoreline

Some of the most popular beaches of the Split area include Bačvice, Žnjan, and Kašjuni beach.

As Žnjan is under construction, unfortunately, you can’t enjoy the lively music anywhere else except under the parasols at Taboo Beach Bar. If you want to seize the day, relax on the daybeds and stay for the sunset party. The DJ is amazing and is often accompanied by a saxophone player and acrobatic dancers. 

Furthermore, as I mentioned before, Bačvice is the most popular beach among tourists. Its soft sand and shallow waters are perfect for catching a tan rather than swimming. It is located near the city center so it is easily accessible.

Kašjuni used to be a hidden getaway but over the last couple of years, the beach has become extremely busy. The beach bar is expensive and there is a low possibility you’ll find parking if you go by car. During the high season, it’s hard to find parking spots near beaches and the traffic jams are catastrophic, so I recommend walking to avoid the hassle.

Bačvice beach
Bačvice beach

15. Step into the Past at Klis Fortress

Hardcore Game of Thrones fans have probably heard of this place before. This ancient wonder is perched atop a rugged hill and offers the most breathtaking view of the surroundings.

With its origins dating back to the ancient Illyrians, this amazing fortress has witnessed the rise and fall of many empires. 

Today, Klis Fortress serves not only as a historical landmark that stands as a symbol of strength, but also as a cultural hub, hosting events, concerts, and exhibitions.

It takes around 20 minutes via car to get to the fortress, but if you don’t feel comfortable driving unknown roads, you can always enjoy the convenience of a bus.

The fortress is open every day from 9 am to 5 pm. The price for adults is 10€, and children up to 15 years have to pay the price of 3€. 

Fortress of Klis outside of Split
Fortress of Klis outside of Split

16. Delve into Theatrical Wonders at HNK

The Croatian National Theatre in Split is a renowned cultural institution of the city. The building is dating back to the 19th century and is a famous historical landmark of Split. It plays a big role in promoting Croatian arts and culture.

Often called HNK, it is located in the heart of the city and is often used as a meeting point, even if people are not planning to visit. 

But why wouldn’t one explore all it has to offer?

The theatre hosts a diverse array of events, including dramas, operas, ballets, and concerts. So many great actors and dancers have stepped on its stage and progressed their professional path there.

I’m proud to say that I had the amazing opportunity to dance on this stage. It was such a special moment and I feel like nothing will ever top that. 💃

Croatian National Theatre in Split
Croatian National Theatre in Split

17. Step into the Local Scene

If you want to feel what we feel while living in Split, I listed a few activities you might want to try, and words you can learn. As some slang words have no literal translation (and everyone’s definition is slightly different), I tried my best to simplify them for you.

Bacit đir – This word is most commonly used to describe a leisurely walk (or sometimes just a drive around town). When you ask someone “‘oćemo bacit đir”, you’re asking them to hang with nothing particularly planned out.

Fjaka – Dalmatian slang word to describe the art of enjoying. Removing all distractions, slowing down, relaxing your body and mind, and worrying about nothing. Happens mainly during sunny and summer days.

Pomalo – This would mean taking it easy or slowly. Can also be a response to someone in a rush or being stressed. This philosophy perfectly embodies the laid-back pace of life in Split.

18. Immerse Yourself in Festivals and Social Gatherings

Depending on the time of year you come to Split, there are several well-known festivals and social gatherings you might want to explore.

Lovers of EDM music will enjoy the mesmerizing beats of the Ultra Europe Festival that has been held in Split for over 10 years. The festival takes place in July and hosts world-renowned DJ’s that attract visitors from all over the world. 

Mediterranean Film Festival occurs in June and is perfect for movie buffs who appreciate the art of filmmaking. The films originate from the Mediterranean area and can not be seen in the regular cinema distribution. 

Split Summer Festival is a traditional festival held from June to August and combines concerts, dance, opera, and theatre all over the historical center of Split. The founder is the City of Split. This year the festival will mark its 70th anniversary!

If you visit Split during May, don’t be surprised when you hear great music and banter coming from Đardin. It’s where Split Spring is happening, so take your time to wander around stalls of the best restaurants in town and try out their food and cocktails. 

Ultra Music Festival in Split
Ultra Music Festival in Split, source: ultraeurope.com

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