As hoards of tourists flock to Dubrovnik because of its role in The Game of Thrones, many will miss the charming seaside town of Split, just a few hours further up the Dalmatian Coast. Pity for them. But don’t think that the tourism market hasn’t blossomed in Split. It’s a popular destination for both land- and cruise-based visitors, and it’s worthy of its newfound popularity. As you come to the post-communist Croatia, you might be expecting utilitarian housing blocks and barren streets. But what you’ll find in Split is ancient Roman ruins, a maze of cobblestoned streets, palm trees swaying in the breeze, and views of endless blue waters in the Adriatic Sea. It’s entirely charming and I implore you to visit! Here’s everything you need to know, your Split Croatia Visitor Guide.
Split Croatia Visitor Guide
When To Go
Pro-tip, don’t go in the high season of July and August. It’s super hot and crowded. Your best bet is the shoulder season, in May as they’re ramping up for tourists, or in October when they’re winding down. You might even try going in the winter, because the climate is very mild in Croatia, much like its neighbor, Italy.
How To Get There
There’s an airport in Split and I can’t guarantee you’ll find a direct flight there but flying into there is your fastest option. I was on a bigger tour of Croatia so I flew into Zagreb, and then took the bus to Split. There aren’t really any trains in Croatia so if you want to get around in-country, you’re looking at a bus ride. Alternatively, several cruise lines now offer an itinerary with a stop in Split so if you’re the cruising type, perhaps you will choose to visit on your next cruise.
Where To Stay
In Split, you want to stay somewhere that resonates with the old historic charm of the town but also provides a comfortable and modern retreat. And for that I recommend Vida Boutique Hotel. Newly opened this summer, this luxury boutique hotel is already gaining traction with guests and the press. I loved staying there, it’s the perfect little place to relax and get away from the crowds of the main square. And the cats that have taken up residence on the patio are super cute too!
What To See
The Diocletian Palace is undoubtedly the most noteworthy sight in town, its roman architecture in stark contrast to what you expect in Croatia. Take a tour of the palace and the underground cellars. You can even walk the narrow and steep stairway up to the top of the bell tower to get a good view of the whole town and coast. You’ll also want to check out the waterfront views up close, so take a stroll along the riva. Start near the cruise ships and walk the whole waterfront all the way over to the yacht club. It’s a beautiful place to explore!
Where To Eat
There really are so many options of where to eat in Split, many of which are tucked away in the network of cobblestoned back alleys that make up the old town. It’s worth the hunt to find them though! To start the day, go with Bajamonti for breakfast and perhaps also a pastry for your sweet tooth from Bobis. For lunch, you cannot miss out on the salads at Bokeria wine bar (okay and the wines too!), like burrata salad and bokeria salad which are both to die for. The restaurants along the riva are mostly too touristy for my taste although they make the perfect spot for a glass of wine and some people watching in the afternoon. And then for dinner, dive back into the walled old town and enjoy the cozy ambiance at Gregolevante. Maybe you’ll round it all off with a taste of the famous Croatian rakija, which is an alcohol infused with different local herbs. And don’t even think about skipping on the gelato, it’s a Dalmatian Coast dessert requirement!
What To Do
Take a ferry to one of Croatia’s numerous islands. I visited the popular Hvar Island, which was so pretty I wished I had booked an overnight out there! Croatia has over a thousand islands so if you want to see some more of them, you should go for a boat rental, which is very popular to do in Split. You can also take a day trip to go see some of Croatia’s famous waterfalls. Plitvice is the larger and more popular park, but Krka is quite close to Split and very beautiful! For some art and culture, head over to Mestrovic Gallery to see the work of Croatia’s famous sculptor.
Need to Know
I found all of Croatia to be very safe, but I have heard of petty theft in Split so I would just keep your possessions close. Take normal precautions and you should be okay. The currency is kunas, which is valued at about 6-7 kuna per USD, at the moment. There are plenty of ATMs around and most places accept credit cards but it’s always good to have some cash on hand (for those insatiable gelato cravings and such). While the language spoken here is Croatian, you’ll get by just fine using English since they’re quite used to English-speaking tourists by now and have adapted. Some of the cultural differences you’ll experience here will be interesting, like the total indifference of waiters to their customers, an insistence on keeping doors and windows closed, and a passion for café culture that would give Paris a run for their money. But that’s what makes Croatia unique, it’s got a coastline to rival Italy but its historic and cultural roots couldn’t be more different. I hope you’ll indulge in the culture while you’re here so you can appreciate Split as more than just a sunny coastal town.
Some helpful books about understanding Croatian culture and some travel guides to get you from point A to point B, enjoy!
Thanks for reading! If you have found the information on brittanyfromboston.com helpful and wanderlust-inspiring, please consider making your next Expedia & Amazon purchases through these links. It doesn’t cost any extra to you, but it keeps this content coming to you free of charge!