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Best things to do in Split
Located on one of the best stretches of the sparkling Adriatic Sea is the beautiful city of Split. Home to a wealth of delicious food markets and booming bars, the largest ferry port in the country, and an array of medieval architecture dating back from Roman times, there is plenty of things to do in Croatia’s Split.
The Cathedral of Saint Domnius is definitely the star attraction when it comes to things to do in Split. Although the beautiful architecture is a sight in itself, climbing the cathedral is a memorable experience. While you are ticking off architectural wonders in Split, stop by Diocletian’s Palace (built more than 1,700 years ago), or visit the Split City Museum to get an insight into the rich history that has shaped the city.
Come dusk and Split comes alive. Open-air restaurants, lively bars and delicious food markets line the cobbled streets. In the summer months, Croatia’s warm weather and bright blue skies make days of exploring Split incredibly enjoyable. Whether you are exploring the city on your own or taking a guided tour, there are plenty of great things to do, and the landmarks, cuisine and people of Split will not disappoint.
Climb the Cathedral
The Cathedral of Saint Domnius steals the limelight when it comes to Split’s landmarks. Standing at a height of 60 meters tall, the cathedral is regarded one of the best-kept Roman buildings in all of the country. The main structure of the cathedral was originally the home of the Roman Emperor Diocletian. In the 7th century, the building was converted into a Christian Cathedral.
After taking in the beauty of the cathedral and admiring its octagonal shape, head to the Romanesque bell tower. Climb the steep stairs to the top of the tower to see Split at its best – panoramic views across the medieval town, iconic buildings and the sparkling coastline. However, as one of the most popular things to do in Split, make sure you book tickets to the bell tower in advance or early morning to save disappointment.
Enjoy local food markets
Split has some exquisite food markets which are definitely worth visiting. Of course, Croatia’s location neighbouring the Adriatic Sea means it boasts freshly-caught fish and seafood on a daily basis. But Split’s local food markets really stand out. Pazar is an early morning market (opening before 7am), offering tantalizing deals on a fruit, vegetables, fish and an array of local drinks like craft beer and brandy.
For those looking to taste some of the freshest fish in Split, head to the Split fish market which sets up outside of the Diocletian’s Palace. Each morning, local fishermen present the fish they have caught the night before and bargains are to be bid.
Relax on Bacvice beach
On the very southern tip of Split is Bacvice beach which opened in 1919. This beach is perfect for those looking for an energetic atmosphere with plenty of people to meet. The crescent-shaped beach is home to many bars, restaurants and nightclubs. The beach is catered for travlers, with beach showers, public toilets, and deck chairs to rent out for the day. Although it may not look it, Bacvice beach can host around 10,000 people.
Bacvice Beach is also home to the popular beach game called picigin. The main aim of the game is the keep the ball from falling in the sea. Although it sounds easy, it requires lots of focus and stamina. This specific beach has also won awards for its water standards so overall, it’s a great option for a fun day on the beach in Split. Some other top beaches in Split include Znjan Beach, Kasjuni Beach and Bene Beach.
See Diocletian’s Palace
Named after the Emperor, the Diocletian Palace is a vast stone complex built in 305 AD which, at the time, homed Diocletian himself. After restoration work and building repairs, to some extent, you would still recognize it as a palace: four grand gates (Golden, Silver, Bronze and Iron) mark the entrance and medieval-style courtyards were once playgrounds for social events or important discussions. As a building, the palace has remarkable detail and strength to it so it’s no wonder it is listed as a UNESCO world-heritage site.
Today, like much of Croatia, the old buildings remain standing tall, but modern-day activities have taken over. You do not need tickets or an allocated time to walk around Diocletian’s Palace which makes it a stress-free place to wander throughout the day. As you go through the grand entrance, you will see an array of shops, bars, cafes and modern businesses set up here. To some extent, it’s a modern day place of work but with century-old landmarks and architecture.
Enjoy the romance of the Riva Promenade
The harbour is found in the southern cove of Split, and is arguably the most romantic part of the city. Wide walkways are lined with tropical palm trees. Traditionally-built buildings contrast against the bright blue skies. And of course, the sounds of the sea are the background to a charming stroll along the Riva Promenade.
The Promenade has been pedestrianized so that travelers can enjoy undisturbed walks, with independent cafes and restaurants at every corner. It’s regarded one of the central hubs to Split and with such clean and attractive city landscapes, it’s clear to see why.
Day trip to Trogir
Located only 30 minutes or so away from Split is a charming coastal town named Trogir. From Split, we can arrange half or full day trips to this town and for those who have a considerable amount of time in Split, it’s definitely recommended. The concept of slow travel is re-emerging and what better way to enjoy the scenic views, the romantic walkways and the coastal breeze than to walk through it. The main town itself is very small but keep exploring further out and you will come across delicate courtyards with cobbled streets with plenty of charm.
For travelers who are active, we would recommend hiking the Marjan Hill which is located to the west of Split’s old town. This viewpoint is definitely less discovered than other vantage points and, if you can hack the climb, it’s certainly worth the effort. Klis Fortress is also another iconic landmark in Split that also offers stunning views. The fort was once a battle site, with the strong walls acting as their best defence.
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