Best things to do in Split Croatia: Explore Emperor Diocletian’s Palace, attend a guided walking tour, relax at Sustipan, climb the Vestibule’s terrace, listen to traditional dalmatian klapa, visit the iconic Klis Fortress, kick back on the east coast , unwind on the west coast , go shopping, explore the green side of Dalmatia , have a photo with an ancient Roman, visit the fish market, visit Plitvice NP, take the Open-Top Sightseeing Bus, play picigin at Bacvice with the locals- These are the main highlights for those seeking to experience Split at its’ fullest.
1. Explore Emperor Diocletian’s Palace: the Heart of Split
When in Split, visiting Diocletian’s Palace is a must! The late-antique residential complex of the Roman Emperor Diocletian, known as ‘Emperor Diocletian’s Palace’, is the heart and the central scene of Split to this day.
Being the best-preserved example of late Roman architecture in the world, the building, together with the historic center of Split, was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979.
The palace was built in the years 295-305 CE. the complex occupies over 30,000 m² of total area and was surrounded by 2-meter-thick walls, additionally reinforced with 16 watchtowers.
There were 4 gates leading to the palace: Porta Aenea (Bronze Gate), Porta Aurea (Gold Gate), Porta Ferrea (Iron Gate) and Porta Argentea (Silver Gate). They have all survived to this day.
Other places in the palace that should definitely be on your radar include:
The Vestibule ( a structure resembling Rome’s Pantheon), the cellars/ basements (GOT filming location), The Cathedral of St. Domnius (St. Duje in the local dialect, who happens to be the patron saint of the city of Split), the Peristyle (former main ceremonial courtyard/ agora), the Golden Gate ( the main entrance to the palace, build in grandiose fashion and used only by the Emperor and the members of his family)
The complex houses many residential and modern commercial facilities, such as restaurants, cafes and souvenir shops. These are delightfully nestled within the original ancient and medieval structures – no wonder Split is regarded as a unique case of a “living” monument. A place where history charmingly coexists with the present.
Diocletian’s Palace Tickets & Prices:
2.Attend a Guided Walking Tour
Why attend a Guided Walking Tour of Diocletian’s Palace?
Walking Tours truly take you off the beaten path!
LET YOUR KNOWLEDGEABLE LOCAL EXPERT TAKE THE LEAD, SO YOU CAN REALLY Soak up the local culture.
IT’S SO MUCH BETTER TO EXPLORE A NEW PLACE through captivating storytelling and anecdotes!
DON’T HESITATE TO ask YOUR GUIDE ABOUT the best photo hotspots, best bars, restaurants and shops in the area!
At APODOS, we pride ourselves on our EXCELLENT local experts who are on-hand to meet you throughout the day, EVERY DAY! – so make the most of your time in Split and join us on
our TOP-RATED WALKING TOUR
Under-the-radar SPLIT WALKING TOUR
3.Relax at Sustipan
Next on our list of best things to do in Split is actually one of our personal favorites and less known to the wider public! the picturesque little Sustipan Park in Split, located at the very end of the Riva promenade extension with direction westwards. Sustipan was named after the medieval monastery of St. Stephen under the pine trees, which served as the resting place of the Croatian royal dynasty.
At the beginning of the 19th century, Sustipan functioned as a cemetery, and today it serves as a green oasis and a beautiful recreational area near the city center. It’s such an authentic experience to just sit on a bench or on the grass and enjoy the amazing view of the Adriatic islands from this location!
It is not uncommon to see people working out or meditating at Sustipan, as it offers peace and quiet away from the crowds. You can often see photo sessions of young married couples taking place here, especially next to the beautiful new-classical gloriette monument. And if you are in Split in winter, you will surely see our little friends on Sustipan – the cheerful squirrels jumping on the trees.
4.Climb the Vestibule’s Terrace
One of the best things to do in Split, yet very underrated! If you want to enjoy the amazing views, climbing onto the terrace above the Vestibule is a must! The Vestibule used to function as a hall/waiting room to the area where the imperial living quarters used to be located.
From the Peristyle, just climb a few steps located in its southern part, enter the Vestibule, and on the left side you will see the entrance to the terrace. Alternatively, it can also be reached from the Ethnographic Museum, literally 2 steps away.
5.Listen to Traditional Dalmatian Klapa
One of the main free tourist attractions – Klapa, i.e. a cappella performances, has become a tradition over the past decade. This traditional Dalmatian way of singing has been inscribed on the UNESCO Intangible Heritage List. The experience is especially charming, because Vestibule’s architectural structure offers amazing acoustics.
6. Visit the Iconic Klis Fortress- Instagrammable Spot!
Klis is a significant historical defensive structure located in Central Dalmatia, approximately a 30-minute drive from Split. In addition, Klis was used as filming location for the 3rd season of the GAME OF THRONES TV SERIES.
Attending KLIS FORTRESS TOUR FROM SPLIT is surely one of the best things to do in Split!
So, make sure to research this option and book it well in advance, so you won’t be missing out on this unique sightseeing opportunity, while in Split.
This tour offers a great opportunity to capture some amazing shots, enjoy the breath-taking panoramic views of the entire area. Plus, you will be learning all about the sight’s history form APODOS Travel Agency enthusiastic local guides. The tour is available every day!
LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS TOUR RIGHT HERE
7.Kick Back on the East Coast
The beaches of the east coast do not impress with their spectacular beauty- these are typically urban beaches – they have one great advantage, though – it’s their proximity to the city center.
To reach the nearest one, called Bacvice (where you will also find most of the nightclubs and bars in the summer) it literally takes only 5 minutes (slow-paced stroll) from Diocletian’s Palace. Bacvice consists of: a concrete beach and a small sandy beach ( very crowded in high summer) with shallow waters. If you don’t find that particularly inviting, it’s definitely worth heading a bit further, because the further east you head the better it gets.
On the way you will come across Ovcice, Firule, Znjan beaches that are way more attractive options.
At the Firule beach ( Hotel Radisson Blue Beach Club location) you can enjoy a few drinks or snacks, way more privacy then at the previously mentioned Bacvice, and why not indulge in a bit of luxury, by lounging in a cabana right by the sea. A great option to do that is Mistral Beach Club.
Our favorite spot though is even further away towards the East- the area of Znjan beach with its corresponding beach clubs and bars, near the Amphora Hotel.
Well worth a visit! Clean waters, nice atmosphere, and even several trees offering free shade.
Side note: if you want to spread out your towel under the trees and enjoy this free shade, make sure to be there early in the morning, after that you will either need to bring your own umbrella or hire sun loungers with an umbrella at one of the beach bars, so depending on what you want make sure to plan ahead.
8.Unwind on the West Coast
If you ask any local, you will soon realize that the Western Coast is probably a better bet, when it comes to beaches in Split! If you find yourself right at the entrance to Sustipan Park, we recommend that you walk through the small park and playground on the right and check out the interesting beaches of Zvoncac and Jezinac , where you can even jump of the cliffs like the locals do.
Next, you can head even further west towards Kastilet beach (just below the Ivan Mestrovic Art Gallery), Kasjuni beach and Bene beach.
Kasjuni offers several beach clubs with all amenities such as sunbeds, beach cabins, food, drinks, toilets, music, parking place. Of course, as everywhere in Croatia, you can just spread out a towel and relax on the beach for free. A great place to stay all day!
Finally, even further away – in Marjan Park Forest, Bene beach is an amazing option to spend the entire day not only swimming and sunbathing but also, strolling, cycling, and relaxing in the lush natural shade the entire area offers. A beach bar is available at Bene as well.
Recommended for nature lovers, families with children (there is a tiny, shallow beach nearby called Prve Vode, ideal for families with young children) and people looking for natural shade, exercise, and a bit more privacy.
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One of the best things to do in Split is shopping! There are many interesting souvenir shopping opportunities in Split – but like anywhere in the world, in order not to spend money on mass-produced imported knick-knacks, you need to know which ones are truly regional, locally made, and traditional!
So let’s start with what to buy: lavender sachets, rosaries (Croats are mostly Roman Catholics), jewelry or home decor items made of local white limestone (yes, the same one used to build Diocletian’s Palace!).
Adriatic coral jewelry, hand-made wooden toys, items celebrating the local football team Hajduk Split (Croats and especially Dalmatians are crazy about sports, and football in particular!), lace, truffle products ,olive oil and cosmetics made of olive oil, local honey (lavender honey is the best in Croatia)
Cured meats, local cheese like Pag cheese with a distinctive salty and tangy flavor, liqueurs and popular aperitifs such as rakija (a drink similar to brandy and vodka, made by distilling fermented fruits, nuts or herbs), orahovac (traditional walnut liqueur), medica/medovaca ( sweet honey brandy), visnjevac (sweet cherry brandy),
Now let’s see where: The best place for souvenirs and groceries is the local Pazar (a green open-air market located right next to Diocletian’s Palace Silver Gate), Diocletian’s Palace cellars/ basements, the Riva waterfront and all the tiny alleys located in the north and north-west part of the Palace.
For modern and designer brands, head to Marmotova Street, opposite the Church of St. Francis (west end of the Riva promenade). For clothes, bathing suits, sun hats and the famous swimming shoes (you really need these on Croatia’s rocky beaches), head to both Pazar ( for the ladies, this is also a good place if you’re looking for elegant linen and cotton dresses, trousers and airy tunics) and Marmontova.
EXTRA TIP 1: While bargaining is absolutely acceptable at the Pazar, better don’t try this at the local stores and shops!
EXTRA TIP 2: If you want to visit the SHOPPING MALL OF SPLIT located a few km away from the city center, there’s a FREE TRANSFER offered on daily basis form this location:
FOR THE TIMETABLE CLICK HERE
10.Explore the Green Side of Dalmatia with ‘Dalmatia for Nature Lovers Countryside Half-Day Tour’-NEW!
If you are a foodie, love nature and are looking to escape the crowds and experience authentic Dalmatian heritage, you don’t have to go far from Split.
Take the opportunity and join the ‘ Dalmatia for Nature Lovers- Countryside Half-Day Tour’ where you can experience real Dalmatia. You will be visiting 3 hand-picked locations that reveal Dalmatia’s natural wonders. These are: a local ethno-village, the fortress of Klis and Hidden Dalmatia Interpretation Center.
This tour focuses on exploring Central Dalmatia in a sustainable way, combining elements of: nature, gastronomy, local culture.
To book this unique experience, click the link below:
11. Have a Photo with an Ancient Roman
If you want to have a souvenir photo with a ( almost real!) member of Diocletian’s Praetorian Guard, you will be able to do that in Split as well!
You will meet them at the Peristyle and in front of the Golden Gate in the north of the palace. These guys are local students and you will surely make their day if you leave them a small tip for standing there in 40 degrees and sweating all day ( these antique uniforms are actually not as comfy as they look!) to keep the tourists entertained!
12. Visit the Fish Market
The fish market in Split is called Peskarija and it is located at the Marmontova street, near the waterfront. Operating daily form early morning to noon ( 6 a.m. till 14:00 p.m.) offers a variety of local, fresh Adriatic catch. It’s better to come after 12 though , as the sellers usually reduce the prices at this time.
Tip 1: what is the best local fish to try?
small fish like anchovies, and sardines but also sprats, mackerels and dorada.
Local octopus and calamari is great too.
Tip 2: If you don’t want to clean the fish yourself, you can avoid it by paying about 1,5 euro to one of the salesman and he’ll do it for you. No fuss and your cleaned fish is ready to go in minutes!
13. Visit Plitvice National Park
Nature is AWESOME and this is what Plitvice Lakes are all about! If you had to do just one single day trip from Split, it definitely has to be this one. Let’s face it, not visiting Plitvice Lakes is like not visiting Croatia at all!
With 30,000 hectares of lush green area, 16 gorgeous lakes, +1.000,000 visitors every year, 92 stunning waterfalls, this UNESCO World Heritage Site ( inscribed since 1997) is your unique chance to experience Croatian nature at its very best!
14.Take the Open-Top Sightseeing Bus Tour
Next on our list is the all-time classic tour – a popular open-top sightseeing bus tour that takes you beyond the historic center of Split. This convenient, safe and hassle-free way to explore Split has another significant advantage:
It is fully guided by a professional English-speaking guide, and there is also an informative audio guide on board, which is available in 8 different languages – Croatian, English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian.
A great way to see the main attractions further away from Diocletian’s Palace, take some lovely shots from the bus and learn some interesting things about the area!
This tour runs daily, several times a day, and can be easily booked on site at the following location:
Obala Lazareta 3 – bus stop located right at the eastern end of Riva waterfront and a few steps away from a huge red color sign ‘SPLIT‘
15.Play ‘Picingin’ at Bacvice with the Locals
Does running around in shallow waters of your local beach and trying your best to keep a little tennis ball in the air sound like fun?
Well, the inhabitants of Split have been doing it for over 100 years now, and the meeting point is the Bacvice beach- already described above!
Picigin is the local version of water polo and it’s still very popular in Split. It is a fun group activity with a large dose of outdoor exercise and socializing with friends – 2 things the locals enjoy the most! Just join them and they will be happy to show you what picigin is all about.
Want to learn more about Diocletian’s Palace in Split?
Join us on our TOP-RATED Split Walking Tour!
Want to explore Split beyond Diocletian’s Palace?
There’s no better way to do it than joining our Open-Top Bus Tour
Looking for the best Day-Tours from Split?Join us for a truly unforgettable experience – Plitvice Lakes Tour from Split!