You Must Visit Split

By seniorglobetrotters | Aug 5, 2023
Europe > Croatia > Split

Split view from the sea

Split view from the sea


Split is the second-largest city in Croatia and the largest city on the Croatian coast. It is an excellent point to start exploring the beauties of Croatia. The city is easy to reach by plane because there is a nearby airport with many low-cost carriers. And the location of the main train and bus station as well as the main harbour is next to each other in the top city centre.
After exploring this ancient city, you can visit many places along the coast and inland by bus or car. Or you can hop on one of the boats to the many extraordinary beautiful islands.

Diocletian’s Palace original appearance, Photo from Wikipedia

The city was founded as the Greek colony of Aspálathos in the 3rd century BC. In the same place in 305 AD, the Roman emperor Diocletian built the magnificent Palace for his retirement. The place changed its name to Spalatum. Around 650 AD it became a prominent settlement when it succeeded Salona the ancient capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia.
Besides many historical and cultural sites, the city is known for its vivid day and nightlife. Many cultural events take place in the city, such as Split Summer Festival, Ultra Europe festival, concerts, film festivals, exhibitions etc.
Here we tried to pick the 10 best places to see in Split, but we are sure you could find much more yourself.

Top 10 Things to See in Split


1. Split Riva is a pedestrian promenade lined with palm trees, restaurants, bars and shops. It goes along the seaside in front of an ancient Diocletian Palace. That is the place where many manifestations take place, the spot to see and be seen. And enjoy the beautiful views of the sea, palace and people while having a drink or dining in the deep shade.

Split Riva

Split Riva

2. Diocletian's Palace is an ancient palace built for the Roman emperor Diocletian as the retirement residence. Today it forms about half of the old town. It is called a “palace” but the structure is massive and resembles a large fortress. About half of it was for Diocletian's personal use, and the rest housed the military garrison. The Palace is built of white local limestone and marble of high quality.

Diocletian`s Palace

The Cellars of Diocletian's Palace located at the southern end of the Palace once held up the Emperor's private apartments. They represent one of the best-preserved ancient complexes in the world. It is registered as UNESCO World Cultural Heritage. The entrance to the cellars is from Riva at about the middle of the Palace. An exit is through the high vaulted passage full of unique jewellery and souvenir shops. At the end of the corridor, very high marble stairs lead you straight to the Peristyle.

The Cellars

The Cellars


3. The Peristyle is the central square within the Diocletian`s Palace. A monumental court formed the northern entrance to the imperial apartments. It also gave access to Diocletian's mausoleum on the east, today the Cathedral of Saint Domnius. The Vestibule or The Rotonda is the first section behind the imperial entrance that led from the Peristyle to the private chambers. The space has excellent acoustics and is often used by klapa groups for acappella performances.
The Peristyle

The Peristyle

4.The Cathedral of Saint Domnius formed from an Imperial Roman mausoleum was consecrated at the turn of the 7th century AD. It is regarded as the oldest Catholic cathedral in the world that is still in use in its original structure.

The Cathedral of Saint Domnius

The Cathedral of Saint Domnius


5. The Temple of Jupiter was constructed in the turn of the 3rd to 4th century as a part of Diocletian's Palace. Today it is also known as the Christian chapel - the Baptistery of St.John the Baptist. In front of the entrance to the ancient Roman temple is the Headless Sphinx.
Egyptian sphinxes. The Palace was decorated with many 3500-year-old granite sphinxes, originating from Egypt. Only three have survived the centuries. One is still on the Peristyle, the second sits headless in front of Jupiter's temple, and the third is in the city museum.
The Temple

The Temple


6.The Silver Gate or "the Eastern Gate", is one of the four principal Roman gates into the Diocletian's Palace. Right on the outside of the gate, you will step into the big open-air Market (called Pazar). There you can buy fresh fruit and vegetables direct from the gardeners. Next to it are stalls with souvenirs, clothes, bags, beach towels and all you can need for your summer vacation.
The Silver Gate

The Silver Gate

7. The Golden Gate on the northern side used to be the main entrance to the Diocletian's Palace. There you can find the “Roman guards” the same as on the Peristil. They are very popular for making souvenir photos.
On the opposite side of the Gate dominates the huge statue of Grgur Ninski (Gregory of Nin) made by very famous Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović. The statue presents the bishop of Nin from the 10th century who was defending the right to use the Croatian language in church.

The Golden Gate

The Golden Gate


On the opposite side of the Gate dominates the huge statue of Grgur Ninski (Gregory of Nin) made by very famous Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović. The statue presents the bishop of Nin from the 10th century who was defending the right to use the Croatian language in church.The legend says that if you touch his left foot thumb and make a wish it will be granted. Can`t say if that's true but the photo of the well-polished thumb speaks for itself.
The thumb of bishop Gregory of Nin

The thumb of bishop Gregory of Nin

8. The Venetian Castle was a medieval castle in Split. The castle had an irregular pentagonal shape with three towers facing north and overlooking the city. Today the large central tower and the smaller eastern tower form the so-called Fruit Square.

The Venetian Castle

The Venetian Castle

9. Ivan Meštrović Gallery is an art museum in Split, dedicated to the work of the 20th-century sculptor, Ivan Meštrović. The gallery presents to the public the most significant works of Meštrović and is in itself an art monument. Not far from the gallery lies Kaštelet-Crikvine, a restored chapel that houses a set of wooden wall panels carved by Ivan Meštrović.

The Mestrovic Gallery

The Mestrovic Gallery

10. Narrow streets inside the Diocletian's Palace are worth walking through. Take time and let yourself loose in the endless labyrinth of medieval alleys. Around every corner, you will discover something amazing. Lots of ancient buildings, courts, cafes, restaurants, and shops.

What Else is Worth Seeing?


Many things. Here we will mention just a few if you have some extra time.

Museums

Among many museums, two are especially worth visiting:
The Split Archaeological Museum is the oldest in Croatia, established in 1820. The artefacts cover prehistoric times, the period of Greek colonization of the Adriatic, Roman Provincial and Early Christian era to the early Middle Ages. It has the biggest collection of gems in the country.
The Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments is established in 1893 and it is the only museum in the country presenting cultural artefacts of the Croats in the Middle Ages, particularly the time of the early medieval Croatian state from the 9th to the 12th century.

Marjan Hill

If you like natural beauties visit the Park forest on Marjan Hill that dominates the peninsula visible from the Riva. To get on the top you should stroll through Veli Varos, a charming part of the city known for its labyrinth alleyways, medieval churches, and white stone houses. The area has fine restaurants and family-run eateries serving traditional Dalmatian cuisine. You can use the famous old stairway to Marjan used by locals on Sundays and holidays to reach the top and enjoy a fantastic view of the entire city and the surrounding islands.

The Marjan Hill

The Marjan Hill

Split Beaches

If the weather is too hot you should choose from one of the many city beaches nearest to you and refresh in the clear blue sea. We will mention here only the most popular ones: Bačvice, Žnjan, Bene, Kasjuni, Firule, Jezinac, Kastelet, Ovcice, Trstenik, Podstrana.

Game Of Thrones

The Diocletian's Palace was used as a location for filming the fourth season of the HBO series Game of Thrones.
If you are a fan you can take one of the guided tours around filming locations and visit specialised shops in the centre.

Excursions from Split


If you are staying a couple of days in Split then you should consider taking excursions to nearby attractive locations like Solin, Klis, Trogir or islands Brac and Solta.
All those places you can reach by yourself with local transport. To Salona, Klis and Trogir take the local buses going from the main bus station on the east side of the Riva. Check on this link: https://www.promet-split.hr/en/

Solin or Salona (bus lines 1 and 37) is the largest archaeological park in Croatia. It was the birthplace of Roman Emperor Diocletian. Salona was the capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia. Diocletian's tomb is told to be also somewhere near Salona. https://visitsplit.com/en/520/salona

Klis (bus lines 35 and 22) The Klis Fortress is a medieval fortress situated above a village bearing the same name. At first, an ancient Illyrian tribe Dalmatae built a small stronghold that in time became a royal castle that was the seat of many Croatian kings. Later it developed in a large fortress during the Ottoman wars in Europe. It is also a location where the famous Game of Thrones was filmed.
The current Klis Fortress opening hours are from 9 am to 7 pm every day of the year. https://www.tvrdavaklis.com/

Trogir is a charming old town nestled on a small island between the mainland and the larger island of Ciovo. The city has been influenced by various civilizations, including the Greeks, Romans, Venetians, and Hungarians, resulting in a unique blend of architectural styles. Trogir is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Split Things to do Beaches Croatia Europe Game of Thrones Museums

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Written by seniorglobetrotters
We are Vlasta and Hrvoje, retired couple. Love to travel, take photos and enjoy life.

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