Split is the ultimate holiday destination. With beautiful beaches, crystal clear water, rich history, and vibrant nightlife, there’s something to please everyone here! It was one of my absolute favourites on my recent trip to Croatia, and I fell in love with the friendly people and interesting history. This guide will take you through everything you need to know to spend the ultimate week in Split, as well as explore the nearby island of Hvar!
When to Visit Split
The best month to visit is September. At this time, you’ll still get amazing weather but with fewer tourists. I visited in April, and it was a little cold and not suitable for swimming. If you can’t get away in September I’d recommend visiting in May or June. By July and August, tourism season is in full swing and everything will be a bit more crowded and expensive.
How long Should I Stay in Split?
I’d recommend booking four nights in Split and three in Hvar. This will give you enough time to explore both areas, without feeling rushed. There is a lot to see and do in this area, and by giving yourself a bit more time you’ll also be able to check out one of the best National Parks in Croatia!
Where Should I Stay in Split?
If you want to be in the heart of the city, you’ll want to stay in Diocletian’s Palace. This is the center of Split’s Old Town. It’s a very short walk from all of the main attractions, as well as great bars and restaurants. You’ll find lots of great apartments on Airbnb for under €80 a night, making this a really affordable holiday destination.
If you’re on more of a budget, I recommend staying at Backpacker’s Fairytale. This is one of the best hostel’s in Split, and it’s only a short walk to the old town.
Things to do in Split
If I have one recommendation, it’s to go on a free walking tour of the city. You’ll learn a lot about the history of this incredible place, and on this tour, you’ll discover traces of Greek, Roman, Venetian, Ottoman, French, and Austrian culture. You’ll get some great local insights and knowledge about this UNESCO world heritage site. The tour lasts about one hour and is a great way to get local tips on the area. You’ll also stop off at the Gregory of Nin statue, one of the most impressive landmarks in the area. Our guide’s name was Roko, and he was absolutely amazing. Very insightful, lots of great advice for things to do, and (like most Croatians) extremely friendly!
This is where Diocletian, the old Emperor, would make public announcements to his people. It’s a beautiful square and it’s a great place to sit and relax. In the evening, it turns into a mini-concert! The acoustics here are amazing which means you’ll find outdoor concerts here in the summer.
If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the old town, I recommend taking a trip to Marjan Hill. This is a park that overlooks Split and is a great place for walking, hiking, running, and cycling. After a short climb, you’ll be rewarded with great views of the port and the Old Town. If you want to spend a bit of time relaxing and soaking in those views, be sure to check out Teraca Vidilica. This is a gorgeous restaurant where you can have a drink and chill out! You’ll also find a great beach here, Kasjuni, which has plenty of natural shade and is never crowded.
Head to the Beach
Croatia doesn’t have many beaches that are sandy. You’ll find one sandy beach at Bačvice. This is a more local beach with fewer tourists, with nice shallow waters. In this area, you’ll also find some beach bars where you can relax for a few hours.
You’ll also find some places to swim along Žnjan, which is a 4km promenade with lots of sports activities. This is the best place to watch the sunset in Split.
Climb to the Top of the Cathedral
Beside Split Cathedral you’ll find the bell tower. For a small fee, you can climb to the top and get a great view of Split and the Port! The staircase is quite narrow and windy, so keep this in mind when deciding to visit.
Sample Split’s Nightlife
Split is one of the most vibrant and bustling cities on the Dalmatian coast. This makes it one of the best places to experience Croatia’s nightlife! Start with a drink at Peristil Square, and grab another in Charlie’s Bar, which is a lively backpackers bar. Other bars you should check out include Shotgun shooters bar, Fabrique (a bit fancier), and Kavala beach bar.
For clubs, the most famous club is called Central. It’s €20 to enter, but there are always dancers and lots of people so you’re guaranteed a good night! In the summer, you should head to Inbox, which is an outdoor club and is much cooler.
Go on a Boat Party
A great way to meet new people and explore more of Split. Boat Party Split is famous for being one of the best things to do on the Dalmatian Coast. Set off for a boat party for the day, meeting new people, enjoying some cheap drinks, and making some swim stops along the way.
Krka National Park
A beautiful national park filled with incredible waterfalls. This will be a full-day tour, and I’d recommend going on a guided tour. The buses in Croatia can get quite expensive, and the tour will probably end up costing roughly the same as it would go by yourself. You can find some great tour options here, with prices starting as low as €30. If you love nature, you really can’t miss this as it’s one of the most beautiful parks in Croatia!
Where to Eat in Split
Our host on our walking tour recommended checking out Konoba Varos, a restaurant which specializes in the local dish Konoba. This is gnocchi with pasticada, which is Croatian braised beef. For more local dishes you can also try the Papalina (fish finger food) from Konoba Fetivi.
One of our absolute favourite spots, that you’ll also find in Hvar, is Fig. They do delicious brunch, lunch, and dinner. The food is really fresh, and they specialise in Mexican food.
Chop’s grill serves seafood and steak, and they’re a perfect location for a romantic date night. The atmosphere at Pizzeria Portas is great, with a beautiful terrace where you can sit out and enjoy your meal. If you come here you’ll have to try their truffle gnocchi, their most famous and most delicious dish.
You also can’t miss out on Gelateria Emeliana, which was some of the best gelato that I had throughout my trip to Croatia.
Originally I’d booked in one night for Hvar, but as soon as I arrived I realised that’s not enough! There’s so much to see and do on this little island that you could easily spend 2-3 nights exploring the main sites and relaxing.
Where to Stay in Hvar
There are two main hostels in Hvar, Dinks and White Rabbit Hostel. Dinks is definitely a party hostel, so if you’re looking to let your hair down you’ve come to the right place. If you’re into a more relaxed vibe, I’d recommend The White Rabbit hostel. The White Rabbit also has a far better location, being just 5 minutes from the port and in the center of the main town.
Again, you’ll find lots of great Airbnbs in Hvar that are a similar price to Split. I’d highly recommend staying in the Old Town, close to the harbor to make the most out of your short stay here.
Things to do in Hvar
Blue Cave Tour
In Split, you’ll see lots of advertisements for the Blue Cave Tour. Resist the temptation, and wait until you get to Hvar. From here, the tours are a bit cheaper because you’re closer to the caves. On this tour, you’ll see the blue lagoon, the blue cave, the green cave, and stop off on Vis Island, the filming location for Mamma Mia! The tour should cost you around €60, and lasts the full day with the return at around 5 pm.
As soon as you arrive at the port, you’ll spot the Spanish Fortress of Hvar on a hill overlooking the town. Although it looks far away, the walk to the top only takes about 15 minutes, and you’ll be rewarded with an amazing view of the port and old town. If you’d like to enter the fortress, it’ll cost about 70 Kunas. I think this is absolutely worth doing. You get to explore the old fortress walls and even walk into some of the old prison cells.
Go Clubbing at the Party Island
One of the coolest things to do in Hvar is to go clubbing at Carpe Diem. During the day, this is a gorgeous beach bar serving great food and delicious cocktails. At night, you can take a free water taxi to the island which takes about 10 minutes. Clubbing on this exclusive island is one of the best things to do in Hvar, however, it will cost you. The entrance to the bar is about 300 Kuna, and cocktails will set you back €15 each. Pretty pricy for Croatia, but it’s not every day you can head to a nightclub on an island! If you’re looking for more of a relaxed and chilled vibe, you can go there during the day without paying an entrance fee.
Rent your own Boat
At the harbor, you’ll find lots of signs for boat hire, and you don’t even (really) need a sailing license! All you need is your driver’s license to head off on your own boat for the day. Explore the beautiful bays of Hvar and the Pakelni Islands at your own pace. Prices start at as low as 400 Kuna (€50) a day, for a five-person boat.
Hvar is well known for its incredible wine. Take a day trip to the sprawling vineyards to sample some of Croatia’s best wines. This tour is run by a small family winery, and they’ll take you through the entire process from start to finish. You’ll get a clear understanding of the wine tasting process, whilst relaxing and sipping some delicious wine. The tour costs €85, which is pretty reasonable for a wine tour in Europe.
Where to Eat in Hvar
Again, I recommend heading to Fig for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it’s really that good! At Konoba Menego you can try a specialty Dalmatian dish called Pasticada with homemade gnocchi. This is a small, family-run restaurant so you might need to make a reservation in advance! La Bocca is another great option, located in the central square of the old town and serving delicious pizza and seafood.
And that’s a wrap! Everything you need to know to maximise your time in the biggest city of Dalmatia! I really hope you’ve found this blog helpful, happy travels