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Overview

Introduction

This is Croatia’s second city after Zagreb the capital. Located on the Adriatic coast in the central part of the beautiful Dalmatia region and close to some stunning islands.

Until around twelve years ago, Split was mainly seen as an access point for the islands connected by numerous ferries and catamarans. Few visitors stayed there for more than a night or two at most and most who visited were on a day excursion from another holiday base. Suddenly that changed and nobody is quite sure why.

Whatever happened, Split is now a real favourite with visitors. People stay there longer, often making Split part of a two or three centre holiday and many are now even visiting in winter, combining Split with Zagreb or Rome in Italy with direct flights to and from both.

More hotels of various styles and categories have opened and many local people have projects underway to restore historic properties with a strong heritage focus for visitor accommodation.

The city authorities spent serious money on renovating and improving the beautiful, wide “Riva” (seafront promenade) made of local white stone. The residents of Split have always enjoyed coffee there, watching the world pass by and the ferries and catamarans coming and going. Now, visitors are there too. It is a lovely wide pedestrianised promenade dotted with cafes and tall palm trees. Some superb restaurants have opened, there are some eclectic bars including a cocktail bar, miraculously housed in part of the old city walls. In December, there’s even a Christmas market with seasonal, traditional stalls along the Riva.

The most famous aspect of Split are the ruins of Roman Emperor Diocletian’s Palace. Born at Salona, five kms inland, Diocletian chose Split as the location for his retirement home. Building started in 295AD and was completed in 305AD. Now, this is the core of Split old city which is located within the four walls of the palace, which has entrances on each side, north, south, east and west.

The palace’s southern wall is now part of the waterfront Riva (promenade) and many people enter by the Bronze Gate here. This gives access to the vaulted palace basement where goods used to be stored. Now there are stalls selling various gifts, artwork and souvenirs. Worth exploring this lower level and special exhibitions are sometimes held there.

Collectively, the ruins of Diocletian’s Palace, the city fortifications, historical royal residences were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979.

Today, the centre of Split is a wonder. Endless squares and piazzas, narrow streets, tiny palaces squashed into ridiculously small places, churches, chapels, shops, banks, restaurants, bars, in style from Roman – Venetian – Austrian – French – Italian – Yugoslav. They were all here.

 

Did you know?

  • Split has one of the rare sandy beaches in Croatia, Bacvice beach is around 15 minutes walk from the Bronze Gate entrance to Diocletian’s Palace. Sunbeds, parasols for rent and a good selection of bars and bistros
  • Hadjuk Split is one of the most famous football teams in Croatia, often at or near the top of the first league.
  • Marijan Hill is a lovely green area of Split around a 15-20 minute walk from the old city. Often a cooler spot on hot days due to breezes. We feature the Hotel Cvita there.
  • There are a few hotels located within the walks of Diocletian’s Palace-old city core including Hotel Peristil which we feature.
  • The Peristil (square) entrance/exit to the lower level of the palace plays an important part in Split’s cultural scene with many events held there
  • One of the most famous cafes in Split is ‘Luxor’ situated in Peristil, named after the marble sphinx and columns Diocletian brought back to Split from Egypt after his travels.
  • The closest National Parks are Krka (55 minutes), Paklenica (1 hour 50), Plitvice Lakes (2 hours 20). Visit either on your own or by organised excursion. The excursion to Krka usually includes some time in the lovely seaside town of Sibenik.
  • Trips are easy to Trogir (walled medieval city and also UNESCO heritage site), Solin (ex Salona), islands of Solta and Brac.
  • (Only a small part of Salona has been excavated. A Christian necropolis, 5th century basilica, baths, aqueduct and a Roman amphitheatre built for 14,000 can be seen.)
  • Longer day trip excursions include Dubrovnik and Mostar in Bosnia-Hercegovina (passport needed)
  • Klis Fortress above Split was built by ancient Illyrian tribes, taken over and enlarged by the Romans and was a filming location in Game of Thrones.
Read more

Getting There

Flights to Split from the UK.

  • Croatia Airlines flies from London Heathrow.
  • Jet2 has services from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle and Belfast.
  • EasyJet operates from Glasgow, Manchester, London Luton, London Gatwick, London Stansted and Bristol.
  • Wizz Air flies to Split from London Luton.

Domestic flights connect Split direct to Zagreb the capital, and direct to Rijeka and Pula on the northern Adriatic coast - these operate year-round. Flight time on all these routes is around 50 minutes.

Split is well connected to other parts of Croatia by an excellent motorway system not forgetting the old Adriatic coastal road.

Driving from Zagreb takes around four hours, whilst from Dubrovnik, further south it’s three-four hours and from the Opatija Riviera in the north it’s around four and a half hours. Times depend on route selected and traffic conditions.

There are superb connections from/to Split with many islands by ferry and catamaran, year-round, also overnight ferries connecting Italy.

There is also a train service from Zagreb to Split, normally journey time is around 5-6 hours but this can vary depending on date and season.

Events

Events

There are many events, especially musical concerts and exhibitions that held year-round. Check with us for specific dates as they are announced locally.

  • March - GastFest is a big gastronomy event with demonstrations, produce and tastings
  • Early June - World Championship picigin. This is game unique to Split, played in shallow sea water using a small ball. Requires skill. Usually at Bacvice beach
  • Mid-June - Split Pride. Parades and parties in various locations. This is a smaller Pride than those held in UK
  • June/July - Late June-early July, open air cinema at Bacvice beach. Films are in original language (usually English), with Croatian subtitles.
  • July/Aug - Split Summer Festival is an open-air event at interesting venues across Split, many in the old city. Music, dance, theatre, sometimes opera performed in parts of Diocletian Palace.
  • August - In the town of Sinj, 35 minutes drive (34 kms), the “Sinjska Alka” is a colourful historic extravaganza, in 2023 it will be in its 308th year. A costumed equestrian competition to commemorate the victory of a small Croatian-Venetian army over the outnumbering invading forces of the Ottoman empire in 1715. Celebrations, music. It is extraordinary. UNESCO listed.
  • October - Food FairChef’s master classes, wine tastings and some restaurants offer special three course Dalmatian menus at special prices
  • December - Usually from 5 December into early January, Advent Split sees the Riva transformed into an avenue of seasonal festivities. Music, hand crafted festive decorations and candles together with contemporary goods. Mulled wine (if the weather is cold enough to merit, often it is not).
  • New Years Eve - A spectacular New Year’s Eve party on Riva which continues into the early hours of 1 January. Food, celebrations, bands. Breathtaking firework display at midnight, much of it set over the sea, lighting up sea and sky. (Flights from London via Zagreb).

Useful information

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In the heart of the city lies the Split City Museum, a true gem for both art and architecture enthusiasts. The museum boasts a fantastic collection of paintings and weaponry, but the real treasure is the Gothic building it's situated in, which dates back to the 15th century. After admiring the stunning facade, step inside to explore old photographs, ancient documents, and maps that will take you on an enchanting journey through the city's rich history.

Noel Josephides
Noel Josephides
Best time to go
  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC
Time Difference

GMT + 1 hour

Currency

Euro

Language

Croatian

Average flight times

2 hours 30 minutes

  • Average temperature

    Average rainfall

Note: Map is for guidance purposes only.

Talk to our Split expert

Noel Josephides
Noel Josephides

In the heart of the city lies the Split City Museum, a true gem for both art and architecture enthusiasts. The museum boasts a fantastic collection of paintings and weaponry, but the real treasure is the Gothic building it's situated in, which dates back to the 15th century. After admiring the stunning facade, step inside to explore old photographs, ancient documents, and maps that will take you on an enchanting journey through the city's rich history.

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We promise that a member of our specialist reservation teams will reply personally to your holiday enquiry before 5.30pm if received before 12.00pm (Monday to Friday). Enquiries received after 12.00pm will be replied to within 24-hours (excluding Sundays).

If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

Our lines are open from 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday-Friday and from 9.30am to 4.30pm Saturday.

  • Greece: 020 8758 4758
  • Cyprus: 020 8758 4759
  • Portugal, the Azores, Spain, Italy, Sicily and Scandinavia: 020 8758 4722
  • Latin America: 020 8758 4774
  • Marketing: 020 8758 4731

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If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

Our lines are open from 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday-Friday and from 9.30am to 4.30pm Saturday.

  • Greece: 020 8758 4758
  • Cyprus: 020 8758 4759
  • Portugal, the Azores, Italy, Sicily and Scandinavia: 020 8758 4722
  • Latin America: 020 8758 4774

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