Best Day Trips From Split, Croatia – Beautiful Places Near Split
What is one of the best places to visit in Europe? Croatia is surely among the top tourist destinations. Warm weather, nice beaches, cute towns and lively cities, pretty islands, great scenery, friendly people, and great value for your money!
Split, located in between Dubrovnik and Zadar, is a great base from which to visit the surroundings of this beautiful country! So, if you prefer having one base and take day trips within Croatia (and surrounding countries), then Split is one of the best choices. There are a lot of fun places quite close to Split and here are some of the most beautiful places near Split that you mostly can visit on your own – by car or bus/train – but you can also do guided tours to discover places close to Split.
So, after discovering Split for a day or two, it is time to explore the rest of the country with these beautiful day trips from Split!
Trogir is like Split´s little brother – actually, they look similar, though it is smaller and less well known.
To be honest, I think that Trogir is even more beautiful than Split and has more of a special charm – but like in Split, you will find beautiful Venetian architecture, narrow streets, and many cafes. And also a busy waterfront that is lined with tourists.
For good views of the town, visit Kamerlengo Castle or climb the stairs of the Cathedral, which is located at the main square.
Trogir is really small though – because of the unique atmosphere, I could have spent much longer there, but for most of you, one day is more than enough, and thus, it is the perfect half day or full day trip from Split.
Getting there: Trogir is very close to Split (around 30 minutes) and you can either drive or take a bus and explore the town.
Another one of my favorite places in Croatia: Sibenik. I almost skipped it, but luckily, I decided to go and I highly recommend a visit here.
If you are short on time, you can combine it with a trip to Trogir, which is just south of the town, but it is also a good individual day trip from Split.
There is the really beautiful St. James’s Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage site that you can reach after climbing a few steps on a stunning staircase. Sibenik is small, but its streets were full of charm and beautiful cafes and restaurants.
To enjoy great views of the old town, head to St. Michael’s Fortress, or even to Barone Fortress. Even if you walk around quickly, you will still get to experience the beauty of the town.
If you are a Game of Thrones fan, you probably have Sibenik on your itinerary, right? It has become more famous because of its use as a GoT filming location, but regardless of that, this place is small and cute and great to visit from Split.
Getting there: You can either drive to Sibenik or take a train or bus. If you want to combine Sibenik with nearby Krka National Park, rather than with Trogir, a day tour is probably the best choice.
Plitvice Lakes National Park
One of the most famous places in Croatia is the Plitvice Lakes National Park. Honestly, its location is the only downside when visiting – getting there from Split takes about three hours. But Plitvice Lakes is indeed stunning.
When you visit the largest waterfall in Croatia, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is caused by the flow of Plitvice Stream down a steep cliff, you can hike the upper and lower lakes with its countless waterfalls (seriously, you cannot even count them because there are too many) and hop on a boat or bus in between.
Prices for the entrance vary and depend on the season of your visit, but the cost is 10-30€.
Getting there: It takes about three hours by car or 3.5 hours by bus. You can also do guided tours from Split.
From Split, you can also visit a more off-the-beaten-path city in Croatia – well, not a real hidden gem, but it is still not overly crowded.
Driving to Zadar on your own will allow you to drive the beautiful toll-free street, D8. Though it takes almost 2 hours, it is such a beautiful drive that you will not even mind.
So, what is Zadar like? Well, to be 100% honest, Zadar was not my favorite place, but if you are looking for a quieter and more unique city to visit from Split, then Zadar is your place.
The town center of the old town, with the ancient square, the Forum, is a must and different from all the other old towns in Croatia. Also, listen to the Sea Organ that plays music from the waves of the ocean – as mentioned, Zadar is truly different from other cities in Croatia.
Before heading back to Split, watch the sunset in Zadar, which is supposed to be one of the most beautiful in the world.
Getting there: If you drive yourself, drive along the toll-free D8 that offers great views which takes about 2 hours (breaks not included). There is also a bus going from Split to Zadar (and vice versa) but you need to do some additional driving (taxi) from Zadar train station to Zadar city center).
From 2020 on, there is a ferry taking your from Split to Zadar.
Here is another one of my favorite places: Omis. Like Zadar, Omis is very unique and different to the rest of Croatia´s towns and cities. It is perfect for outdoor lovers and just about anyone who appreciates beautiful towns.
So, located just 30km south of Split, this former pirate town from the 12th-14th century is a small central Dalmatian town that you could visit for half a day, to explore the pretty and narrow streets.
Take the time to go up to Castle Mirabella which is just a short uphill walk and offers panoramic views of the Omis and its scenery.
If you are a more active person, you can do ziplining, rock climbing, biking, rafting, and canyoning in Omis! If these are your kind of activities, then Omis is probably the best place to experience them.
Getting there: You can drive to Omis and it takes about half an hour. There are buses taking you to Omis (between 30-50 minutes).
Punta Rata and Baska Voda
Though Split has its own beaches, there are some better ones if you head towards the south along the Makarska Riviera.
I have not seen any guided tours here, but if you have a car, you can easily drive to Punta Rata and Baska Voda, and enjoy some of the prettiest beaches in the area.
The drive was scenic, the beaches were beautiful, and there were so many small places along the way that you can stop anywhere – but these are probably the best places for a getaway from Split.
Getting there: For these places, I recommend driving, so are more flexible as getting there by public transportation is too time-consuming.
Ah, how can I lie? Dubrovnik is a city that deserves more of your time – but it is also expensive and totally crowded, thus, I can understand if you want to visit only for a day and arrive via Split.
The stunning town walls that encircle the old town of Dubrovnik, the views that come with it, all the Game of Thrones filming locations, the stunning views from Srd Mountain – if you do a trip from Split for one day, you can surely not see all of Dubrovnik´s highlights, but at least you get a very good glimpse of the city.
Getting to Dubrovnik is time-consuming, not only because it is about 230 km from Split, but also because you have to cross borders (Bosnia-Herzegovina divides Croatia, and getting to Dubrovnik, which is in the very south of Croatia, means you have to face border control). Depending on how busy the border is, it can take a while, but Dubrovnik is a must, so a day trip from Split is better than no trip to Dubrovnik.
If you are not sure whether to drive yourself or take a guided tour, know this: parking in Dubrovnik is very expensive and can cost up to 10€… AN HOUR (there are cheaper options available). So, a guided tour might not only be more stress-free but also cheaper.
Getting there: I always take the toll-free D8 because of the most scenic views (and because tolls in Croatia are expensive as heck). You need to have your ID/passport with you. I crossed this border several times and always had to show my ID). With one day only, however, it´s probably the quickest way.
There are also buses from Split to Dubrovnik but they take quite a while (around 4,5 hours).
Krka National Park
Pack your bathing clothes because in this national park, under the waterfalls, you can actually swim.
I had to pass in this case, as the weather was not on my side, but Krka National Park is kind of similar to the Plitvice Lakes National Park, but much closer to Split and you can actually swim here.
So, whether you hop into the water, walk on the wooden pathways by the many lakes, falls, and waterways, or marvel at Skradinski Buk (a spectacular cliff waterfall), this is a good alternative if you do not want to drive all the way up to Plitvice Lakes National Park.
Getting there: You can drive (about 90 minutes), or get there by bus and then take a ferry or do a guided tour.
Looking for more adventurous activities and trips to take from Split? Then canyoning near the Cetina River is probably the perfect choice for you.
This tour, definitely not something I fancy, means climbing over rocks and trekking through waterfalls and pools in the dramatic canyon of the Cetina River.
This half-day trip from Split includes swimming, canoeing, and getting to the Gubavica Waterfall – surely not for the people who want to sit back and chill.
Getting there: This tour is done best via a guided tour.
Without any data to back it up, I would claim that one of the most popular day trips from Split is a trip to Hvar Island. Unfortunately, the weather was not on my side and heavy storms rolled in during the time of my visit, which forced me to skip it.
The island of Hvar is probably one of the prettiest islands in Croatia and perfect if you want to take a day trip via boat from Split.
While Hvar is also known to be a party island, you probably will not experience that if you are only there during the day.
Hvar is known for being a summer resort with a beautiful old town, which is perfect for getting lost in.
Enjoy the 13th-century walls, the hilltop fortress, and the main square anchored by the Renaissance-era Hvar Cathedral. You can also visit other islands, like the Pakleni Islands, which are close by.
Getting there: You need to take a ferry to get to Hvar (you can, theoretically, take your car with you).
If you are looking for more getaways from Split, then consider visiting beautiful Mostar! I have become a fan of Bosnia-Herzegovina and my advice is to spend a lot more time in the most underrated country in Europe – but Mostar does make a great day trip from Split.
Mostar is a small city located in the southern part of Bosnia-Herzegovina and it is extremely popular – in the summer months it can get hot, but if you are a good swimmer, you can hop into the river. You can also watch people dive from the famous Stari Most (old bridge) that is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Mostar was once under the rule of the Ottoman Empire and you can still see the Turkish influence – the cobblestone streets and beautiful shops and stores make Mostar one of the prettiest old towns in the region.
If you drive on your own (your car needs to have international insurance if you drive from Split to Mostar), then make stops at Kravice Waterfalls and Blagaj Monastery, too.
Getting there: My tip is to drive yourself (crossing borders, so make sure to have all documents with you, including the green card for your car and your ID/passport) and the drive takes about 2,5-3 hours (scenic drive though). There are buses going to Mostar from Split 3,5-4,5 hours one way) and also guided tours.
Traveling with a dog meant that I had to pass on this day tour from Split: visiting the Blue Cave. The island of Biševo makes another great trip from Split as you can find the Blue Cave on the island’s east coast.
You can get into the cave with a boat and marvel at the incredible watercolors – the water looks incredible due to light that comes up through the water and which then illuminates the cave in that blue glow.
Getting there: You need to get there via a speedboat as it is located on the farthest territorial point on the Croatian Adriatic Coast. A guided tour is the best option.
Another great day trip from Split would be to the island of Brac. There is a day cruise that will take you from Split to the south coast of Brac. This leg of the cruise lasts about 2.5 hours and is the perfect time to just relax and enjoy the sights.
When you arrive at the southern port of Bol, enjoy strolling the small streets and take the Šetnica promenade, which will lead you to Golden Horn Beach. This is one of the most popular beaches in Croatia and perfect for taking a swim. What makes it unique is that the shape of the beach changes in accordance with the strong winds that buffet the island.
This cruise will take most of the day, but it is a fun and relaxing way to explore Brac as a day trip from Split.
Getting there: You can get there via ferry or catamaran and organize it yourself or do a guided tour.
As you can see, you could spend weeks in Split and explore the surroundings and beautiful places near Split – and hopefully, these tips will help you decide on the best places to visit near Split.