BEAUTIFUL PLACES NEAR SPLIT TO VISIT – BEST DAY TOURS
If you are wondering about great day trips from Split, then this post is for you. Here I share my favorite Split day tours with you.
Croatia is surely among the top tourist destinations in Europe. 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 this beautiful country’s surroundings! If you prefer having one base and taking day trips within Croatia (and surrounding countries), then Split is one of the best choices (here are more great areas to stay).
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!
BEST SPLIT DAY TOURS
Here are some of the most beautiful places near Split that you can mostly visit on your own – by car or bus/train – but you can also do guided tours.
One of the best day tours from Split is Trogir which you will find heading to the north. Trogir is like Split´s little brother – actually, they look similar, though it is smaller and lesser known.
In my honest opinion, 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 a busy waterfront that is lined with tourists. For good views of the town, visit Kamerlengo Castle or climb the Cathedral stairs, which are 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 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 – and you can either drive (about 40 minutes) or take a bus (a bit more than one hour) and explore the town.
Another beautiful place near Split is Sibenik. I almost skipped visiting Sibenik, but luckily, I decided to go, and what should I say? I highly recommend visiting Sibenik for a day or so.
If you are short on time, you can combine it with a trip to Trogir, which is south of the town, but it is also a good individual day trip from Split.
There is the magnificent 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 already 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 (75 minutes) to Sibenik or take a train or bus (90 minutes). You could also combine Sibenik with nearby Krka National Park – or as mentioned already with Trogir.
Plitvice Lakes National Park
One of the most famous places in Croatia is the Plitvice Lakes National Park. The waterfalls are gorgeous, which is why it is one of the most popular day trips from Split. BUT, honestly, its location is a major downside – however, it is the only reason not to visit – getting there from Split takes about three hours.
When you visit the largest waterfall in Croatia, a UNESCO World Heritage site that is caused by the flow of the Plitvice Stream down a 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.
The prices for the entrance vary and depend on your visit season, but the cost is 10-40€.
- Getting there: It takes about 3 hours by car or 3.5 hours by bus to get there from Split. You can also do guided tours from Split (I know this is not an easy day trip, but it will be worth it).
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 like Dubrovnik or Split.
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 ocean waves – 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.
- There is also a ferry taking you from Split to Zadar.
Here is another one of my favorite places: Omis. Like Zadar, Omis is unique and different from 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 go 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 (about 30 minutes), or get there by bus (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. If you have a car, you can easily drive to Punta Rata and Baska Voda and enjoy some of the area’s prettiest beaches. 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 they are more flexible as getting there by public transportation is too time-consuming. It takes by car – about one hour to get to Punta Rata or Baska Voda.
Ah, how can I lie? Dubrovnik is a city that deserves more of your time than just a few hours. However, since Dubrovnik is also expensive and totally crowded I can understand if you want to visit only for a day.
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 great views from Srd Mountain – if you do a trip from Split for one day, you can surely not see all of Dubrovnik´s highlights. Still, at least you get an excellent glimpse of the city.
Getting to Dubrovnik is time-consuming, so it is a bit of a hustle to get there as a day trip from Split. If you are not sure whether to drive yourself or take a guided tour, know this: parking in Dubrovnik is costly 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: It takes about 3 hours to get to Dubrovnik (it is about 230 kilometers). 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. Plus, 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 Cetina River’s dramatic canyon. This half-day trip from Split (make sure to also book with a transfer if needed) includes swimming, canoeing, and getting to the Gubavica Waterfall – surely not for the people who want to sit back and chill.
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 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 also known for being a summer resort with a beautiful old town, 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).
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 trendy – 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), a UNESCO World Heritage site. It was once under the Ottoman Empire’s rule, and you can still see the Turkish influence. The cobblestone streets and beautiful shops and stores make it one of the prettiest old towns. You can drive here 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). Buses are 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: 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 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 to marvel at the incredible watercolors which is due to the light that comes up through the water and which then illuminates the cave in that blue glow.
There is a day cruise that will take you from Split to the south coast of Brac. This cruise leg lasts about 2.5 hours and is the perfect time to 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 is perfect for taking a swim. What makes it unique is that the shape of the beach changes under 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. You can get there via ferry or catamaran and organize it yourself or do a guided tour.
MAP WITH PLACES TO SEE NEAR SPLIT
In all honesty, I think road tripping Croatia is the best way to explore the country (given the geography), but even if you decide to have one base – Split – you still can see quite a bit of the country.
You could spend weeks and explore the surroundings and beautiful places near Split. Hopefully, these tips will help you decide on the best day trips from Split.