WHAT TO DO IN SPLIT – 1 OR 2 DAYS IN SPLIT ITINERARY
Are you planning your Croatia trip and explicitly your Split itinerary and are wondering about the best things to do in Split in 1 day (or 2 days)? Here you will find out how to plan your itinerary along with many travel tips.
With an abundance of colorful, medieval towns and villages on the coast of Croatia (and in Europe, in general), there are so many places to visit that you have to focus on the prettiest. One of the most interesting coastal towns in Croatia might just be Split.
So, whether you are in Split for one or two days, here is a 1- or 2-itinerary for Split so you can see the best places and experience the best the city has to offer. But before talking about that, here are some tips for your Split trip.
TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR SPLIT ITINERARY
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Split is located on the Dalmatian Coast, on a small peninsula, and has become a very popular tourist attraction. The Marjan Hill rises on the western side of the peninsula, and the Mountains Kozjak and Mosor rise high on the north and northwest sides of the city – making it one of the prettiest coastal towns in Europe (and it is often called Dubrovnik´s little sister).
Best Time to Visit Split
ℹ️ Split gets extremely popular in the summer months.
Especially if you enjoy swimming, sailing, and other water sports, the summer months might be the best months to visit.
However, this also means it gets busy as heck, resulting in higher prices for accommodations (and also for some activities) and more crowds in July and August but also June and early September are still busy and expensive.
ℹ️ Spring and fall might be the best months to visit Split – in my opinion.
I visited in April and had some lovely weather. Of course, we cannot rely on the weather and it can be crazy. But spring and fall are normally not warm enough to enjoy long beach days.
Also, some activities and tours were not open as construction was going on and the weather forecast predicted some rainy days in Split.
So, I suggest visiting in May, early June, or late September (and even October) if you don’t want to rub shoulders with all the other tourists and pay less for accommodations.
If you visit Split for one day, come early – then you have Split without the crowds, at least for a short time.
How to Arrive and Get Around Split (Old Town) in 1 Day
GETTING TO SPLIT
- From Split Airport: The cheapest way is to get to the old town via line 37 bus. It takes about 40 minutes to reach the main Split bus station. Alternatively, there is a slightly faster airport shuttle service (for a higher price).
- By car: It is easy to drive in Split (compared to driving in Italy´s cities), but you might be better off leaving your car in one of the parking slots outside the old town (mostly paid, but if you park a bit further out, you can find free ones as well).
- By train: There is a train station and you can get there from Zagreb (one-way tickets are around 28€).
GETTING AROUND SPLIT
- In Split, you will mostly walk. Just make sure to wear comfortable shoes (just saying: cobblestone alleys and hills) – because this itinerary will include some walking. You do not have to walk 20km + but in the old town, where most of the attractions are, you cannot get around via bus/car, so you have to do some walking.
- If you do day trips, you can do them easily by car (except for the islands) or public transportation (local and regional buses are great for visiting places on the mainland).
- When getting out to the islands, you have your choice of regular ferries and more expensive speedboats, depending on which islands you’re headed to and when.
Where to Stay for 2 Days in Split
If you stay overnight in Split, book your accommodation in the Old Town – ideally. With a dog and a car, my options limited, but without these constraints, a place directly in the old town would have been my choice.
Most of the tourist attractions are found in or immediately near Diocletian’s Palace, making it a very convenient area to stay in.
Many places to stay at are so-called apartments – especially convenient when you like to prepare your own food (as a vegetarian in the Balkans this was the main reason to book an apartment for me).
- For some luxury accommodation, check out the Hotel Park Split by Bačvice Beach which is one of the most luxurious places to stay in Split.
- If you are looking for a mid-range hotel in the old town, then Golden Gate Dreams Rooms might be a perfect choice. It is located in the old town and has great ratings. Find out more about rates and availability here.
- The currency is the Croatian Kuna. However, the € is often accepted (but it will probably be more expensive to pay in euros).
- I often say “a few €“ in this post – as it would sound like a lot of money if I wrote “a few hundred Kuna.“ In September 2022: 10 Kuna = 1.35€ (around $1.35).
HOW TO CREATE YOUR SPLIT ITINERARY FOR 1-2 DAYS
One day in Split may not sound like a lot, but with a day here, you will be able to experience and visit the best places in Split. Use this itinerary for Split to find out about the main attractions and best places.
ITINERARY FOR SPLIT IN ONE DAY
Tip: Start the day early, as the tourists from the cruise ships and bus tours will arrive quite early, so to beat the crowds you have to be there before them.
Day one begins with the sights in Split’s ancient center around Diocletian’s Palace, before wandering to nearby city attractions.
The best thing to do in Split – whether you stay one day or two days in Split – is to visit the Diocletian Palace (Diocletian´s Palace).
A little city, within the old part of the city…The Diocletian Palace is one of the best-preserved monuments of Roman architecture in the world.If you enter Diocletian´s Palace (ideally via the Golden Gate, a 4th-century Roman stone entryway with arches & ornate statues), you will have an impressive start to your day in Split.
Emperor Diocletian is considered to be the founder of Split in the 3rd century. The palace was built for Emperor Diocletian’s retirement (this huge fortified palace took up much of the modern city center) and is a rectangular building (approximately 215 x 180 meters) with four large towers at the corners, doors on each of its four sides, and four small towers on the walls.
I suggest getting here first, as it gets very busy during the day. This way, you have the option to experience the place without the crowds. There are, however, a few attractions within the Diocletian Palace.
- HOW TO GET TO DIOCLETIAN´S PALACE: Diocletian´s Palace is located in the old town of Split. I loved entering via Golden Gate – so you might want to do the same.
- OPENING HOURS / PRICES: Diocletian´s Palace is part of the old town – and so it is open 24/7. You can enter and stroll this area for free – for certain attractions within Diocletian Palace, you have to buy tickets though.
The Peristyle is the main and most important square of Diocletian Palace, and it is a great place to see what the city looked like back in the day.For a while, it was also the religious center and the ideal theater scenery, perfect for opera classics and works of ancient literature. Now, you can have a drink in one of the cafes and watch people admiring the place (they probably also admire the Egyptian influence, as the Peristyle is closely watched over by a 3500-year-old and perfectly preserved sphinx).
- HOW TO GET TO PERISTYLE: Peristyle is located within the Diocletian Palace in the old town of Split.
- OPENING HOURS / PRICES: Peristyle is part of the old town – and so it is open 24/7 and it is free to see.
Diocletian Palace substructures represent one of the best-preserved ancient complexes of their kind and are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. In Roman times, their function was to elevate the Emperor’s chambers on the floor above, but they were also the storage area for the palace; now, they are used for different things. You´ll find painting and sculpture exhibitions, theater plays, fairs (including the International Flower Fair), souvenir shops, and more.
- HOW TO GET TO SUBSTRUCTURES: It is located within the Diocletian Palace and the entrance is through Porta Aenea, from the Riva, or down the stairs from the Peristyle.
- OPENING HOURS / PRICES: Unfortunately, I could not find any updated data on opening hours and the entrance fee. Though it is part of Diocletian Palace it is an attraction you have to pay for and it is not open 24/7.
Cathedral and Bell Tower of Saint Domnius
Then, head to the Cathedral and Bell Tower of Saint Domnius, one of Split’s other major landmarks, which is just around the corner.Among the European cathedrals, this one finds its seat in the oldest building – the Mausoleum of the Roman Emperor Diocletian. You can visit the cathedral for an entrance fee (The Cathedral + The Baptistery + The Crypt), or get a combined ticket to also climb the Saint Domnius Bell Tower.
The Bell Tower of Saint Domnius (standing at 57 meters) is the most original Dalmatian Medieval architecture, which was started in the 13th century, and you can now enjoy the views from there.
It was under renovation during the time of my visit, but it is supposed to be open again – so make sure to climb all the steps to enjoy views of Diocletian’s Palace, the waterfront, and Marjan Hill.
There are four city gates and, if you can, check them all out. As they surround Diocletian’s Palace, they are not far from each other and each is worth seeing on its own.
- HOW TO GET TO THE GATES: The four gates are the Golden Gate (a great way to enter Diocletian’s Palace if you don’t stay in the old town), the Silver Gate (great if you want to get to the Green Market afterward), the Brass Gate (if you want to head to the promenade straight away), and the Iron Gate.
Sneak a different and unique view of the Cathedral from the Vestibule. The vestibule was used to enter the residential part of the palace. Pay attention to the single flowers there (very small ones, can you spot them? How cute are they?).There is also the Ethnographic Museum. For a small entrance fee, you can learn more about the traditional costumes, crafts, and culture of the Dalmatian Coast. Apparently, you can also get to the rooftop terrace and enjoy great views from there (if you don’t want to climb all the stairs at the bell tower).
Depending on the speed of your sightseeing trip, you will probably spend half a day here. So, even if you do not climb the bell tower, you will stroll the streets and spend a few hours here.
- Is it time to think about lunch before heading to the next Split sight? If you prefer fresh fruits and veggies to a meal in a restaurant, head out via the Silver Gate and you will arrive at the Green Market, where you can buy fresh produce for your lunch/dessert.
- P.S. Apparently, the city of Split has forbidden free walking tours. So, while you can enjoy free walking tours in Dubrovnik there are none in Split. If you want to have a guided tour, you can check out rates for walking tours here.
For great free views, head to Marjan Hill. Marjan Hill is the perfect place for nice walks and easy hikes and it just takes a short walk from the last attraction.Pass the Riva Waterfront Promenade (for now) and the fountain at the end of it, and you will find a long staircase that leads you to Marjan Hill. After 10 minutes (and many steps), you will have great views over Split and the Dalmatian Coast from the Telegrin peak. There is a restaurant with very cute decorations – but if you prefer some more walking, head to the church farther up, visit the Jewish cemetery, or stroll and chill in the park above the Telegrin peak. Of course, it is up to you, but I think that if you are following this itinerary, it will be afternoon now and you should be heading to the River Waterfront.
- Read more: Best areas and hotels to stay in Croatia
I am normally always ready for a boat tour, but on that day, I skipped the tour (for unknown reasons – I still can’t understand why I did not do it). With 1 day in Split, it is a great way to see the city from a different angle and also to get a fresh breeze on a hot day.
- TIMES AND PRICES: For around 25€ (prices have gone up), you can do a 90-minute cruise and see Split from the water, There are even some sunset cruises that you can enjoy! If you want to do a sunset cruise check out the rates here.
Riva Waterfront Promenade
It is time to think about dinner, and the best place to have it is probably at Riva Waterfront Promenade. This is a popular and busy place – the promenade is paved with marble and lined with palm trees – just lovely!If you are not hungry yet, relax on one of the benches and work on your tan before grabbing a good seat at one of the many bars and restaurants that line the harbor.
Watch the Sunset
The Riva Promenade is probably one of the best spots to watch the sunset – and convenient, as you can combine it with your dinner. There are quite a few benches to lounge on and end your day the chill way. However, I can imagine it gets quite busy in the summer months, so make sure to grab a seat before all the other people come. This is the perfect spot to end your day in Split and you might want to continue your Croatia road trip.
PLACES TO VISIT IN SPLIT IN 2 DAYS
If you do all of the above-mentioned activities you probably will not have time to do more activities. However, if you stay 2 days in Split (or longer) or want to skip one of the above-mentioned places, then here are a few more tips on things to do and see in Split.
Games of Thrones Locations Tour
By no means, I am a Games of Throne fan (I just have not gotten to see one episode) – BUT I know, that there are some filming locations in Split, so this is why GoT fans love it here. Visit the Diocletian Palace and more filing locations – check out Games of Thrones tours here.
Games of Thrones fans know about this fortress: Klis. However, it is not only for GoT fans but a nice trip from the old town of Split for anyone who enjoys great views or wants to escape the crowds in Split.In the mountain pass between Mosor and Kozjak is the small village of Klis with the famous fortress that is open to visitors. From there you can enjoy beautiful views of Split and the Adriatic Sea. I met one of my Instagram friends who is a hardcore GoT fan and had visited the fortress a couple of times – but she did not mind visiting again with me.
She gave me some information about the filming location and scenes – not that I can remember that much but this was another location in Spilt. You can drive and park in front of the fortress for free – but you can also get there by bus. If you have one day in Split and aren’t into GoT, then I would skip the fortress though.
- It probably is about a half-day trip from Split.
- The entrance fee is about 8€.
- There is also a longer GoT tour that also covers the Klis Fortress – find out more about this tour here.
So, what about some beach time? There are a few beaches in Split, so if you are here in the summer months and want to cool down, there are a couple of places to choose from.
Bačvice Beach is just behind the city’s ferry terminal. It is easy to reach from the town center and, thus, a great place to stop. This is one of Split’s most popular and accessible beaches – with one day in Split you might not want to spend too much time here, but cooling down in the summer sounds like a plan, right?
One of my favorite places in Croatia is actually Trogir – it is a bit like Split but smaller and less busy and it makes a perfect half-day or full-day trip from Split. So, if you stay 2 days in Split, I suggest taking this trip.I spent only half a day there and there is not much to do but Trogir is the perfect place to rest, stroll, and watch people.
- It is just about 30km from Split and you can get there by bus or car.
- I have a more detailed post on Trogir that you can read here.
If Split is your base, then a boat tour exploring the islands of Hvar, Biševo, Vis, Ravnik, Budikovac, and the Blue Cave might be the perfect experience for you. Since I traveled with a dog, I had to pass on this but this sounds like me kinda my thing and is probably also your thing?
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Split is a beauty. I would lie if I said, it is my favorite town in Croatia – there are places I liked better but I think, it is a must for any Croatia itinerary and it was beautiful. It can be crowded at times so, so visiting off-season is probably the best time to explore this city.
Hopefully, this post helps you plan and organize your Split itinerary and find the most beautiful places in the city. Whether you stay one day in Split or 2 days in Split – enjoy!
Planning to see more of Croatia´s beauty? Then check out my Rovinj travel guide.