Split, Croatia: Tourist Information and Photos

 

Pictures of the stunning Adriatic coast of the Dalmatian region of Croatia on this website do not lie: Split is one of the finest tourist destinations in the world for those who like warm, blue seas alongside fascinating history and stunning traditional architecture. And who doesn’t? (If you think you don’t, I challenge you to look at our pictures and read about this magical holiday destination, and still not want to go to Split at the earliest opportunity!)

Split is the capital and largest city in Dalmatia, which stretches from the island of Rab in the north to the Bay of Kotor in the south, and includes hundreds of islands, mostly uninhabited. Other cities in the region are Zadar, Dubrovnik and Šibenik. The region is named after the earliest known inhabitants, the Dalmatae, which tribe lived here before the Romans and before the Croats, who only occupied the area from the 8th century AD. The fact that Dalmatia has been ruled in its time by so many European powers is perhaps a testimony to its attractiveness, as well as its geographic importance. Dalmatia was once a province of the Roman Empire, was controlled by the Byzantine Empire for a while, and ruled by the powerful Republic of Venice for nearly 400 years from 1420. Next came defeat by Napoleon and annexation of this part of the Adriatic coast by France. From 1815 it was the Emperor of Austria who ruled the ‘Kingdom of Dalmatia’. In 1929 Split became the capital of a province of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, which was eventually dissolved in 1991. Following the Croatian war of Independence, Croatia finally regained the whole of this region in 1995.

Getting there
By Air: Split airport receives holiday flights from all over Europe in summer, many of them with low-cost carriers or charter flights. Airlines operate from the UK (flight time up to 2 hours 30 minutes, depending on departure airport), Scandinavia, central and eastern European countries, and southern European nations like Spain and Greece. Flights from Switzerland originate in Basel (1 hour 33 minutes), Geneva (1 hour 37 minutes), Zürich (1 hour 7 minutes) and Bern (1 hour 40 minutes). Croatian Airlines fly from many of these regions, and you can fly direct (mostly in summer) or stop over in Zagreb. There are also direct flights from many countries of the former Soviet Union.
Split Airport is only 24kms (15 miles) from the city centre and transfers are by bus (Nos 37 or 38) or taxi. Transfers are often bookable online or with your travel company. You can hire cars at the airport.
By Train: there are 5 trains a day from Zagreb (6 hours) and 2 a week direct from Budapest in the summer months (June to September).
By Bus: the main bus station is right by the harbour and buses go to a number of Croatian cities including Zagreb (5 hours) and Dubrovnik (4 hours 30 mins); there are also buses to Vienna in Austria and Belgrade – in summer you need to book in advance.

What to see and do
Apart from the beach and sea activities, the main sights in Split are historical, so let’s start with them: the ruins of the Roman city of Salona at Solin (pictured below) are some of the most important remains in Croatia (open daily till 19.00 but closes at 14.00 on Sundays). The Fortress of Klis (see our dramatic pictures to get an idea of the fantastic views) is well worth a visit (closed Mondays), and has a museum of historical costumes and weapons. In Split itself, and featured in the first photos below, the Cathedral of St Domnius dominates the town (it was built by the Roman Emperor Diocletian as his mausoleum). You pay to go in, but the ticket includes the treasury, baptistry and crypt. From the cathedral you get amazing views (see pictures). Facing the harbour is Diocletian’s Palace, one of the best-preserved Roman sites, as the photos show. But in this case you don’t pay to go in, as the palace is now part of the historic city streets, containing shops and bars and cafes. Then you have still got Split City Museum and the Archaeological Museum to go….
Once you are all history-ed out, the main attractions are a nature reserve called Marjan Forest Park, with trails and viewpoints; Split Aquarium, 7km north on the Vranjic Peninsula (open daily 10.00 till 20.00); and the Gallery of Fine Arts (400 works of art across 700 years).
When you have done all that, and been round Split’s open air market (next to the palace), then you have earned the rest of your holiday lazing on the beach!
There are a number of Tourist Offices in Split, which will help you with information, accommodation and bookings. There’s the Tourist Information Centre, a modern building at Trg Hrvatske bratske zajednice 3; and in the Old Town, by the harbour, the Turistička Zajednica Grada Splita, housed in a traditional building. Also by the harbour is the Daluma Travel Tourist Office, which organises tours of the area.

Where to stay
There are several 4-star hotels right in Split city centre. The Vida Boutique Hotel has only 5 rooms but is in a perfect location for seeing the sights. All rooms are air conditioned and en suite, with flat screen TV and free WiFi throughout. If you want a 4-star hotel right in Diocletian’s Palace, the Hotel Vestibul Palace and Villa has 11 very modern rooms to choose from. This hotel is part of the ‘Small Luxury Hotels of the World’ chain, and some of the rooms are in the Villa Dobric, 230 metres from the hotel itself.
Still in the centre, but in the 3-star category, is the Hotel Slavija, which runs an airport shuttle and has its own restaurant. Most of the 25 rooms have private balconies overlooking Split, and you can have your continental breakfast in your room if you prefer, at no extra charge. Or the much smaller family run Hotel Villa Diana (also 3-star) is only a 5 minute walk from the centre. It offers 6 rooms in a historic building, and has a restaurant serving Dalmatian and international dishes. The friendly and helpful staff speak English.
If you prefer hostel-type accommodation, the charmingly named ‘Hostel Sweet Dreams’ is just 320 metres from Diocletian’s Palace and 825 metres from the beach. It has two rooms: an 8 bed and a 4 bed mixed dormitory, both with balconies with views, and shared bathrooms.
Finally, a choice worth considering in Split is an apartment. There are plenty to choose from right in the centre, such as the Villa Capo (4 apartments, each for two, with air conditioning and a fridge (some apartments also have a balcony); or, if you want a larger apartment set in a green yard, the 4-star Villa Barbara offers a one bedroom apartment for 2 (or for 2 adults and 2 children), and a two bedroom apartment for 6. They will pick you up at the airport for an extra charge.

Split  
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Domnius Cathedral Cathedral of St. Domnius, Split Split, old town Entrance Diocletian's Palace
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Solin, Roman Ruins      
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Fortress of Klis      
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