Enjoy our guide to Split
Many of our families who book our adventure holidays in Croatia often have a pre or post stay in the beautiful city of Split. It’s a truly stunning destination with lots to offer a family and even your ‘teenagers’.
In this article, we’ve tried our best to highlight the most useful and family friendly aspects that Split has to offer. If you have just 48 hours to enjoy this beautiful Unesco coastal city, then let us be your guide. The challenge is set, the clock is running so lets dive right into Croatia’s second biggest city.
If you’re flying in, you’ll touch down just a short distance from the city centre. Do look at our previous blog listing the airports that fly direct to Split from the UK. The transfer itself is normally around 40-minutes depending on the time of the day. There are airport buses that drop off passengers at the Split Ferry port. Everything is pretty much walking distance from the port area. A taxi from Split airport to Split will cost around 300 KUNA.
You can also reach Split city centre by catamaran, this is a great way how to travel to Split and avoid the rush hour in the city centre, especially in the middle of the summer. So save time and book your ticket to Split on the link you will see below. This is also a great way how to see the town from the seaside.
Must-sees in Split
What’s immediately noticeable is Split’s unique mixture of ancient and modern. Nowhere is this more noticeable than Splits enchanting Old Town, where narrow Roman streets sits harmoniously alongside modern shopping and café culture.
At the height of the Roman Empire, the Emperor Diocletian whobelieved himself to be the reincarnation of Jupiter, decided to build his ‘retirement getaway’ on this spot overlooking the Adriatic. So the first port of call for anyone visiting the city must be to explore Diocletian’s Palace. Once a vast 3rd Century monument to the grandiose wealth of the Emperor, it now shelters Split’s Old Town. Its perfectly preserved basement halls are now the setting for scenes from the infinitely popular Game of Thrones.
At the palace’s centre is the Peristil, the column lined central square, which is a popular meeting point and the heartbeat of the Old Town. From here it is easy to locate the Cathedral of St Domnius, with its spiralling bell tower, it’s perfect for enjoying sky-high views across the entire city. This is one of our favourite places to be with a coffee, as the sun begins to dip, we watch the world & shoppers whisk by. Peristil in the summer time is also location of one interesting event that takes places every day at 12:00, local actors reconstruct the change of Diocletian´s Roman Guard and this is something very interesting to see. Make sure to be there in time and don’t mind the sun
But, there’s no time to sit idling and if you’re looking for some much needed beach time after exploring the city, there are few better options than Bacvice beach. This hot spot city beach boasts fine white sand, shallow waters and warm swimming. It can get crowded so the cafes and bars along its entire length offer respite whilst your teenagers work on their selfie skills.
Walk a little further around the bay and you soon come to The ACI Marina where you can ogle the super yachts moored up around the sailing club and admire the bravado of the youngsters diving into the sea from the rocky outcrops littering the seafront or join the sun worshipers who lay like seals on the rocks soaking up the vitamin D.
From the extravagance and luxurious surroundings of the marina, you may wish to change up and recharge your culture batteries by visiting the Mestrovic Gallery designed by the famous 20th-century sculptor whose works fill the interior and garden in the manor of a secretive and sun baked art retreat.
For art lovers, do check out Studio Naranc, thea family-run three-story art shop and gallery. For me, its the best place to pickup original souvenirs for family and friends. From paintings to jewellery.
There are 4 main gates in Split, all are located on one side of the palace. they are referred to as: Golden, Silver, Bronze and Iron Gate. Gold being the most famous, as its the main entry to the old town. Your challenge is to locate all 4 gates and take a picture. It’s a great way to find the hidden gems of the old town, as you go from point to point.
After packing all this in, thoughts tend to turn to pleasures of the stomach, and you’ll be delighted by the range of food options both in the centre and around Split. Split is well known, even from Diocletian’s times for seafood specialties such as Dalmatian monkfish tails served with typically Mediterranean flair. When dining out in Split, it’s useful to consider avoiding the crowds and stepping outside the city walls and saving a few Kuna, only to spend it all anyway on one of the seemingly endless flavors of ice-cream available all across the city. The kaleidoscope of flavors will have you mesmerized from the moment you arrive and it is truly a sight to behold.
This top tip is definitely for mum and dad. If you are interested in learning about Croatian wine, stop by to Monica’s wine bar. The owner to no surprise is called ‘Monica’. She is a sommelier and will introduce you to the world of Croatian wine.
Insider top tip
Above Split is the beautiful tree covered Marjan hill & park. It’s a beautiful area to explore. For experienced cyclists it’s possible to rent bikes and cycle to the top. Although in summer it can be very hot. Or you can simply get a taxi and explore the area by foot. Under the cover of the pine forests Marjan offers respite from the heat and crowds of the city as well as spectacular view across the coast. Its also a great place to people watch in the early evening. At the foot of Marjan Hill, you’ll find some nice beaches. They are less crowded than the other nearby beaches to the south of the old town.
From Splits buzzing ‘Rive promenade’, we’d recommend to our guests to book a boat tour. Go-to see Hvar island or the Blue Lagoon.
The museum of senses offers over 40 attractions. Perfect for family activity holidays in Croatia. All sub divided into five areas, each dedicated to one of the five human senses: sight, hearing, touch, smell, & balance. From mirror mazes to ball pit rooms, there’s a lot of laughs to be had. Great family active fun. Entry ticket costs less than £10 pp. So very good value.
Hajduk is one of the main football soccer clubs of Split. Hajduk’s stadium, Poljudska ljepotica, offers tours for around £5.00pp. The stadium was built in 1979, Hajduk has been a team since 1911.
Escape rooms are available in Split. Price is about £12 pp.
See the city by a different way. What about trying a cycle or Segway tour to add some more action to your Teenager activity family holiday.
Many of the local Konobas (restaurants) will serve a mixture of traditional and modern cuisine, however, you may not know that a variety of Gluten Free and Vegan options are becoming increasingly available, so travellers with dietary requirements wont have to miss out on the renowned Dalmatian cuisine. In addition to the Gluten free options you’ll find listed on the menu, the hospitality is first rate and speaking to your waiter is a sure way to get what you want wherever you are.
Here are our top 3 Gluten free Split highlights:
Galerija Food has a reputation for excellent gluten free dining and is found within the walls of the palace. Although its seasonal gluten free options constantly change, it is also a hot spot for vegetarian cuisine such as its sensational wok tofu.
Makrovega a tried and tested vegetarian restaurant that also offers vegan, sugar free and for many is the essential restaurant for varied diets.
Finally, Toto’s Burger Bar offers anything and everything from burgers to veggie noodles and is worth the visit for its range of lactose, sugar free and diary free desserts alone.
If you are staying in a self catering apartment then its also good to know there is now a Gluten free supermarket:
Shop name: Bezglutenski Svijet
Address: Kavanjinova 1, 21000 Split
Splits Rive promenade always offers an exciting atmosphere and is a great place to relax and people watch. The local Split crowd are always immaculately dressed and it sometimes feels like you are watching a Milan cat walk. It’s definitely worth having a coffee or a cocktail and enjoying the ambience.
A place ideal for a sunset moment is the roof terrace bar at Hotel Dioklecijan. It’s a short taxi ride from Splits old town but it’s certainly worth it. The panoramic views are sensational and it’s also possible to dine up there too. Certainly a great way to end an exciting day of sightseeing in Split.
Academia Ghetto Club is located in the centre of Diocletian Palace and from all the clubs in Split it definitely offers the most bohemian ambience of them all. Beautiful courtyard along with the walls filled with murals will create an unforgettable experience in the evening while drinking your favourite cocktail.
If you love craft beer then head to Lab or Mandrill Nano. Both are local microbreweries and offer drinks and good pizzas. If you want a big selection of beer head to Leopolds Del.