Day Trip to Split: The Perfect Itinerary

Split, the vibrant jewel of the Dalmatian coast in Croatia, is a city where ancient and modern life seamlessly blend. Its unique appeal lies in its rich history, radiant Mediterranean climate, breathtaking landscapes, and vibrant food scene.

From the grandeur of the UNESCO-listed Diocletian’s Palace to the pristine beauty of the Marjan Forest Park, Split offers an array of captivating experiences for travelers.

Getting to Split

Split is accessible through various modes of transportation, including car, bus, train, plane, and even by sea, making it an easily reachable destination regardless of your starting location.

By Car: Traversing the scenic routes and highways to Split can be an adventure itself, offering picturesque views of Croatia’s diverse landscapes. From Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, the A1 motorway offers the fastest route to Split, taking less than four hours.

Alternatively, a scenic route via Plitvice Lakes National Park offers travelers a chance to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of Croatia. For travelers from Northern Italy, various routes are available, with options to go via Ljubljana to Zagreb or follow the coastal road via Rijeka, Zadar, and Sibenik.

By Bus: The main bus station in Split, known as the ‘Kolodvor’, is conveniently located near the harbor and the main railway station. With a wide range of facilities and connections to several Croatian cities and other European destinations, bus travel is a reliable and comfortable option for reaching Split.

By Plane: Split is served by numerous airlines, offering plentiful flights, especially between May and September. Budget-friendly EasyJet, British Airways, Jet2, and Express Airways are some of the airlines that provide direct flights to Split from various locations.

By Sea: Split’s bustling ferry port is a hub for numerous reputable ferry companies, offering routes to a plethora of destinations. Whether you’re heading to Split from another Croatian island or city or sailing from as far as Italy, the ferry service ensures a smooth and scenic journey to Split.

By Train: The train journey from Zagreb to Split is a scenic voyage through lush landscapes and picturesque scenes of Croatia. Croatian Railways (HŽ – Hrvatske Željeznice) manage trains in Croatia, providing a variety of train types to cater to different travel needs. The main train station in Split is conveniently located next to the bus station and the ferry port.

With all these options, reaching Split, Croatia, for your perfect day trip becomes an enjoyable part of your travel experience.

Morning Activities

Diocletian’s Palace

Brief Description: Diocletian’s Palace is a captivating blend of Roman, Medieval, and modern influences. Its expansive layout, which includes various gates and buildings, is a testament to ancient Roman architecture. The palace has transformed into a vibrant hub of contemporary Croatian culture, with restaurants, cafes, and shops nestled within its ancient walls. Visitors can explore its fascinating subterranean level, enjoy the nightlife, and appreciate the beautifully lit palace at night. Despite its popularity, don’t miss this unique snapshot of life as it was 2,000 years ago.

Working Hours: Most of the palace is open 24 hours

Ticket Prices: Free access to parts of the palace, paid access to other parts

Exploration Time: 1-2 hours

Highlights: Guided tours for history and architectural insights, vibrant nightlife, Roman soldier performances, shopping and dining within ancient walls.

Practical Information: Can be crowded during peak tourist seasons, best visited early morning or late evening for fewer crowds.

Cathedral of St. Domnius

Brief Description: The Cathedral of St. Domnius is a fusion of ancient pagan, Christian Medieval, and modern heritage, making it a key witness to Split’s history. Its artistic appeal, intricate walnut gates, hexagonal pulpit, and 57-meter tall bell tower offering panoramic views are must-sees. Early morning visits allow you to fully appreciate its ornate beauty and tranquility. A blue ticket grants access to several sections of this historical monument, making it an essential stop in Split.

Working Hours: June 1 – October 30: 08:00 – 20:00 / Sunday: 12:00 – 18:00

Mass Schedule: June 1 – September 30: working days 7:30 / Sunday: 08:00, 09:30, 11:00, 19:00

Ticket Prices: Blue ticket (6.63 €) includes 3 sites: The Cathedral, Crypt, Baptistery Exploration Time: 1-2 hours

Highlights: Intricately carved walnut gates, hexagonal pulpit, panoramic city views from the bell tower, daytime mass for spiritual experience.

Practical Information: Best visited early morning to avoid crowds, different ticket options available for various sites within the cathedral.

Statue of Grgur Ninski Brief

Description: The Statue of Grgur Ninski, standing 8.5-metre tall, is a significant symbol of Croatian history. Created by Ivan Meštrović, the statue honours the medieval bishop Gregory of Nin, celebrated for introducing the Croatian language into religious services. Located just outside the Golden Gates, visitors can participate in the tradition of rubbing its big toe for good luck. Its proximity to Split’s old town makes it an excellent addition to any Split itinerary.

Working Hours: Accessible anytime

Ticket Prices: Free

Exploration Time: 10 minutes

Highlights: Photo opportunity, chance to participate in a local tradition for good luck, proximity to old town and Diocletian’s Palace.

Practical Information: Accessible anytime, no tickets required.

Lunch Spot

Restaurant Name: Pizzeria Portas Food & Restaurant

Brief Description: A popular pizzeria in Split’s Old Town, offering a variety of delicious pizzas and a cozy atmosphere.

Recommended Dishes: Margherita, Quattro Formaggi, or any other pizza of your choice.

Practical Information: Located in Old Split, average price range is around 10-15 € for a pizza. No reservations are usually needed.

Afternoon Visit

Marjan Hill

Brief Description: Marjan Hill, a tranquil oasis in Split, spans 3 km and peaks at 178 meters. This hill provides recreational opportunities, including walking, jogging, climbing, and biking along its trails. It hosts the Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments and the Mestrovic Gallery. You’ll find an array of beautiful beaches on its borders. Marjan Hill offers an escape from the city buzz, with panoramic views, peaceful trails, and a historical touch. Ideal for outdoor activities, sunset viewing, and photography, this hill is a must-visit.

Working Hours: Open 24/7 Ticket

Prices: Free

Exploration Time: Varies; plan for a couple of hours.

Highlights: Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments, Mestrovic Gallery, beautiful beaches, outdoor activities, panoramic city views.

Practical Information: Easily accessible from the Old Town by foot or taxi. Wear comfortable shoes for walking and hiking.

Kašjuni Beach Brief

Description: Kašjuni Beach, on the green Marjan peninsula, is a light pebble, dog-friendly beach, offering more privacy than urban beaches. It is equipped with amenities such as parking, a beach bar, showers, changing rooms, public toilets, and a lifeguard. The beach offers snorkeling, sea kayaking, and other water activities. Despite being partially crowded during high season, it is easily accessible and offers a large parking area. Visitors praise its clear waters, scenic views, and its sandy area with a nearby cafe bar.

Highlights: Crystal-clear waters, picturesque views, a variety of water activities, beach bar, pet-friendly.

Practical Information: Kašjuni Beach is within walking distance from Marjan Park. There are no entrance fees, but you may need to pay for sunbeds or umbrellas if you choose to rent them. Swimming shoes are recommended due to the pebble surface.

Dinner Spot

Restaurant Name: Konoba Nikola

Brief Description: A highly recommended seafood restaurant in Split, offering fresh, local seafood dishes in a cozy setting.

Recommended Dishes: Grilled fish, seafood risotto, or octopus salad.

Practical Information: Located in Split, the average price range is around 20-40 € per person. It’s advisable to make a reservation, especially during peak season.

Evening Entertainment

Stroll Along the Riva

Brief Description: The Riva Promenade is the pulsating heart of Split, a bustling seafront stretch offering stunning Adriatic views. This palm-lined promenade, filled with restaurants, bars, and shops, is a hub of activity and is located next to Diocletian’s Palace. Known for its lively atmosphere, this spot is perfect for people-watching, sipping coffee, or enjoying a glass of wine during sunset. Though the restaurants might be a bit pricier, the beautiful views and vibrant energy make it worthwhile. The Riva is a charming spot in Split, ensuring a memorable visit.

Highlights: Beautiful Adriatic views, proximity to Diocletian’s Palace, bustling restaurants and bars, lively atmosphere.

Practical Information: Often crowded, so plan accordingly. Prices may be higher than in other parts of the city.

Alternative Activities in Split

For those seeking a departure from the conventional sightseeing itinerary, we present these three alternative activities. These include a comprehensive dive into Croatia’s medieval history at the Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments, an intriguing out-of-town excursion to the ancient Roman city of Salona, and a quirky yet engaging visit to the Froggyland Museum. Each offers its own unique charm, providing enriching experiences beyond the usual tourist trail.

Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments

Brief Description: History enthusiasts will find the Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments to be a captivating attraction. Founded in 1893, this museum serves as a testament to Croatia’s vibrant Medieval history, housing a comprehensive collection of artifacts and relics that span from the 7th to 15th century. Despite being relatively modest in size, the significance of the museum’s collection to Croatia’s cultural history cannot be overstated. Nestled in the tranquil Meje neighborhood of Split, at the base of the picturesque Marjan Hill, the museum invites visitors to step back in time and immerse themselves in Croatia’s medieval heritage.

Working Hours: MON-FRI 09:00-13:00 and 17:00-20:00; SAT 09:00-14:00; SUN Closed

Ticket Prices: around 4 €

Exploration Time: 1-2 hours

Highlights: Extensive artifact collection, tranquil location.

Practical Information: The museum may need improvements in its display and information provision.

Froggyland Museum

Brief Description: For those seeking something entirely different, the Froggyland Museum provides an unexpectedly unique experience. This distinct museum is dedicated to the art of taxidermy, housing an extraordinary collection of over 500 perfectly preserved specimens of the common European frog species. Visitors of all ages will be entertained and fascinated by the intricate preservation techniques and the way each frog is displayed in human-like scenarios – a delightfully quirky twist. Conveniently located near the 4th-century Diocletian’s palace in Split, Froggyland Museum offers an intriguing journey into the world of taxidermy that leaves a lasting impression.

Working Hours: Mon-Sun 10:00 to 22:00

Ticket Prices: around 10 €

Exploration Time: To be filled

Highlights: Uniquely themed exhibits, intricate preservation techniques.

Practical Information: Photography is not permitted within the museum.

Salona

Brief Description: For those willing to venture out of town, the ancient city of Salona offers a mesmerizing historical adventure. Once the thriving capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia, Salona now offers an expansive display of well-preserved Roman ruins. Visitors can explore the remnants of an amphitheater, basilica, city walls, and the Manastirine – a noteworthy early Christian cemetery and martyrs’ church. Though there is room for improvement in terms of maintenance and signage, the raw, non-commercialized appeal of Salona, coupled with its serene setting in Solin near Split, makes for a captivating, tranquil visit.

Working Hours: 9:00 – 19:00 Monday to Saturday, and 9:00 – 14:00 on Sunday

Ticket Prices: around 5 €

Exploration Time: 1-2 hours

Highlights: Amphitheater, Manastirine cemetery, tranquil surroundings.

Practical Information: The site is vast and not fully wheelchair-accessible. No immediate food facilities are available.

For even more alternatives, check out my article on awesome things to see in Split, as well as the one with all the beautiful beaches in and around the city – listed and rated. And if you’re still not sure where to stay in Split, here’s a list of the best hotels to check out.

About the author

Tomislav is the main contributor and creator of Croatia Wanderlust. With a deep appreciation for his homeland, he dedicates his time to sharing detailed stories and insights about Croatia's rich culture, scenic landscapes, and historical landmarks. His writings aim to provide readers with a comprehensive understanding of what makes Croatia a unique and must-visit destination. Through his articles, Tomislav hopes to inspire travel enthusiasts and curious minds alike to explore the beauty of Croatia.

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