Split Travel Guide – 55 Top Tips for First Time Visitors

Split Travel Guide – 55 Top Tips for First Time Visitors

Split is the second largest city in Croatia and a hub for exploring the beautiful Dalmatian Coast and islands. There’s plenty of amazing national parks, beaches and coves nearby, but a trip wouldn’t be complete without checking out everything the city has to offer, and our Split travel guide will help you do just that! The pretty coastal city makes a great weekend city break destination or an essential stop-off point to any Croatia road trip.

After visiting Split many times and exploring everything it has to offer, we’ve assembled a list of top Split visitors’ tips to help first timers plan the best holiday ever. We’ve included a Split travel guide, featuring eating out tips, nightlife suggestions, getting around and much more!

Things to know before you arrive in Split

1. Book an apartment over a hotel. Split city centre is compact and there are very few hotels, meaning that the hotels that do exist can be quite expensive. An apartment will be in a more central location and you’ll have a larger living space. They’re surprisingly good value!

2. Decide whether you want to stay in the old town centre, or slightly out of town along the coastline. There’s more going on in the centre, but you don’t have the relaxing beaches and tranquillity of nearby resorts. View Split old town on a map for reference to the centre.

Split travel tips - Shows Split Old Town streets

3. We recommend staying in Split for around 3 or 4 days and combining your trip with the island of Brac, Hvar or Vis if you want a longer holiday.

4. Many nationalities don’t need a visa for visiting Croatia and you can stay up to 90 days without one. These countries include but aren’t limited to all EU countries, UK, USA, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. Find out more information and check if you need a Visa on the official Croatian Foreign Affairs website here.

5. Pre-book tours and island ferries in advance of arrival. It’s usually cheaper and you’ll save time when you’re there. Check out tours on Viator here and book ferries with Jadrolinija, the official ferry company here.

Shows Jadrolinija ferry at a port - Split travel guide to getting around

6. The best times to visit Split are in June and September. July and August are very hot but often bring crowds of tourists and higher prices. April and May are also good, however expect lower temperatures. Travelling outside of these months, temperatures can be cool, however it’s still a nice place to visit whatever the weather!

Getting to/from Split Airport

7. Split Airport is roughly 24km away from the city centre, or a half an hour drive. One of the cheapest and easiest ways to get from the airport terminal to the city is using the official airport shuttle service. Tickets cost 30 Kuna (around 4 Euros) per person for the one-way trip and it’ll drop you off at the marina bus station in the city centre. The journey takes around 35 minutes and buses leave roughly 30 minutes after a flight has landed.

8. If you’re travelling in a group or have lots of luggage, taking an Uber directly to your hotel or apartment can be both cost effective and quick. A one-way trip will cost you around 240 Kuna (30 euros).

9. Avoid the on-airport official taxi’s in favour of Uber. They’re more expensive!

Split sightseeing tips

10. Start your first day with a short walking tour of Split old town centre. It’s a great way to introduce yourself to the city and learn about its past and present. We recommend Gecko Walking Tours.

11. Make Diocletian’s Palace a must-see on your itinerary. This ancient palace was a film set in multiple Game of Thrones scenes and is a work of art! Combine your trip to the palace with a climb to the cathedral bell-tower for some amazing views of the city.

Shows Diolectian

12. Exploring the marina and coastline is best done by bike. Rent a cycle from a tourist agent by the marina or at a bike stand positioned throughout Split. Cycle all the way to the secluded Kasjuni Beach to the south-west of the old town.

13. Book tours in advance of arrival. You can compare the options that you like the most and it’s likely you’re visiting for a short time so you don’t want to miss out. We recommend trips to the Blue Caves of Vis, Krka National Park and the enchanting town of Mostar in Bosnia. View bookable in advance Split tours and excursions on Viator here.

14. Challenge yourself to hike to the top of Marjana Park viewpoint for the best views of the whole city!

Shows Split city centre from afar - Split travel guide

15. Split old town is one of the oldest architectural gems in Europe. Wandering the narrow streets, getting lost and marvelling at buildings is an attraction it itself. Even better with an ice cream in hand!

16. The long promenade by the marina is the perfect place to wander on an evening before dinner. The sun sets on the horizon as the boats come in and it’s a beautiful sight to see. Check it out for yourself one evening.

Shows Split promenade and buildings - Split visitors tips

17. If you’re interested in fine arts and the history of Split or just fancy a cool afternoon indoors out of the hot sun, there are some excellent galleries and museums. We recommend Split Archaeological Museum, Split Live Museum and Meštrović Gallery.

18. Consider renting a boat at Split marina and exploring the coastline with your friends. It was one of the most fun and adventurous things we did! For a small motor boat you don’t need a licence.

Shows boats at Split marina - Split travel tips

19. Split is a great city for shopping, you’ll find high street stores such as Zara and Mango, perfect for last minute holiday clothes, and market stalls throughout the old town. If you want a full afternoon shopping trip, check out “Mall of Split”, which is located just outside of the town centre.

20. One activity that many people overlook is a guided tour of the mighty Poljud Football Stadium, or even attending a football match if you’re visiting during a home game. A great day out for football fans and groups of friends.

Split Transport/getting around tips

21. If you’re staying near the old town, you can reach most attractions within a short walk, however if you want to explore nearby beaches or your apartment is located outside of Split, the local bus network is a great way to get around. We recommend using Google Maps’ Directions to determine which bus you should use. When boarding, simply tell the driver your destination and he’ll charge you appropriately.

22. Taxi’s can be a little expensive, so use the newly introduced Uber service instead. A 15-minute journey costs around 5 euros.

23. If you want freedom to get around and explore lots of nearby places, renting a car can be an affordable option. Check out our Croatia car hire guide here for tips on the best companies to use in Split.

Shows a car alongside the marina - Split car rental

24. If you’re looking to combine your trip to split with another Croatian city such as Zadar, Dubrovnik or Trogir, we recommend getting between cities using local coach companies. You can compare and book tickets through GetByBus here. Buses are air conditioned, comfortable and a much better way of getting around compared to the poor local train system.

25. If you have a departure flight or bus ride later on in the day, consider leaving your luggage at the bus station luggage facilities or a travel agent that offers the service. It’ll save you the hassle of carrying around bags all day!

Saving money in Split / spending tips

26. Choose a central apartment over a hotel and cook some of your own meals. The supermarkets are cheap and most apartments we’ve stayed in have always been well equipped. We recommend visiting a ‘Spar’ or ‘Tommy Maximart’ supermarket to stock up on your first day.

Shows Split

27. Croatia is a cash heavy country and many places don’t accept card payment, even the accommodation! Make sure you always have cash on hand and withdraw money at an ATM with a no fee card (such as Revolut or Monzo) for the best exchange rate.

28. The local currency is Croatian Kuna. Even though a lot of attractions, restaurants and bars sometimes advertise in Euros, they very rarely accept Euros and you’re best withdrawing Kuna only.

29. Always decline the conversion rate that the ATM offers you in favour of letting your bank work it out. You’ll get a much better rate this way. Simply select ‘no/decline’ when you get the option on the ATM.

30. Take advantage of free Split attractions. The city walls, marina, beach, museums and historic sites are all free (with the exception of a few).

Shows the old city walls in Split old town - Tips for visiting Split

31. Although everything is within walking distance in the city centre, Uber can be a cheap way of getting around. Journeys of 15-minutes cost as little as 5 euros.

32. Eat-out on a budget by stopping at pizza-by-the-slice corner cafes and bakeries. They’re super cheap! TripAdvisor’s ‘Cheap Eats in Split’ list is a good place to find affordable restaurants.

33. Avoid restaurants in the heart of Split old town centre (within the four walls) and marina promenade. Whilst there are some nice places, they’re generally more expensive. The streets leading to Bacvice Beach are a good place for cheaper but excellent quality meals.

Split accommodation/hotels tips

34. Are you visiting Split on a solo trip or want to stay somewhere cheap and fun? Check out Croparadise hostel group. They have various hostels in the centre of town that are affordable and have a great social atmosphere.

35. Private apartment rentals are much cheaper than hotels, plus you have a lot more space and they’re usually better-located! We recommend browsing for your apartment on Booking.com here. They have the largest collection of private rental listings for the city.

36. Want to book your holiday now but don’t have the cash just yet? Use Booking.com’s ‘Buy now pay later: Free cancellation’ feature.

37. Always check the reviews for hotels and apartments on TripAdvisor before booking. Aim for a 4+ TripAdvisor rating.

Split accommodation and hotels tips - Shows flowers outside an apartment window

38. Stay in or around Split’s old town centre (view on map) to be well-located for all the major attractions, nightlife and restaurants. You’re also a short walk from Bacvice Beach.

39. If you want nice beaches and a more relaxing resort to base yourself, stay near Trstenik Beach (view on map). It’s a 10-minute drive from Split city centre.

Split eating out tips

40. Always check the TripAdvisor reviews of a restaurant before eating there. Either research a cool place to eat in advance or go for a walk and if you like the look of a restaurant, do a quick Google search for reviews before asking for a table. It’ll greatly increase your chances of having a great dining experience over a poor one!

41. Reservations aren’t usually needed but if you have a particular restaurant in mind that you really want to visit, we recommend reserving a table just in case.

Shows Split restaurant at night - Eating out tips

42. Don’t forget to check out the local bakeries. They’re on almost every corner in the old town and some are open 24 hours. They’re a great place for breakfast or lunch on the go!

43. Being a coastal city, the seafood in Split is excellent and freshly prepared. Sample delicious fillets of sea bass, meaty lobster or big juicy prawns. Seafood platters to share can be quite good value.

44. There’s a distinct Italian influence in Split’s cuisine options and you’ll find authentic pasta’s, pizza’s and breads in many restaurants.

Shows a bright cafe restaurant in Split Old Town - Eating out tips

45. Stop by Split Old Town City Market (view on map) for cheap and fresh ingredients to cook your own meals or some tasty fruits and snacks.

46. Tap water is safe to drink in restaurants and at your apartment/hotel. Fill up your water bottle and save money.

47. Croatian wine is world renowned, tasty and cheap! Order a local variety from bars and restaurants to judge it yourself, or enjoy a full afternoon wine tasting tour in one of the local nearby vineyards. We recommend Putalj Winery.

Split nightlife tips

48. Our Split travel guide wouldn’t be complete without some nightlife recommendations! Being one of the nightlife capital of Croatia, summer nights are filled with busy bars, drinking in open-air clubs and partying by the beach. Visit Split during the months of July and August for the best nightlife.

49. Consider joining a bar crawl. They operate every night, are a great way to meet people and are good value. We recommend Tower Pub Crawl Split. The tour will take you to a few bars, include an ‘all you can drink hour’ and ends in a club.

50. Visit the old-town for relaxed wine bars, cocktail bars and trendy places to drink with an atmosphere. It’s a relaxed place to start your evening.

51. Visit the Bacvice Beach area for a loud and electric nightlife with plenty of late-night bars and a beach club called Tropic, which has great views of the ocean as you dance the night away.

52. Check out Inbox open-air club (view on map) for a vibrant atmosphere and the latest EDM music. Open during the summer months.

53. Fancy a more chilled evening out? Visit the cosy Kino Mediteran outdoor cinema on Bacvice Beach, which hosts movies every night throughout the summer. View their movie listings here.

54. Enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of the old town and promenade by sitting by one of the numerous pop-up cocktail bars. They’re cheap and a fun way to spend your evening on those warm summer nights.

Visiting Ultra Europe

55. Ultra Europe is a world-famous EDM music festival that takes places in Split in July every year. Party-goers rave the event location in Mladezi Park for a full weekend, before continuing the party on the Dalmatian Islands.

Visiting Split during Ultra or like the sound of it? Check out our complete guide to Ultra Europe here.

Shows the main stage of Ultra Europe Festival in Split

That concludes our Split travel guide and giant list of Split travel tips for first timers to the city! Even if you’ve been to Split before, there may be some handy pointers in our list so be sure to try out our suggestions and let us know your thoughts!

If you’re also planning on visiting other parts of Croatia, browse our other travel guides and articles below to get holiday-ready with us.