Know Before You Go
Why You'll Love
Founded by the Roman Emperor Diocletian who built a majestic palace as his retirement home on the Adriatic, Split is a city of wonders. You can wander Roman ruins, much of it for free, and marvel at this lived-in city that has endured over 1,700 years. You’ll love the history, the food, the glorious natural landscape, and the delicious laid-back vibe of the city. This UNESCO World Heritage site is your oyster.
Here’s a quick guide on what to expect. Looking for more? Check out the posts and the travel guide for subscribers!
Diocletian’s Palace, recognized by UNESCO, basically is Old Town Split, and you pretty much have the run of it. While parts of the palace cost a modest sum to visit, you can see much of it for free. It’s a marvel, really. When you’ve had your fill of the palace (and the crowds), wander through Veli Varoš, or wander your way up Marjan Hill.
The nearby original Roman settlement in Salona will transport you back in time, and don’t miss island hopping on the Adriatic or easy day trips to Krka Waterfalls and Trogir.
And, have I mentioned the food? From the Green Market to one of the single best food experiences I’ve ever had, Split’s culinary delights await you! I have to say, I’m jealous. I spent a month in Split, and I can’t wait to go back!
Split is Croatia’s second-largest city, growing out from the historic center. While you’ll likely spend most of your time wandering Old Split, seeing “New” Split will show you more of life as its lived in modern Croatia.
Solo Travel Experience
Wandering around Split’s enchanting streets is a solo traveler’s paradise. There’s much for the solo and solo female traveler to do (it can be easier to book popular day trips, too), and restaurants and such are used to solo travelers. Split is overall a very safe city, which makes it all the better for leisurely wanders.
You’ll find graffiti mentioning 1950 everywhere. This refers to supporters of Split’s football club, Hajduk. If you want to do some prime people watching, head over toward the arena when they play their arch rivals, Zagreb.
Food & Drink
Split is known for its seafood, and, as with much of the Dalmatian coast, the Venetian influence endures. Split has an incredible Green Market (go there on Saturdays) where you can take advantage of the delicious fruits and vegetables.
Make sure to try local wines, and don’t forget the prosciutto! Make sure to get to Luka’s for ice cream! As with the rest of Croatia, expect big portions.
Getting There & Getting Around
Split Airport (SPU; also known as Resnik Airport)/bus terminal (Autobusni kolodvor Split)/Train Station (Split Main Train Station)/Ferry terminal (many ferries are seasonal)
Split has a bus network that can get you around easily, though it’s not always the most reliable
The touristy parts of Split are a walker’s paradise, with no traffic allowed in much of Grad (City Centre). Where cars are allowed, you should use caution, as drivers tend to be rather aggressive. Do watch out for delivery bikes!
Like many older cities, Split has some challenges with accessibility. The linked guide may prove helpful.
Rideshares are readily available in Split (Uber and Wolt), but do note that if you are staying in the pedestrian zone, you will need to walk to meet them. The city has a taxi network as well, but I didn’t use it.
If you are using the public bus, note that you can’t track it easily on Google Maps. Moovit can help. I didn’t really take the bus, as ride shares were available and cheap, but my understanding is that the buses are not super reliable.
Generally, if you are planning on getting to or leaving Split to go to another destination in Croatia, the bus might be your best bet. Trains do not run in a lot of Croatia, and where they do, they are slow. Depending on where you’re coming from and how much time you have, flying into Dubrovnik and taking the bus to Split might save you some money.
For a detailed map, see the main guide
Split is very affordable, as is the rest of Croatia. WIth the adoption of the Euro, prices might change, but expect a very affordable destination.
Credit Cards, Etc.
Credit cards are widely, though not universally, accepted in Split. You will need cash, especially for cafés and tips. ATMs are widely available, but take care that the bank is a reputable one (I used OTP bank, but there are others).
While not abolutely expected, tipping is certainly appreiciated. Generally 10% will do. Tipping most always needs to be done with cash, so be sure to have some on hand.
Croatia uses type F sockets, as with the rest of continental Europe.
As of January 2023, Croatia is part of the Schengen Zone, meaning that stays in the country now count toward the 90-day limit for those visiting from outside the Zone.
When the ETIAS system rolls out (now expected 2024), travelers from the US will need to comply. Croatia has a visa that allows qualifying digital nomads to stay in Croatia for up to a year.
Climate & When to Go
Split enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers, and mild (though rainy) winters. If visiting in the summer, the sun can be punishing (this remains true sometimes into October), so be sure to keep hydrated and wear sunscreen.
When to go
I visited Split in October, and, I have to say, it was glorious. The weather was still lovely, though not hot, perfect for sightseeing. If you want to make sure that everything is open, however, you may wish to go in September.
Peak season is in the summer, and there are cruise ships and tourists galore. Locals flee City Centre. May and June are also said to be lovely. The city shuts down November though April.
Good to Know
The people of Split have a sly sense of humor, and they will tease you, especially if they like you.
As with the rest of the former Yugoslavia, while locals you meet may well bring up the wars of the 1990s, take care in what you say in return (and don’t bring it up).
Health & Safety
Routine vaccinations suffice, and healthcare in Croatia is generally very good. As of this writing, no proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required for entry.
Like the rest of Croatia, Split is a very safe city. In recent years, pickpocketing and some muggings have happened, but very little violent crime exists in Croatia. I was in Split for a month, and I found it to be refreshingly safe. As always, use your street smarts and common-sense safety precautions.