Discover Split, Croatia – Travel Guide by Bolt Travel
A City with the Twist of Ancient and Modern All in One Place
Visit Split, the largest city in Dalmatia and the second largest city in Croatia.
This vibrant and crazy city is the perfect place for travellers of different ages, tastes and interests. Located in a unique setting, Split offers the right balance of everything to do and more, including visiting ancient and historical attractions such as Diocletian’s Palace, Cathedral of St. Domnius, Peristyle and the Substructures of the Diocletian’s Palace); sitting at one of the dozens bars and restaurants available in the old town centre; on Riva or the Western bank; do some sport activities on the Marjan Hill while looking at the gorgeous panoramic view of Split; spending some time on the most popular beaches such as Bacvice or Kastelet and enjoying the busy nightlife in Split from listening to live music on the open-air to bopping to the rhythm and beat of the most popular disco and night clubs in city.
All of these in Split, travellers can accomplish in a day or two. Because the city is well connected by land or sea, Split represents an ideal spot for travellers to stay longer and plan their trips to various destinations such as the towns of Trogir, Makarska, Omis and Dubrovnik, islands of Brac, Solta, Hvar, Korcula and Vis, and national parks Plitvice, Krka and Kornati.
Before hopping over to discover other destinations, let’s explore together the city of Split.
Although the beginnings of Split are traditionally associated with the construction of Diocletian’s Palace in 305 AD, the city was founded several centuries earlier as the Greek colony of Aspálathos, or Spálathos in the 3rd or 2nd century BC. After the Greeks, the entire area became under the Roman rule when between 295 and 305 AD the Roman Emperor Diocletian built his magnificent palace from which Split has developed.
After the Roman Empire fell, Split has gone through a turbulent history of moving between different kingdoms and countries. Split experienced the Croatian then later the Hungary-Croatian Kingdom, the Venetian Republic, the French Empire the Austrian-Hungary Empire, Yugoslavia and ending in modern Croatia. Their influence on Split can be found in the city’s architecture, gastronomy, culture and customs which all together make the city so unique.
Split is positioned on the Adriatic coast, in central Dalmatia. The old town is situated on a peninsula between the eastern part of the Gulf of Kastela and the Split Channel. Split is surrounded by the mountains inland (e.g. Mosor, Kozjak and Marjan Hill) and by the islands of Brač, Šolta, Hvar and Čiovo.
Thanks to the Mediterranean climate, winters are mild in Split, lasting from December to March, although the actual experience of winter can really be felt only in February. For this reason, all the comforts of Split can be savoured for most of the winter, from sightseeing the Diocletian’s Palace to the tastings of all the delicacies in numerous restaurants and at the Christmas fair on the Riva during the Christmas holidays. It is quite frequent to spend sunny winter mornings sitting at cafes.
Spring in Split lasts from March to June, and it is one of the best seasons for visiting Split. The average temperature is the ideal 20°C, abundant in sunny periods perfect for walking on Marjan, excursions, and even swimming in the late spring. During this season Split begins bursting with life and it is the ideal period for walking through the streets and city squares.
Although the high temperatures characterize summers in Split, sometimes even over 35°C, starting from June and to mid-September, you can find refreshment in the beautiful Adriatic sea at many of Split’s beaches or on the nearby islands. During the summer nights, you can unwind through different events, such as the Days of Diocletian, Split Summer Festival and many others, where everyone can find something for themselves, and where you can experience the true Mediterranean hustle and bustle.
Autumn in Split lasts from the end of September to December. Although not a favourite part of the year to some, in many ways it is the most beautiful time of the year to visit Split. It is the time when the temperature of the sea is ideal for swimming, the summer heat is at its low and the main season is still on.
Top Sights in Split
Diocletian’s Palace – This huge, fortress-like palace served as a residence for a Roman emperor & the military garrison.
Cathedral of Saint Domnius – Historic 4th-century Catholic church. Built-in 305 AD, this cathedral dedicated to the city’s patron saint has a Romanesque bell tower. It is the oldest cathedral in the world.
Peristyle – The central square of Diocletian’s Palace which is surrounded by the Cathedral of Saint Domnius, Vestibule and the Substructures
Diocletian’s Cellars – One of the best preserved ancient complexes of their kind in the world. They can be accessed from Riva through the Brass Gate or climbing downstairs from Peristyle. In the past, they were used as a storage facility, a residential area and for producing wine and pressing olives. Today, they are usually used as a place for organising different manifestations, selling unique valuable souvenirs and sightseeing.
Riva (The Promenade) – The most popular and most important public place in Split. Thrusting with cafes and restaurants, it is an ideal place for having your morning or afternoon coffee or for an evening out with friends over drinks. There are also numerous cultural and entertainment events being held throughout the year.
Pjaca (People’s Square – Narodni Trg) – The main square in Split. Located outside of the Diocletian’s Palace, it is filled with many historical attractions (e.g. Old Town Hall, Palace Ciprianis and the old Clock Bell Tower) and numerous bars, restaurants and shops.