As the second-largest city in Croatia and the capital of Dalmatia, Split is the cultural center of the region and a vibrant place that perfectly blends ancient and modern. Split has a rich history dating back to the Roman times when Split was chosen as the retirement residence of the Roman emperor Diocletian who built his magnificent palace around which the city of Split formed and which is now declared UNESCO World Heritage Site. Surrounded by the mountains, the sea, and Marjan Forrest Hill, Split is truly a gem that is slowly transforming from the transportation hub through which the visitors breeze on their way to the other parts of the country to an ideal holiday destination with a lot to offer. In this post, we have mentioned the top 5 Must do in Split Croatia.
Here are the top 5 things to do in Split:
Without a doubt, the Split UNESCO Diocletian’s Palace is one of the best attractions to see not only in Split but in Croatia in general. Although the palace is not completely preserved, the ancient remains from the 4th century are impressive and it is not hard to envision what life must have looked like during the Roman times. Ever since those times the palace was continuously inhabited by the Byzantines, Croats, Venetians, and Austrians who all together, with their own specific styles, contributed to today’s overall look of the palace.
In any case, the palace is the perfect start point for exploring Split – whether you just want to wander between the ancient walls and soak in the history or carefully explore the landmarks and attractions – such as the Temple of Jupiter (originally a Roman temple later converted to a baptistery in the 11th century), Cathedral of St. Domnius (originally built as Diocletian’s mausoleum) and the Bell Tower (which visitors can climb and enjoy in the fascinating view of Split from bird’s perspective).
One of the most impressive parts of the palace is undoubtedly the Peristyle – the open square in the center of the palace and the place where the emperor would address his loyal subjects from the balcony (Prothyrum) while they would bow to him. Pass through the Prothyrum and enter Vestibule, the circular hall which leads from the Peristyle to the emperor’s residence where today you can hear the traditional dalmatian acapella group (so-called klapa) sing every day throughout the summer or take a picture with one of the Roman soldiers in historical uniforms wandering around the palace.
Don’t miss a chance to visit the palace basements, where you can also buy a souvenir as a reminder of your holiday. Fans of the popular TV show Game of Thrones will recognize the basement as one of the filming locations represented in the show – you can even take a special Game of Thrones tour through the entire palace!
After exploring the wonders of the palace, take a break from sightseeing on the iconic Split promenade (which locals call Riva), also known as the place to be if you want to see the best of Split and be seen. As soon as the sun is shining, both locals and tourists rush to the seafront promenade to soak in the sunshine, sip coffee or beer on one of many open terraces or simply relax and sit on the benches between the tall palm trees chatting with their friends and enjoying the view of the sea and numerous boats passing by.
During the summer months, many concerts and manifestations also take place on the promenade so it is definitely not a place you want to miss while visiting Split. It is good to note that the promenade is also a popular gathering place for young people before their night out in the city.
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Designed by one of Croatia’s most prominent 20th-century sculptors Ivan Meštrović, the statue of the medieval Croatian bishop St. Grgur of Nin stands outside the Golden Gate of the Diocletian’s palace. No one knows why or how exactly it started, but it is believed that rubbing the statue’s toe will bring luck and even grant you a wish. Regardless if you’re superstitious or not, if you’re in town it would be a shame not to visit it and try your luck – who knows, maybe you’ll get your wish.
For those looking to spend a day in nature, Marjan Forrest Park is the perfect place to go. This wooded hill completely surrounded by the city and the sea deserves to be visited and appreciated. What it lacks in geographical size (length of cca 3.5 km and width of 1.5 km) it undoubtedly covers by the vast diversity of plant life, cultural monuments and attractions – from various churches which date back to early medieval times to hiking trails, bike paths and many viewpoints from which the view of the city and the sea spreads at the palm of your hand. Marjan Hill has always been the favorite place for walking, running, jogging, climbing or simply taking a break from the city bustle.
While you’re in Split, don’t miss a chance to visit the nearby attractions – Klis fortress and the ancient ruins of Salona.
Kliss fortress is located about 12 km northeast from the Split center on a cliff overlooking the city. The impressive fortress sits along a limestone bluff, which is 385 meters at its tallest point, and it’s used to control the valley leading into town. The fort is long and narrow thanks to its lengthy existence, which led to constant extensions as the centuries progressed. Game of Thrones fans will recognize the fortress as the filming location which was used to represent the fictional city-state Mereen, which is also displayed to the visitors of the fortress in the special room dedicated to the filming of Game of Thrones.
About 8 km north of Split is the old town of Salona (Solin), a popular destination for history buffs. Occupied by Illyrians, Greeks, and finally the Romans, this ancient town holds many historical attractions within its ancient city walls, including its amphitheater, aqueduct, Bishop’s complex, and forum.