On a perfect summer vacation bucket list, the city of Split is almost on all of them, and it is just a short drive from our Pikolo Apartment complex. There are also a few public transportation options in case you’re not travelling with a car. Visit Split and witness one of the more iconic cities in Europe!
The city of Split was established as a Greek colony somewhere between 100- and 300-years BCE. Not long after that, the city came under the control of the Roman Empire and remained so for several centuries. After the 7th century Split went through quite a number of transitions of control.
Among the countries that controlled Split, and the surrounding area were Germany, Austria, Italy and France. After the end of World War II, split was incorporated into Yugoslavia and developed into an important port and a major player in the ship building industry. Since Croatia’s independence in 1991, Split has also become a very popular tourist destination.
As a tourist destination, Croatia has become immensely popular. According to European Union statistics for 2016, almost 20% of Croatia’s GDP was contributed by tourism. Compare this to Spain, considered one of Europe’s primary tourism hotspots where only 6% to 8% of GDP comes from tourists. Split, being the second largest city in Croatia, enjoys a substantial share of this market.
Following the lifting of Covid restrictions, the number of tourists that will visit Split in 2022 is expected to ramp up quite sharply. The numbers for 2022, however, may not quite reach the record of 2019 when there were almost a million tourist arrivals in Split.
On the economic side, the average tourist will spend between $500 and $4,000 per week when they visit Split. This is a significant source of income for the city. The seaport of Split, being the largest passenger terminal in Croatia, and one of the largest on the Adriatic coast, provides a solid springboard for tourism in Croatia.
Split enjoys a very mild climate which is conducive to an outdoor lifestyle and contributes to the healthy tourism industry. Daily highs in summer average around 30o C and the winter lows seldom fall below 6o C. The recorded extremes are not called extremes for nothing. The highest temperature recorded since the end of the Second World War is 38.6o C in July and the mercury has dropped to -9o C on at least one occasion in January.
Although not on the front pages of any major sports news publications, Split has produced a number of noteworthy sports stars. Goran Ivanišević, 2001 Wimbledon tennis champion and two-time World Handball Federation player of the year, Ivano Balić, feature on this list. The rowing club HVK Gusar has been on the podium at several Olympiads and World Championship events.
For the young at heart, a vibrant entertainment scene awaits those that visit Split. From wining and dining on the bustling Riva waterfront, conquering the mysteries of escape rooms, to sipping on the fruits of the best local vines, you’ll never be at a loose end in this amazing city.
To give you a little taste of some of the experiences on offer, we’ll have a quick look at a list of 15 must-visit attractions for when you get to visit Split.
Diocletian’s Palace Split
This is often mistaken as Split’s raison d’être. That said, although Diocletian’s Palace in Split was completed almost half a millennium after the city was founded, it remains, to this day, an important feature of the city’s heritage and history. It was completed in the year 305 after a construction period of 10 years and was the retirement home of the Roman Emperor Diocletian.
Although referred to as a palace, it’s really a small self-contained city. Apart from Diocletian’s residence, the fully walled complex also accommodated a number of soldiers and service personnel. The cathedral located within the palace walls is one of the oldest in the world that is still in regular use.
Today, the palace makes up about half of the old city of Split and is home to around 3,000 people. Many of these inhabitants work in the bars, restaurants and other attractions that draw thousands of tourists every day.
Fruit Square Split
Officially known as Trg Braće Radić or Square of the Radić brothers, the colloquial name of Fruit Square Split derives from the markets of yesteryear when the surrounding villagers peddled their produce here. Antun and Stjepan Radić were prominent in Croatian politics in the early 20th century.
You’ll not find the market stalls anymore but the place is no less of a gastronomic delight than it was all those centuries ago. The area is dotted with bars and eateries offering the best of traditional Croatian fare. Of course, you could also savor a craft beer or wine from many other parts of the world.
The small square is overlooked by the Venetian Tower and lies a few short strides from the Riva waterfront promenade. The tower was built as a lookout point in the 15th century when Split was under rule of Venice. Nowadays it’s just another example of the rich architectural history of this beautiful city and well worth a look if you ever get the opportunity to visit Split.
People’s Square Split
A few steps outside the western wall of Diocletian’s palace sits the Platea Sacti Laurentii (St. Lawrence’s Plaza), also known as the Pjaca or Narodni Trg. In layman’s English, we refer to it as People’s Square. In ancient times, this was where it all happened, as they say. People’s Square Split is believed to date back to the 13th century and was used for trading,
ceremonies, public hearings and various other forms of civil procedures and entertainment.
In modern-day Split, it still all happens here. In the summer, the restaurants and bars are teeming with people enjoying the sunshine, music and jovial atmosphere. Over the Christmas season the square is beautifully decorated with glittering lights and a giant Christmas tree. Thanks to the rather mild winters, patrons frequent the eateries and listen to the mellow sounds of the klapa singers. There really isn’t much more that we need from life.
Split Walking Tour
The city of Split has a lot to offer. And, being quite a compact city, it’s mostly within walking distance. It’s hardly surprising then, that, when you visit Split, a walking tour is one of the recommended activities on a tourist’s to-do list. We do need to clarify something, though. With so much to see or do around Split, we’re talking about a number of walking tour options.
If you’re a facts and figures kind of person, you can choose a guided tour. Just be sure to go with a licensed guide who really knows the history of the sights. On the other hand, if you’re more of a visual tourist, you can do your own thing. The trick is to plan your route so that you can get to a good number of sights while you incorporate some pit stops at the one or two of the many watering holes.
Bačvice Beach Split
This may not be the biggest beach you will ever see. But, what it lacks in size, it makes up handsomely in popularity and charm. Bačvice Beach Split is one of the few sandy beaches on the Croatian coast. It’s just a short walk away from the iconic Diocletian’s Palace
A word of warning though – it can get very crowded in peak season. This is largely thanks to the shallow and tranquil water that make it a bathing haven. The crystal-clear turquoise water is almost reminiscent of a tropical island.
The beach is a popular venue for the game of Picigin. The game was invented on this beach in 1908 and is played by a group of people who try to keep a small ball in the air for as long as possible. For more energetic types, this is a fast and furious, and very exciting way to pass the time.
Boat Trip Split
As with the walking tours, there are many options for boat trips from Split. There are many islands within a stone’s throw of Split. Islands that are ideally located for a day trip. And also, islands that have a number of exciting features. Add to that the sparkling clear waters of the Adriatic Sea and you’re in for an almost unrivalled snorkeling adventure.
One of the most notable excursions is the Blue Cave. This is located on the eastern side of Biševo Island. It takes just over an hour by speedboat. The trip out to the island is an adventure in itself because dolphins are frequently seen along the way.
The Blue Cave is so called because of light reflecting off the white limestone seabed. The angle of the incoming light and the prism effect of the pebbled bottom creates this eerie fluorescent blue shimmer. Some say that it makes you feel as if you’re suspended. When you visit Split, this is an experience you must not pass up.
Most coastal cities have a fishermen’s port. A place for hardworking people to moor their boats and to which they return after a day on the seas. Very often that days starts and ends while the rest of us sleep. More often than not, these fishermen have sold the day’s catch before breakfast.
Matejuška is Split’s fishing harbor. It’s a small boat harbor which in days gone by was the center of the fishing industry. Today, the area still has a distinct fishing theme as you can see the fishing nets hung out to dry and the air is filled with that distinct smell of the sea. And, just to be sure that there is no doubt, the cove is defined by a massive fishing hook monument.
Matejuška Split was also the home of one of Croatia’s most successful rowing teams. The club, established in 1914, has won many Olympic and World Championship medals. The club has, however, subsequently relocated.
Split Summer Festival
The Split Summer Festival is an annual event that was first held in 1954. It runs during the height of the northern hemisphere summer from the middle of July to the middle of August. The festival showcases music, dance and theater and events take place in the National Theater as well as in the various squares dotted around the city.
The festival is hugely popular and the city becomes quite crowded over this period. It’s essential to look at accommodation options well before the time as prices can increase quite sharply. Thousands of people flock to the city during the summer, for this festival specifically or just for the beautiful Croatian climate in general.
If you want to visit Split and partake in the delights of this jewel of the Adriatic Sea, midsummer is not a bad time to do it. Apart from the performing arts feast on offer, you can also immerse yourself in the food culture and the wonderful summer weather.
Split Film Festival
If you mention film festivals, most people would automatically think of Cannes. Yes, that festival has been a much-acclaimed annual event since 1939, although there was a break from 1940 until 1946 due to World War II. Croatia, though, can hold its own in this department. The Split Film Festival takes place over a period of 10 days in June every year.
It combines the best productions from Europe and the rest of the world with the charm of open-air cinemas on Bačvice Beach or the Cinematheque Zlatna Vrata located within the historic Diocletian’s Palace.
In stark contrast to Cannes, this is a festival for the people. It is sometimes called the »no red carpet« festival. The atmosphere is relaxed and very popular. While performances are often sold out, makeshift seating onbeach towels and temporary portable benches pack a few more spectators in.
Split Food Tour
If you love food, Croatia will definitely not disappoint. With an almost 1,800 km mainland coastline, Croatia has no shortage of seafood. The mild, almost tropical, climate is ideal for the agricultural industry. Croatia is self-sufficient in cereals, notably wheat and corn and in poultry and eggs. Rounding out the staples, Croatia also produces some very fine wines and olive oils.
When you have the opportunity to visit Split, be sure to fit in a food tour. There is a distinct Mediterranean style to Croatian gastronomy. Seafood, olive oil and wine feature in many dishes. As do a variety of cheeses and pastries. Dis you know that the Zinfandel grape variety is indigenous to this region? Well, thanks to a Split food tour, we know that now.
Some signature foods that you will experience are Crni rižot, or black risotto and fritule. These are like little doughnut holes but they’re filled with raisins and rum and they’re sinfully good. For comfort food try the Gregada, a chunky fish and potato stew that just hits every spot you ever had. Whenever you visit Split, don’t pass up this experience.
Split to Plitviče Lakes
Getting from Split to Plitviče Lakes is a trip of at least two and a half hours. It’s worth every minute of the journey. This is a wonderland of lakes, rivers, waterfalls and forests. Although you could do this a s a day trip, you would really not be doing the place any justice. Stay at least one night. Experience the serene natural beauty and immerse yourself in the soothing sounds of the cascading waterfalls.
This is not something to be rushed. You have more than enough options to get there and back and to travel around the park are. Relax and take your time. There’s a shuttle bus service that will carry you between the upper and lower lakes or you can choose a cruise on an electric boat. Or, you could take a hike on one of the many designated trails that will keep you going for anything from two to about eight hours.
Split Old Town
We humans can sometimes be a funny bunch. We are on a crazy roller coaster ride chasing after all the conveniences that modern technology can offer. And this ride is gaining momentum every step of the way. Yet, we are awed by the history and traditions of our ancestors. We marvel at centuries-old architecture and the simple technology that was state-of-the-art at the time.
Split Old Town is such a place. Dating back more than 2,500 years, it has been home to several civilizations. It started as a Greek colony but, around 300 years later became famous for the magnificent palace complex built for the Roman Emperor Diocletian. The palace was completed in time for his retirement in 305 CE. Many parts of the palace still stand today and are one of the main attractions for people to visit Split.
Island Tour Split
What is it about islands that captivate us so much? Think about it; island holidays are always portrayed or described as idyllic or romantic. Islands conjure up fantasies of treasures and forgotten kingdoms. It’s the type of place we would all like to escape to when real life gets a bit too much.
If this is ringing a bell, you may just need to get away to one of the many beautiful islands around Split. Sounds a bit daunting? It really isn’t. Split has the largest passenger port in Croatia; in fact, one of the busiest on the Adriatic Coast. Getting to any of the islands is very easy. Choose between ferries, speedboats or fully equipped houses on the water.
Your island tour Split can be an adventure from the minute you step on board. If you have the opportunity to visit Split, take some time out to tour the islands. It’s a soul-cleansing experience. And these islands will leave you with some of the best memories you can ever hope for.
Split to Krka National Park
We used the word “idyllic” in the previous section. That wasn’t an inappropriate term when thinking about islands. But, when you go from Split to Krka National Park, the term will suddenly make a lot more sense.
This is a sensory paradise. You really experience all the senses at the same time.
Waterfalls, bubbling streams and luscious forests will surround you with sights, sounds and smells. Unlike the Plitviče Lakes, visitors to Krka National Park are permitted to swim. It’s also somewhat less crowded than Plitviče Lakes. All in all, this is one of those bucket-list places.
Several tour operators offer excursions although it’s also a very easy self-guided trip. There is plentiful accommodation in the area for those that want a more complete experience. Visit Split, get to Krka, live life. It’s that simple.
Split Roman Ruins
You’d be easily forgiven for thinking of Diocletian’s Palace whenever someone mentions Split in Croatia. It is perhaps one of the most significant pieces of Split’s history. Diocletian was the first Roman emperor to abdicate, doing so in the year 305 CE. He had the palace built as a retirement home. Along with his abode, the palace complex was actually a fully-fledged town.
It was walled on all sides and house a military garrison, cathedral, several squares and places for social and commercial activities. The cathedral is still in use today as are parts of the original palace. Like all things, age has ravaged the palace. Much of it has, however survived the test of time or been restored to some extent.
Whichever way you choose to look at it, Split is rich in history. The Split Roman Ruins represent an important era in the formation and development of the city. As a legacy, this is one of the few sites in the world where buildings older than two millennia are still used and as safe as when they were built.
Split is just one of the things to see when it comes to your summer holiday in Pikolo Apartments complex, contact us today, you’ll be glad you did.