4-Day Highlights Itinerary in Split, Croatia
Arts & Culture
Discover the allure of Split, a stunning coastal gem located in the southern part of Croatia, along the shores of the Adriatic Sea. As the second largest city in Croatia, Split has something for everyone, whether you are interested in history, nightlife, beaches, scenic views or nature. The city has a vibrant atmosphere and is famous for its historic center, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as its beautiful Riva promenade, which also serves as a launching point for day trips to other islands, making Split a must-visit destination for any traveler.
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Where to stay
Hotel Vestibul Palace
Set in Split's historic Old Town, this small boutique hotel features classic rooms and suites and an airy restaurant.
$50 hotel / resort credit.
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Hotel Ambasador Split
Located in the heart of Split on the West Coast promenade, this modern luxury hotel overlooks the Adriatic Sea, with the bustling Riva promenade nearby.
Judita Palace Heritage Hotel
Charming boutique hotel in a 16th-century palace set on the lively Pjaca Square in Old Town, within walking distance of restaurants and shops.
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Day 1: Explore Old Town Split
Start your morning by enjoying breakfast at one of the many outdoor restaurants along the Riva promenade.
Get your morning exercise in and hike to the top of Marjan Hill. The base of Marjan Hill is just a couple of blocks off the promenade and as you ascend to the top, you will encounter a café, the Church of St. Nicholas, lots of cats and most importantly, amazing views of the city and sea.
Continue your day by exploring the heart of Old Town, which is the ancient Diocletian's Palace. This includes a variety of historical landmarks, such as the Peristyle, which was the central square of the palace; the Cathedral of Saint Domnius, which is the oldest Catholic cathedral in the world still in use in its original structure; and the bell tower, which you can climb to see stunning views.
Visit nearby monuments, including the black granite sphinx, the sculpture of Gregory of Nin (it’s good luck to rub his toe), and the Benedictine Monastery. The Palace is also surrounded by narrow streets and alleys filled with shops, bars, restaurants and charming squares, such as Republic Square, which is reminiscent of Venice’s St. Mark’s square, or Fruit Square which is known for the Octagonal Shaped Venetian tower.
Cap off your day by strolling along the waterfront’s Riva promenade. This pedestrian street is lined with cafes, shops, restaurants, and bars that stay open late into the night. You’ll also come across roadside vendors and street entertainers.
Day 2: Take a boat excursion
No trip to Split is complete without getting out onto the beautiful, crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic Sea and visiting neighboring islands, including the magical lights of the Blue Cave. We opted for a full day all-inclusive tour and wouldn’t do it any other way, as the boat was far superior to any others we saw and all the inclusions made for a seamless, top-notch experience.
Our tour started early, around 7 am, so we could beat the crowds to the Blue Cave. We then made a quick stop at Barjoska beach on the island of Vis where Mamma Mia 2 was filmed. This was followed by a private group lunch at the #1 rated restaurant in Vis where the food, views and dining experience were second to none. We relaxed at the shallow beach in front of the restaurant for about an hour before heading to our final stop, the island of Hvar. We had about an hour and a half to wander the charming cobblestone streets, check out boutique stores and have a craft cocktail at one of the many restaurants along the yacht-lined promenade. For those more adventurous, you can climb up to the Fortica fortress which is perched on the hill above town. We arrived back in Split around 6 pm, both exhausted and exhilarated from the picture-perfect day.
Day 3: Visit Krka National Park and a neighboring city
Croatia has two amazing parks known for their lakes and waterfalls, Plitvice and Krka. Although Plitvice National Park may be the largest and most well-known, Krka National Park is close behind in its popularity and is equally as beautiful. Also, with limited time, Krka makes for an easier day trip, given it’s only one hour from Split versus three hours.
I would suggest a guided tour of Krka to ensure you don’t miss out on half the park, which can easily be done if you haven’t researched ahead of time. Most visitors take the wooden, round-trip trail and catch views of the Skradinski Buk waterfall, which is the largest waterfall in the park. But you do have the option of booking a boat tour for an additional fee that will take you to the Roški slap waterfall and Island of Visovac, where you can visit the monastery, the church of Our Lady Mercy with the museum and the prehistoric cave, Oziđana pećina.
After the park, most tours offer options to visit a winery for wine tasting or spend time in another city, such as Trogir or Sibenik, which is a great opportunity to see new sights outside of Split.
Day 4: Relax at the beach
After three jam packed days, take some time to wind down and relax at the beach. Bačvice Beach is one of the few sandy beaches in Split and is the closest to Old Town. It is a very popular, swimmable beach, so if you are looking for a quieter beach, you will want to venture a bit further out of town. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants near Bačvice Beach and you can pamper yourself by renting a beach chair and/or sun umbrella for the day.
Or, if you are still feeling adventurous, you can take a day trip via bus or a private transfer to Omiš, which is about 15 miles out of town. There you can relax on the very long and sandy Punta Town beach after hiking up to Starigrad Fortress or partaking in its well-known adventure options on the Cetina River, which include canyoning, kayaking, rafting and ziplining.
Need to Know
Interested in exploring more of Europe in summer? Check out my guide, 2-Day (Family & Budget Friendly) Itinerary for Mykonos.
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Europe.