Occupying a peninsula off the Dalmatian coast that juts into the Adriatic, with its port and international airport Split is a major travel hub to nearby coastal resorts, the islands of Dalmatia, the Apennine Peninsula and into the interior. Croatia’s second largest city deftly balances the ancient with the modern, with architecture from the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods to be found among gleaming office blocks and shopping centres. The city’s main attraction, Diocletian’s Palace, contains the remains of more than 200 buildings, as well as many thriving restaurants and bars.
Old Town - The maze of medieval streets that make up the old town encompass the monumental Diocletian’s Palace, and wandering around this area can sometimes feel like being in an huge open air museum were it not for the incredible buzz of activity, from busy local markets to restaurants selling fresh seafood dishes.
Veli Varos - If you’re going to get lost anywhere in Split, do it in Veli Varos. A charming rabbit warren of pedestrian streets leading up Marjan Hill, this area was originally home to fishermen, farmhands and peasants: you’ll find here authentic scenes of Dalmatian life here.
Bacvice - Close to the main bus station, Bacvice is one of the liveliest areas of Split, with an extended network of bars, restaurants and clubs ensuring the party goes on well into the night. Bacvice also has a dreamy beach, although you’ll need wake up early to find a good spot.
Marjan - A forested area on the southwest of the peninsula, Marjan is popular with outdoor sports enthusiasts who have easy access to hikes and mountain biking trails. It’s quiet, but the views are spectacular.
Exploring the beautifully preserved Diocletian’s Palace in Split is a must, but for a different perspective, fans of Game of Thrones can take a tour of the various locations here that were used in filming the hit show. Another key sight is the immense cathedral of St Domnius, initially built as Diocletian’s crypt. Spend some time down on the Riva: the seafront promenade, lined with palm trees and restaurants, has become one of the city’s most attractive spots.
A guided walking tour of Split is the best way to discover the history and culture of the city, as well as seeing the architectural highlights, but it can build up quite an appetite. Luckily, some enterprising gourmets have launched foodie tours that showcase Dalmatian olive oil, considered by some to be among the best in the world, and a few local wines, not to mention some delicious traditional dishes such as Adriatic anchovies and octopus salad. Split is a fantastic place to visit at any time of year but in July there is the added attraction of the renowned Split Music Festival.