How to spend one day in Split, Croatia
Split has transformed from a stopover for tourists to a vibrant tourist destination, and is now one of the most sought-after places to visit in Croatia. Situated in the midst of the Dalmatian Coast.
Split serves as a perfect base for exploring Croatia, and is a crucial transport hub and port city. With its location on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea, Split boasts mesmerizing views and stunning landscapes.
Also it is famous for its beaches and ancient Roman ruins, particularly the Diocletian’s Palace that is located in the heart of the Old Town.
Exploring the many treasures inside the palace is one of the most popular activities.
There are plenty of attractions to discover, from its rich history to the landmarks from Game of Thrones, which will make your visit even more exciting.
This is a typical Mediterranean city that exudes a small-town charm, with bustling streets and friendly locals.
Visiting Split under five hours
We arrived at our first stop during our cruise vacation and docked at 8 a.m.
However, nothing onshore opened before 9-10 a.m. and we had to be back on the ship by 2 p.m. Fortunately, the market opened at 6:30 a.m.
It took us around 15-20 minutes to walk from the ship to the city town center.
We then stopped at the Tourist Information Center to get a map of the city. The girl at the center was very nice and helpful.
When visiting the charming city of Split, Croatia, it’s possible to experience a number of worthwhile attractions and activities in just under five hours.
Split has a rich history dating back to the Roman Empire and this is reflected in the many culturally-rich sites you can explore during your visit. One such popular attraction is Diocletian’s Palace, an ancient palace built by the Roman emperor Diocletian himself which is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Other must-visit places include the Cathedral of Saint Domnius, the ancient city walls, and the Riva waterfront promenade. You can also experience the local culture and way of life by strolling through the bustling markets in the Old Town area, sampling delicious seafood and local wines in one of the many restaurants, or simply soaking up the sun on the beaches nearby.
Whatever you choose to do, Split is sure to delight all of your senses in under five hours.
Table of Contents
8 Best Things to See In Split
The Green Market
As we were heading towards the city center, we stumbled upon the “green market”. If you want to immerse yourself in the local life, you should visit this vibrant outdoor market.
You can find a wide variety of fresh produce including herbs, cheeses, meats, honey, and various Croatian delicacies. The market is a feast for the senses with its vibrant colours, alluring aromas, and rich flavours.
In addition to the food stalls, there are also artisanal stalls selling souvenirs and trinkets. We even managed to find some good-quality linen clothes at a reasonable price.
The Old Town - The People's Square Or The Fruit Square
To truly experience the old city, I recommend exploring on foot for at least a few hours. Start at Pjaca square, where the old town hall overlooks a sophisticated plaza with shiny marble tiles and outdoor cafes.
Fruit Square is another must-see spot, named after the market that used to be held there centuries ago. You’ll find plenty of beautiful Renaissance architecture here, remnants of Split’s Venetian era.
The buildings’ splendid Baroque architecture makes Fruit Square one of the most beautiful squares not only in the city, but in the entire region.
Fruit Square got its nickname because people from the surrounding villages used to sell their fruit and vegetables there. Although there are no more stalls, you can still enjoy a fruit salad or a smoothie made with fresh local produce.
The People’s Square, also known as Pjaca, is a buzzing central spot filled with places to rest, meet, and eat. The square is overlooked by a Romanesque clock and features charming cafeterias.
In front of the palace, you will find a statue of Marko Marulić, a 15th-century poet. The statue, created by Ivan Mestrovic, stands in the Fruit Square. Marulić was a Croatian national poet and Renaissance humanist. It is an image of preserved Croatia.
Split Ethnographic Museum
The historic Town Hall, built in the Gothic style, has been converted into an Ethnographic museum. It is the oldest museum of its kind in Croatia and one of the most fascinating museums to visit in Split.
Situated inside the old palace, this museum is one of the most important and frequently visited in Split. The collection of cultural and museum activities is associated with the Papalic palace, which houses the Museum of the City of Split.
The Ethnographic Museum showcases a variety of objects from the Dalmatia region and beyond. It boasts valuable collections of folk costumes, jewelry, weapons, household items, and traditional handicrafts. The embroidered costumes are displayed in reconstructed rooms of typical peasant houses.
Don’t miss the collection of medieval weaponry, and take some time to explore the dining room on the first floor, which is furnished just as it was a long time ago. This museum is worth a thorough visit.
**Museum 3 euros entrance
Peristil Square/Diocletian’s Palace/St. Duje's Cathedral
The architecture in old Split is truly enchanting. It’s fascinating to see how the ancient buildings have been repurposed over time. The most notable example is Split’s cathedral, which was originally Diocletian’s mausoleum. The central part of this structure dates back to 350 AD, making St. Duje’s the oldest cathedral building in the world.
Additionally, make sure to check out the cathedral’s Romanesque wooden doors, which have remained unaltered since 1200.
The construction of the bell tower began in the first half of the 13th century, and it stands at a height of 60 meters. When climbing the bell tower, be cautious of the slippery stone steps and low ceiling. To make the most of your visit, start with the treasury, where you’ll find abundant information spread across three floors.
This church, dating back to the fourth century,although smaller than other cathedrals, it is a remarkable architectural wonder in its own right.
Fascinating place! It’s definitely worth a visit, although I think it’s a bit overpriced at €15. The things you can see for free are just as impressive and interesting as the parts you have to pay for.
Just a heads up, the Cathedral and the bell tower close around 7 p.m. Also, be careful when climbing the bell tower as the stone steps tend to be rather slippery, and the ceiling is quite low.
You cannot miss them. These three places are located in the same area.
Diocletian’s Palace is a unique and well-preserved 4th-century complex that combines Diocletian’s retirement villa with remnants of a large military camp.
The palace is so grand that it feels more like a citadel than a palace. You’ll find surprises around every corner, and you can even walk on the original Roman streets that are still paved with their original stones.
The palace is a UNESCO-listed site and a popular location for filming movies and TV shows, such as Game of Thrones.
Peristil Square is a historic Roman court with impressive ancient architecture. The square has excellent acoustics, and during summer, it’s a perfect venue for theater or opera performances. You can also find two 3,500-year-old Egyptian sphinxes that were brought to the city by Diocletian.
The Peristyle is a spacious square that connects the northern and southern parts of the city, and it’s an excellent example of how the palace was converted. The ancient pillars have facades of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque buildings and palaces embedded inside them.
A former octagonal imperial mausoleum has been turned into a cathedral, and it now has a Romanesque bell tower.
Old Split is also worth exploring. It’s a wonderful medieval walled city with narrow streets and surprises around every corner.
Statue of Grgur Ninski
Upon exiting the Golden Gate of the old city, you will come across an impressive statue that holds great importance – the statue of Grgur Ninski, a 10th-century bishop who conducted religious services in the Croatian language, defying the pope.
Visitors to the statue often rub Ninski’s big toe for good luck!
If you’re interested in taking a picture with soldiers, they will happily take any spare change you have and snap a photo with you – it’s a fun experience. I never did that before lol…
Exploring outside the gate
Going out the city gate and passing the Grgur Ninski Statue, you will have shops and a restaurant. This area is also home to several shops, a park, and restaurants, offering visitors a unique perspective of Split.
While exploring, we stumbled upon a restaurant named “Gallery” with excellent food and reasonable price (12.20 euros for two people).
It was a beautiful day with a mix of sun and clouds and a temperature between 20-22°C. Despite the stormy clouds, the day was beautiful. We enjoy this beautiful place.