With more than 1,000 miles of coastline, Croatia is fast becoming one of the most popular destinations for a sun holiday. And you’ll find that the city of Split is perfectly placed by the seafront for making the most of the warm weather. But along with some great beaches, this thriving city also boasts a wealth of fascinating ancient ruins and historical museums.
Here’s just a selection of the best things to do in Split:
As the most iconic attraction of all the things to do in Split, Diocletian’s Palace has been casting a dazzling spell over the city ever since it was built back in the 4th century. Originally built for the Roman Emperor, Diocletian, this huge fortress is such a sprawling site, it still makes up half of Split Old Town today. Be sure to head to the peristyle – this centrepiece of the palace is embellished with ornate columns and stone-set balconies. You can freely wonder among this ancient structure, as modern shops have even set up place within the walls of this magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Cathedral of St Domnius
This cathedral has a dramatic history, due to the Christian persecutions carried out by the Roman Emperor, Diocletian. It was originally built as his mausoleum in AD 305, but his troubled past with the local Christian community led to it being transformed into a cathedral. Incredibly, it is now considered to be the world’s oldest Catholic cathedral that is still in use in its original form. Be sure to visit the treasury, which features relics from St Domnius and Romanesque artworks.
Klis Fortress is the ultimate example of an architectural structure blending into the might of nature. Dramatically perched on a colossal rock formation, the fortress rises from the craggy white stone to form carved, angular lines that cast sharp shadows on the hillside. Its elevated position was a key advantage in repelling the advance of the Ottomans and Venetians. Today, it’s one of the best things to do in Split because you can still wander around the ramparts and take in the magnificent views. Klis Fortress even served as a setting for the TV series Game of Thrones, where it was a stand-in for the city of Meereen.
Marjan Forest Park
With both Krka and Plitvice Lakes National Parks within travelling distance, the area of Split certainly isn’t short of a natural wonder or two. And here’s another – Marjan Forest Park. The benefit of this nature park is that it’s actually far closer to the urban sprawl of the city, peering high above the rooftops of Split. Its trails take in lush forestry filled with pines and tall, narrow cypress trees. After a wander past pretty chapels and hermit caves, you can take a well-earned break at the park’s Kasjuni Beach.
Here’s one of the more inspiring things to do in Split. Ivan Mestrovic was one Croatia’s most renowned modern sculptors, creating bold works of stone that display a diverse array of influences. Thankfully, he has left a lasting monument to his talent at the place he once called home. The Mestrovic Gallery exhibits many of the artist’s works both inside and outside in the spacious gardens. The elegant forms of his sculptures and statues sit beautifully before the grand, columned façade that serves as the entrance to the gallery.
This is the place to take in the stunning seafront of the city in its full glory. The wide, spacious layout of this pedestrianised promenade makes it a joy to stroll along, while watching boats bob on the gleaming water. Neat rows of swaying palm trees give it all the atmosphere of a coastal riviera, and you’ll probably want to stop by at the many shops, bars and restaurants that follow the pathway. The warm lighting and soft sheen of the waves mean it’s just as enchanting in the evening too.
Temple of Jupiter
Another ancient structure nestled within the walls of Diocletian’s Palace is Temple of Jupiter, which was built in dedication to the Roman god around 305 AD. At the entrance, a genuine ancient Egyptian sphinx stands guard, dating back around 3,000 years. Inside, you’ll see the intricate detail of the temple’s beautifully carved stonework.
Bacvice Beach is a true benefit of having a city by the seafront – you have a beach to retreat to whenever you fancy a break. This is one of the most accessible and, therefore, also one of the most popular. You can expect swathes of golden sand that lead to the translucent Adriatic waters. There’s also a concrete sunbathing platform as the beach can get pretty busy at times! Along with the glistening waves, you’ll have the lovely view of pine-lined headlands in the distance.
There isn’t just one beach in the city! This one is a little further west, but it’s worth the journey if you value peace and tranquillity as part of your break for the beach. Thanks to huge pine trees that peer over the water, you’ll have plenty of shade for respite from the bright sunshine Split often enjoys. Instead of boasting a sandy shoreline, the seafront features stone sunbathing platforms, while you can always place your towel under the trees nearby. And don’t forget, as Bene Beach is based in the west, it’s worth staying longer to see the saffron sunset sink into the serene waves.
The Archaeological Museum in Split reveals the sheer number of ancient finds that have been discovered in the region. It’s Split’s oldest museum too, established back in 1820. Among the 150,000 artefacts the museum holds, you’ll be wowed by the detailed stone friezes and statues, as well as colourful mosaics.
Posted: 19th Jan 2020.