Split Croatia is a perfect destination for a solo traveler. Its Mediterranean climate makes for a very pleasant stay for at least six months a year.
It is also a popular sailing, surfing and other adrenaline filled sports destination. Split’s beaches are beautiful and pristine.
If you’re a solo traveler thinking about visiting this destination, a complete guide to Split includes all the information you need!
Firstly, why should you visit Split?
What makes Split a particular fun place to visit is Split’s bustling old town, with beautiful ancient alleyways, that turn into a party at night, with many outdoor picturesque bars. And when I said many—I meant Split has thousands of café-bars all over!
Even if you are not into nightlife, there are still some very pleasant experiences for you in the old town both during the day and in the early evening.
The best thing to do during the day is to get lost in the labyrinth of pretty ancient alleyways. It doesn’t matter through which gate you will enter the old city; either Golden, Iron, Bronze or Silver Gate, you will be pinching yourself to make sure the beauty you are seeing in front of you is real! Or that you’re still in the 21st century, as the alleys and square there will trick you into thinking you got time transported to about 1600 years earlier. The feeling is both mind-boggling and awesome! 🙂
You probably should know some basic history of Split, and here it is.
Brief history of Split
While some settlement founded by Greeks existed at some distant point of time, Split was not mentioned before the Emperor Diocletian decided to build his retirement home there. In 295 AD Diocletian Palace’s construction has started and lasted 10 years. Emperor Diocletian was the most successful ruler of Dalmatia.
Even after retirement, Diocletian had to perform some ruling duties. So, besides his luxurious apartment quarters to the south of the complex and the Palace, many other buildings came to creation. Diocletian complex even had a military garrison in the north.
Symbolic heart of Diocletian’s Palace is the Peristyle (local name – Perestile). Peristyle used to be the main square, but now it is just a lovely courtyard and the crossing point of all the major streets.
Peristyle is also a place of two black granite sphinx, imported from Egypt. Peristyle has some other uses for the activities I will suggest later, so it’s a good idea to remember this name.
One side of Peristyle is backed by The Cathedral of St. Domnius (local name—st Duje), the tallest building in old Split.
This Cathedral is a complex of three unique structures. The octagonal part of the building, with Corinthian columns above it, was ordinally served as a Diocletian’s mausoleum. There is a museum now and I recommend visiting it (details at the end of the history brief).
Diocletian wasn’t Catholic, so the cathedral as we see it now, is a result of the later remodeling. The tallest part of the cathedral called Bell tower.
What Pegan Diocletian has built for religious purposes was The Temple of Jupiter. It was later turned into The Baptistry.
One more place you need to know about is Narodni trg, or People’s square. Narodni trg replaced Peristyle as the main square. You will find a lot of restaurants here and a beautiful 15th century Town hall. You can either have a bite or just have a stroll, and do people’s watching. The square is bustling with life and you will most likely see it many times during your wondering.
And the last square to mention is Trg Rebublike. There are lots of dining tables set up on the square in summer that look so inviting!
Trg Republike is surrounded on three sides. If you walk toward the 4th open side of the square, you will walk into the Riva—seaside complex with cafes and shops I will mention later. To your right, there will be a beautiful fountain worth watching for a while.
Knowing all the key names will help you get better oriented in Split. The old town Split is not a large place and you don’t need the directions to anything other than some hidden restaurants and bars I will tell you about later.
Below are the links to some mentioned places and some other museums.
A guide to Split
Museums and galleries of Split
While you can buy separate tickets to different buildings, I recommend buying one combined museum ticket The Cathedral + The Baptistery (the temple of Jupiter) + The Crypt (where Diocletian body used to be displayed) for 25 kn ($3.50 for all 3 together).
But if you also want to go to the top of the bell tower, you can either buy a ticket to it separately, or get another combined ticket for 45 kn ($6.30 for all 5) – The Cathedral + The Baptistery + The Bell Tower + The Treasury + The Crypt.
Here are links to more info on exploring the museums and galleries in Split:
What to do in the old town Split early in the evening
Early in the evening, when the crowds that arrive on sea cruises leave the town and the sun goes down, Peristyle turns into a live music concert place. You can buy something to eat and drink from Luxor bar there, the food is decent and fairly inexpensive (seafood pasta comes highly recommended by many). Or you can just bring your own wine (or juice) and dance on the square floor.
The music is supposed to start at 8 pm, but it is often late to start.
If you don’t plan to take part in nightlife, you can just wonder around the old city labyrinth of ancients’ streets some more, as they look even prettier at night with newly eliminated walls and life music echoing through the streets. Split is a safe city and walking alone at night is totally fine!
Hopefully you will be staying either inside the city walls, or right outside of them. But I will explain where to stay in more details later! For now, let’s see what else the city is offering at night.
Nightlife and drinking in Split
If you are interested in meeting people and seeing the city’s coolest bars and clubs, you can go on a pub crawl with Tower Pub Crawl.
The meeting location is exactly where you will be dancing on the square–Peristyle – from 9 to 10 pm. Look for the green umbrella.
Pub crawls take place every night during summer and many people show up! The price is 180 Kn, ($26) if bought from TripAdviser and 150 Kn directly from the website or at the tour. It includes free unlimited drinks during the first 2 hours in the first bar, a beer-pong game, free pizza, VIP entrance to the clubs, and a free shot at an open-air club, plus a welcoming shot at the Bacvice beach club, where the party ends.
The party goes from 9pm to 5 am.
If you would rather have a quieter experience, you have quite a few options for that as well. I will list a couple here, but you can find bars all over the town.
- Academia club Getto is a bohemian bar and very popular with locals. It is gay friendly. It has beautiful decorations, friendly staffs and a great choice of music. Drinks are not always the best, and cost around $10, which is expensive for Split, and there are not so many choices for non-alcoholic drinks. But the best draw is the atmosphere and the music.
- For a luxury experience there is Cornaro Rooftop bar. 8 am-1 am. It’s located right outside off of the city walls, overlooking the old town. It is a cool place, though relatively expensive. The rooftop bar has a small jacuzzi, nice cocktails and a superb view makes the pricy cocktails worth it!
Where to stay in Split
You will most likely want to book a hotel according to what is on sale at the time on Booking or Google, but you need to know some general facts.
Booking inside the old town will be more expensive than booking outside the old town. Your best bet is right outside the old town city walls! It’s close to everything, but cheaper.
Some people prefer to stay around Bačvice beach area. That makes sense if you plan to spend a lot of time at the beach. You can find some affordable B&Bs and rooms for booking there.
Expect the prices to be much higher June throughout September. But you can get a decent price if you book far ahead. The majorities of choices will come from private rooms offered by the locals. Locals who rent out legally list their places on Booking and other agencies.
You should be able to book a room for about 50 euros in summer, if you book far out. The hotels options are limited in summer, as Split gets very crowded.
I will list a few of the most useful in my opinion for where to stay in Split, including one of the most budget friendly options.
Marmontova Luxury Rooms and Apartments
Most Budget-Friendly: Silver Central Hostel
Camping accommodation in Split, Croatia
Camping Stobrec is not your average backpackers hang out.
It is almost entirely made up of European families and retirees travelling Europe soaking up the fantastic sunshine.
Don’t let this put you off though, with Split a fifteen-minute bus ride away, great little beach bars for meeting the local Croatians right on your doorstep and a gorgeous beach a 15-metre stroll from your tent – Camping Stobrec is a hidden gem in one of Croatia’s most bustling ports.
Camping Stobrec is situated 5km approximately from Split with a bus stop right outside the campsite with buses all through the day and late into the evening. Taxis are also readily available if you are coming back from partying early in the morning and because of the lack of Euro (they use Kuna in Croatia) taxis were a great price!
Stobrec is a small fishing village situated just outside of Split with its own harbour and own set of restaurants with fantastic sea food on offer and very friendly locals.
The campsite is situated in a forest, which means plenty of room to camp under the trees away from the glowing heat of the sun in the middle of the day and surrounded by the sea on both sides which also means a refreshing breeze blows through camp for most part of the day.
There are great facilities at the campsite with lots of toilets, showers with hot water, sinks, laundry sinks, a fantastic convenience store, restaurant, washing and drying facilities for clothes, internet access and most importantly a gorgeous beach, which whilst we were there was almost completely empty 95% of the time.
The restaurant is in a fantastic location a 5 minute walk along the beach and situated in what feels like a ship’s crow’s nest surrounded by the sea with the forest to the rear – the most magical place to watch gorgeous Croatian sunsets with a chilled beer in your hand.
Camping Stobrec offers a great selection of accommodation from the pricey (mobile homes) to the budget (tents), we stayed in a tent at the height of season which cost approximately 5 euro a night for the tent and 5 euro per person.
The ground is stony although you can buy mats in the convenience store for next to nothing and there are lots of friendly Croatians around with mallets for pegs and tin openers – very handy for the average backpacker! I believe the measure of a good beach and location is the amount of locals using it, and this beach come 3pm when most Croatians sack off work and come out of school is filled with kids using the diving board and families paddling in the shallows.
Camping Stobrec is great as a cheap base to explore Split and before moving onto the islands such as Hvar which are dotted around the coast but is also a brilliant place to relax, sunbathe, swim and snorkel as a break from heavy cultural sightseeing.
Split restaurant guide
There are restaurants and cafes all over town, so you won’t be left hungry. I will list some that stand out, in my opinion.
Zalogajnica Dioklacen, is the only original place in the touristic city of the old town Split. Go here for the atmosphere, not for the nightlife, though! It’s a quiet place.
This old bistro located in the back of the ancient palace with a sea and promenade view. It is a very cozy and refreshing place between the old stone walls, and it will provide you with a memorable experience and a delicious local meal.
Finding it can be tricky, though. This place is adjusted to Academia, the bohemian bar I told you about in my night-life section.
The meals are inexpensive compared to tourist bars. Here are some examples; coffee–$1, a small glass of wine–$1, 1l bottle of wine–$10, pivo (beer) $ 2-3, the stronger drinks are more expensive.
The address is: Dosud ulica 9, 21000, Split, Croatia
Locals believe that this is the best pizza place it town! This pizzeria uses a professional oven and their delicious pizzas are decently priced around 65-95 kn. It has music and sometimes a live DJ. Located outside the city wall, a short walk to the west from Trg Republike.
This place serves excellent meals in a typical Dalmatian konoba.
The most popular dish there is the grilled fish plate with a variety of fresh-caught fish. Among other typical Dalmatian plates popular there are; octopus plate, shrimp risotto, mussels, the homemade pasta with shrimp and truffle sauce, and many more!
There are restaurants and cafes all over town, so you won’t be left hungry.
Day-time activity guide to Split
Here are a few ideas of what to get up to during the day in Split. For more ideas, check out this post on things to do in Split.
The Riva is a popular place both with locals and tourists alike. There is a row of cafes there and it’s a great place for leisure people watching. Or you can sit on many benches and eat/drink whatever you bought from a supermarket, overlooking stunning views over the Adriatic.
Speaking of supermarkets. There are quite a few around there. Just type ‘supermarket near me’ on the phone and you will find one nearby. The prices are decent and it’s a great option for a budget traveler.
Stroll the waterfront
After checking out Riva you can take a waterfront walk, to admire yachts parked along the sidewalk. No yachts are the same and there is always some kind of activity going on there. It’s a great place for both yachts and people watching! And it’s always a pleasure to be by the sea and Adriatic Sea is so beautiful!
You will find a few food carts during your stroll by the bus station. This activity can take around 1-2 hours.
Go to the beach
There are many beautiful beaches in Split, in fact, at least 10 or more, but I will list my 3 favorite beaches.
1. Bacvice Beach
Bačvice Beach is the local family’s favorite, located close to the city center by the port. This is a sandy beach, which is rare for Split, as other beaches were made with gravel. Bačvice beach is huge and has many facilities and services, and plenty of places to eat, with many cafes and restaurants in Bačvice pavilion.
You will find many fun water sports activities here as well, including stand up paddleboarding. Details are at the bottom of this article.
You will also see many facilities for kids, with swarms of kids running around, so consider yourself warned! 🙂 And if you don’t think this is very desirable, there are at least two other wonderful beaches as well.
2. Znjan beach
Walk 4 km to the east (or use a bus 7 or 8) and you will find Znjan beach. The beach was laid out with pebble and gravel fairly recently and it’s even larger than Bačvice beach. Some people find gravel more preferable to sand, as sand gets everywhere, where it is not supposed to be.
However, if you would prefer something closer to town, I have even a better suggestion for you!
3. Zvončac Cove
This might be the best option for a solo traveler and this is one of the best kept local secrets.
Zvončac Cove is located a short walk west from Trg Republic. You will pass a small marina with a swimming pool. At the tip you will find a very cool Adriatic bar and this place is adjusted to it.
This is not quite a beach, as it is located below a concrete strip built on Dalmatian sea rocks. But they have beach chairs, reclining lounge chairs, for which you may or may or not be charged for, or just bring your towel to lie down.
There is a protective rope over the swimming area to protect swimmers. There are also two ladders to enter the sea. Locals love jumping from the rocks, though.
This is a very fun place, and you can eat at the bar. It can get very packed, so come early or late and watch a sunset. You will make lots of new friends!
Hike Marjan peninsula
If you tire of the city crowds, you can go to Marjan hill.
It offers many activities; a wonderful view of Split from above, many hiking trails, including paved trails, a very atmospheric café-restaurant Teraca Vidilica, where you can either eat or have a cup of coffee or a drink.
If you have over 2 hours to spend, go farther down the road to check out very unusual structures of Holy Jerome (Jere) Church. There is a climbing tour held there (details in the adventure sport section).
But if you only have 2 hours, you can visit a small zoo or walk around and sit in café Vidilica for a while, looking at the city.
Adventure for sports-minded travelers in Split
Split offers many adrenaline pumping adventures, from kite boarding, cannoning, exploring the underwater life or the mountain roads on a bike.
You don’t have to book on-line. There are booths along the pier and on the beach where you can book these tours.
Popular tours include:
- Ziplining. This small-group Ziplining tour will take you into the backcountry to experience 6 different zip lines and even a suspension bridge closing! Price starts at around $78. You will meet your guide in central Split.
- Parasailing. You can find this activity on Znjan beach. The company – Watersports Split has a booth there. The price for this activity starts from 49 euros for about 10-15 minutes of parasailing. You will fly over the clear waters and see Split from a different perspective,
- and also discover the bay of the Blue lagoon. There are 4 tours a day.
- Rock Climbing. Mountain adventure that comes with the safety measures of using helmets, climbing harness, and shoes. It will take about 3 hours to climb 30 meters of a rock around Otis.
So, as you can see there are many fun activities for a solo traveler in Split. I would suggest spending at least 2-3 days in summer and 1-2 days if you arrive when it’s too cold to swim. Have fun – I hope this guide to Split helps with your travel planning!