Travel tips

The 5 Best Things to Do in Split

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As the second largest city in Croatia and the largest on the country’s coastline, Split is a popular tourist destination famed for its Roman ruins, awe-inspiring natural beauty, and phenomenal architecture.

The mediaeval city, dating back to 295AD, has witnessed the growth and fall of major empires in Europe, with its ancient fortresses, structures, and ruins living to tell the tale.

For real ‘Game of Thrones’ fans, it won’t be surprising to hear that the city of Split was also a backdrop for one of the biggest TV shows in history, with many of its sights serving as sets for the iconic series.

Not only did it draw the hit series through its walls, but hundreds of thousands of tourists flock to its paved streets lined with stone-coloured houses every year. And being home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites as well as a fascinating historic centre with a breathtaking coastline, it’s no wonder.

Marvel at the city and its red-roofed buildings, vibrant curved turquoise coastline, with a backdrop of the towering mountainous landscape during your next visit. And when it comes to deciding what you want to do whilst you’re here, we’ve got you covered.

In this article, we’ve created a list of the best things to do in Split to give you our favourite recommendations in this historic city so that you can have the most memorable holiday possible.

Marvel At Diocletian’s Palace

Dating back to the fourth century AD, Diocletian’s Palace is a beautifully preserved Roman fortress found in Split city centre built for Emperor Diocletian during his reign in Split. There’s no palace in the world quite like it!

As one of Split’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the palace is more similar to a citadel than a palace. When considering what to do in Split, it’s without a doubt that the Diocletian’s Palace is worth a visit.

The palace has been a backdrop for the iconic HBO series ‘Game of Thrones’, with a number of its scenes being filmed within its walls. It’s such a huge complex that it actually makes up roughly half of the Old Town of Split.

Diocletian’s Palace’s imposing presence dominates Split city centre and is known throughout the world as one of the most iconic ancient Roman structures still in existence, and is considered to be the heart and soul of the city. The streets within the palace weave and wind as if a labyrinth, filled with bars, shops, and people.

Be sure to soak up the sight not only from inside its walls but from outside. Admire its incredible stone arches and columns and its sheer size from the waterfront and surroundings of the city.

The palace is open every day all day, as an accessible and working area of Split. Should you be looking to visit particular parts of the palace, however, such as the Peristil and bell tower, researching specific opening hours and prices before you visit is advised.

Diocletian’s Palace
Diocletian’s Palace

See Peristil Square

The Peristil Square, also known as Peristyle Square, is one of the top things to see in Split that shouldn’t be left off anyone’s agenda. You’ll find it in none other than the Diocletian’s Palace.

The square itself is a courtyard area located in front of the entranceway to the palace, acting as a gateway into one of the most iconic parts of the city. The open part of the square has been used by the residents of Split to host boutiques, bars, and eateries, attracting many locals and tourists alike.

You’ll witness another part of history adding to the rich and diverse past of Split in Peristil Square. Parts of the surrounding buildings and structures are built from marble imported from Italy and Egypt over the centuries. Fascinating artefacts adorn the square, such as a black sphynx from Egypt taken by Diocletian’s army during the city’s Roman rule.

Take A Stroll Through Split’s Old Town

Visiting Split’s historic old centre will give you an authentic taste of the history that this city has to offer. Meander through its beautiful cobblestone streets lined with gorgeous renaissance buildings, all of which tell their own unique story.

Some architecture stands from Split’s Venetian period, others from its Roman rule. All the buildings boast equally mesmerising features that are bound to leave you in awe as you explore the ancient town.

Expect a maze of narrow streets and alleyways that transport you on a journey into Split’s diverse past. At every turn, you’ll find shops, eateries, and ice cream stores for you to dip into as you explore the area.

Guaranteeing an atmospheric experience, visiting the Old Town is without question a must when considering things to do in Split. The entire old town is pedestrianised, so it’s ideal and easy to explore on foot, and there is plenty of accommodation in the area when considering places to stay.

Old Town, Split

Visit Ivan Meštrović Gallery and Statue

One of the most significant figures in Split’s diverse history, Ivan Meštrović is a 20th-century sculptor, writer, and architect. Arguably the most famous sculptor in all of Croatia, Ivan prompted an artistic movement in the country.

If you’re intrigued to learn more about Ivan and his work, the Ivan Meštrović Gallery, located in Split’s city centre, holds the largest collection of his works to date. The gallery has nearly 200 sculptures and sketches, architectural plans, and more from the artist.

Originally, the gallery was designed as a home by Ivan himself and was only recently opened to the public in 1998, after being devastated during the Yugoslav war. As well as the impressive contents indoors, outside in the sculpture garden, visitors can explore and admire the extensive sculptures and statues created by the artist.

The gallery is closed on Mondays but open from Tuesdays to Sundays from 9 am until 7 pm. Adult ticket prices cost 40 Croatian Kuna (around £4.50) with discounted prices available for families, pensioners, and school pupils.

Climb Up The Campanile At Saint Domnius Cathedral

Another one of Split’s most iconic landmarks is Saint Domnius Cathedral; the city’s Catholic cathedral and the seat of the Archdiocese of Split-Makarska. It was built in the 4th century in an ancient Romanesque style and is located in the centre of the Diocletian’s Palace, originally serving as the Mausoleum of the Roman Emperor Diocletian.

Now, it’s one of the most well-preserved ancient Roman structures to date, with a beautiful, ornate build that will have you in awe. As it is located in the Diocletian’s mausoleum, this makes it the second oldest structure in the world that is still functioning as a Christian cathedral, and the oldest Catholic cathedral with its original structure in the entire world.

Dominating the city’s skyline, the Campanile is the bell tower of the old cathedral. Despite being a much later addition, the Romanesque-style tower is an equally impressive addition to the city’s major landmark and was built between the 13th and 16th centuries.

For those looking for unrivalled panoramic views of the city from above, you can head to new heights 57m above the ground by climbing the tower and overlooking the waves of red-roofed buildings fringing the shimmering Adriatic sea.

The Campanile can be climbed with a ticket separate from that of the Cathedral, with ticket prices costing around 15 Croatian Kuna (around £1.70). It’s open from 8 am until 7 pm from Monday to Saturday and 12:30 pm until 6:30 pm on Sundays.

Campanile at St Domnius Cathedral


It’s not hard to realise why Split is one of Croatia’s most popular destinations. The Adriatic gem is a wondrous coastal location filled with ancient ruins and cultural sights encompassed in spectacular Croatian scenery, and has something that appeals to every type of traveller.

Whether you’re travelling solo, with friends or family, or looking for a romantic escape with your partner, there’s ample opportunity from the offerings of things to do in Split that will entice, excite, and surprise you, guaranteeing your unforgettable European getaway.

For more information about planning a holiday to Split, why not read our guides on the best time to visit and the best things to do in the city?

If you’re planning a visit to Split and are looking for somewhere to stay in the area, Vida Villas has a fantastic selection of accommodation to choose from. Browse our range here, or get in touch and talk to our team about what you’re looking for.