These are the best-kept secrets of traveling in Split, Croatia.
Beyond its beautiful beaches and turquoise sea, Split, Croatia is full of off-the-beaten-path attractions and local secrets. This pretty harborside city on the Adriatic Sea in Croatia is home to the spectacular Diocletian’s Palace and is a gateway to famous islands like Hvar and Korcula. But no trip to Split is complete without spending a couple of days exploring these under-the-radar finds.
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Explore the Basement Halls of Diocletian's Palace
Once you’ve explored the tiny streets of Diocletian’s Palace, take the steps down to the basement halls to explore the underground passages below. Made famous in Game of Thrones as the location where Daenerys kept her dragons, the palace’s substructures give a good idea of the original floor plan of the residential quarters above during the emperor’s time. The palace was built around 295 A.D., but the cellars were only excavated in 1956. Although there are more than 50 rooms, not all of them have been excavated yet.
Have Dinner Cooked From the Produce You Choose at Pazar and Peskarija
The morning markets—Pazar (the farmer’s market) and Peškarija (the fish market)—are at the heart of life in Split, where both locals and visitors come to mingle with people selling produce from Dalmatia and freshly-caught seafood from the Adriatic. In the morning, head chef Nicola from Hotel Park will bring guests to both of the markets to select tasty fresh ingredients and a mix of the best seafood of the day, which he will then prepare at the hotel chef’s table for a unique dinner.
Find the Best Place in Split to Watch the Sunset at Marjan Hill
Sunsets over the Adriatic Sea are a treat. One of the best places in Split to watch catch the sunset is from the top of Marjan Hill, which looks down over the city. Walk up the set of stone steps leading up to the hill from the Varoš neighborhood, and you’ll find a lovely viewpoint at Teraca Vidilica café bar. Keeping going for another 20 or 30 minutes up the hill, passing some medieval churches on the way, and you will come to Telegrin Peak, which has spectacular views of the city and the Dalmatian Islands.
Explore the Klis Fortress, Which Is Set Into a Mountain Pass
Sitting high on a sheer rock face above a steep mountain road, 14km inland from the coast, Klis fortress has attracted many invaders over the years, from the Ottomans to the Venetians, all of whom left their mark. The fortress, with its series of grass-lined terraces and views down to the Dalmatian hinterland and the sea, was once the seat of Croatian kings, but Game of Thrones fans will recognize it from scenes of Mereen.
Sunbathe on Bene, the Best Beach on the Marjan Peninsula
Some of the best beaches in Split are on the south side of the Marjan peninsula at Marjan Forest Park. Bene Beach is a small eye-catching beach and is perfect for families, with tennis courts, a playground, lifeguards, and a nearby jogging track. You can get there either on foot or by bike. Take a picnic and make a day of it—if it gets too hot, there is shade under the trees—or bring a bottle of wine and stay for sunset.
Indulge in Nadalina, the Best Chocolate in Split
If you have never tasted dark chocolate with lavender, red pepper, or cinnamon, don’t leave Split without visiting Nadalina, a tiny chocolate shop in one of the narrow streets of Diocletian’s Palace. Here, handmade Dalmatian chocolates and pralines are created with delicious ingredients—look out for flavor combinations like Oriental Passion (dark chocolate with India nutmeg, ginger, mango, and cinnamon) or African Passion (dark chocolate with pine nuts, coconut, and pineapple) or even chocolate with dried fig and sweet wine.
Eat in Bokeria, a Former Hardware Store
Set among the tiny streets of the palace Bokeria Kitchen & Wine Bar was once a hardware store and is now a lively dining space buzzing with atmosphere. There are two different levels, plus seats outside for when the weather’s nice. The menu is Mediterranean, with starters like cold tomato soup with lobster tail, followed by mains like grilled amberjack or braised beef cheeks.
Eat in a Traditional Dalmatian Restaurant at Konoba Varos
There are lots of great restaurants in Split, but make sure to visit a traditional Dalmatian restaurant like Konoba Varoš (konoba means tavern), where fishing nets on the wall and checked tablecloths add to the rustic atmosphere. House specialties include Dalmatian smoked ham, scampi, octopus stew, and bread-crumbed frogs.
Dine From the Best Sea-View Terrace at Caffe-Restoran Dvor
Caffe-Restoran Dvor is home to the best terrace in town for eating outdoors with a view of the sea (and the food is pretty good too). House specialities include seafood and wood-grilled meats like octopus with chick pea cream and red pepper mayo, or Black Angus striploin with mushroom cream. If you’re still hungry, follow with a dessert like maraskina with maraschino cherry liqueur.
INSIDER TIPFor a table on the terrace, make sure to book in advance.
Find A Budget-Friendly Way to Get From the Airport
Split airport is 20km from the city. For a budget-friendly way to get from the airport to the city, take the shuttle bus, which goes to the main bus terminal at the harbour in split. The journey takes around 30 minutes and costs just 30kn (about €4). A taxi to the city costs around 250 or 300kn (about €33 to €40).