Split

Croatia’s second city is in many ways a city of two halves. On the one hand, it is an ancient and historic place, with ruins dating back to the Roman Empire, and on the other, it is a modern and cosmopolitan city, with a bustling marina and thriving nightlife. The largest city in the Dalmatian region, Split lies on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea and is spread over a central peninsula.

Why cruise Split

With its stunning coastline and crystal clear waters, the best way to see Croatia is by boat. Croatia’s second largest city Split, which lies on the eastern shore of the Adriatic, offers something for every cruise traveller, complete with national parks, beautiful beaches, and historic sites. It is therefore no surprise that it is one of the most popular ports of call on an Eastern Mediterranean and Adriatic cruise itinerary.

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What to see and do in Split

Diocletian’s Palace

Game of Thrones fan will no doubt recognise Diocletian’s Palace, having been used in various key scenes throughout the hit TV show. The ancient palace, situated in the old town of Split (a Unesco World Heritage Site), was built for the eponymous Roman Emperor at the turn of the fourth century AD. Bearing more resemblance to a fortress than a palace, the vast structure features four formidable gates, towering walls and a central courtyard. Entrance to the palace is free unless you wish to see the excavated remains of the basement, for which you’ll need a ticket. After you’ve wandered the grounds, visit the pazar (open-air market), located next door.

Temple of Jupiter

Located in the western part of Diocletian’s Palace near the Peristil square, the temple, dedicated to the Roman god of sky and thunder, was built at the same time as the palace was being constructed, between 295 and 305. Before the entrance to the temple is one of the 12 sphinxes brought from Egypt by Emperor Diocletian.

Saint Domnius Cathedral

Another historic landmark of Split, Saint Domnius is one of the oldest Catholic cathedrals in the world that remains in use in its original structure. Formerly Emperor Diocletian’s mausoleum built in AD 305, it was converted into a church in the seventh century and today stands as Split’s cathedral. The adjoining bell tower is the only part that’s not original, dating from the 12th century, but offers spectacular views of the old town from the top.

Saint Domnius Cathedral

Another historic landmark of Split, Saint Domnius is one of the oldest Catholic cathedrals in the world that remains in use in its original structure. Formerly Emperor Diocletian’s mausoleum built in AD 305, it was converted into a church in the seventh century and today stands as Split’s cathedral. The adjoining bell tower is the only part that’s not original, dating from the 12th century, but offers spectacular views of the old town from the top.

Meštrović Gallery

Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović left this villa – which he built as his summer home and studio on the Marjan peninsula west of Split in the 1920s – to the state when he died and it has since been turned into a gallery housing his works, including more than 200 sculptures, along with drawings, design, furniture and architecture. The gallery is situated close by to the restored chapel Kaštelet-Crikvine, which houses a set of wooden wall panels carved by Meštrović and is also worth a visit.

Riva

Running along the side of Diocletian's Palace, this bustling waterfront promenade is today lined with cafes, restaurants, palm trees and shaded benches. With views out to the Adriatic, it is the perfect place for a stroll or a coffee break. The promenade is often also used as a venue for cultural and entertainment events, including the annual Split Carnival.

Trogir

If you have time, then a visit to the medieval town of Trogir is a must. A 40-minute drive away from Split, the Unesco World Heritage Site sits on a tiny island sheltered by medieval walls and is home to a number of historic sites, the most famous of which is the Cathedral of St Lawrence with a Romanesque portal depicting scenes of the Nativity and Adam and Eve. The narrow cobbled streets of the town are home to historic stone buildings, while the seaside promenade is lined with cafes and bars.

Krka National Park

An hour’s drive from Split is the beautiful Krka National Park. A perfect day out for the whole family, the park is home to a large, emerald-green pool that’s fed by 17 cascading waterfalls (the most famous of which is the Skradinski Buk falls). Other attractions include  the small island of Visovac, home to a 15th century monastery, and Roski Slap waterfall.

Need to know when travelling to Split

Getting around in Split

Cruise ships dock at Split port, which is 10-minute walk from the pedestrian-only old town. This is where most of the city’s historic attractions can be found. Buses will take you to attractions outside of Split, including Trogir and Krka National Park, or you can take a taxi or rent a car.

When to go to Split

The best times to visit Croatia and its city Split are May and June and September and October when the weather is warm and there are fewer tourists. July and August are high season and can be very hot and crowded.

Currency

Croatia uses the kuna. ATMS can be found around the city of Split.

Visas

UK visitors do not need a visa to enter Croatia for less than 90 days.

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