The Best of Split

Split, a stunning walled city on the Adriatic Sea, is best known for the splendid palace erected by the Roman emperor Diocletian, and is well-loved for its traditions of easy living and great food. We’ve created a list of some of our favorite ways to spend the days here.

15 Trg Braće Radić
Running along the side of Diocletian’s Palace is the Riva, a seafront promenade lined with tall palm trees, bustling cafés, and shaded benches. Stretching from the bronze map of Split to the popular Marmontova shopping strip, it’s one of the busier places in town. Join the fashion-conscious locals gossiping over coffee at sunny cafés, or simply hang out here while you wait for your ferry to the islands.
This design hotel opened in Trogir near Split in 2016, bringing some modern sophistication to the mid–Dalmatian Coast. The stone building, once a tobacco warehouse, sits on a narrow channel that separates Ciovo Island from the mainland, so guests can arrange daylong sailing trips as well as crossings on a speedboat. The guest rooms have white-and-blue-patterned linens, silk rugs, and wood floors, plus marble-tiled baths with oversize tubs and showers. Also on-site is an airy library filled with art and design books, and a lounge where guests can play dominoes or billiards. The star of the show, however, is the sundeck, with its sea views, large lap pool, and white daybeds and umbrellas. At night, the shimmering blue light of the pool reflects off the hotel’s white stone walls, creating a serene place to wind down your day.
Šetalište Ivana Meštrovića 46, 21000, Split, Croatia
Ivan Meštrović was undoubtedly Croatia’s greatest sculptor. In 1952, he donated his magnificent summer residence located in the foothills of Marjan Forest Park to the state, along with many of his works. Located a mere 20-minute walk from Riva, the collection includes some 190 sculptures, along with 900 drawings, paintings and architectural plans.
5 Poljana Grgura Ninskog
A UNESCO World Heritage site, this 1,700-year-old palace sits on the Adriatic seafront, serving as the focal point of Split. It was built by the Roman emperor Diocletian as a seaside retirement home and has served as a refuge for many a conqueror over the centuries. Today, some 2,000 locals reside within the compound’s thick walls, making it a lively urban quarter. Getting lost in the labyrinth of surrounding streets is the best way to explore downtown Split—as you meander around, you’ll stumble across lively cafés and shops tucked into millennia-old buildings. Be sure to check out the Peristil, an imperial square framed by two colonnades, where Diocletian used to address the public. Towering above the square is Split’s major landmark—a 187-foot-tall belfry that you can climb for panoramic views of town.
Ul. Marka Marulića 2, 21000, Split, Croatia
A tribute to the zinfandel grape, which originated in Croatia, this restaurant and bar features a zin-centric wine list but also showcases regional favorites like Plavac and Dingač. Of its 100 wines, it offers about 30 by the glass, encouraging guests to taste their way through Croatia’s wine heritage. Pair your drinks with one of the restaurant’s three-tiered platters, which come loaded with Dalmatian bites, then settle in on the terrace for some live music. If you’re hungry for a full meal, opt instead for the five-course “Taste of Dalmatia” menu, which includes everything from seared Adriatic tuna and homemade oxtail ravioli to calamari stuffed with ricotta and sun-dried tomatoes. Come morning, Zinfandel also serves breakfast, which diners can pair with champagne or fig-flavored travarica, a local herb grappa.
Ul. Julija Nepota 1, 21000, Split, Croatia
This designer store stocks three popular Croatian women’s clothing and accessory brands: Chicks on Chic, Little Wonder and Dott. They also feature an ever-changing selection of quirky T-shirts with illustrations by local graphic designers. The shop’s open from April to November and again during the week before Christmas when they showcase a winter collection.
2 Peristil ulica
At the palace’s heart is Peristil, an imperial square flanked by two colonnades where Emperor Diocletian once addressed the public. Towering above the square is Split’s landmark, the 57-meter-tall belfry; climb up to take in stellar views over the town. The adjoining St. Domnius Cathedral is housed in an octagonal structure which was once the emperor’s mausoleum (which is rather ironic considering he was a persecutor of Christians).
15 Ulica kralja Tomislava
The recently renovated Gallery of Fine Arts showcases the evolution of the local art scene, exhibiting works from the 14th century to present day by masters such as Ivan Meštrović, Emanuel Vidović and Ignjat Job. Located just beyond the palace’s northern walls in a former hospital, the gallery also runs a series of seasonal exhibitions by contemporary artists.
Ul. Stari pazar 8, 21000, Split, Croatia
Just east of the palace is the city’s vibrant fruit and vegetable market where farmers from the hinterland come to sell fresh produce every day from sunrise to lunchtime. This is where locals stock up on supplies for the family table, ranging from seasonal fruits and vegetables to local prosciutto, nuts and jams. Encircling the market are souvenir and clothing stalls.
9 Dosud ulica
Officially named Zalogajnica Dioklecijan—but known only as Tri Volta to locals—this blue-collar hangout knocks out home-style lunches, moonshine grappa and the best sliced-to-order local prosciutto. The terrace is prime real estate, featuring views of the Riva and seafront through three Roman vaults.
1 Ulica Marka Marulića
Dedicated to everything olive, Uje sells superior extra-virgin olive oils, olive wood cutting boards and olive tapenade, as well as other favorite tidbits such as hams and cookies. Uje also runs an oil bar (Dominisova 3), an eatery offering olive oil tastings and an olive oil-centric menu.
Obala Hrvatskog narodnog preporoda 25, 21000, Split, Croatia
A stone’s throw from downtown Split, Marjan is a hilltop park about the same size as New York City’s Central Park. Known as “the lungs of the city,” it’s the ideal urban escape, offering places to run, bike, swim, and even rock-climb. A serene path through fragrant pine forests leads up to Telegrin Peak, revealing charming chapels and sweeping sea views. Along the park’s waterfront, there are also several popular beaches, Kašjuni Cove being the favorite.
Ul. Tomića stine 3, 21000, Split, Croatia
Avoid the many touristy Dalmatian konobas (taverns) and head instead to Konoba Matejuška, tucked into a tight alley in the quaint Varoš neighborhood just off Riva. This rustic family-run tavern offers seafood-focused fare, including a daily catch cooked on the grill and delicious black cuttlefish risotto.
10 Bribirska ulica
For well over a century, the stone-working Jakšić family from the island of Brač have been producing works using the white Brač stone from which Diocletian’s Palace was built. Head to their little Split gallery to see their impressive sculptures, and have one custom-made or pick up souvenirs of little stone flowers, jewelry or calendars.
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