Croatia has fast become one of the new most popular travel destinations in Europe. This little country actually has over a thousand islands, eight national parks, eleven nature parks, over 6,000 kilometres of coastline and seven World Heritage sites.
Split is actually the second largest city of Croatia (after Zagreb) and tourism is absolutely booming in the region.
Here is our quick guide to everything you need to know about Split.
Our time in Croatia was a little bit rushed and hectic, and not nearly as much time as we needed to explore everything we wanted to, but it was a beautiful country and the pictures absolutely need to be shared!
We had decided that with the little time we had to explore Croatia we would base ourselves in Split. Our top can’t miss attractions for our visit to Croatia were Plitvice Lakes National Park and Krka National Park, and we also wanted to do a day trip across to Bosnia & Herzegovina to explore Mostar and visit Balgaj Tekke, so Split seemed like the best place to base ourselves.
In this post:
Location & Time Zone in Split
Split lies on the Adriatic Coast, central Dalmatia on the Split Peninsula in Croatia. They follow the Central European Time Zone UTC +1
Getting To Split
Depending on where you’re coming from there are a few different ways to get to Split. We flew in via a direct flight from Rome with Vueling (a low cost carrier airline from Spain), but there are also direct flights from many major cities around Europe with Croatia Airlines, British Airways and Easyjet, as well as several other low cost carrier options. It’s a good idea to checkout the Visit Croatia website, as it has a complete break down of airlines and options from all different countries around Europe.
You can also arrive to Split via ferry from Ancona Italy, bus from Munich and Trieste or train from most major cities around Europe, although many of them will require a stopover in Zagreb.
Language in Croatia
Croatian, however many locals and people working in the tourism industry are fluent in English.
Visas & Entry Requirements for Croatia
If you’re from Australia, EU countries, UK, USA, Canada and New Zealand you do not need a visa to visit Croatia – you can easily enter Croatia and stay for 90 days within a 180 day period.
Additionally, citizens of EU countries can visit Croatia using only their ID card – while everyone else will need a valid passport to visit.
Climate in Split
Croatia seems to have a pretty regular climate, with hot summers between June and August and cold winters from December through to February. Winter is definitely the wettest season, however it can rain in Split at any time of the year!
Getting Around Split
For local travel around Split the best ways to get around is either by walk or by local bus. The buses are very frequent and a cheap way to get around.
We had a car during our stay as we were planning several day trips out to the national parks and boarding countries, however this was tricky as the suburban streets of Split were so narrow and tight that it was quite a challenge to get to our apartment with the car. We rented our car from Split Airport but they do often sell out in the summer months, so make sure you lock one in in advance.
Currency & Money in Split
The currency in Croatia is the Croatian kuna. Some places may accept Euro, but just to be safe it’s a good idea to carry kuna on you as the majority will not. There were a few cafes, restaurants and boutiques that accepted credit and debit cards, as well as a few ATMs to grab cash but they were definitely few and far between.
To avoid any stress, grab enough cash for your trip when you arrive at the airport (or before, if you’re super prepared and organized!), better to be safe than sorry. We also struggled with a couple of the ATMs at the airport not accepting our Australian debit cards.
Since the warnings and rejections were in Croatian we couldn’t understand what the issue was exactly, but once we found one that worked we definitely grabbed enough cash to take us through our whole trip.
Internet Access in Split
We had great wifi connection at our apartment, and some of the restaurants and cafes around the main square, but that was about it. Load up your maps and information at home to get you through the day (especially if you’re relying on maps for driving like we were), otherwise you can purchase a data plan for your phone.
The Main Streets of Split
The Riva Split, the waterfront esplanade is lined with palm trees and offers beautiful views over the Adriatic Ocean. It is the most popular public place in Split, lined with restaurants, cafes and shops, and is the perfect place for a morning brunch or sunset drinks in the late afternoon.
In the streets just behind Riva, set in the facade of the Diocletian Palace you will also find well priced spots to eat, unique boutiques and and an interesting step back into the history of Split.
Where To Stay in Split
We found some great apartment options on booking.com as well as through Air bnb. There are of course many major hotel chains and hotel options, but we found that since we were travelling during the peak summer months, these options were just way too expensive.
The apartment we stayed at was called Apartment Spalatro and it was clean, self contained and had it’s own bathroom and kitchen facilities, as well as a parking spot and was within 5-10 minutes walk of the main town of Split, supermarkets and the water. The owner lived just behind the apartment and she was absolutely lovely, very helpful and accommodating throughout our stay.
Best Time To Go to Split
To avoid the huge crowds and inflated peak season pricing, the best time to visit Split and Croatia is during the shoulder season months of May and June and September and October. The weather is still nice and sunny, perfect for swimming and sunbaking, but smaller crowds to contest with.
Can’t Miss Experiences in Split
+ Swim and sunbathe like the locals on the beach at Bačvice
+ Explore the epic waterfalls and lakes of Plitvice Lakes National Parks
+ Wander around the Old Town of Split
+ Take a walk up to Marajan Hill for the most amazing views over the city
+ Go swimming in Krka National Park
+ Cruise out to Croatia’s Blue Cave, a sparkling bright blue grotto in the Adriatic Ocean, accessible by speedboat
+ Take a day trip over the boarder to Bosnia & Herzegovina
+ Check out the Cathedral of Saint Domnius and Diocletian’s Palace
+ Island hop across the locals islands of Hvar, Bisevo and Brač
Read more: Our adventures through Bosnia & Herzegovina
Good To Know for your visit to Split
Even though we stayed in Split for our whole visit to Croatia, we definitely didn’t spend enough time in Split, since we took so many day trips out of the city. Definitely allow yourself at least one full day to experience everything Split has to offer and completely emerge yourself in the vibe, explore the town and get to know the secret beach spots that are a favourite to the locals.
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