At first glance, Split looks like a beautiful little tourist town, built around the wonderful Diocletian palace. But it's nothing of the sort - this is Croatia's second largest city, a vibrant hub connecting the mainland Dalmatian coast to the hip islands, just off the shore, and the place to uncover an authentic modern Dalmatian experience. As well as promenade the gorgeous Adriatic seafront and see the historic sights. It features a wide range of accommodation and our pick of the best places to stay in Split vary from a budget hostel to stylish Old Town luxury.
Split's Old Town does look like a beautiful little tourist town, historic buildings, cafes, restaurants and boutiques all snuggled in within the city's Roman walls. And the recently renovated seafront makes the picture, surrounded by dramatic coastal mountains, that much more enchanting when you're arriving or leaving via ferry.
Within Split's ancient walls the old layout of squares in front of temples can still be seen today. You'll probably want to start by exploring the palace, which was built for a retired Roman emperor and is actually more of a small suburb than a palace, complete with its own shops and housing. It's about 200metres square in size and the complex has about 220 buildings within its walls. Make sure you explore the basement halls as well - some are empty, but some house fascinating exhibitions.
After that stroll through the cathedral of St. Domnius, visit the synagogue, the third oldest in Europe, and visit Varos, one of the oldest parts of town.
For more outdoor sightseeing visit the seafront, Marjan hill and the beach at Bačvice.
Many of Split's visitors are just passing through on their way to the islands. There are several ferries a day to and from Hvar, Brac, Solta, Vis and Korčula.
Even if you're not using Spilt as a gateway it's worth taking a ferry trip - both because the views of Split as you come and go are some of the best you can get of this photogenic city, and because the islands themselves are definitely worth a visit as well.
As well as ferries to the islands, you can also come in and out of Split via ferry from Dubrovnik and Rijeka, and Pescara in Italy.
Split has a reputation for being sunny all year round, with relatively mild winters. So if you're looking for a sunny, but cultural winter break, Split is a good option. If you come during the cooler months you'll also find it much easier to book a room in one of the best places to stay in Split.
Fantastically modern hostel from a newly renovated 19th century warehouse. A range of modern minimal rooms, dorm-style rooms, and suites provide excellent value accommodation for families and groups of friends. Simple but delicious pizzeria and access to all the sights.
An old-town hotel perfect for the cultural explorer. 21 minimalist chic rooms with kingsize beds and big bathrooms. Many historic sights, day trips, and lots of beach life. A sumptuous seaside spot for couples.
A renovated stone town house with a collection of contemporary chic rooms, studio apartments and one house. Interiors are all white with wooden floors and all the mod cons. Kitchens, sitting rooms, and in the thick of all the attractions. Stylish and family friendly.
Maslinica, Dalmatian Coast
A beautiful Croatian castle renovation of the island of Solta, a boat ride from Split. A historic house with beautiful interiors that echo tradition. Enormous suites sleep between 4 and 6, all with private balconies looking onto the pool. Romantic, remote, and family friendly.
A romantic hotel just near Diocletian's Mausoleum. Beautiful rooms and suites have stone walls, creamy furnishings, wooden floors and all the mod cons. Charming terrace, sitting room, library and restaurant. A stylish spot for a stop-over in Split.
A traditional Dalmatian house with chic minimal interiors in central Split. Rooms and suites have original stone walls, big sky lights, white walls, and sparse furnishings. Good Mediterranean restaurant and walking distance to all the attractions. A stylish spot for Split.