Local's Guide to Split, Croatia

Split, Croatia's famous riva street

Split, Croatia's famous riva street

Split was my first interaction with Croatia in 2012, it's where my love affair with the country began.

When I went back to Croatia in the summer of 2017, in addition to seeing some new places like Dubrovnik and Hvar, I absolutely had to come back to this gem.

On this trip, I made friends with a few Split locals and together we created this list of recommendations for you and tested by your truly. Enjoy!



Diocletian’s Palace


This famous castle is the reason Split exists as we know it. The ancient palace was built for the Roman Emperor Diocletian at the turn of the fourth century AD, that today forms about half the old town of Split, Croatia. Within the palace walls you can explore the Cathedral of Saint Domnius and bell tower, vestibule with acapella singing, changing of the guards, and the basement (pictured above) that propelled this palace to UNESCO World Heritage status and more. Diocletian’s Palace is another filming location for Game of Thrones!



Split’s version of Central Park. Sprawling forests containing 14th century stone church and tons of space for hiking, cycling, and swimming at some of the best beaches in Split.

Graffiti Tour

Venture out of the Old Town to take a glimpse at the street art, history, culture, and youth sub-culture of Split.


Grab some friends and head to this pier overlooking Split with great views of Riva, it’s where all the (local) kids sit, drink, and hang out. Buy beer from the famous local market also named Matejuska.





In Marjan, Bene beach is lined with pine trees and off the beaten path. There’s also restaurant/bar and playground for children here.


A "naturalist" beach also in the Marjan.



The local’s preferred beach with it’s ample shade, swimming area and just a couple restaurant and bars.


If you’ve got time for a nice long walk along the coastline, laid back non-touristy beach. Can take a local bus as well, choose amongst several coves.


The most touristy beach in Split, so instead of swimming, grab a drink at Zbirac bar, and observe locals playing the local sport picigin, traditional hand ball game only played in Dalmatia. Then venture onto another beach for a dip.


Eating & Drinking



Noor is the fanciest cocktail bar in Split, with excellent cocktails, presentation and decor that compete with the likes in New York or London! Try the Gin & Tonic with smoked pine. A truly exceptional experience as the building walls are part of Diocletian’s Palace, a structure 1,700 years old!

Villa Spiza

This joint is nothing fancy, but Anthony Bordain eats here so we know it’s good. It’s got fresh ingredients (especially fish) in a cozy home-like atmosphere.

Luka’s Ice Cream


You cannot come to Split and not try the cakes and/or ice cream here! Now with 2 locations in the same square. Ya, it's that good.

Zanat Bar

Split’s most local dive bar where old Croatian sailors play cards and drink beer. It’s got cheap booze. Closed during summer.



If your looking for a luxe little evening, this is a chilled out but classy wine bar, with quality selection of wine and good food to accompany. You’ll get all the extravagance without the attitude. 

Marvlvs Library Jazz Bar


15th century historic jazz bar honors Marcvs Marvlvs, the father of Croatian literature. Get a drink, read a book, and enjoy.


In the center of Split, enjoy delicious food in a lovely designed interior with friendly staff to boot.

Olive Tree


Slow food philosophy specializing in Dalmatian and Mediterranean cuisine with amazing decor and views of the Riva.

Sanctuary Bar

The first cocktail bar in Split, famous for its 35 kuna cocktails (approximately $5). It’s a great mix of locals, ex-pats, and travelers.

Charlie’s Bar

For a fun, young and wild night out, this Aussie run bar with “good vibes on tap” is an easy place to meet people. Just next to Sanctuary.

Rizzo Sandwiches

Favorite “fast food” with locals. It’s Croatian subway so you choose your own toppings and makes for a quick and easy meal. Also great for grab and go to enjoy on the water!

Leopold’s Delicatessen Bar

Local craft beer, street food, and live music.

To Je To

Café by day, craft beer, live music and local artists by night.

Academia Club Ghetto

Bohemian, gay friendly, avant-garde bar with an eclectic artist community, outdoor patio, live music and ancient Roman walls.




Split’s only underground club with local DJ’s and bands. Exactly what you’d expect from an underground club - old communist structure with a sketchy, spiral staircase and steel door.

Bacvice area

Follow the crowds to Bacvice clubs, where lots of people congregate when city clubs close down. Don’t expect anything but a good old fashioned mainstream party.


Day Trips

Plitvice Lakes National Park


Plitvice Lakes is most famous national park in Croatia, a collection of 16 tiered lakes and more waterfalls than you can count. 

Krka National Park


Krka National Park is Plitvice’s less famous and less crowded cousin. This park you can swim in! 

Salona & Trogir

Glimpse into Split’s rich history from Antiquity to Renaissance. Trogir also offers lots of cute dining options and is also UNESCO protected.

River Canyon

For a day of extreme river rafting and canyoneering with a picnic on a private island.

Blue & Green Caves

Sapphire & Elm Travel Co-founder, stephanie, at the blue cave in croatia

Sapphire & Elm Travel Co-founder, stephanie, at the blue cave in croatia

If you don’t know now you know…. Croatia has a cave that glows neon blue. A must see off the coast of Split!


A medieval fortress on a hill where game of thrones was filmed.

Brac Island

the famous bol beach on brac island, croatia by  Jeroen Komen . photo was brightened up.

the famous bol beach on brac island, croatia by Jeroen Komen. photo was brightened up.

Brac is known for having one of the very few sand beaches in Croatia. A short ferry ride away with ferries leaving every hour, making this island a perfect day trip!


Contact us to plan your trip to Split, Croatia and beyond.


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