Split tourism has been a bit… different this summer. With crowds larger than ever (it seems) and very little control over them in the UNESCO-protected center (you can read more about that here), the Split tourism bomb has well and truly gone off this season, and we still have a ways to go.
With travel returning after the pandemic and a season that started earlier than ever, it’s felt like summer in Split since Easter – with sunny and warm days to boot. But Split’s historic core isn’t necessarily adapted for hordes of tourists (we don’t think Diocletian had this in mind), making the center almost unbearable at times as swarms of sweat-drenched travelers make their way through narrow cobblestone streets.
Fortunately, Split is much larger than its Old Town, and if you want a break from the buzz, we have you covered.
So, how to beat the crowds in Split?
Okay, we know this is a foolproof answer, but that green hilltop known as the city’s lungs actually serves a great purpose for those looking to stretch their legs in nature. Best in the early morning for a hike up the hill, followed by coffee with Split’s best view from Vidilica, or at sunset for a swim at many of its beaches, Marjan has always been a go-to for locals looking for a slice of peace during summer tourism chaos. Rent a bike to ride around, strap on your walking shoes for a sunset stroll, or post up at Bene beach for the day surrounded by pines and the buzzing of cicadas.
Did you know that Split has 3 (air-conditioned) shopping malls, all a short drive outside of the city center? We know that shopping malls might not necessarily be high on your list when you’re here to visit a 1700-year-old Roman masterpiece, but if you’re looking for a break from sightseeing and need a minute to cool off, Split’s shopping malls are not a bad place to be. Joker is the closest to the city center, about a 15-minute walk (which we don’t suggest in this heat) or a 5-minute taxi ride. Mall of Split and City Center One are a bit further outside the center but still less than a 15-minute drive. Not only does each shopping mall offer an array of brands, but you’ll find extra-air-conned cinemas, content for kids, and fun food courts. Again, we know it isn’t the best option, but desperate times call for desperate measures when it’s 35+ degrees Celsius. Treat yourself.
Bura Line – Slatine
My favorite getaway this summer is hopping on the 9:30 am Bura Line and heading to Trogir for the day. But only because my parents live nearby. Trogir is no better with crowds this summer, but one stop on the Bura Line is still a safe haven this summer – Slatine on Čiovo Island. A 30-minute boat ride from Split to Slatine has you on the beach in no time – and for only 30 kuna! This small fishermen’s village and low-key tourist resort located on the northeastern side of the island doesn’t have too much to offer. However, it boasts several stunning beaches, the most beautiful of which is Kava, just 1 kilometer from Slatine town. The Bura Line offers four connections daily in the high season, allowing travelers to comfortably spend the day away from Split.
Tourists may not take enough advantage of Split’s museums, and there are many to explore. Split’s most prized museum is undoubtedly the Meštrović Gallery, located around the bend from Sustipan park and conveniently behind Ježinac, allowing visitors to mix the work of 20th-century sculptor Ivan Meštrović with a swim. And if you are looking for something more central? Don’t miss the interactive and immersive Museum of Illusions, or stop by Split’s oddest institution – Froggyland. Who knows, you may discover a new love for taxidermy frogs? Pro tip: If you’re looking for a quick but unmatched Virtual Reality experience of Split and its fascinating Roman history – you’ll need to set aside 15 minutes for Diocletians’ Dream!
We know you’re here to visit Split, but its surroundings are spectacular and shouldn’t be missed. If you want to keep it local, head to the ancient ruins of Salona in the town of Solin, easily reachable by Promet bus from HNK (to Širina) or taxi (both around 15-20 minute ride depending on traffic). Klis Fortress is also just 12 kilometers outside Split and reachable by local bus or taxi. Open every day from 8:30 pm to 10 pm, don’t forget that your ticket price also includes a visit to the Interpretation Center at Mejdan Square and the Stella Croatica ethno-agro park, where you can taste homemade olive oil and local traditional products for a ‘multi-sensory experience of Dalmatia’s heritage.’ And should you get really hungry? The Stella Croatica tavern offers local Dalmatian dishes served in the courtyard of the estate’s central square!
For more, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.