3 days in Split, Croatia is the perfect length of time to discover this ancient city and use it as a base to explore a couple of nearby islands and attractions.
Split is a great place to spend a few days or to kick off your Croatia itinerary, thanks to its international airport and being the largest city on Croatia’s coast.
From exploring the city ruins and learning about its history, to taking a boat trip to the Blue Cave or the nearby islands of Brac or Hvar, 3 days in Split is ideal to discover the best things to do in Split, Croatia.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something. While clicking these links won't cost you anything, they will help me to keep this site up and running! Check out the full disclosure policy for more details. Thank you so much!
Need to start planning your trip to Split ASAP?
Below are some of the top rated tours, hotels and recommendations for visiting Split. Make sure to book ahead of time to ensure availability!
Top Experiences and Tours in Split:
1) 5 Islands full day boat trip (my favourite boat trip to see loads in one day!)
2) Krka Waterfalls day trip with food and wine tasting (seeing the falls is a must do!)
3) Blue Lagoon, shipwreck visit and Solta island with lunch and drinks (perfect for spending a whole day on the water and great value)
Top Hotels and Accommodation in Split:
1) Hotel Ambasador (brand new hotel, amazing location next to Old Town with waterfront views)
2) Briig Boutique Hotel. (best location right by Bacvice Beach)
3) Gallery Luxury Suites (a little further from the city, more secluded and self catered with incredible infinity pool)
How many days to spend in Split, Croatia
Having lived in Split for over half the year at time of writing, I think Split is such a great place to visit in Croatia because it works well as a base to explore the surroundings.
If you're debating how many days in Split is right for you, consider what Split day trip activities you would like to take.
For how long to spend in Split city, one day is enough to see the old two, allow two days for the city if you intend to spend some time at the city’s beaches. Then add 1-3 days for day tours and trips.
This three day Split itinerary assumes that you are including Split as part of a larger Croatia itinerary, therefore 3 days in Split is what I recommend as a minimum.
1 day to explore the city of Split
1 day to go on a day trip or excursion
1 day to see one of the islands
If you’re spending longer in the city, say 4 days in Split or more, even better!
The beauty of Split is how many islands and attractions are nearby, therefore I don’t think you can ever spend too much time in the city, just check out my guides on the 40 best unique things in Split, or 20 best day trips from Split to see how much this city has to offer!
Where to stay in Split, Croatia
If you’re only in Split for a short time, you’ll want to maximise your Split itinerary by staying in a great location with easy access to the attractions, tours, old town and restaurants in Split.
Read my Split Boutique hotel guide for more inspiration.
Best area to stay in Split, Croatia
For the best neighbourhood to stay in Split for a short time in the city, I highly recommend staying in the Varos neighbourhood, which is just 5 minutes walk from the Old Town, close to the marina.
The area doesn’t have as many hotels, but there are a lot of villas and apartments, so if you prefer a self-catering holiday or the option to make your own meals in your own kitchen area, then this is the neighbourhood for you.
Apartments Vinko - with free wifi, free parking and the most stunning roof terrace views, this is a great option for couples and families who want their own space.
Adriatic Blue View - a clean, modern 2-bedroom apartment in Split located right on the marina, perfect for an easy walk along the harbour to the Old Town.
House of Cyril - located in a gorgeous traditional stone house, this modern apartment is located on the very edge of the Old Town, just a couple of minutes from the Riva, Diocletian Palace and the main attractions.
Sperone Hotel - if you prefer to stay in hotel accommodation, this is one of the few hotel options in Varos, located just 250 yards from the Diocletian Palace, so close to the Old Town you can be there in a minute. With a stunning pool and terrace, breakfast available and sleep, modern rooms, this 4-star hotel in Split is the perfect base for the duration of your stay in Split.
Best places to stay in Split Old Town
Plaza Marchi Old Town - Everything you could possibly want to see and do in the Old Town is right on your doorstep here. With stunning exposed stonework and luxurious bedrooms and finishes, this is a beautiful place to stay and surprisingly well priced for the location and being a 4-star hotel.
Jupiter Luxury Hotel - I would stay here for the rooms with a balcony view because the terrace view of the Bell Tower and across the Old Town is stunning. The hotel is modern and newly renovated in the centre of the old town but in a quiet area so you don’t hear as much of the evening noise.
Cornaro Hotel - another centrally located hotel with the most stunning terrace for evening drinks complete with a hot tub and a spectacular view! All rooms are modern and there’s also a pool and buffet breakfast included. Just two minutes from the Diocletian Palace.
Best hotels in Split, Croatia
Radisson BLU Resort & Spa - If you prefer to stay in a hotel, this is the one for you. With direct beach access, a stunning pool area, sun loungers, spa facilities, breakfast included and spectacular modern rooms with family rooms available. For a relaxing, easy and comfortable stay in Split, this is the best hotel in Split, Croatia.
Marvie Hotel & Health - A rooftop infinite pool, hot tub, spa facilities, 700 yards from the beach, breakfast included and sleek, minimal rooms, this is a great place to stay in Split for value for money and a fantastic location.
Where to stay in Split close to the Beach
Brigg Boutique Hotel - if you’re looking for luxury, sleek, modern and close to Bacvice Beach, Split’s only sandy beach, this boutique hotel is a popular choice. Decorated in a Scandinavian style with a rooftop hot tub, a pool and amazing room views with breakfast included, you’re on the beachfront and just a short walk from the Old Town too.
Apartments Tudor - if you’d prefer a self-catered accommodation close to Bacvice, these apartments are perfect for families and bigger groups to accommodate themselves, have their own space and be just steps from the beach. There’s also a large terrace area with beautiful views and you’re located right by Firule Beach.
Best places to eat in Split, Croatia
I know some people prefer to eat in hotels or cook for themselves, but if you’re looking for the best restaurants in Split or where to eat in Split, Croatia, I’m going to summarise my favourite spots here so you have plenty of choose from on each day of your itinerary.
Traditional Croatian food - Villa Spiza or Storija (located in the Old Town walls)
Pizza - Pizzeria Skipper for amazing views or Pizzeria Bokamorra
Breakfast - Brasserie 7 (on the Riva) or Brooklyn Bagel Co for grab-and-go
Vegan - Pandora Greenbox
Ice Cream - Sladoledarnica Emiliana
Coffee - basically anywhere because they love coffee in Croatia, but I head to D16
Drinks - On the Riva for views, Basta Bar for along the yacht marina, Kavala Beach Bar for beach drinks or The Daltonist for evening cocktails and craft beer
What to do in Split: a 3 day Split itinerary
This three day Split itinerary is designed to help you see as much of the city as possible in a short time. I’m a big fan of active trips with lots of activities and day trips packed in, but I will also give alternative options if you’d prefer a slower pace.
Split, Croatia Day 1: Exploring the Old Town and city
Kick off your first day in Split, Croatia with a walking tour of Split Old Town.
Walking tours are a great way to learn about the history and culture of Split from a local. Explore the Diocletian Palace, see the underground market, and discover the winding alleys and stone passages in the maze that is Old Town Split.
The Old Town itself is within what was once the entire Diocletian’s Palace, the walls remain and the grand ruins of the Palace at the centre, but this pedestrianised Old Town is a fascinating mixture of cafes, bars, restaurants and shops housed in buildings which are hundreds and thousands of years old.
Depending on the time of year you visit, walking a lot in the high summer heat can be challenging and I’d suggest doing a morning tour as early as possible or in the evening. So here are a few walking tours in Split, Croatia for you to choose from.
- Free walking tour starting at 9.30am or 11.30am - duration 1 hour 15 (shortest option)
1.5 hour Split walking tour including Diocletian Palace entry - affordable price and three time options, 10.30am, 1pm or 6pm
A history and gastro walking tour - this is a great alternative option if you don’t enjoy walking as much, with plenty of stops to enjoy the culinary delights of Split. With 10am or 5pm tour start times and a great price point too!
If you’ve done your walking tour in the morning, make sure you make time to climb the Bell Tower at the Diocletian Palace. The views from here really are the best views of the city! Tickets are available from the ticket office in the square opposite the Bell Tower.
Don’t miss the chance to purchase some souvenirs from the underground market below the Palace too!
If you’re keen to enjoy some brunch or lunch on the Riva, Brasserie 7 (known as B7 to the locals) is the most affordable option on the Riva. Don’t miss their two-tiered sweet and savoury breakfast and health juices, or their great selection for lunch from locally produced grazing boards to confit duck!
The afternoon is your opportunity to enjoy the beaches around Split.
This is the beach closest to the city centre and it’s also the only sandy beach in Split, so of course it’s popular! Head down early to grab a spot on the sand. The bay is very calm and the water is low, so you can walk out quite far and it’s still not above your waist. There’s a selection of bars and restaurants to the left of the beach, Tortuga Grill is a great dinner option if you’re looking to spend the evening there. Or head to the right hand side of the beach to Kavala Beach bar for casual beach drinks and a fun vibe.
Located a short 5 minute drive or 20 minute walk from the Old Town on the Marjan Peninsula, Obojena beach is two-bay pebble beach with crystal clear water and open views of the sea and boats beyond. There’s showers here and a pier area, plus plenty of parking but no cafes or refreshments.
My favourite beach in Split! Just a couple of minutes’ drive further along the road from Obojena Beach is Kasjuni. This stunning beach is in a calm cove with a spit of land looking like a sandbar. There’s a dog beach here and also Split’s only nudist beach further along the cove. This is a great spot because it’s home to Joe’s Beach Bar where you can get food, drinks, refreshments, rent cabanas and sun loungers and toilet facilities all day long. Joe’s is open mid-May - September/October (dates vary each year).
This is a popular beach area if you’re staying in some of the resort hotels such as the Radisson BLU or Hotel Amphora because Znjan Beach is right on your doorstep. This beach has the most facilities with beach bars, cafes, toilets, nearby supermarkets and watersport activities available.
Split, Croatia Day 2: Visit the islands
One of the biggest reasons I recommend Split is because of the amazing day trip options available close to the city. A huge part of that is the island day trips from Split - there really is something for everyone!
It’s up to you how much you’d like to see in a day, whether you’d prefer a full day or half day tour, and which island you’d like to visit.
To see as much as possible in 1 day in Split, I always recommend the 5 Islands day trip with Blue Cave entry. This tour takes you to 5 islands including Vis, Bisevo, Budikovac and Hvar. This is a full-day 10 hour tour via speedboat and includes the spectacular Blue Cave, the charming fishing village of Komiza, plus a couple of hours for dinner and exploring Hvar.
Because of the distances to some of these islands (the Blue Cave and Hvar) , getting there and seeing it all in a day is really only possible on a speed boat. This tour is a great opportunity to see so much!
If you’d prefer a slower pace, there are plenty of amazing half-day tour options like this Blue Lagoon and 3 islands tour which is only a 5-hour trip and includes Trogir and Solta Island.
If your keen to visit Hvar from Split, you can also plan a dedicated day sailing trip like this one to Hvar and the Pakleni islands, complete with drinks, food and music at sunset.
Taking the ferry from Split to the islands
If you do have time to extend your trip and you prefer to plan your own excursions, taking a ferry from Split to Hvar is a great way to travel independently and have the flexibility to spend as much time in Hvar as you’d like. The passenger catamaran ferries take around 90-minutes to reach Hvar, whereas the car ferry takes 2.5 hours.
To book your tickets, you don’t need to book online in advance, particularly if you’re only travelling as a foot passenger. However if you’re visiting in the summer months, I do advise that you go to the port the day before you plan to travel and purchase your tickets in advance just to be sure.
Another great option that I highly recommend if you’d prefer not to travel as part of a tour, is to visit Brac island. Famous for its Golden Horn Beach (local name, Zlatni Rat), this stunning sand bar stretches into turquoise water with plenty of safe swimming areas, cafes and restaurants. You can spend an easy day here relaxing.
The ferry arrives in Supetar on the island of Brac, from here you can drive (if you’ve brought your own vehicle) or hire a scooter to explore the island and visit the famous beach. Don’t miss Bol, the beautiful town close to the Golden Horn Beach is full of waterfront restaurants, a brilliant winery called Stina Winery and stunning views.
Split, Croatia Day 3: Krka Waterfalls National Park and Sibenik
After your island hopping adventures the day before, day 3 in Split is the time to explore inland and see some of Croatia’s most famous waterfalls.
Visiting Krka Waterfalls National Park in Croatia is a must-do experience at any time of year. I’ve visited in the blazing sun and the pouring rain and it’s been equally as beautiful both times!
The prices do vary throughout the year, so please check the website before you visit for the most up to date pricing.
Krka is also a great option whether you’ve rented your own vehicle or there are many tours available if you don’t have a vehicle. Ticket prices are usually included with most Krka tours from Split, but you can pay on arrival if you’re travelling there independently.
Krka National Park is just 1 hours drive from Split (via toll roads) or 1.5 hours avoiding tolls.
If you’re making your own way there, you want to park at the Lozovac entrance (found on Google Maps). From here, you can pay to take the shuttle bus down the hill to the start of the waterfall trail, or you can walk down, the walk is very uneven and steep, not suitable for prams, young children or those with mobility issues.
Skradinski Buk is the main series of waterfalls you’ll visit. Once at the start of the trail, follow the wooden boardwalk among the stunning turquoise pools, streams and waterfalls before reaching the famous falls at the base of the valley.
Note that swimming is not allowed in this area of the park.
If you’re travelling to Krka with your own vehicle, you might also want to check out Roski Slap waterfall and Manojlovacki Slapovi (this one does dry up quite drastically in summer but is beautiful in the spring). Both are further north within the National Park.
From Skradinski Buk you can also take a short boat ride through the national park to see Visovac Island and some tours will include this in the price such as this Krka tour, with boat ride and a stop at the town of Primosten for dinner. Or this similar Krka Waterfalls tour with boat ride.
I personally love Sibenik, the town located closest to Krka National Park and I highly recommend anyone to visit. With its charming old town, fortresses and quaint waterfront, it’s like a much quieter version of Split!
Some tours like this one will take you to Krka Waterfalls and Sibenik, but if you’re travelling independently and are looking for ideas, check out my Sibenik guide on the best things to do in Sibenik.
Summary: 3 days in Split Itinerary - your Split, Croatia travel guide
I truly believe Split is the best base in Croatia to explore a huge amount of the country’s stunning coastline and attractions.
I’ve been able to see so much in my time living there and I hope this guide has shown you the diversity of nature, attractions and activities. Hopefully I’ve also given you plenty of ideas and inspiration to help you plan your trip to Split, whether you’re spending a weekend in Split, Croatia or a few months like me!
Pin for later to plan your future trip!