A gateway city to Croatia, Split has plenty to do for a weeks trip. The airport is modern and worked well. Outside we picked up a coach into the city. The coach dropped us off at the port which is the main transport hub for the city. There is a train station, bus station as well as the port itself, with boats out to the islands. You can decide to spend time in the city, or if you just want to get to the islands hop on a ferry to the island you wish to visit.
The city has a lot to offer though, and you can easily spend 3 days here. The Diocletian’s Palace in the old city is the main attraction with architecture dating back to the Romans. You can spend several hours wandering through the narrow streets and visiting the ancient sites.
When you are done you can visit one of the many restaurants or street cafes in the old town for lunch, or head to the Riva, a port side promenade fringed by palm trees also with many restaurants.
If you want to visit the beach, the easiest beach to get to is Plaza Bacvice, about 20 minutes walk from the port. There is a reasonable beach and promenade that goes around the coast for a sea walk.
If you want a longer walk, you can walk to the Marjan. This is a large area of wooded parkland to the west of the city center. You can walk up to the top of the hill for a more strenuous walk or walk around the circumference of the park for a longer flatter walk. The walk up the hill has viewpoints as you go up, so you don’t need to walk to the top to get a good view of the city. The walk around the promontory has views across several beaches, so you can go down for a swim or sunbathe.
If you decide to go to the islands there are a number to choose from. We chose Hvar, which is probably the most well known. In the summer season it has a reputation as a party island, but in shoulder season when we went it was quite pleasant and relaxed. Smaller cruise ships sometimes anchor offshore, so there may be cruise visitors during the day, but they will generally go back to the ship in the evening and Hvar Town will quieten down.
Boats land at Hvar Town at the south west of the island or larger car ferries land at Stari Grad at the north west of the island. You can catch buses or taxi’s between the two towns.
We chose to stay at Hvar Town and got a passenger catamaran there from Split. This was reasonably priced for the hour journey and the passage was smooth. The boat passes a couple of other islands before reaching Hvar and there were many yachts sailing in the bay.
There are quite a few things to do around Hvar Town. You can visit the Spanish Fortress on the hill, or hire a boat to bum around the shore or head out to the Pakleni Islands. If you don’t have a boat license you can hop onto one of the many water taxi’s.
If you like a walk, you can walk around the coast to one of the nearby beaches. First thing in the morning, in shoulder season, you may have the beach to yourself.
Bear in mind when choosing accommodation on the island if you choose somewhere set back from the coast, it is likely to be up a hill as the island is quite hilly. Our accommodation was a good 20 minute walk uphill which might have been a problem with heavy bags or may have meant a taxi ride.
If you want to visit another world heritage site near Split, Trogir is a short bus ride away. It also has an old town and is built on a small island and makes an interesting day trip from Split. You can see more about it in the video below.
and this video describes what you can do on Hvar Island