Split is known as a transportation hub for the Dalmatian Coast, but has quickly become a popular travel destination in its own right beyond a one- or two-night stopover. The heart of the city is the historic Diocletian's Palace, which is still used as a residence by locals today. The pulse of the city can be found on the Riva, the promenade along the Adriatic, lined with crowded cafes. Culture is everywhere -- from Split's historic past to its vibrant nightlife scene. Don't pass by Split; soak it in.
Day 1: Historical Split
The city of Split is centered around the Diocletian Palace, home to the Roman Emperor Diocletian. It is one of the best-preserved monuments of Roman architecture in the world and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. You can see a number of sites within the Palace including the cellars, Peristil Square, the Temple of Jupiter and the beautiful Cathedral of St Duje.
The palace -- still home to over 3,000 residents -- is a maze and one of those places that is wonderful to get lost in, especially in the basement, where the bustling marketplace is located. Take some postcard-worthy shots of each of the gates and make sure to get to the rooftop the Ethnographic Museum, which offers some spectacular views. Don't forget to spot the remaining sphinxes and rub the toe of the statue, Gregory of Nin (Grgur Ninski), which will bring good luck and a return visit to Split, per urban legend.
Day 2: Cultural Split
There is plenty to see outside of the Diocletian Palace gates. Discover over 150,000 artifacts from Croatia and other ancient cities at the Archaeological Museum. The collection is extensive and includes items from jewelry to coins. At lunch, you can have a lovely picnic in the pine-filled Marjan Hill or get active by biking or hiking there. In the afternoon, the nearby Mestrovic Gallery, an art museum dedicated to the life and work of 20th-century sculptor, Ivan Meštrović, is worth a visit. At night, take a stroll down the Riva, or the promenade by the Adriatic, which is lined with cafes and the ideal spot for people watching. Split is also known for its nightlife, so if you’re in the mood, there are plenty of places to dance into the night.
Day 3: Day Trips from Split
Only an hour away from Split, the UNESCO World Heritage site of the town of Trogir is an easy day trip. You can see the entire town in less than two hours but take your time to get postcard views from the bell tower of the St Lawrence Cathedral or wander the cobblestoned streets of this medieval village. On the other side of the bridge is the nearby Ciovio, where you can relax on many of its beaches.
Brac Island, the largest of Split's nearby islands, makes a great day trip and is easily accessed by ferry. It’s an excellent spot for scuba diving, and the island is famous for the olive oil produced there. Brela beach, a 6 km (3.7 mile) stretch of sandy beach, is only about 45 kilometers (28 miles) from Split. Spend a day here, on what’s commonly referred to as one of the very best beaches in Croatia, or continue to the town of Makarska, known for its harborside promenade. If history is your passion, check out the Roman ruins at Salona or the 15th- and 16th-century villages of Kastela.