Built as a retirement residence for the Roman emperor Diocletian in the 4th century AD, this massive fortress-like palace makes up about half of old town Split. Although there have been plenty of changes to Diocletian’s Palace over the ages, the original quadrant design still remains with four different gates—the Brass Gate, Iron Gate, Golden Gate, and Silver Gate—that enclose this walled fortress.
Today, entering Diocletian’s Palace through any of the four gates will lead you to the central square of Peristil. Each gate has its own unique architecture, and you’ll likely want to experience them all.
Most tours enter through the Bronze Gate first, which is on the south side of the palace and opens directly to the sea. The Golden Gate, the largest and most ornate, was once the main entryway for the emperors. The Silver Gate, meanwhile, leads directly to the popular produce market areas of Split. Lastly, the Iron Gate houses the lovely 10th-century Church of Our Lady of Belfry.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Not just a traditional archeological site, Diocletian’s Palace is an active part of Split with many homes, shops, and restaurants.
- It’s easy to get lost in the labyrinth of alleyways and courtyards of Diocletian’s Palace, so consider taking a guided tour to get oriented before exploring on your own.
- The palace’s narrow streets can get jammed with tourists in summer, so visit in the early morning or late afternoon.
How to Get There
Diocletian’s Palace is located in the center of old town Split. Most visitors arrive by car, bus, or ferry and then set off to explore the palace gates on foot. The palace is most easily accessed on foot via the Bronze gate, which is located at the eastern end of the Riva promenade.
When to Get There
The Gates of Diocletian’s Palace are fascinating any time of the year. Summer is the busiest tourist season, so consider visiting early in the day to avoid both the heat and the mid-day crowds. Better yet, visit in May, early June, or September to enjoy pleasant weather but fewer crowds.
Other Attractions in Diocletian’s Palace
Entering through the Bronze Gate of Diocletian’s Palace, you’ll find yourself in the ancient cellars where you can tour the underground tunnels and learn about their former functions. Make sure to visit the Cathedral of St. Domnius and climb to the top of the bell tower for fantastic views of old town Split. Hit up the Split Market to browse the colorful fruit and vegetable stands and catch a glimpse of local life.