How to Spend 24 Hours in Split: Best Things to Do and Eat

Over the past couple of years, we’ve been lucky enough to visit the city of Split twice on a layover. Tucked along the stunning Dalmatian coast, Split is a perfect blend of rich history, breathtaking scenery, and mouth-watering cuisine.

Spending a couple of days in Split should give you more than enough time to cover all of its highlights. But, if you only have 24 hours to explore this enchanting city, you may be wondering where to even begin.

That’s why I’ve put together a short guide of the best things to do, see, and eat in Split. From exploring ancient Roman ruins to sipping on specialty coffee and day trip ideas from Split, I’ve got you covered!

Split waterfront seen from the top of the Saint Domnius Bell Tower

Disclaimer: Before we get started, here’s a little reminder that Croatia officially joined the Euro zone on 1st January 2023. We visited Split in August 2021 and September 2022, when the official currency in use was still the Croatian kuna. So, while all of the recommendations in this guide are still very much valid, please bear in mind that the prices and exchange rates have likely changed since then. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, get ready to explore the city of Split!

Where to stay in Split

Indigo Inn Rooms

If you’re looking for a place to stay in Split on a budget, Indigo Inn Rooms is a brilliant choice. We booked it on our very first trip to Split and just couldn’t believe you could find a room in such an excellent location for this price. Back in August 2021, one night there only cost us €60. When we wanted to book it again last year, we saw that the prices have since gone up, but they’re still fairly reasonable, especially in the shoulder and off seasons.

This small family-owned B&B is literally a 5-minute walk away from the ferry terminal and the bus station. A fun fact from the owner is that the building originally used to house the Slobodna Dalmacija (Free Dalmacija) newspaper, which was first printed in June 1943! Whether you want to explore the Old Town or venture out to one of the Croatian islands, you’re in the perfect starting point. There’s also a bakery right downstairs, as well as a supermarket nearby, so you can save some money on breakfast.

As for the room itself, I was a little worried about the lack of privacy, but it was not the case at all. For a B&B, both the bedroom and the private bathroom were surprisingly spacious and quiet. My only concern was that it’s not the easiest to find without proper instructions, so I was happy the owner met us there. Overall, we would’ve definitely rebooked this place last year if I hadn’t come across this one-of-a-kind accommodation…

Double bed at Indigo Inn Rooms in Split, Croatia

Private apartments in Diocletian’s Palace

The moment I spotted this place on, I thought: “Hold on, can you actually do that?!” After a quick bit of research which confirmed that staying inside Diocletian’s Palace was indeed a thing, I hit that ‘Reserve’ button faster than you can say Diocletian.

We thought it’d be a truly special way to round off our 3-week Balkan trip, and we were right. For such a unique accommodation, it was also far more affordable than we imagined, at just €100 per night. Granted, you can also book more luxurious accommodation inside the palace, which can easily cost double or triple that amount. For us, it was always more about the actual experience, so we were happy with our tiny room.

The decor was a bit of a jumble, with gold, satin, Audrey Hepburn, and everything in-between, but it was the private terrace atop the palace walls that was the star of the show. It directly overlooked the Iron Gate, which was sadly undergoing some restoration at the time of our visit.

But, once the construction workers had gone home, it was the perfect place to people watch whilst sipping on a glass of local wine. Again, my main concern was that this place was rather tricky to find, even with Google Maps. But, if you ask for detailed directions in advance, you should be perfectly fine.

Best things to do in Split

Stroll along the Splitska Riva promenade

As you arrive in Split, you simply cannot miss the city’s bustling Riva promenade lined with palm trees that runs the entire length of the Old Town area. You can sit on one of the shaded benches and watch the ferries and cruise ships arriving in or leaving the harbour.

Riva Harbor - waterfront promenade in Split, Croatia seen from above
Split Old Town seen from above
Buildings on Riva promenade in Split, Croatia
Riva Harbor - waterfront promenade in Split, Croatia

Or, if you fancy a boat tour yourself, you can find stands of various companies along the waterfront. It’s also a great spot for an evening stroll or a drink with a view, as the entire walkway is brimming with various eateries, bars, and cafés.

Yachts docked in Riva Harbor in Split, Croatia
Small boats docked in Riva Harbor - waterfront promenade in Split, Croatia

Explore Split Old Town

The Old Town of Split is centred around Diocletian’s Palace, an ancient palace built in the 4th century AD as a retirement home for the Roman Emperor Diocletian. Nowadays, it forms almost half of the entire Old Town area, so you’ll likely find yourself wandering around the perimeter even without trying. With its bustling streets and lively cafés, it’s hard to believe that all this used to be the quiet grounds of a palace!

Split Old Town seen from above
Trg Republike (Prokurative) - Republic Square in Split, Croatia

With its narrow cobblestone alleys, stone walls, and numerous gates to get in and out, it can genuinely feel like trying to navigate a maze at times.

The best part is that you never truly know what gem you’ll discover after turning another corner, so walking around can easily keep you occupied for hours.

Silver Gate of Diocletian's Palace in Split Old Town seen at night

How much does it cost to visit Diocletian’s Palace?

And, if you want to explore these ancient fortifications from the inside, you need to head to the Peristyle of Diocletian’s Palace where you’ll see signs pointing to the ticket office. The price depends on how many sites you want to visit. We opted for one of the larger packages and paid 80 HRK (around £9.30/€10.60) to see the Treasury, Split Cathedral, Crypt of St. Lucy, Bell Tower, and the Temple of Jupiter.

Ruins of Diocletian's Palace in Split Old Town
Saint Domnius Cathedral in Split Old Town

However, if I’m completely honest, the only site I found truly impressive was the Cathedral of Saint Domnius with Diocletian’s Mausoleum and the Bell Tower offering panoramic views over the Adriatic Sea. Consecrated around the start of the 7th century AD, it is the world’s oldest Catholic cathedral that is still in use and has kept its original design.

Next time, I’d also like to visit the cellars of Diocletian’s Palace, which used to accommodate the private apartments of Emperor Diocletian and are one of the best preserved complexes of this kind in the world.

And, after Dubrovnik and Mdina, they were yet another Game of Thrones filming location. That’s right, Diocletian’s Palace doubled as a dragon-training ground for Daenerys Targaryen. If you read my previous guides, you’ll know I still haven’t seen a single episode, though. Thank goodness for the Internet, always there to fill me in with these fun facts. 😉

The Saint Domnius Bell Tower in Split Old Town seen from the ground
Split Old Town and Jadrolinija ferries in the port seen from the top of the Saint Domnius Bell Tower

And here’s a little wholesome story for you…

We spotted this feline on our first trip back in 2021, chilling in the ruins of Diocletian’s Palace next to an empty food can. Poor thing had a swollen nose, likely from a bee sting. Seeing the cat so sad was gut-wrenching, but we didn’t have any food on us, and the shops in the area had already closed down.

Next year, we brought some cat food with us and made it our mission to somehow find that kitty again… and to our great joy, we did! Looking much happier and healthier this time, it munched on our treats and got plenty of scratchies as a bonus!

Visit the neighbouring Croatian islands

Split is not only a beautiful destination in its own right, but it’s also an excellent travel hub for exploring the wider region of Croatia and beyond. There’s a regular ferry service that connects Split with various Croatian cities and islands, as well as a weekly ferry to the south of Italy. So, if you’d like to explore more of what the region has to offer, Split makes for a perfect base from which to discover the many delights of this stunning corner of Europe.

Jadrolinija ferries in the port in Split, Croatia seen from above

During our first trip to Split, we visited the nearby Brač island. If you’re looking for day trip ideas from Split and would like to learn more about how long the ferry journey takes, how much it costs, or what the best things to do on Brač island are, check out my Bol travel guide. Next up on my Croatia bucket list are the islands of Hvar and Korčula, so watch this space for any upcoming guides!

Best restaurants to visit in Split


If you’re looking for Dalmatian street food with a modern twist, Misto is the go-to place in Split. We stumbled upon it completely by chance during our first time in the city. We were absolutely starving after our bus journey from Mostar (you can read about our awful experience in my Mostar guide) and looking for a local restaurant that was as close to our flat as possible.

Dalmatian food and Karlovačko beer on a table outside Misto - Street Food & Bar in Split Old Town

I’m not the biggest fan of seafood, so the idea of ordering a burger or a sandwich instead instantly won me over. I got the sandwich version of a traditional Dalmatian Pašticada stew with slow-roasted pork marinated in traditional Prošek wine (to learn more about this specific type of wine, check out my Bol guide), while Mac went for one of their burgers. We also got some aubergine croquettes with tzatziki sauce to share. They served our order really fast and we devoured everything just as quickly – that’s how good it was!

Pizzeria Bokamorra

I’ve had this place on my Split bucket list since before our first trip, so I’m glad I finally got to check it out. While it’s the restaurant’s extremely Instagrammable interior that lures you in (think a gold-tiled pizza oven, blue velvet booths, and vintage-style posters on the walls), it’s the high-quality food that makes you want to come back over and over again.

And come back we did! As a matter of fact, Mac said it was the best pizza he’s ever had, which is not to be taken lightly, so we knew we had to have one more pizza before our flight back home.

The owners travelled to Naples to observe the pizza-making process and then put their unique spin on it. The result is a thinner, Neapolitan-style base, and a soft, fluffy crust. We tried a variety of pizzas and every single one of them was absolutely amazing, my favourite probably being the Tartufizza with black truffle cheese and black truffle-infused olive oil.

But, the real sensation in this place are their dessert pizzas. When I say I love anything with white chocolate in it, I truly mean it 😉 Their pizza with white chocolate, raspberries, and pistachios is absolutely DIVINE. In addition to the amazing pizzas, they also have a wide selection of creative cocktails available.

The only downside is that it’s on the pricier side, but the quality of food goes in line with the prices. They only use high-quality alcohol for their drinks, and all of the ingredients for the pizzas are either imported from Italy, home-grown, or sourced from local suppliers. It’s the kind of place where you could easily spend many afternoons going through the entire menu – I know I would if I lived in the area!

D16 Coffee

If you’re looking for a specialty coffee shop in Split, D16 Coffee is my top pick. Even though their flagship café at Dominisova 16 street is tucked away from the most crowded parts of the Old Town, it was full of people whenever we visited. It’s divided into 2 seating areas: the lively one where you place your order, and a quieter one right opposite the entrance, perfect for remote workers or those wishing to escape the buzz of the city.

If you’re a fan of their coffee, you can also purchase some beans from their small-batch coffee roastery, including their signature Dominis blend. The only thing I personally found disappointing was the fact they didn’t have any cakes on offer – just croissants and cookies. I can live with it, though, as it’s a small price to pay for the ability to have a delicious cup of coffee in Split!

Meštar o’ Kave

Another specialty coffee place we discovered on our recent trip to Split is Meštar o’ Kave. Unfortunately, they only serve coffee to go. However, if you choose to stay in the same flat we did, it’s literally downstairs so you can save money on breakfast by grabbing a pastry from a nearby bakery and a cuppa from here.

Again, Mac said it was one of the best coffees he has ever had. As we’re both huge coffee enthusiasts, it’s a great testament to the quality of their brews. And the best part? We only paid 13 HRK each (around £1.50/€1.70) for our cappuccinos, which is far less than what you sometimes have to pay for mediocre coffee elsewhere. So, if you’re looking to spend a day in Split on a budget, run, don’t walk here!

How would you spend your ideal day in Split?

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