The largest city on the eastern Adriatic coast, Split is a bustling center and a true representative of the Mediterranean way of life. Always lively and on the move, it is a city of great history. It developed from what was originally the Palace of the Roman Emperor Diocletian. The Palace was built around the year 300 AD and it served as Diocletian’s residence after he stepped down from the imperial throne. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the best preserved examples of Roman imperial architecture in Europe.
The Palace contains countless buildings, temples, churches and palaces from the Roman, Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque period. The central square (Peristyle), dating from Diocletian’s time, is one of the best preserved original parts of the Palace and one of the symbols of Split. Right next to it you will find the Cathedral of St. Domnius. It was originally built as Emperor Diocletian’s mausoleum, but later, in the 7th century AD, it was turned into a cathedral. Although modest in size, it is impressive in terms of artwork it contains as well as its historic significance. The Cathedral’s bell tower is a great place for taking photos. After enjoying the view from above, we recommend going underground to see the Palace’s imposing cellars, which remained almost intact from Diocletian’s time.
After you’ve explored all its hidden corners, you can exit the Palace through the South (Bronze) Gate and find yourself at the legendary Riva, Split’s waterfront promenade. Riva is one of the main centers of the city’s social life, a place where the locals come to see and to be seen. And, of course, to drink coffee for hours, like Croats usually do. Split also has rich and diverse gastronomy. In addition to the traditional Dalmatian cuisine, you can find restaurants offering modern and innovative menus, as well as vegetarian and vegan restaurants.
If you seek refreshment in the summer heat, there are several beaches not far from the city center. For those who have time to spare, Marjan Hill is the place to go. The locals’ favorite place for relaxation and recreation, Marjan also has many beautiful spots from where you can enjoy the view of the city and its archipelago.
To all those interested in local history and heritage, we recommend visiting the Ethnographic Museum and the Split City Museum, both located in Diocletian’s Palace. The Ethnographic Museum is situated in Emperor Diocletian's former private quarters and it provides insight into daily life in Split in the past, traditional folk costumes, everyday items and weapons. The Split City Museum is situated in a Renaissance palace, one of many palaces within the Palace. There you can learn about Split’s long history, from prehistory to the modern era. Art lovers will enjoy the Fine Arts Museum, located near the Palace’s North (Golden) Gate. The museum holds paintings and sculpture spanning from the 14th to 20th century, including the works of Italian masters and great Croatian artists. If you wish to explore Croatian modern art, we highly recommend visiting the Meštrović Gallery. It holds the works of Croatia’s foremost sculptor, Ivan Meštrović, who was also one of the greatest European sculptors of the 20th century. The building that hosts the gallery was designed by the artist himself. In case you’re looking for something completely different, the Museum of Senses is the right choice for you. Like its name suggests, this interactive and family-friendly museum is dedicated to the five senses and it offers loads of fun.
There is so much more to say about Split, but it wouldn’t be fair if we revealed all of the secrets of this exciting city. It is best that you discover them yourself, so check out our Adriatic Paradise Cruise or Wonders of Croatia Cruise.