The Top 10 Free Things To Do In Split
Split, Croatia is a beautiful city that should be on everyone's travel bucket list. From the stunning Old Town to the crystal-clear water, there's something for everyone in Split. Split is a popular tourist destination for many reasons. It's situated on the coast, has a rich history, and offers plenty of activities and attractions.
A highlight of any trip to Split is a visit to the Diocletian's Palace complex. Although this UNESCO World Heritage Site isn't exclusively free, if you save enough money by touring all the free attractions, it should be easy to squeeze an entrance to the palace into your budget. The Blue Cave is another worthwhile stop if you can afford the boat tour needed to reach it. The stunning rock formations and glowing water of the Blue Cave are certainly sights you won't find in many cities.
Split is brimming with local cafes and restaurants, and if you're looking for some excitement, there are plenty of activities to choose from - hiking or biking in the Marjan Forest Park, swimming or sunbathing on the beach, or taking a boat trip to one of the nearby islands. Whatever you choose to do, you're sure to have a good time.
Split is not as cheap as it used to be but remains a somewhat affordable travel destination. A great way to spend your time (and your dollars) when you visit this stunning city on the Adriatic Coast is with a mix of free things to do as well as ones that have an entry fee. That way, you won't miss out on some of the one-of-a-kind attractions that draw so many tourists to Split.
A great way to make things easy on yourself when traveling to Split is to leave your bags somewhere safe rather than carting them all over town with you. Head to a Bounce luggage storage location in Split and we'll take care of everything. With convenient lockers near the Split Airport and the Split Port, you'll have no trouble getting your luggage sorted out. And, now that your hands are free, head out and explore all the great free things to do here.
Built for the Roman Emperor Diocletian, this complex which is often referred to as a fortress is a must-visit attraction on any Split itinerary. The grounds of the complex are free to enter through the impressive Golden Gate, and you won't have to spend a penny unless you want to enter any of the buildings that form part of Diocletian's Palace. Although the palace could easily charge an entry fee, since it is so large and forms part of the town, both locals and tourists alike are welcome to roam outdoors. Set aside a few hours to explore Diocletian's Palace and you'll be glad you did.
The Roman golden gate is just the tip of the iceberg in this expansive area. Be sure to visit the Peristil Square flanked by the oldest Catholic cathedral in the world. Called the Saint Domnius Cathedral, make sure to get a picture of the stunning bell tower that was built centuries later. If you want to climb the bell tower, that will cost you, but it's a nominal fee and offers fabulous views over Old Town and the Diocletian's Palace complex.
For a glimpse into Split's everyday life, head to the Green Market for produce from the surrounding countryside, locals meats from skilled butchers, and a selection of other edible goods. This quaint farmers' market has everyone from small producers growing in their own garden to professional grocers for a delightful mix of products. This is the ideal place to pick up picnic supplies for an affordable lunch in one of the city's many parks.
Among the food options, you can also purchase your souvenirs, some flowers, and clothes. The market is open all day, which is somewhat uncommon, so you can easily fit this into your sightseeing plans. And, to keep it free, you can simply peruse the offerings and take in the aromas and sounds of this typical Split experience. You'll be calling it Pazar like the locals in no time.
Krka National Park
A great day trip from Split, Krka National Park is a natural wonder just an hour away from the heart of the city. Leave behind the chaos and crowds of the city center and head out into nature for picturesque waterfalls, some of the best hikes in the area, and tons of wildlife, including caves with thriving bat colonies.
The national park is open for visitors all year round, with different parts of the park accessible at different times depending on the season. Visitors can enjoy hiking, swimming, boating, and picnicking in the park. There are also several educational and cultural programs offered by the park rangers. The park is named after the Krka River, which flows through it. The river is famous for its seven waterfalls, which are located between the towns of Skradin and Šibenik. The waterfalls are formed by the river flowing over limestone and dolomite rocks.
Krka National Park is home to a number of endangered plant and animal species, including the critically endangered Dalmatian Pelican. It's truly a great way to escape the city and spend some time in the Dalmatian hinterland. Trust us, this is one of the best day trips you can do here.
Walking Tour of Split Old Town
For an easy way to explore Split Old Town, opt for a free walking tour. Many of the free tours meet at the golden gate or other notable places in the city center. This is a great activity to do at the start of your trip to Split to get an idea in person of what the city has to offer. You can then revisit any places you need to. Although the guided tour may be free, tips for your guide are definitely recommended.
If you prefer to do things on your own, opt for a free Split walking tour that you can download, but you'll miss out on the local flavor provided by a guide. On the plus side, though, there's no one to tip but yourself.
Hit the Riva like a local
The Riva, the waterfront promenade in Split, is a must-see place at any time of day, but we recommend you head here in the evening. Stroll among the local residents out for an evening walk and take in the beauty of the Adriatic Sea. You can stop for dinner or a few drinks or just find a bench to stop for a minute or two. Restaurants have large patios right on the boardwalk for convenience. Soak up the Mediterranean atmosphere and sit down for a glass of Croatian wine, but don't expect an epic walk here. The wide waterfront promenade is only 250 meters long and lined with palm trees for a true vacation vibe. Another bonus is that it's only a few minutes on foot from the golden gate.
Another fantastic free thing to do in Split is Bacvice Beach. You don't need to embark on a full-day trip from Split to hit the beach. Bacvice Beach is a short walk from Old Town and is quite popular for its soft and sandy beaches. On a coastline dotted with large rocks, the sand is a nice change. The water is shallow and ideal for wading adults and splashing children. In fact, this is definitely one of the best things to do with kids in Split.
If you need a dose of sun and clear water, this beach is for you. You can also find restaurants in the area if you want to shell out some cash for lunch. Otherwise, picnic supplies from the Green Market are an economical option. In truth, any of the Split beaches are perfect options for a beach day.
Marjan Forest Park
Marjan Forest Park, with its famous Marjan Hill viewpoint, is a beautiful park just on the edge of the city center. You won't have to walk far to escape the crowds and immerse yourself in a lovely forest. The park has great views of the Adriatic Sea, and you can watch those who have tried their hand at sea kayaking glide by. Although, if you want to try sea kayaking yourself, the rental will cost you.
Marjan Hill should be your destination when you venture to the city park. The hike to the top takes you past trees and other unique vegetation, and there are even resident donkeys lurking around. You can also see smaller wildlife like foxes, rabbits, and many kinds of birds, all without spending a dime. Just be prepared that the trip up Marjan Hill involves many stairs.
Tour the Split Museums
Generally, touring the Split Museums will cost you, but there is a loophole. If you happen to be in town on the last Friday in January, all the Split museums are free and open late. This includes the Maritime Museum, City Museum, and Museum of the Senses.
Since most people travel to Split in the warmer weather and won't be able to take advantage of the free museum night, consider shelling out 20 kuna for a visit to the Archaeological Museum. While it's not technically free, at current exchange rates, the entrance fee is less than $3 US. For this small price, you gain access to treasures like the large collection of Roman and Greek artifacts. There are also many exhibits on the history of Split and its surrounding region.
Just a couple of minutes on foot from Diocletian's Palace, you'll find Fruit Square. It's a popular spot for nightlife that once held a produce market. Don't expect to find any groceries laid out in the square, but the charming and historical location is a wonderful spot to take a break and watch the people of Split go by.
Since the water is such an important part of any trip to Croatia, when you visit Split, make sure you bring your snorkel gear for a glimpse into the underwater world. The Croatian Adriatic Sea offers crystal-clear water ideal for snorkeling. You can snorkel at any of the local beaches, but the rocky ones are best. Trstenik Beach is a better option than Bacvice Beach as it is quieter and has a mix of sand and rocks in a sheltered bay. Kasjuni Beach is another favorite for its protected cove and pebble beach. Kasjuni Beach is also quieter, but a little further out of the Old Town area. This option might have you spending a little money on transportation.
You can also opt for a tour to the Blue Lagoon, but the ride there will cost you. There are plenty of other great snorkeling spots as well that are best reached by boat.
Charming squares, an ancient church with an iconic bell tower, beautiful beaches, and scenic parks await you on your next visit to Croatia's second-largest city. Diocletian's Palace, the Blue Cave, and some other sights of Old Town Split cost money, but you can easily prioritize to save some cash.
When you visit Split, you won't have trouble finding exciting free things to do around town, although your activities will likely center around Old Town and the pristine beaches. It's safe to say that you don't have to spend a bundle to experience the numerous wonders of Split.