Split in 2 Days: everything you need to know

The city of Split, located on the shores of the Adriatic Sea, has unmissable attractions to visit in two days, from medieval fortresses to paradisiacal beaches.

Lorena Morales

Lorena Morales

10 min read

Split in 2 Days: everything you need to know

Miguel Nonay |©Vista panorámica de Isla de Hvar

There are many things to see and do in Split that you can enjoy during your two-day stay in the city. Split is the second most populated city in Croatia, home to one of the best preserved Roman constructions in the world: the Diocletian's Palace.

If you visit Split in two days, you can walk through its interesting Old Town, stroll through squares and cobblestone streets full of life, or embark to the islands full of nature that are in the surroundings. Here is a 2-day itinerary for the city of Split, so you can immerse yourself in its Mediterranean spirit and culture.

Day 1: Diocletian's Palace, Marjan Hill and Split Riva

Diocletian's Palace|©Joan Carles Doria
Diocletian's Palace|©Joan Carles Doria

On your tour of Split, you can start at Diocletian's Palace, which includes the Vestibule, the Peristyle, the Ethnographic Museum, the Temple of Jupiter, the Cathedral and the cellars. Later you can go to the Town Square, the Game of Thrones Museum and the Marjan Hill, one of the most beautiful viewpoints of the city. To end the day, you can go to one of the restaurants on the Riva, or waterfront promenade.

To start the tour, you should go to the south gate of Diocletian's Palace, also called Porta Aenea or Copper Gate, which will lead you to the Peristyle Square. Touring the Diocletian's Palace is one of the best tours you can do in Split.

Diocletian's Palace

The historic center of Split corresponds to the Diocletian's Palace, one of the most amazing ancient buildings in the city. It was built by the Roman emperor Diocletian between the 3rd and 4th centuries A.D., and still preserves many of the original constructions, including a large part of the walls that surrounded it.

Although it is known as Diocletian's Palace, it is actually the remains of what used to be a kind of fortress. Inside there are squares, churches and cobblestone streets that connect with the city, and even markets, stores and restaurants. Its doors are open all day long, but the attractions inside have a set opening time.

You can enter the Palace through any of its 4 gates, although the most popular is the Aenea Gate, which connects to the Split Coastal Promenade. Although when you finish touring the Palace you will have to return to the starting point, it is the most traditional route. Another possibility is to enter through the Golden Gate and go the other way around. In any case, the Palace is not very extensive (it is about 180 meters wide and 215 meters long), so it can take you between 2 and 3 hours to visit it.

  • Hours: Monday to Saturday from 8 am to 7 pm, and Sundays from 12.30 pm to 6.30 pm. In winter they close at 3 pm.
  • Price: about 6 EUR for the entrance to the Cathedral, Temple of Jupiter and museum; and about 6 EUR for the subway galleries.

Join a guided tour of Diocletian's palace

The Ethnographic Museum and Foyer

About 50 meters from the Aenea Gate is the Ethnographic Museum, which brings together a large number of objects, such as pottery, textiles, basketry, jewelry and sculptures belonging to the traditional heritage of the Dalmatian region. It also houses a large collection of typical costumes and ancient weapons.

Further on, less than 20 meters from the museum, is the Vestibule, a circular vaulted construction without a roof that used to be the entrance to the palace halls.

The Peristyle

About 30 meters from the Vestibule is the Peristyle, the main square of the palace, which is surrounded by a gallery formed by granite columns. Around it there are restaurants and cafes where you can sit and have a drink, and there are often people dressed as centurions posing for photos of visitors.

From this square you can go to the Cathedral of San Dominus, which is located to the east.

Cathedral of St. Domnius

At 150 from the Peristyle, up a staircase guarded by sphinxes, is the Cathedral of St. Domnius or St. Duje, which was built in the 7th century, where the Imperial Mausoleum of Diocletian used to be. It has an octagonal shape and a magnificent ornamentation, although the most striking is its bell tower of 57 meters high, which offers one of the best panoramic views of Split. You can climb it by means of a staircase.

Temple of Jupiter

The Temple of Jupiter is located west of the Peristyle, about 50 meters, taking a small alley. It was converted into a baptistery in the 13th century and has the statue of St. John the Baptist inside. However, the most interesting thing is the original Egyptian sphinx that guards the entrance, 3,500 years old.

Next to the Temple is the narrowest street in Split, called Pusti me da prodjem, which means "let me pass".

Town Square


About 70 meters from the Temple of Jupiter is the Iron Gate of the Palace, through which you should exit and walk about 50 meters to the Town Square. This is the central square of the city, where there are usually street markets and cultural events.

In its surroundings are the Cambj Palace, in Gothic style, and the old Town Hall, in Renaissance style, which houses the City Museum. There is also a café of great cultural importance, the Central Café, which used to be the meeting place of artists and intellectuals.

In addition, in front of this square is the city clock, which marks 24 hours instead of 12. It is an ideal place to have lunch or a coffee while watching the lively life of this part of Split.

Game of Thrones Museum

About 120 meters from the Town Square is the Game of Thrones Museum, a site of special interest for fans of the series, as it contains 5 thematic rooms with sculptures of dragons and characters from the series, and all kinds of objects that will lead you to the medieval atmosphere of the series. It is a small museum, so it won't take you long to go through it.

  • Location: Bosanska ul. 9, 21000, Split.
  • Opening hours: from Sunday to Thursday from 10 am to 10 pm, and from Thursday to Saturday until 11 pm.
  • Entrance fee: about 15 € per person.

Gregory of Nin Statue

At 140 meters from the Game of Thrones Museum, is the Gregory of Nin Statue, in front of the Golden Gate. It was made by sculptor Ivan Meštrović and is the subject of a curious local tradition. It is said to bring good luck to touch the big toe of this sculpture, so many people come here to seek good fortune.

Subway galleries

After touching the statue, you should return to Porta Aenea and take a gallery on the left to reach the Underground Galleries of the Palace. It is one of the best preserved Roman constructions, and is also famous because it has been the setting for the acclaimed series Game of Thrones.

These galleries, by replicating the layout of the imperial rooms that were on the upper floor, allow us to imagine what these buildings were originally like. Today it is a site for art exhibitions, plays, fairs and other cultural events.

Take a Game of Thrones tour in Split

Marjan Hill

From Porta Aenea, where you started this tour, you should walk about 6 blocks along the Riva to Marjan Hill, from where you will have one of the most beautiful panoramic views of the Palace, the sea, the islands and the city of Split.

The hill is about 160 meters high and has 3 viewpoints that you can reach by stairs. However, if you get too tired of the climb, before reaching the main viewpoint, the Telegrin, you have the Vidilica viewpoint, which also offers a nice view. It is an ideal place to watch the sunset, have a snack in a cafe at the top or walk along one of its trails of different lengths.

The Riva

Coming back from the Marjan hill, passing the Porta Aenea, you can take this coastal walk about 250 meters long. Its floor is made of marble and is surrounded by palm trees. It is a very lively place in the city, where concerts, plays and various cultural events are often held. It is also a good place to dine, as there are restaurants and cafes in the surrounding area.

Day 2: Visit the island of Hvar and the oldest town in Croatia

Island of Hvar|©Santiago Abella
Island of Hvar|©Santiago Abella

Your second day in the city you can take a tour from Split to see the surrounding islands and their beautiful beaches. One of the most beautiful islands you can visit is the island of Hvar, where you will find medieval walls, almost pristine beaches and a charming village. Hvar is an island about 60 km long, the longest in the region, and is connected by winding roads.

The most usual is to go first to Stari Grad, the oldest town in Croatia; and then to the town of Hvar and its beaches.

How to get to the island of Hvar

To get to the island of Hvar you must take a ferry from the port of Split, which will take you to the port of Stari Grad. There is one every one and a half hours starting at 9 am from Split, and it takes about 50 minutes to get there. The last one returns around 7.30 pm, with a shorter schedule in winter. You can also cross by taking your car on the ferry.

Another way to get there is to hire a day tour from Split. This option is highly recommended as it will also take you to the Pakleni islands and the Blue Cave, which can only be reached by sea.

Visit Hvar island and Pakleni islands from Split

The oldest town: Stari Grad

The ferry will drop you off at the port of Stari Grad, an ancient town founded in 384 B.C. It is a very small fishing village where you will see cobblestone streets, arched passages, remains of ancient walls and stone houses. The town has been declared a Unesco World Heritage Site, and is ideal for getting lost in its narrow streets and discovering the historical treasures housed within its walls.

One of the must-see buildings in Stari Grad is the castle of Petar Hektorović, who was a famous local Renaissance poet. The castle is located about 250 meters from the harbor, and is open from May to October. Inside, it houses collections related to life on the island.

  • Location: Priko b.b, 21460, Stari Grad.
  • Hours: daily from 10 am to 1.30 pm and from 5 pm to 8 pm.

The town of Hvar Grad

At 20 km from Stari Grad is Hvar Grad, a town with lots of charm and old buildings, where you can stroll through its historic center, climb to a lookout point and visit the nearby beaches. If you take a bus, you will reach Hvar in half an hour. Then you can return directly to Split by taking a ferry at the port of this city.

St. Stephen's Cathedral

About 250 meters from the port of Hvar is the Cathedral of St. Stephen, a picturesque white church with a beautiful bell tower. It was built between the 16th and 18th centuries on the foundations of a 6th century church, and houses very valuable works of art inside, dating back to medieval times. It is located in St. Stephen's Square, the central square of the city. Admission is free.

Spanjola Fortress

From St. Stephen's Cathedral, you should walk about 700 meters to the road that leads up to the Spanjola Fortress, and then climb about 20 minutes to the top, where you will see this magnificent building that began to be built in 1278.

The Spanjola Fortress houses in its interior amphorae and other objects belonging to medieval times. In addition to its interesting architecture and history, the fortress offers the most beautiful panoramic views of the island and the Pakleni Islands. After touring the site, you can have a refreshment or an infusion in a cafe in the fortress.

Arsenal Theater

One of the oldest theaters in the world is located 160 meters from the Cathedral: The Arsenal. This theater was built between 1292 and 1331, although it was remodeled and rebuilt several times until 1611. Its facade dates from the 19th century. Today it is an important cultural center of the city and an emblematic building, where the Gallery of Contemporary Art also operates.

Pokonji dol Beach and Duvonica Beach

Bay Pokonji dol, Hvar|©Nina Lauc
Bay Pokonji dol, Hvar|©Nina Lauc

About 2 km from the Arsenal theater is Pokonji dol Beach, a very nice beach where you can swim and enjoy the sun. Another option is Duvonica Beach, which is the most popular beach on the island, and is about 10 km from the theater. It is best to go by cab, so you can make the best use of your time on the island.

Another option: Stari Grad and Pakleni Islands

An alternative to the city of Hvar is to visit the Pakleni islands, which are about 20 islets and islands where there are beaches with transparent waters surrounded by pine forests and scented by lavender fields. Their beaches are ideal for swimming and snorkeling, and many are nudist. All the islands have their charm, although the most visited are San Clemente, Marinkovac and Jerolim.

To get there, you can take a cab boat or rent a small boat. Depending on how much time you spend on Stari Grad (and what time you arrive), you will have time or not to cross to the other island. A good option is to join one of the tours that depart from Split and take you to visit both Stari Grad and Pakleni islands, the Blue Cave (located on Vis island) and the town of Hvar Grad.

Visit 5 islands and the Blue Cave from Split

Return to Split

If you decide to go to the town of Hvar, you can take the ferry at the port to return to Split. On the other hand, if you decide to tour the Pakleni islands, you will have to return to Stari Grad and take the ferry from there.

Once in the city, you can choose a restaurant on the Riva and taste the exquisite Croatian dishes, such as kulen (a sausage), Strukli (stuffed puff pastry dough), Mlinci (a kind of pasta) or Orehnjaca (a puff pastry and walnut dessert).

Itinerary summary: 2 days in Split

  • Day 1
  • Diocletian's Palace
  • Town Square
  • Game of Thrones Museum
  • Gregory of Nin Statue
  • Subway galleries (Diocletian's Palace)
  • Marjan Hill
  • The Riva
  • Day 2 (option 1)
  • Ferry from Split to Stari Grad
  • Tour of Stari Grad
  • Bus or cab to Hvar Grad
  • St. Stephen's Cathedral
  • Spanjola Fortress
  • Arsenal Theater
  • Pokonji dol Beach or Duvonica Beach
  • Ferry to Split
  • Day 2 (option 2)
  • Ferry to Stari Grad
  • Tour to Stari Grad
  • Ferry or tour to Pakleni islands
  • Return to Stari Grad
  • Ferry to Split

Here ends the itinerary I suggest for your 2-day visit to Split, but there are many places you can visit in the surroundings if your stay is longer. For example, Plitvice Lakes National Park, Krka National Park, or Dubrovnik, a city that has also been declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco.