Personally, I could spend my whole life in the Croatian city nestled alongside the Dalmatian coastline. However, Split can also be a fantastic mini-break. There is a lot you can do as Split is an incredibly affordable city, which will hopefully be condensed down in this guide. Apartments are well priced, and I would recommend staying in one of them instead of a hotel, especially as some are in the heart of the medieval city. With this situation in mind, this is how to make the most of your 48 hours in Split.
Start your day with a pastry from one of the many bakeries scattered across the city. Think Greggs prices, but much better quality. No matter which part of the city you are staying in, you will suddenly find yourself at the UNESCO heritage site, Dicoletian’s Palace. The 4th century ruins still compose most of the old town, and walking around will leave you in awe.
Split’s old town is small, but easy to explore, meaning you do not have to worry about getting lost. I would advise to simply soak in the atmosphere the sounds of the city and the clanging church bells. Amongst the medieval buildings there are various restaurants and bars that you scope out for later, and independent craft shops. Split does not lean too heavily on the Game of Thrones craze, with few shops being devoted to the TV show, maintaining that local authenticity.
Once you have got to grips with Split, check out one of their many beaches. Bačvice is where to go if you want to be surrounded by people. For a more peaceful afternoon Bene beach is a better option, a bit further out but a scenic walk regardless. The Adriatic is an unparalleled and gorgeously clear sea, one of Croatia’s main draws, so you must spend some time by its water. However, if lying around on the beach is not your thing there are plenty of museums and galleries to choose from, such as the Split City Museum or the Mestrovic Gallery.
If you have been lounging about on the beach all afternoon and are heading back into the older part of Split, there is a great market nearby. Park Josipa Jurja Strossmayera contains market stalls full of all manner of objects. Whether it's paintings by locals or vintage jewellery, you can pick up anything and it is always good to have a rummage through. There is also a cracking fountain to look at if you want to laze around in the park.
It is well worth checking out the Croatian National Theatre as the sun fades, becoming rather Wes Andersonian in the evening. If your budget extends you could also book to see a performance. Some Split Summer Festival events are hosted there, so if your trip coincides with the thirty day period it is on, it would be well worth going for live music or theatre.
If the theatre does not take your fancy there are a range of restaurants and bars in the old town, and across the marina. Rather than me recommending anywhere I would suggest just having a look around, and stumbling across a place. Most restaurants sell hearty plates of seafood dishes and give you a local intimate setting to eat, which suits solo travellers and large groups of friends. There are plenty of authentic Croatian restaurants who often have the friendliest and best service in the world.
By the time it is dark, and if the nightclub scene is not for you, simply sitting along the marina is a gorgeous way to end the day. It is also a nice way to meet new people as well, as most Croatians are friendly and easy to talk to.
After soaking up the sun the previous day, it's a good idea to start off your day with a bit of hydration. Dotted around the city are juice stalls that blend the fruit of your choice, and are a great accompaniment if you want to go on a walk. An absolute must is venturing up Marjan hill. Not only is it a brilliant way to exercise and be amongst succulents and aloe vera, but once you are at the top you have a panoramic view of the whole of Split. The glittering sea and vast Dalmatian mountains are unmissable.
Marjan is one hell of a walk so I wouldn’t blame you for wanting a sit down afterwards. Behind the Croatian National Theatre there is a square where they sell ice cream and cheesecake in a multitude of flavours, the perfect treat after a long walk. Stopping here also gives you a chance to plan the rest of your afternoon, whilst trying to stop the local cats getting a lick of your ice cream.
Now would be a good time to visit any galleries or museums if you were at the beach the day before. However, if you’d spent the first day doing this, then a boat trip would be fun. One of my earliest memories of Croatia is going on the group fish picnics. You are taken out on a boat to a few different islands, and supplied with lunch as well.
If you want to spend a large amount of time on one island, perhaps look for tours that only cover one or two, as trips with more islands can feel rather rushed. Šolta would come highly recommended as there is more going on than others, from wineries and vineyards to a visit to Marchi castle. Swimming in these waters is tranquil, but make sure you watch out for sea urchins – you don’t want your trip ruined by one of those!
It may be nice to round up the last night of your trip with an evening wandering around the old town. By night it transforms, and is probably less busy. There is usually live music around Dicoletian’s Palace, conjuring a wonderful atmosphere that ensures you never want to leave. Again check out any restaurants you may have considered going before. Most prices are similar and extremely fair for the quality of food you receive.
Croatia is one of the most stunning countries in the world, with a little bit of something for everyone. Whether you are a fan of relaxing in nature, or like to soak up as much culture as possible Split offers that. It is a great place to spend a couple of days, but it is also worth staying for a week, because I can guarantee as soon as you get there, you will not want to leave.