Discovering Split, Croatia: A Journey Through History and Beauty

  • Paul McInerney
  • 16 Aug 23

Nestled along the stunning Croatian coastline lies the enchanting city of Split, a destination that seamlessly blends rich history with breathtaking natural beauty.

Split, Croatia by Spencer Davis

Split, Croatia by Spencer Davis

As I embarked on my journey to explore this captivating city, I was immediately entranced by the tranquil Adriatic waters and the elegant Renaissance architecture that adorned every corner. However, what left an indelible mark on my memory was the extraordinary Diocletian’s Palace, a relic from the years 295 to 305 AD.




Unveiling Diocletian’s Palace: A Timeless Relic

Split, Croatia - Tourists in the central square of Diocletian PalacePhoto Credit: Paul McInerney

In recent years, Split has become a magnet for enthusiasts from far and wide who seek to experience firsthand the captivating medieval settings showcased in HBO's Game of Thrones. Despite this famous connection, Spilt has always been a cherished destination for travellers, attracting millions of people every year, long before becoming the official home of dragons. As part of our remarkable Croatia & Slovenia tour, we offer an immersive walking tour through Split's historic old town.

Diocletian’s Palace, a masterpiece of ancient Roman architecture, stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of this city. This remarkable structure, dating back to the turn of the 4th century AD, served as the retirement residence of Diocletian, a Roman emperor known by the moniker "Jovius." Although he rose through the military ranks to claim the imperial throne, Diocletian chose this palace as his final resting place, only briefly residing here during his reign.

Today, this historic palace serves as a captivating time capsule, its well-preserved underchambers offering a glimpse into the daily life of the past. Initially employed for waste disposal, these chambers now house astonishing stone archways and boulders, bearing witness to centuries of history. After extensive excavation efforts, these chambers have been opened to tourists, allowing them to step back in time and immerse themselves in the splendour of ancient Roman life.

The palace also features Diocletian’s chambers, a regal dining room, and even a unique vomitorium, a testament to the indulgent excesses of the time. These intriguing historical remnants offer visitors a multifaceted view of life within the palace walls. It is no wonder that Diocletian’s Palace earned its well-deserved place on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1979.


Beyond the Palace: Split's Allure

While the Diocletian’s Palace is undoubtedly the crown jewel of Split's historical attractions, the city offers much more to explore. Here are some other must-see sites in Split, Croatia:


Cathedral of St. Domnius

Split, Croatia - Cathedral of St. DomniusPhoto Credit: Jeremy Van Heerde

Originally constructed as a mausoleum, this awe-inspiring structure boasts a magnificent dome that continues to captivate visitors. Situated within the Split Peristyle, a grand courtyard at the heart of the old town, the cathedral is a marvel of architectural ingenuity and historical significance.


The Riva

Split, Croatia - main waterfront promenade, RivaPhoto Credit: Adam Dickson

Concluding our walking tour at the southern palace walls, we found ourselves at The Riva, a bustling waterfront promenade. Lined with graceful palm trees that complement the vibrant hues of the Adriatic Sea, The Riva offers a delightful blend of natural beauty and lively dining options.


Grgur Ninski Statue

Split, Croatia - Grgur Ninski Statue
Photo Credit: Adam Dickson

Just outside the Golden Gate of Old Split stands the towering 8.5 metre-tall bronze statue of Grgur Ninski. Erected in 1929 to commemorate the thousandth anniversary of the Synod of Split, this statue pays homage to Gregory Ninski's crusade for the Croatian language in church services. Notably, the statue's history is marked by the discovery of a hidden bottle of whiskey during a recent renovation, a testament to the enduring allure of mystery and tradition.


Klis Fortress

Split, Croatia - Kils FortressPhoto Credit: Dario Bajurin

With roots dating back to the 16th century, Klis Fortress is a living testament to Spilt’s tumultuous history. Originally established by the Illyrians, it passed through the hands of the Romans, Turks, and Venetians. Game of Thrones enthusiasts will recognise it as the imposing fortress of 'Mereen,' where Daenerys Targaryen's justice was served. Today, the fortress includes a captivating Game of Thrones exhibition, alongside the awe-inspiring views from St. Vitus church.


A Perfect Blend of Past and Present

Split is not just a historical treasure trove; it's a living city that effortlessly merges its metropolitan energy with the old town's historical charm. On our Croatia tours, you’ll stay at a hotel strategically located a short distance from the old town. This decision provided our small group with a unique contrast between ancient Roman history and the modern vibrancy of Croatia.

In essence, Split offers a perfect blend of the past and the present, making it an absolute must-visit destination for any traveller. Whether you are drawn by its ancient wonders, scenic coastline, or the echoes of dragons from Game of Thrones, Split promises an unforgettable experience that will linger in your heart long after you leave.


Spilt Croatia FAQs


Where is Split Located?

Split is situated along the stunning Croatian coastline, specifically in the Dalmatia region, on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea.


What is the best time to visit Split, Croatia?

The best time to visit Split is during the spring (April to June) and early autumn (September to October) when the weather is pleasant, and tourist crowds are smaller. However, summer (June to August) is the peak tourist season with warm weather and vibrant festivals.


Is English widely spoken in Split?

English is commonly spoken in Split, especially in tourist areas, hotels, and restaurants. Most locals in the tourism industry have a good command of English.


What are the top attractions in Split?

Some of the must-see attractions in Split include Diocletian's Palace, the Cathedral of St. Domnius, The Riva promenade, the Grgur Ninski Statue, and the Klis Fortress. Each offers a unique experience.


Discover Split, Croatia with Bunnik Tours

If you want to discover Split, you can go on any of our amazing small group tours to Croatia. If you have any questions about this blog or our Croatia small group tours, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our friendly Travel Specialists on 1800 286 645.

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