Croatia is known all over the world for its beautiful coast, and the city of Split fits into that picture perfectly. The second largest city in the country has been around for more than 17 centuries and boasts the fact that it was founded by a Roman emperor himself. Diocletian wanted some peace and quiet as well as some beautiful nature in which he could relax, so nobody can really argue with the location he chose for his magnificent palace, a monument that still stands at Split’s heart and the city’s main attraction.
However, what also makes this city a great choice for your vacation is the fact that it can serve as a hub from which you can take some truly spectacular day trips. The place is surrounded by beautiful little towns and picturesque islands, all of which are well connected, so here are the best day trips from Split you always need to keep in mind when making your summer plans.
4 Great Day Trips Ideas from Split
#1 Omiš and rafting on Cetina
Drive along the coast to the south-east of Split and you will eventually find Omiš, a pretty little town of about 15,000 people. There are plenty of old churches and a couple of fascinating old forts to see, but what is probably the most fascinating feature of this place is the fact that throughout history it was known as a town of pirates. Yes, real pirates. Some of the most famous battles are regularly re-enacted during summer, so if you’re in luck you could witness quite a show. With historically accurate costumes and everything. Make sure to see when these events are scheduled!
But Omiš is also a great place for those who want an active vacation. You can’t miss Cetina, the river which flows through the town and then into the Adriatic. Cetina is ideal for rafting because its canyon makes it one of the most beautiful rivers in Croatia, while at the same time providing plenty of excitement. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a rafting expert to get through this – professional guides and trained skippers will accompany you.
But rafting is not the only way you can explore this magnificent canyon. You can also zipline over it while being suspended about 150 meters in the air. Talk about an adrenaline rush! Not to mention that the view is more than spectacular. The tour usually takes about three hours, which means that these three hours will provide you with an experience you’ll never forget.
Oh, and if you do decide to go on and visit this magnificent place, don’t forget to visit Radmanove mlinice, one of the favourite places for people from Split when they want to get away from it all. It offers spectacular food along with beautiful serene surroundings.
#2 Brač and its towns and villages
But Croatia also has many islands, and Brač is the closest one to Split. You can board a ferry to Supetar if you want to take your car with you, or you can get on a catamaran to get to the other side of the island, to Bol. If you have a car, taking it with you is a good idea because Brač is a fairly big island with many beautiful places and beaches you should visit. Splitska, Pučišća, Milna… you can’t go wrong with any one of them, and each one has at least one great “konoba” (local traditional restaurants, somewhat rustic, but with food you could die for).
The highest peak on Brač, Vidova gora, is also the highest peak of all Adriatic islands, but the best part about it is that you can get to the very top with a car. No exhausting hikes here! Once you get there, a spectacular view will open up in front of you, and the place even has benches and table if you want to set up a really memorable picnic.
However, the crown jewel of Brač has to be the town of Bol. This beautiful little place with incredible stone houses and plenty of bars and restaurants you can visit in the evening is best known for Zlatni rat, an incredible beach just outside of the town. With all of this in mind, Brač may even warrant a couple of days of your time, instead of taking just a day trip from Split.
Just like Omiš, you get to Trogir by driving along the coast, only in the opposite direction. So, head towards Solin and then past Kaštela to reach this place. And you really should consider visiting it because this quaint little town is even older than Split, believe it or not. It was founded in the 3rd century BC by ancient Greeks, no less. But Trogir’s main attraction is its old town, which is listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites list. This is because its center is considered to be the best preserved complex of Gothic and Romanesque building in this part of Europe. Honestly, it’s like stepping into a fairy-tale.
Trogir is all about culture, history and architecture, so there are plenty things to see, but you also have many great places where you can sit, order something to eat or drink and simply enjoy the surroundings. The Kamerlengo Fortress and the local cathedral are two places every visitor should see, especially the latter because it contains a unique portal created by Master Radovan, a piece of art from the 13th century famous throughout Croatia.
And don’t worry about enjoying the beach. The island of Čiovo is actually an administrative part of Trogir – you only have to cross the bridge near the town’s centre and you’re there. Just one more tip: although there are buses running from Split to Trogir regularly, taking a car is much more convenient.
#4 Head North to Šibenik
All of the places mentioned earlier as suggestions for your best day trip from Split are fairly close to the city. Šibenik, on the other hand, is about 50 kilometres north, but you can reach it easily by car. You can take the highway, which is much faster, or take the slower but much more beautiful road along the coast past Trogir. In any case, once you get to Šibenik, there will be plenty to do, see and explore. This is actually the oldest town in the country founded by Croats, a fact that brings the people of this place great pride.
However, they are even more proud of their St. James Cathedral. And they should be, since this masterpiece is a spectacular example of the Renaissance in Croatia and also under the protection of UNESCO. 72 stone heads adorn the cathedral’s exterior, and the baptistery is just as impressive. The four fortresses scattered around town are also some of the main sights, and you will enjoy a walk through Šibenik’s medieval old town.
All in all, this is a charming and lively little town which is taking advantage of the tourism boom in the country and investing a lot into itself. Coming here is great way to spend a day.
On top of all that, two exceptionally beautiful national parks are very close by – Krka and Kornati. The former has some spectacular waterfalls, while the latter is actually a group of stunning islands, so if you’re a nature lover these destinations are a must! These places alone are worthy of a day trip from Split.
Dalmatia really is the perfect place to spend your summer vacation. Loads of sun, pristine blue sea, marvellous beaches and everything else you need for a great trip is available in spades. Split as its largest city is the best place to choose as your destination because, apart from offering some truly spectacular architecture, loads of history and great food, it is also very well connected to all the places you might want to visit and therefore can serve as your perfect base of operations.
Your day trip choices are quite numerous, from beautiful and ancient old towns to picturesque islands and spectacular beaches. Even adrenaline-packed trips can easily be made! You simply can’t go wrong. That’s why it’s impossible to proclaim a best day trip from Split – it’s all up to your personal preferences. Hopefully, this article has made a good case for several different and very interesting destinations. You will have a blast no matter which day trip you decide to take, that much is guaranteed.
BIO: Anca is the founder and chief editor of One Day Itinerary, a travel blog dedicated to those who want to make the most of their time in a new city, even if they only have only one day there. Thanks to the fact that she has traveled literally all over the world, she can tell you the dos and don’ts of pretty much every major city in the world. As a matter of fact, she’s already done so in her blog posts.