Destinations in Croatia don’t get much more popular than the seaside city of Split. It’s not only the perfect place for a few days of sightseeing, but also an ideal base for exploring Croatia’s Dalmatian coast and islands. You can head in nearly any direction from Split to uncover somewhere unique and amazing.
Things to see in Croatia outside of Split include other cities, national parks, and Adriatic island getaways. The best part is that they can all be explored comfortably from Split, making it no surprise that Split is a must on any Croatia itinerary. To give you some ideas, here are our recommendations for the best day trips from Split.
How to Get Around
Although you can make many of these day trips with public transport, consider renting a car for the day to give yourself more flexibility and independence. With your own four wheels, you control your time and schedule. Depending on how many people are in your group, renting a car might even work out to be cheaper than other forms of transportation. You can compare car rental deals and find the lowest prices at Rentalcars.com, an aggregation site that searches and displays prices and availability from hundreds of car rental companies, helping you find the best possible car for your budget.
Don’t want to drive or deal with the hassle of public transport? No worries! We’ve listed the best tour for each day trip (where available).
People love to visit the islands of the Adriatic Sea when they come to Croatia, and Hvar is the perfect place to start. As one of the best Split day trips to take by boat, Hvar is ideal if you want to balance sightseeing with time on and in the warm Adriatic water.
With a cruise out to Hvar, you’ll want to explore its historic town and soak up its idyllic island atmosphere. Sights in the town of Hvar include the Cathedral of St. Stephen, the Hvar Public Theatre, and the views from the Fortica. If you have extra time on Hvar and want to see more great scenery, visit the island’s other charming towns, such as Stari Grad and Vrboska. Alternatively, head over to the secluded bays of the Pakleni Islands.
Getting there: While you can take a ferry from Split to Hvar, the best way to combine sightseeing and open-water swimming is to take this full-day cruise.
Among the many small islands dotting the Dalmatian coast, Biševo has become one of the most popular day tours from Split, thanks to the incredible Blue Cave on its east coast. What makes this flooded sea cave special is the light that comes up through the water, illuminating the grotto in an extraordinary blue glow. For safety reasons, you can’t swim in the cave, but you can take a boat inside.
Getting there: To build a day around your visit to Biševo, hop aboard this island cruise that takes you to the Blue Cave and other beautiful Adriatic islands, including Vis and Ravnik (home of the equally stunning Green Cave).
If you’re looking for a beautiful coastal town that’s less busy than Split, a trip to nearby Trogir is in order. The Old Town of Trogir is similar to Split in some ways, with its splendid Venetian architecture and pretty waterfront lined with palm trees. Unlike Split, though, Trogir isn’t usually heaving with tourists. It’s actually quite peaceful once you delve into its web of stone streets.
While you’re in Trogir, don’t miss a visit to Kamerlengo Castle by the water. You’ll enjoy its sense of history along with the spectacular views from its walls. Trogir is also known for its beaches, with visitors often making a beeline for Beach Rožac and Okrug Gornji Beach on the next island past the marina.
Getting there: Trogir is just a short trip from Split, lying west of the city along the coast. The easiest way to get there is the 45-minute ride on the regular bus from Split.
Krka National Park
As nice as the Croatian coastline is, some of the best places to visit from Split are inland. One of these is Krka National Park, home to seven enchanting waterfalls and other beautiful nature.
Go sightseeing in the park to enjoy magical scenery like the Skradinski Buk waterfalls and the island of Visovac. You can even swim in the freshwater pools below the waterfalls, like at Roski Slap, and hike along wonderful nature trails. The small stone houses and watermills throughout the park make it all the more fantastical.
Getting there: To reach Krka National Park from Split on public transport, you first need to take the bus to the village of Skradin, which takes an hour and 15 minutes. From there, you can either walk 5 kilometers (about 3 miles) or take a boat ride to the falls, which is included in your park ticket. However, it’s easier to visit with a guided day tour.
Book Tour to Krka National Park
Plitvice Lakes National Park
Croatia’s other famous waterfall destination, Plitvice Lakes National Park, is considerably farther from Split than Krka but certainly worth the visit. In this vast national park near the Dinaric Alps, you’ll find a canyon where 16 lakes cascade from one to the next in a series of waterfalls.
There’s much to admire at Plitvice, like Veliki Slap (the park’s tallest waterfall), and the park offers plenty of opportunities to see it all. You can stroll down boardwalks or take more demanding hikes as you seek out views of these beautiful lakes. While you can’t swim in them, the boat ride across Lake Kozjak is the next best thing.
Getting there: With buses taking 3.5 hours to get from Split to Plitvice Lakes, the park is right on the edge of what’s reasonable for a day trip. This guided tour is a better way to go, giving you time to see all the park’s highlights.
The best side trips from Split aren’t all in Croatia. Just across the border in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the historic city of Mostar gives you a taste of another country in a quick and easy day trip.
Starting in the atmospheric Old Town, head straight for the iconic Stari Most. Below this bridge, you can watch the tradition of brave locals diving into the Neretva River. Move on through the stalls of the Old Bazaar to see the Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque and appreciate its views of Mostar’s cityscape.
If you have enough time, consider including nearby stops like the Blagaj Tekija (a cliffside Dervish monastery) and the town of Medjugorje in your jaunt across the border. You can learn more about this destination in our dedicated Mostar guide.
Getting there: A guided tour to Mostar is the only sensible way to make the day trip with multiple stops in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Public transport will take too long, and driving yourself will also cut into your sightseeing time as you navigate two unfamiliar countries.
Easily one of the best places to visit in Croatia, Dubrovnik is another gorgeous and historic city on the Dalmatian coast. It shot to fame somewhat recently as a filming location for Game of Thrones, but there’s much more to this destination than that.
Start your visit with a walk down the limestone Stradun, the city’s main street. As you take in exquisite Venetian architecture, stop to admire the eye-catching Church of St. Blaise and the refined Sponza Palace. Also spend some time exploring the exhibits in the Franciscan Monastery Museum if you can.
After a walk up one of the many long staircase streets, climb up onto the fortified Walls of Dubrovnik for some superb views, both across the city’s orange tiles and out to the blue waters of the Adriatic. Then stop for a drink at one of the cliffside bars just outside the city walls.
Getting there: Unfortunately, Dubrovnik is too far from Split to reach by ferry or public transport. To see the city properly in a day, take this guided tour, which can show you all the best things to see and do.
If you crave a little adventure as you explore beyond Split, head off into the highlands near the border. Here you’ll find Cetina River, the perfect destination for fun outdoor activities.
If a quiet paddle along the river is what you have in mind, consider taking a gentle canoe safari. Much more adventurous is river rafting, which will take you over some second- and third-class rapids and surely get your heart racing. You have plenty more options out of the water, such as hiking, rappelling, climbing, cliff jumping, and canyoning.
Getting there: Guided tours are the best way to visit Cetina, as you’ll need to hire instructors and rent gear anyway. That being said, the river is only a 40-minute drive from Split, so you can easily go yourself if you just want to hike.
One last island trip to consider is to Brač, one of the closest islands to Split. But Brač isn’t just a good choice because it’s close – a visit here offers superb coastal scenery and plenty of swimming opportunities.
After cruising over to the island, explore idyllic coastal towns like Supetar and Bol. Then head over to the wonderful vineyards along the south coast and the island’s highest point, Vidova Gora, for its sweeping views. From there, head down to Golden Horn, the island’s most popular beach for swimming and sunbathing. More cruising around the Adriatic will lead you to several truly memorable swims in secluded bays, such as Lučice.
Getting there: While a car ferry connects Split with Supetar on Brač, a full-day catamaran cruise is the way to go for a complete island experience, including swimming.
Šibenik, the next major city up the coast from Split, has plenty to offer for a day trip, despite being overshadowed by other coastal destinations. Šibenik sets itself apart by being the oldest coastal city founded by Croatians.
Begin your visit by seeing the Cathedral of St. James, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its architectural and cultural importance. Wander the streets of the Old Town, admiring the Venetian buildings as you go. Later, head up to St. Michael’s Fortress or even farther up the hill to the Barone Fortress for panoramic views over the city.
Getting there: Šibenik is one of the few easy train trips from Split, with the journey taking an hour and 45 minutes. Buses take about the same amount of time and run fairly regularly. If you want to combine Šibenik with nearby Krka National Park, though, a group day tour is your best guarantee to fit it all in.
You should have no problem finding things to do with your extra time in Split now! As great as it is to explore the sights of Split, a visit to this city is also a great opportunity to explore more of Croatia and beyond.
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