How to have an unforgettable beach holiday in Split

Nestled along the sparkling Adriatic coast lies Split, one of Europe’s top destinations for a summer beach holiday.

Below, we’ve rounded up the best ways to have an unforgettable beach holiday in Split. Let’s dive into this charming city perched prettily on the Adriatic coast.


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Come summer, the weather in Split is ideal for lazing on the sandy as well as rocky beaches here, from lively Bačvice Beach to the impossibly turquoise bays and lagoons found on the islands offshore.

And with fast, affordable ferries leaving the harbour to whisk you to neighbouring islands such as Šolta, Brač, and Hvar, the possibilities for adventure are almost endless.

View of lively Hvar Islands port and part of the city

Photo source: Unsplash

But it’s not just about relaxing on the sand and tranquil dips in the sea; a good beach holiday also involves doing as the locals do. Enjoying Croatian cuisine, strolling along the Riva promenade, and exploring Diocletian’s Palace in Split’s Old Town are must-do experiences here.


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Soak up the rays at Bačvice Beach

Split’s beaches are world-class, and Bačvice Beach is its best of the best. This popular strip of sand is much loved thanks to its shallow and calm waters, which are crystal-clear and perfect for a dip.

The gentle crescent-shaped beach has soft, golden sand, and you’ll find locals here enjoying a blissed-out day of swimming in the warm water, sunbathing, and sipping on drinks with friends.

Bačvice Beach is much loved thanks to its location and calm waters

Photo source: Tripadvisor

It’s also a great spot to watch or join in a game of picigin, in which players attempt to keep a small rubber ball airborne using acrobatic dives, kicks, and tricks.

When you’ve had your fill of sun, sea, and sand, retreat to one of the seafront cafés along the promenade for cocktails and fresh seafood. Come evening, the bars and clubs also make this one of the city’s best spots for a night out.

View of Bacvice Beach Bay from Tortuga Grill & Pub restaurant

Photo source: Tripadvisor


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Embark on an island-hopping adventure

Split is the sailing hub of Croatia, and just offshore from the city you’ll find plenty of stunning islands to explore, which are home to vibrant medieval towns and ancient fishing villages, nature reserves and nightlife, and secretive coves with crystal-clear water.

This is by far one of the best ways to enjoy a beach holiday in Split, whether you charter a day trip or rent your own yacht and spend your time hopping between the islands.

While in Split, use the opportunity to visit the nearest islands

Photo source: Unsplash

Some of the highlights include Brač, which is known for its famous Zlatni Rat Beach and seaside towns, and Hvar, where lavender fields inland give way to medieval towns on the coast that are well known for their nightlife.

Brač Island is well known for its Golden Horn Beach (Zlatni Rat Beach)

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There’s also Vis, where local wine and secluded coves are the big draw.

The options are almost endless. If you’re looking for sandy beaches near Split, best to look offshore at the islands.


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Escape the heat in Marjan Forest Park

If you’ve already had plenty of beach days and are wondering what else to do in Split, look to the western fringes of the city and Marjan Forest Park, which is a beautiful peninsula covered in pine forests, shady paths, and more beautiful beaches.

Forest Park Marjan has great views and a fascinating history

Photo source: Tripadvisor

The views over the city and the surrounding islands from here are extraordinary, with paths trailing along the coast as well as inland, where the fragrant aroma of the pines accompanies you to secretive lookouts, medieval chapels, and more.

A view of Split City from the Forest Park Marjan

Photo source: Pixabay

To make a day of it, walk the trails and descend toward the southwestern edge of the peninsula, where you’ll find Kašjuni Beach, one of the best sandy beaches near Split.


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Relax at Split’s beach bars and cafés

No beach holiday in Split is complete without joining the locals at the beachfront bars and cafés.

The weather in Split in summer is gorgeous, and residents spend a lot of time soaking it all up on outdoor terraces overlooking the beaches, sipping on beers, coffees, and cocktails.

Enjoy a leisurely meal in the restaurant Don Quijote Hvar with a view of the Adriatic sea

Photo source: Tripadvisor

Accompanied by views of the glittering Adriatic Sea, it’s a tempting way to while away an afternoon.

Bačvice Beach is a hot spot for beachfront bars and cafés, as is the quieter Firule Beach further east along the coast.

Closer to Split’s Old Town is the bustling Riva promenade, a fun spot to kick back with a drink, gaze out across the city’s harbour, and watch the crowds pass by.

The bustling Riva promenade is closer to Riva's Old town

Photo source: Unsplash


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Dive into some exciting water sports

Beach holidays in Split don’t have to be entirely about relaxing on the sand, cocktail in hand. For something a bit more adventurous, the sea and islands that surround Split are ideal for water sports.

Enjoy river rafting during your travel to Split

Photo source: Tripadvisor

A vibrant world of coral reefs and marine life awaits under water, making this one of the best places in Croatia for diving and snorkelling.

Split is one of the best places in Croatia for diving and snorkelling

Photo source: Tripadvisor

Standup paddleboarding and kayaking are also options, and if you’re after something a bit more thrilling, windsurfing, kiteboarding, and jet skis are all popular options for getting out on the water.


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Explore the remarkable palace

No beach holiday in Split is complete without soaking up the vibrant atmosphere of Diocletian’s Palace, which is one of the most imposing Roman structures in Europe.

A part of the Diocletian’s Palace showing the last remaining sphinx

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Built in the 4th century CE by the Roman Emperor Diocletian as an opulent retirement residence, don’t expect this to be like other major attractions in European cities. Instead, the palace is a massive complex of buildings that makes up the beating heart of Split’s Old Town.

One of the most imposing Roman ruins is Diocletian’s palace in Split

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It’s a city within the city, where the crooked streets are packed with people, bars, restaurants, shops, and even some homes. Wander the streets between the squares, and you’ll see how everyday life has taken hold inside the ancient palace walls.


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Indulge in Dalmatian cuisine

Cuisine in Croatia is a delight, and there’s no better way to wind down after a day on the beach than with some delicious Dalmatian cuisine.

Split is a bit of a foodie city, where fresh seafood and grilled meats grace the restaurant tables and are sure to tantalise your taste buds.

Indulge in delicious seafood dishes during your trip to Split

Photo source: Tripadvisor

From squid-ink risotto and lobsters and shrimp loaded into rich stews to grilled fish and octopus, braised beef, and roasted lamb, any traveller in Split worth their salt will have a grand time touring the foodie haunts of the city.

Wash it all down with some homemade red wine or prosecco, and you’ll truly feel like a Roman emperor. Meals here are the perfect accompaniment to a gorgeous day of Split weather.

Enjoy a drink in Split with a view of the city

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Take a day trip out of the city

Jumping on a sailboat for a day trip out of the city is a nice way to enjoy the surrounding region.

Nearby you’ll find the popular Blue Lagoon, which is a tranquil place for a swim, snorkel, and sunbathe. While located only a short boat ride from Split, it feels like an entirely different world.

Explore the popular Blue Lagoon near the city of Trogir

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Make a whole day of it by joining a combo tour that includes the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Trogir, a medieval town steeped in history and culture.

Its narrow, winding streets are a joy to explore, and the town is also home to a beautiful cathedral and a lively waterfront promenade.

A view of the medieval town Trogir

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Enjoy a sunset cruise

That’s right – another activity where you’ll be jumping on a sailboat and taking to the water!

Split really is the sailing capital of Croatia, and another way to enjoy yourself on a beach holiday here is to embark on a sunset cruise.

Sunset over a harbour in Hvar

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With boats sailing along the coast, you can watch as the sun dips below the horizon on the Adriatic Sea, casting a golden glow on the beaches and sparking an air of romance…especially if you’ve chosen to have dinner on the cruise as well. If there’s one way to quickly fall under the spell of the Adriatic, this is it.

Enjoy a sunset cruise with dinner during your time in Split

Photo source: Unsplash


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Embrace relaxation and wellness activities

A beach holiday in Split is also a perfect opportunity to indulge in some relaxation and wellness activities.

Treat yourself to a day of pampering at one of the city’s luxurious spas or wellness centres, where you can melt away any last vestiges of stress or worry with a massage, a stint in a sauna, or a soak in a rejuvenating spa.

Treat yourself to a day of the Split City’s luxurious spas or wellness centres

Photo source: Tripadvisor

There are also yoga classes on the beach, during which your breath will fall into rhythm with the waves of the sea.

Experience yoga class near the sea in Split

Photo source: Tripadvisor

Indulging in slow dining is made easy thanks to Croatia’s cuisine, which features local and sustainable ingredients.


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Cover photo source: Unsplash
Text by James Taylor

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