Split is the 2nd largest city in Croatia and has a population of over 160,000 inhabitants. Located in Central Dalmatia, this beautiful town is a melting pot of different cultures inspired by Romans, Venice and Byzantine dominance. So what are the essential things to do in Split with family? Let’s find out.
The strategic location on the Adriatic Sea makes Split one of the busiest port in the Dalmatia region. The town is twinned with Dover (UK) and serves over 4 million passengers per year with lots of connections to the different Croatian islands such as Mljet, Hvar or Korcula.
You can easily visit the city in two days and stretch to 3 days if you decide to take a day trip to one of the nearby islands.
Usually, tourists like to stay in Split due to its central geographical position. By car, you are only 90min away from Zadar and 2h30min to Plitvice Lakes National Park (still a long drive but the site is just incredible).
Time to explore all the best things you could do in Split with your family. Go!
1. Visit the Old Town
With cobbled streets built around the Diocletian’s Palace, the Old Split or Old Town is a great place to explore at your own pace with the kids.
You will find lots of little streets with shops and restaurants or cafes.
This part of Split is very lively and will be crowded in the summer time. But don’t you worry. It is definitely worth it.
There are also many piazzas and squares where you can admire the architecture of old buildings that make Old Split so beautiful. You might see some young guys dressed up as Romans with opportunities to take pictures with them.
2. Diocletian’s Palace
One of the highlights of the Old Town is the Diocletian’s Palace, which used to be a retreat place for the Roman Emperor Diocletian to retire after 20 years ruling the empire.
This palace was built around late 3rd century and was ready to welcome the Emperor after 10 long years of hard construction labour.
The main entrance is called the Golden Gate where Emperor Diocletian used to arrive to take possession of his retirement home. However there are 3 other gates that are also worth to see too.
As soon as you enter the gate, you can feel how impressive it must have been to see Diocletian coming to Split.
Diocletian’s Palace features among the 10 UNESCO World Heritage sites listed in Croatia.
3. Cathedral of St Domnius
Another historical site to check out with the family on your visit to Split is the Cathedral of St Domnius.
Formerly known as the mausoleum to keep the body Emperor Diocletian, the building became a Cathedral in the 7 century to pay homage to Bishop St Domnius who was killed as a martyr in the 3rd century.
Cathedral of St Domnius is famously recognised by Christians as one of the oldest cathedrals in the world that didn’t see big alterations or improvements in the centuries that followed its construction.
4. Archaeological Museum Split
If you need to know a bit more about the origins of Split, the Roman city of Salona and see different Greek or Roman artefacts, go and visit the little Archaeological Museum.
This site claims to be the oldest museum in Croatia and hosts an impressive collection of mosaics and gravestones.
5. A relaxing walk on Riva promenade
Riva is a beautiful promenade leading to the harbour of Split with lots of palm trees and benches to sit and relax.
Usually, locals wander around this popular street after a day work before taking a drink at one of the bars and restaurants.
Families with young kids will appreciate how easy it is walk with a stroller on Riva.
Don’t miss out on the sunset while sipping your favourite drink in a bar before ending your day in a restaurant for a family dinner.
6. Marjan Hills
If you are staying in Split for a few days, make sure to visit Marjan Hills located outside Split. You can walk up the hills up to Telegrin where you will be rewarded with a great panoramic view of Split.
Expect a walk of about 2 hours to reach the Marjan site. Maybe add 30 min if you have young children with you and don’t forget the sun cream if you are visiting Split in the summer.
7. Bacvice Beach
Tired of walking in the city and need a place to relax by the sea? Head out to Bacvice beach which is the nearest beach in Split where you can find lot of locals on weekends.
The sandy beach has calm waters and you can hire loungers and umbrella for the day too. Of course, the summer is packed with tourists and locals as Split doesn’t offer many beaches so I would recommend to go early to reserve your area with your beach towels for the day.
8. Kasjuni Beach
As an alternative to the popular Bacvice beach, you can find the beautiful spot of Kasjuni Beach on the West side of Split near Marjan park.
The pebbled beach feels wilder and more authentic than Bacvice with an amazing view over Ciovo Island.
My recommendation would be to hike to Marjan Hills early in the morning before heading to Kasjuni beach and relax by the sea for the rest of the day.
You can find different cafes and restaurants if you need a place to eat for lunch or early dinner with the kids.
9. Karting Arena Split
Probably not the most cultural activity in Split, Karting Arena Split will please both teens and their parents to challenge themselves for a friendly karting race.
The tracks are located in the parking lot of the City Centre One Split shopping mall. Karting is a fun attraction to do in Split if you need to get away from the cultural sites of Split especially if you plan to visit the shopping centre nearby.
10. Enjoy a Semi-Submersible Submarine Trip in Split
Not many family friendly attractions would beat this experience with this submarine trip around the harbour of Split.
The red semi submarine called ‘Marijeta’ welcomes visitors from Riva promenade and allows you to admire the city of Split from its upper deck. Otherwise, you can go down underwater to see the sea life with fishes, marine flowers and so much more.
The journey on this submarine takes about 45 min and will amuse your children for sure. For adults, you will have plenty of great views of Split with opportunities to take great photos to feed your Instagram.
A day trip to Krka National Park
Croatia is known for having incredible parks and Krka National Park is one of them. Accessible by car or bus, this park is only a 1-hour drive from Split and is one on the best day out with the family in Split.
If you don’t have a car, you can book below one of the tours available that depart and return from Split.
Krka National is very popular because of the beautiful waterfalls you can admire in the protected area. Access to the park is great with many ramps so feel free to bring your pushchair if you have young children with you.
In the summer, organise your day promptly by heading to the park early in the morning. And don’t forget to bring your swimsuits and enjoy a refreshing swim by the falls.
So you’ve come to the end of our guide regarding the best things to do in Split with family. I hope you will enjoy your holiday in Split and in Croatia in general. Lots of families have praised how relaxing this city is compared to the busy streets of Dubrovnik in the summer.
So make sure to stay a few nights in Split in order to fully explore the destination and its surroundings. Happy Travels!
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