Solo Travel Guide: Split, Croatia
So far on my travels I’ve been to three countries alone and spent about 4 weeks completely solo (i.e not on an organised tour or working like I was in America), which obviously makes me an expert on the subject. With my newly acquired expert status I’m now going to give you some wonderful advice. Don’t forget to take notes!
Just kidding, I’m obviously not an expert but I have been on a solo trip to Split so I feel like I have a little bit of wisdom that I can impart onto you, my lovely readers. And who knows, maybe I might help/inspire someone who reads this!
Split is a lovely town on the Dalmatian coast and is Croatia’s second largest city. It’s got a great mix of old Roman history and modern nightlife making it a great all round city- and a great place for solo travellers. The old town is built within the ancient ruins of Diocletian’s palace (which is also a UNESCO world heritage site) making it a very unique place. It’s not everywhere that you can have dinner inside an old palace!
Outside of the palace lies the Riva (riviera) which is home to numerous cafes, bars and restaurants running along the seafront.
The Low Down:
Accommodation- Split has accommodation to suit every type of traveller and every kind of budget. It has hostels aplenty, from the more social hostels like ‘Hostel Like Me’ (dorms start from ~€10, privates from ~€30), to the smaller, quieter hostels like ‘Bell Tower Hostel’ (dorms start from ~€6, privates from ~€27).
For private apartments you have plenty to choose from, both inside and outside of the palace. For around £20 per night you can get a double room in an apartment on the Riva, which is a 12 minute walk away from the beach and a 5 minute walk from the palace. For a little bit more (around £50) you can stay in a 3-star apartment, right in the heart of Split, which comes with TV, kettle and private bathroom.
For those of you looking for a bit of luxury why not stay in Diocletian’s palace itself? The Judita Palace Heritage Hotel has been rated #1 for hotels in Split in 2016, and combines cultural medieval periods with a modern European flare. It’s only 50 metres from the centre of Diocletian’s palace and it offers guests a private balcony on the fourth floor which has stunning views (not to mention great people watching opportunities) of Pjaca (aka The People’s Square). Rooms start from ~£70 per night.
Food- If, like me, you haven’t quite mastered the art of eating alone at a restaurant then Split is the perfect place for you. It has an abundance of street food stands, places selling pizza cuts, ice-cream, popcorn and there’s even a fish and chip shop (which I managed to force myself to not go in because #britsabroad).
There are, of course, the standard bakeries that you’ll find in every Croatian town selling every food made out of pastry imaginable. It’s also a great place for healthy eating with plenty of smoothie stands, where they make the smoothies fresh in front of your eyes (my favourite was The Smoothie Criminal which was more expensive than the others but so worth it!), and there’s even a place that does natural, vegan ice-cream.
Social- Out of all the places I visited on my recent trip to Croatia & Slovenia, Split was by far the most social. For solo travellers it’s very easy to make friends here so you’ll never have to be on your own if you don’t want to be.
Also, I made all of my travel companions whilst out and about (I met one when I was eating pizza on the wall by the sea and I met another at the beach) so you don’t have to stay at hostels in order to make friends. I don’t know if that’s just a bit of luck or what but if you like hanging out with new people when travelling solo, Split is a great place to do that in.
Safety- Split is very touristy (but not overly so like Dubrovnik so you won’t have to battle your way through crowds to get anywhere), so it’s extremely safe for solo travellers. A lot of the backstreets and the streets leading down to the beach are run down so, when I first got there, I was a bit worried about just how safe I’d feel wandering down them alone, but once I did go down them alone I didn’t feel unsafe at all- not even at night.
What To Do:
- Green Farmers Market: After having breakfast at one of the cafes along the Riva, or grabbing a smoothie and something from one of the bakeries, head on down to the Green Market to stock up on fresh fruit or just to wander around and get a taste of local life. Situated behind the palace, and not far from the bus station and ferry port, it’s a great place to start your day no matter what else you have planned.
- Wander around Diocletian’s Palace– Perhaps the thing that everyone thinks of first when they think of Split. Thousands of years ago this palace was home to Emperor Diocletian before he gave up his throne to the Roman Empire.
It wasn’t preserved as a palace, instead it was turned into the Old Town as it is today; shops and restaurants were built in the walls so the palace is now a place that can be enjoyed by everyone. The palace is huge so you can easily spend a long time walking around all of the narrow streets. Why not take a guided walking tour to really get a flavour of the history of the place?
- Hit the beach– As anyone whos ever been to Croatia knows, sandy beaches are somewhat of a rarity, but guess what? Split has more than one! Bacvice beach is the go to beach for tourists and locals alike, and it’s easy to see why. With it’s sun lounger hire, fast food stands, bars, cafes, abundance of water sports (including an inflatable obstacle course), and lack of waves it’s a good place to spend a day hanging out with new friends or working on your tan. Expect it to be busy during high season.
If you want something a bit less crowded and don’t mind non-sandy beaches or walking a bit further, there are plenty to choose from in Split. If you keep walking past Bacivice you’ll find Ovcice, which is a sandy beach with a children’s play area, and if you walk even further than that you’ll reach Firule, a pebble beach. Back on the other side of the city, by Marjan Hill, there are two beaches which are a lot quieter and which offer stunning views of the city. Jezinac beach is very central but very quiet, has pebbles and concrete, and offers sweet shade from the sun (which, in the summer, you’ll be very desperate for!). Not far from here you’ll find Kastelet beach, nicknamed ‘coloured lights’ because of its great night life.
- Take an island tour– I didn’t do this 6 island trip myself but I heard from lots of people who did and they all said it was UHMAZING! The trip is around 11 hours long and departs from Split at 8am (which is partly why I didn’t do this trip…). You spend the day island hopping around 6 nearby islands- Bisevo (blue cave), Vis, Ravnik (green cave), Budihovac, Hvar & Brac- before docking back in Split at 7PM. You also get a lunch thrown in, you get the chance to swim and snorkel on the blue lagoon, and there’s an optional wine tasting tour. The islands are home to hidden caves, beautiful coastlines, quaint fishing villages, and dolphins are often spotted swimming close by. The tour seems expensive at around £110 per person, but when you think of everything you get then I personally think it’s great value for money! Book through Viator before you go, or book through one of the many touts in Split once you’re there.
- Go to the top of Marjan Hill– Hailed as the symbol of Split by some, climbing to the top of Marjan Hill is an absolute must do. Start on Marmont Street and head west and just keep walking. At the top of the hill is a national park, beaches, jogging routes, a museum, hiking trails, and stunning views of the sea and the city below. It’s 584ft tall so it’s a bit of a trek up (there’s stairs not just a steep slope) but the views from the top of worth it.
- Take a day trip– The great thing about Split is that everything is central, including the bus station and ferry port, meaning nearby islands and attractions are easily accessible. The big name in ferries in Croatia, Jadrolinija, do trips to Hvar every morning at 9am in peak season and do returns in the evening. The ferry takes just over an hour and costs around £5 each way. Supetar on the Island of Brac is another quick and easy place to get to by boat from Split; Jadrolinija do lots of ferries throughout the day and they only take around 50 minutes.
If you don’t fancy getting on a boat there are plenty of buses that take you to nearby attractions. The island of Trogir can be reached via the number 37 local bus (don’t worry, there’s a bridge connecting it to the mainland). The journey takes around 40 minutes and tickets can be bought on the bus or from the ticket stand at the bus stop (note: the bus doesn’t leave from the main bus station but from the local bus station). Trogir is perhaps an overlooked destination but it definitely shouldn’t be. It’s a UNESCO world heritage site (like many things in Croatia), has a cathedral and a cute little harbourfront where you can just sit and watch the world go by.
Another bus trip you can go on is to Klis to see it’s fortress. Now I haven’t actually been here; I attempted to do this trip with a new friend I met the day before but we missed the bus because the online timetable was wrong and the number wasn’t on the side of the bus when it turned up. Learn from our mistakes people. Anyway, Klis fortress, from what I’ve heard, offers breathtaking views of Split and the mountains, has an abundance of opportunities to learn about the medieval history of the area as it has a museum, and it offers you the chance to pretend to be Daenerys walking around the city Mereen as Game of Thrones have used it for the backdrop in some of these scenes.
Want to go see some waterfalls at a national park? Well the bad news is that Plitvice is just a little too far away from Split to do it as a day trip, but the good news is that Krka isn’t!
Krka needs no introduction I’m sure but just in case you’re unaware of what it is, it’s a national park full of beautiful waterfalls, gorgeous blue rivers, an island, and a fascinating variety of flora and fauna. There are buses which go to Skradin (where one of the entrances to the park is) from Split bus station, or alternatively get a bus to Sibinek and transfer to another bus which takes you on a short ride to Skradin. Prices vary. Ask at the information office at the bus station for details.
Apologies for the lack of decent photographs in this post. I didn’t seem to take that many in Split.
Has anyone been to Split, solo or otherwise? What did you think? Anyone planning a trip there?
If you want to download this article as a handy pocket guide you can do so here! The guide is free to download and use offline but if you want to upgrade it, so it gives you gps directions to each place of interest, you can do for a small fee (and if you do I’ll get a few pennies!)