The ‘Mediterranean Flower’ occupies a long and dramatic stretch of the Central Dalmatia coast to present visitors with fine beaches and rich heritage. The massive Diocletian Palace covers the old town and is fabulous on foot, as is the Temple of Jupiter and the bustling Riva promenade. Once you’ve done the town sights and BaÄvice beach, be sure to hit the road for Dubrovnik and Brac.
Who to Book With
Split Nova is the main car rental provider in Split, with a presence at the airport and in town. ABC, Car Hire Split and Supero Rent Agency are also represented, while in the city at Hotel Marjan are Budget, Dollar and Thrifty. Also, many of the taxi services do rentals and can be booked online via a comparator website for the best rates.
Best Time to Go
Though quite northerly, Split has your typical Mediterranean climate, with hot summers and mild winters. The best weather is naturally in July and August when it’s hottest, but roads are busiest (aided by cruise passengers) and rates higher at this time. For driving, it’s best to come May to early June. Autumn is quite wet and slippy on mountain roads, though winters’ days are nice.
Need to Know Essentials
Have the following documents ready when picking up your car:
- A United Kingdom driver’s licence (valid for six months here)
- A passport or other valid identification with a photo on
- A copy of the confirmed reservation, which will have the booking reference
- The same credit card you used to book the vehicle
For more info read our FAQs.
The driving can be a little hectic in Croatian cities, including Split, but get out of the town and you’ll be in touch with interesting roads and fabulous scenery. They drive on the right here and locals are erratic behind the wheel, so give way where possible. Coastal routes are busiest on summer weekends. It’s a 30-minute drive from Split Airport, mostly on Route 8.
Our Guide to Croatia contains more detailed driving information.
You can do the Diocletian Palace, beaches, harbour and Riva on foot as central Split is pretty compact and most other sights are within reach by bicycle. Local buses run to attractions farther afield, albeit irregularly, and ferries hit the near shore islands, but there is no substitute for having car hire and experiencing the Dalmatian coast under your own steam.
If you’re not flying or cruising in, there are regular train services from Zagreb and Dubrovnik, which serve northern Split and on to the station at the ferry terminal. This is near the old town, near where there are car rental offices.
Promet operates the local buses, which, although generally new and air-conditioned, are often late and/or old. Tickets can be had from the driver or, more cheaply, at kiosks and you can buy packs of five or even a monthly ticket. However, most sights of immediate interest can be done on foot.
Ferries and cruise liners terminate at the harbour right in town, with domestic arrivals and international arrivals from Italy. Of most use to visitors are the services out to the nearby islands of Brac, Hvar and Korcula, departing from the harbour. You can take your car over, but be sure to pre-book as the car ferries get busy.
Taxis are expensive in Split and there are no fixed rates so you need to check the fare before getting in. Taxi stands are around the Riva promenade area and also outside the Bellevue Hotel, but you can also call and book. Taxi Split and Maxi Taxi (tel: 098 706 720) are two of the main ones. You can also get out to the islands by boat taxi if you don’t fancy the ferries.
Split lies in a good spot to explore the Dalmatian coast by car hire. You can’t rely on public transport here and, in any case, the coastal road, which goes right down past Split, is a real draw. Nearby islands are also accessible to drivers, with regular car ferries running from town.
Brac Island - This is the busiest daytrip destination from Split and, although an island, you can get in by regular car ferry in an hour. The beaches of Brac are the main draw, being nicer than the mainland. Supetar on the north coast is the main town and there are a couple of looping drives you can do from here. Hvar Island is farther afield and less touristy.
Salona ruins – Also known as Solin (for the modern town in the area) is this nearby Roman city, featuring extensive ruins of the Roman Empire. Among the most important ruins are the amphitheatre, basilica and cemetery. It’s just a 20-minute drive north of Split.
Krka National Park – Situated about an hour to the northwest of town, not far from Sibenik, is this stunning national park. It is noted especially for its cascading Skradinski Buk Waterfall and its cool pools, for its walks and for the Krka Monastery with its island setting. There’s also a sizeable gorge in the park.
Brela – If Split is just too busy, consider driving down the coast to this quieter stretch of coast. There are many excellent beaches and coves to choose from, including the beautiful Punta Rata, not far from the town of Brela. Take the coastal route from Split; it’s divine.
Dubrovnik – If you have the time, Dubrovnik is a little farther on this delectable route; it lies two to three hours southeast of Split. Brimming with tourist attractions and Baroque-style abodes, the Old Town is an absolute must on foot. Naturally, there are fine beaches nearby, too.