Planning a Trip
Split is a transportation hub for the Dalmatian coast, which makes it a busy crossroads. Despite Split's spectacular Old Town, whose borders are defined by the walls of Diocletian's 3rd-century palace, the city has never had the exotic cachet of other Dalmatian destinations, though most travelers who head for Dubrovnik or Croatia's islands pass through Split or make connections there. Today, Split is the source of an extensive transportation network and it is one of the most accessible cities in Croatia.
Visitor Information -- Finding the official Tourist Information Center in Split can be confusing. The main bureau is near the Silver Gate or Peristil (tel. 021/342-666: www.visitsplit.com) just behind the cathedral and in the former chapel of St. Rocco, which still looks like a church. The tourism center is not easy to spot if you are looking for a typical office, so ask any shopkeeper to direct you. There is also a private tourist agency at Obala Hrvatskog Narodnog Preporoda 7 (Riva; tel. 021/348-600; fax 021/348-604), across the street toward the ferry port. It is a good place to locate private accommodations. Signs direct you from there across the Riva to the Old Town and the official tourist center.
By Car -- Before May 2005, it took 5 hours or more to drive from Zagreb to Split. But that changed when Croatian officials cut the ribbon to open the new Zagreb-Split autocesta that flows through mountains and bypasses country roads running through smaller villages and towns. The new route isn't quite as scenic as the old, but this toll way has cut about an hour from the trip. Except for weekends in July and August, the 364km (226-mile) drive from Zagreb to Split now takes less time than the 217km (135-mile), south-to-north drive from Dubrovnik to Split on the Adriatic Coastal Highway. In 2007, another 27km (16 miles) of highway opened between Split and Omis but the Sveti Rock tunnel just north of Split is still just one lane in each direction and bottlenecks can be miles long on summer weekends.
By Plane -- Split's airport (tel. 021/203-171: www.split-airport.tel.hr) is 26km (16 miles) northwest of the city center between Kastela and Trogir. Flights from all over Croatia as well as from many European cities fly in and out on regular routes. Service is more frequent in the summer months than in the winter, and an airport bus shuttles passengers between the airport and Split's main bus station for 30kn ($5.50) each way. Contact the main bus station, next to the train station at Obala Kneza Domogoja 12 (tel. 021/203-305), for schedule information.
By Boat -- Except for its historic core, Split's ferry port is the busiest part of town. It is directly across the street from the Riva and palace.and international, local, and island ferries move in and out of the area almost constantly. The port also accommodates daily fast catamarans to the islands of Brac, Hvar, Vis, Korcula, Lastovo, and Solta, as well as huge car/passenger ferries that make overnight runs to Ancona, Italy. Contact the local Jadrolinija office (tel. 021/338-333), Semmarina (tel. 021/338-292), or Adriatica (tel. 021/338-335) for schedule and price information. In summer from June to September, a high-speed catamaran runs between Split and Ancona, Italy, on a daily basis. SNAV, an Italy-based transit company, can be reached locally at tel. 021/322-252. SNAV also runs high-speed ferries (4 hr. or less) to Ancona from early June to mid-September.
By Bus -- Split is well-served by local, national, and international buses and the station is conveniently located next to the ferry port. Local bus lines run through Split and its suburbs, including Salona, Klis, Omis, and Trogir, while others travel many times a day to Zagreb, Zadar, Rijeka, Dubrovnik, and destinations beyond. International buses provide daily service to Slovenia, Germany, and Italy, and weekly service to Austria and England. Schedule and fare information is available at tel. 021/338-483.
By Train -- Split's main train station is next door to the main bus station at Obala Kneza Domogoja 10 near the town center. It runs between Split and Zagreb, Knin, and Sibenik. There is also an overnight train between Split and Zagreb. Call the Split train station (tel. 021/338-535) or the national train office (tel. 060/333-444: www.hznet.hr) for schedule and fare information.
Getting Around -- Most of Split's best sights are within the walls of Diocletian's Palace or nearby. The walled city is limited to pedestrians; even the street skirting the Riva immediately outside the palace walls is closed to motorized vehicles. There are a few sights worth taking in outside the historic core -- the Mestrovic Gallery in Marjan, the public beach at Bacvice -- and you can reach those via bus or taxi. The main taxi stands are at each end of the Riva (in front of the town market and in front of the Bellevue Hotel). If you don't see a cab, call tel. 970. Be sure to negotiate your taxi fare before getting in the vehicle. Prices for the same ride can vary wildly and cabbies will compete for your business if more than one is available.
Split's historic core is bounded by Obala Hrvatskog Preporoda (Riva) in the south, Marmontova Street in the west, Kralja Tomislava in the north, and Hrvojeva in the east; Old Town's main square, Narodni Trg, is almost in the center of the rectangle.