Where to stay in Split first time? for nightlife, family, couples, young adults, beaches? In this blog post, I will help you to find the best areas to stay in Split for tourists (include map and video), best hotels in Split for all budget travelers, and safest places.
Split is one of the famous tourist destinations in Croatia, along with Zagreb, Hvar, Dubronik. Split, Hvar and Dubrovnik are the Three Pearls of Croatia. While Dubrovnik has better history, culture, and scene; Split has better nightlife and cheaper accommodations.
Split is the largest city on the Dalmatian Coast and the second-largest in Croatia after Zagreb. Split is definitely well worth a visit. With diverse influences from Romans, Byzantines, Croats, Venetians, and Austrians, there are plenty of historical landmarks of the Old Town.
Where to stay in Split first time?
The best areas to stay in Split for tourists and first timers are Old Town, Bacvice, Veli Varos, Poljud, Znjan, and Stobrec. These are the most popular and safe locations that offer a wide variety of attractions and amenities.
The Old Town is the best overall area to stay in Split for first-time visitors due to its proximity to major attractions and many choices of hotels. Staying here allows you to be located within walking distance to top sights such as the Diocletian’s Palace, many restaurants, bars, and shops.
To book hotels, I recommend spending at least three days in Split, which is enough to see the famous attractions, enjoy the nightlife, and get the sense of the local culture and history. If you have more time you can take a day trips to Trogir, Krka National Park, or Plitvice Lakes.
|💖 Best Area for First-Timers:||Split Old Town|
|💎 Best luxury hotel:||Cornaro Hotel|
|🏨 Best mid-range hotel:||Hotel Luxe Split|
|💰 Best budget hotel:||Slavija Culture Heritage Hotel|
Overviews of best areas to stay in Split for first-time tourists
Here is an overview of recommended areas in Split for first-time visitors:
|Best areas in Split for first-time tourists||Why should you stay in this area?|
|Old Town||The heart of Split, Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site and offers a fascinating mix of ancient Roman architecture, narrow streets, bustling markets, and vibrant cafes. Staying here provides easy access to major attractions like Diocletian’s Palace, the Peristyle, and the Cathedral of Saint Domnius.|
|Bacvice||is known for its sandy beach, clear waters, and lively nightlife. It’s has many beach bars, restaurants, and clubs lining the coast. Best Suited for beach lovers and nightlife seekers.|
|Veli Varos||is a charming neighborhood with narrow cobblestone streets and picturesque old houses. It offers a quieter and more romantic atmosphere compared to the bustling Old Town. Best Suited for romantic getaways and couples.|
|Poljud||is home to the Poljud Stadium, where various sports events and concerts take place. If you’re a sports fan or interested in attending a concert or event during your stay, Poljud might be the perfect area for you.|
|Znjan||is a modern area with beautiful pebble beaches, promenades, and various facilities for families, such as playgrounds and beach bars. It’s a more relaxed area away from the city center, making it suitable for families and beach lovers|
|Stobrec||is a small coastal town located just outside Split, offering a more tranquil setting surrounded by nature. It’s ideal for those who want to explore the outdoors, go on hikes, or simply relax by the sea without the city’s hustle and bustle.|
Map of areas and neighborhoods in Split:
🎬 To get an overall idea of Split, check out this short video, or continue reading:
6 Best areas to stay in Split for tourists are:
1. Split Old Town
Old Town Split is the best overall place to stay in Split for first-timers because it is the heart of city and it is a historical and cultural center in Croatia. It is a maze of streets and narrow cobbled alleyways, packed with historical attractions, restaurants, bars, cafes, shops. It is a car-free area, you can easily explore on foot.
The most famous attraction of Split in Old Town if the Diocletian’s Palace, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Originally built in the 4th century AD for the Roman Emperor Diocletian, Diocletian’s Palace resembles a fortress more than it does a traditional palace. Its exposed stone walls cover around half of Old Town Split and contain many other popular businesses, attractions, and city sights.
The main sites inside the palace are the Cathedral of St. Domnius, the central square Peristyle, the Temple of Jupiter, the Cardo, the Vestibule, the cellar (the filming site of Game of Thrones), the ruins of Diocletian’s Baths, and four palace gates which are named after four metals: gold, silver, iron, and bronze.
The St. Domnius Cathedral (Sveti Duje) was built in 305 AD, around the same time as the Old Town itself was settled, it is considered to be the oldest cathedral in the world to have remained in constant use in its original structure.
Formed from a Roman Mausoleum and featuring the stunning bell tower that was added later, it is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and is a core reason why Old Town is visited by tourists from all over the world each year. If you climb to the top of the bell tower, you will have spectacular views of the city. it is a unique experience you must try!
Other attractions located within the walls include the City Museum of Split, and Vocni Trg (Fruit Square). These help to make Old Town the must-visit location for anyone who wants to know more about the origins of the city.
Fruit Square is famous for its monuments, shops, and numerous pubs and entertainment venues. In the square, you will see the statue of Marko Marulić, the 15th-century Venetian tower, and the impressive Palace of the Milesi family.
The Old Town is also home to the Republic Square. Located west of the stone walls of Diocletian’s Palace, on the outskirts of Old Town, it features beautiful architecture and numerous cafes and restaurants, ideal for a relaxing day out during your stay in Split.
Also, within a short walk from Diocletian’s Palace stands the People’s Square, where you can find many cafes and restaurants, shops, and the old town clock. Dating from the 15th century, People’s Square is surrounded by many fascinating Renaissance, Venetian, and Gothic buildings built by the nobility such as the Cambi Palace, Town Hall, and Ethnographic Museum of Split.
You also have the main strip of Split, Riva Promenade, which is a beautiful walkway between Diocletian’s Palace and the harbour. It is a luxury shopping street, filled with exclusive stores, cafes, and restaurants.
Stroll along the palm-lined promenade with colorful buildings, grab a Croatian coffee, beer, or wine, and enjoy beautiful views of the Adriatic Sea and the harbor with the boats and yachts.
The Marjan Forest Park is a green oasis in Split that extends from Marmont Street to the west of the old town on Marjan Peninsula. It’s a great place for walking, hiking, swimming, and enjoying the magnificent view from its lookout points Prva Vidilica Na Marjanu, and the Vrh Marjana-Telegrin.
The well-known Split market, the Pazar, is the most popular market on the east side of the palace. The local fish market, Peškarija in a 120-year-old building, is also worth visiting.
Another point of interest in Old Town is the Meštrović Gallery and Kaštelet, an art museum that dedicated to the work of the 20th-century sculptor Ivan Meštrović;
The Old Town offers great nightlife with a wide range of trendy wine bars, traditional bars, cafes, local and international restaurants, cinemas, the casino; with lots of live cultural and music entertainment on open-air.
Old Town has a wide range of accommodation options from budget hostels to mid-range apartments, villas, and luxury hotels. Most of the accommodations have soundproof windows to avoid noise at night.
Stay in Old Town if you’re traveling to Split for the first time; you want to stay in the car-free area; you want a wide range of hotels, restaurants, bars, and shops.
Best Places to stay in Split Old Town for first-time tourists:
Luxury ($$$): Cornaro Hotel, 5-star hotel, located in the centre of Split, offering a rooftop terrace with a hot tub and a bar, and a 24-hour front desk. It is located within walking distance from the Diocletian’s Palace, Split City Museum, Riva Promenade, as well as the Bus Station and Ferry Port.
mid-range ($$): Hotel Luxe Split, great family-friendly 4-star hotel located within a short walk from Diocletian’s Palace, Bus Station and ferry port. It offers spacious rooms with satellite TVs, air-conditioning, free wifi, private parking, and rich buffet breakfast.
Budget ($): Slavija Culture Heritage Hotel, 3-star children-friendly hotel, located within the historic walls of the UNESCO-protected Diocletian’s Palace in Split, next to the Jupiter Sanctuary. It is a short walk from the ferry port, the main train and bus station, as well as airport bus stops.🔍MORE HOTEL DEALS IN OLD TOWN
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Bacvice is located within 15 minutes walk from Old Town, on the southern coast of Split. Despite being located near the heart of the city, it is an area that is primarily known for its beach, coastal attractions, and nightlife.
For starters, the blue flag Bacvice Beach is considered by many to be one of the best beaches in the entire Split. The beach has beautiful golden sands meet turquoise waters, as well as beach facilties such as loungers, parasols, showers, toilets and changing rooms. Whether you want to relax, top up your tan, or take full advantage of the beach bars and water sports, Bacvice Beach is sure to please you.
Bacvice Beach is also a popular spot to see locals playing Picigin. Bacvice is a place of birth of the Picigin game, a part of UNESCO non-material heritage. the Picigin World Cup is held every year in Split and the winner is usually the Croatian team.
You can book a stay in a beach hotel if you plan to spend your entire trip on the sand, while some of the best hotels in Split are also located within walking distance. Whether you want a budget hotel, boutique hotel, or luxury hotel, there will be something here to complete your dream Split vacation.
The other main waterfront attraction to be found in Bacvice is the Ferry Port Of Spit, Croatia. This is the main passenger ferry port in all of Croatia, with people arriving and leaving on a regular basis. You also have Aqua Park Bacvice Split to check out.
This makes Bacvice a superb location in Split, Croatia for anyone planning day trips and to take a cruise along the Croatian coast, or even across the ocean to another country entirely.
Bacvice is one of the best places when it comes to nightlife in Split, especially during the summer. It is a gathering place for young locals and tourists, enjoy walking on the promenade along the sea, and drinking on the beach. The best trendy bars and clubs are the Tropic Club, La Playa Beach Bar & Club, and the Caffe-Club Bačvice
For a fun day with your kids, head to the Aqua Park Bacvice Split where you can find floating trampolines and slides for the young children.
Stay in Bacvice if you want to stay near the beach; you wat great nightlife; you are planning to take a cruise or docking while already on one, you want to be near to the Old Town but not directly in it.
Best places to stay in Split in Bacvice for the first time:
Luxury ($$$): Hotel Park Split, 5-star beachfront hotel, one of the best places to stay in Split on the beach, located right next to the famous Bačvice beach. It offers an outdoor pool and an upscale restaurant. Easy distance from the Ferry terminal and the bus and train stations.
Mid-range ($$): briig boutique hotel, 4-star hotel, located in central Split, just steps away from the popular beach of Bačvice, offering a rooftop swimming pool with a bar, a well-equipped spa centre. It has rooms for singles, couples, and families with children of all ages.
Budget ($): Dreams Apartment Bacvice, great family-friendly accommodation, located within walking distance from Bacvice Beach, Ovcice Beach, and Firule. It has free WiFi, the units have a washing machine and a flat-screen TV with cable channels.🔍MORE HOTEL DEALS IN BACVICE
3. Veli Varos
Veli Varos is located to the west of Split Old Town, on the slope of the Marjan Hill. Veli Caros along with Manus, Dobri, and Lučac is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Split. As the westernmost part of the city, and northwest of Diocletian’s Palace, it features some beautiful views out across the water.
Along winding cobblestone streets, you will find famous churches. Firstly, the 11th century Church of St. Mikula is a small Romanesque church, built by Rako and his wife Elisabeth and dedicated to the abbey of St. Stephen on Sustipan.
Secondly, the Church of St Cross is a Croatian Pre-Romanesque Catholic church, built in 1681, with a bulb-like cupola on top of the baroque bell tower. In addition, there is Franciscan Monastery and Church of St Frances, the church of Our Lady of Soca, St. Nicholas Church, St. Jeronimus, Church of St. Benedict, Church of St. George, and the Church of the Madonna of Bethlehem.
Perhaps the most popular feature of Veli Varos is Park Suma Marjan. Centered around the towering Marjan hill, it is the best place in Split for anyone who loves the great outdoors.
Hiking trails lead up through dense pine forests, filled with wildlife and the sounds of nature. From its Marjan Hill Telegrin Peak and the Prva Vidilica (First Peak), you can enjoy breathtaking views of Split Old Town, Diocletian’s Palace, and the Dalmatian Coast.
Around the area of Marjan hill, you will find the summerhouse for the Capogrosso family, Meštrović Kaštelet, Mestrovic Gallery, the Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments, Old Jewish Cemetery.
In its southeast corner, you will even find the only beach in this part of Split worth visiting, Kasjuni Beach. A beautiful, clean beach, with crystal clear waters and amenities like toilets and a beach bar, it features plenty of luxuries without suffering from overcrowding, as is often the case with beaches near the city center.
Accommodation in the area is on a slightly smaller scale than in central Split, however, that doesn’t mean you won’t still find some of the best hotels Split has to offer here. Veli Varos boasts a combination of small luxury hotels, small boutique hotels, and Split apartments.
Stay in Veli Varos if you’re traveling as a couple; you want a quieter, more relaxed destination, that still has plenty of historical sites; you are a fan of hiking; you want easy access to Old Town and Marjan Forest Park;
Best places to stay in Split in the Veli Varos for first-timers:
Luxury ($$$): Hotel Ambasador, 5-star hotel, one of the best hotels in Split, located in a prime location in the Marjan district, offering rooms for couples, families, and singles. It has daily breakfast offers continental, Full English/Irish or vegetarian options.
Mid-range ($$): Hotel Cvita, 4-star hotel that has an outdoor swimming pool, a fitness centre and a spa & wellness centre. The tour desk can help arrange some activities. Staffs can speak German, English, French and Croatian.
Budget ($): Apartments Mariani, 3-star family-friendly accommodation, offering air-conditioned apartments in Varoš, a historical district of narrow streets and small stone houses on the edge of Split’s Old Town.🔍MORE HOTEL DEALS In VELI VAROS
Poljud and nearby Spinut are located to the north of Old Town and west of the city center, near the northern coast of the peninsula. Unlike our previous destinations, Poljud isn’t an area that revolves around history or nature. Instead, the main draw here is considerably more modern.
That’s because a large percentage of the visitors here are coming to visit Stadion Poljud (Stadium Poljud). Capable of holding more than 34,000 people, the stadium was opened in 1979 and is home to Hajduk Split.
Hajduk Split is the second most successful professional football team in Croatian history. They perform at the top level of the football pyramid and are one of only 4 Croatian teams to have never been relegated.
Skywalk Poljud is a special 90+ minute rooftop walk via Ferrata, which doesn’t require any special skills or experience. This is a good experience for a thrill seeker.
Poljud is also homes to the beautiful Park Mladosti, with the popular Ultra Europe festival. The Ultra festival is a huge Croatian dance music festival and the European edition of the global event brand, held each summer in Split.
This makes Poljud a great place to stay in Split if you are coming to watch a game, no matter whether you’re coming from Croatia or another country.
As is often the case in the area surrounding a stadium, it also has other features designed to cater to the heavy footfall that other visitors to Split, Croatia can take advantage of.
For starters, there is a public bus to Split Airport. Considering it is located around 40 minutes outside the city, this makes Poljud a great place to stay in Split for anyone who doesn’t want to waste time worrying about connections or paying for expensive taxis.
You also have a great range of split hotels to choose from. While you won’t find many luxury hotels here, there are still plenty of options for those seeking a comfortable and affordable stay in Split.
There are even a number of other attractions that can keep visitors occupied as well, either while waiting for the game or for those simply enjoying the convenience of the area.
Perhaps the most unique is the number of marinas located in the area. While many house private vessels, there are also places offering boats for vacation rentals as well. A vacation rental is a perfect way to pass the time, get out on the waves, and take in the beauty of the coastline around Split, Croatia.
Stay in Poljud if you aren’t worried about staying in luxury hotels, you are attending a match or event at Stadion Poljud, you want a convenient link to the airport, you plan to rent a boat and want a number of marina’s walking distance apart, you are looking for a great deal on a Split hotel.
Best places to stay in Split in Poljud for first-time visitors:
Mid-range ($$): Hotel Globo, 4-star family-friendly hotel situated in the centre of Split, 10 minutes’ walk from Diocletian’s Palace and Marjan hill. It is popular area for jogging, skating, biking as well as for beach activities such as swimming and diving.
Mid-range ($$): Hotel President Split, 4-star hotel, situated in Split’s centre, at the foothills of Marjan Hill, 5 minute drive by car from Bacvice Beach. It has family rooms, paid airport shuttle services, and Superb breakfast.
Budget ($): Gravitas Hostel, great base for backpackers and budget travelers, located in the centre of Split, close to several well-known attractions such as the Gregory of Nin, People’s Square – Pjaca, and Mladezi Park Stadium.🔍MORE HOTEL DEALS IN POLJUD
Znjan is found quite a way east along the coast of Bacvice. It is the first option we’re looking at that isn’t located near Old Town, instead of being found on the outskirts of the city. Its location often means it gets overlooked when people are deciding where to stay in Split, Croatia. That is a real shame, as it actually has quite a lot to offer for the right visitor.
For starters, it is a great choice for anyone looking at where to stay in Split for a beach vacation. Znjan Beach is the longest beach in the city, which is then connected to the smaller Trstenik Beach by a promenade. The Znjan beach is ideal for all ages from families with young children, singles, couples, older people, and younger people.
These beautiful, clean pebble beaches provide plenty of space and options, so you will always be able to relax, no matter how busy it starts to get. With beach bars and beach clubs spread out along both, you will also never run out of things to eat and drink or activities to keep you occupied during your days here.
Then there is the choice of shopping. With a collection ranging from souvenir shops to designer stores, you will comfortably be able to spend your days wandering up and down, shopping till you drop while enjoying the stunning coastal views on offer.
Znjan has the incredible volume of accommodation options on offer here. Visitors have choices including luxury hotels, beach hotels, and boutique hotels. Then there are options like private guesthouses and self-catering apartments, for those who prefer to be a little freer during their trip.
When you combine the range of hotels with the abundance of stores, bars, and beaches, it makes Znjan the ideal location to stay in Split for anyone who simply wants to enjoy a laid-back, relaxing vacation by the sea.
Stay in Znjan if you travel with kids; you want a great range of hotels to choose from, you want to visit the largest beach in Split, you are a fan of beach bars and beach clubs, you don’t mind pebbly beaches, you don’t mind being a fair distance from the city center, you want to go shopping during your stay.
Best Places to stay in Znjan for first-time visitors:
Luxury ($$$): Radisson Blu Resort & Spa, 5-star beachfront hotels, one of the best places to stay in Split for couples and families. You can stay in rooms with views of the islands of Brač and Šolta.
luxury ($$$): Amphora’s Garden, 5-star hotel, located within a short distance from Znjan Beach and Duilovo Dog Beach, featuring fabulous American breakfast, a garden, sea views, and a paid airport shuttle service.
Mid-range ($$): Hotel Fanat, great 3-star budget-friendly hotel, located right on the pebbly beach of Žnjan and offering an indoor pool, a restaurant, and private car parking.🔍MORE HOTEL DEALS IN ZNJAN
Located immediately to the east of Split, Stobrec is a historic village that perhaps even predates the Old Town of Split, with a history going as far back as the ancient Greek empire when it was known as Epetium.
Some of its most popular attractions relate to the construction of Diocletian’s Palace. Many of the workers that built the fortress, as well as the materials used, would have come from Stobrec.
In terms of its own historical artifacts, Stobrec was also where the Sarcophagus of Lucius Artorius Castus was found. A Roman prefect, he is thought to be the inspiration for a number of the legends pertaining to King Arthur.
Other historic points of interest also include a selection of old churches, including the Parish Church Of St. Lawrence (Basilica of St Laurentius), Our Lady Of Mount Carmel, Church of St. Michael (built in the 14th century), Church of St. Maria (built in the 15th century).
Be sure to check out the Krka National Park with Krka River, the cascades at Roški Slap, and Visovac Island with its 15th-century monastery.This allows you to enjoy a truly cultured vacation with a much more local, authentic feel than you would experience if you chose to stay in Split itself.
Stobrec doesn’t have to be a destination that revolves solely around history either. For starters, you have Plaza Stobrec Jug and Stobrec Beach. Two of the finest beaches in the area, they are a great place to take a swim, top up your tan or simply let loose and have fun, without having to worry about the crowds on the beaches closer to the Old Town.
It is also a popular area for those who enjoy camping as well. Beach Stobrec Camp and Camping Stobrec Split are located just a short distance apart. They provide plenty of options for those who like to stay outdoors, with both beach camping and caravans available.
For those who really want to go wild, there is the Dupichini Aquapark. With beautiful pools featuring inflatable slides and attractions, it makes a great day trip for anyone who wants to enjoy a little childish fun during their stay.
You even have a number of beautiful seafront bars and restaurants, offering you that small-town charm. What better way to relax and watch the sunset over the sea in the evening?
Stay in Stobrec if you are a fan of camping, you are interested in history that predates even the Old Town section of Split, you want to visit a waterpark, you love beautiful beaches and old churches.
Best places to stay in Split in Stobrec for first-timers:
- Luxury ($$$): Le Meridien Lav Split, 5-star resort, located in Podstrana, featuring a 800-metre long beach line, landscaped gardens. It has an Marina Promenade, packed with shops, restaurants, bars, and cafés, and the Yacht Marina is home to 60 yachts.
- Mid-range ($$): lo͝or luxury retreat, 4-star family-friendly hotel, located just a few steps from Beach Camp Stobrec and Beach Stobreč, offering free private parking which is a great base for those travel with a car.
- Budget ($): Solar Beach Inn, great 3-star budget-friendly accommodation, located on the Stobreč Jug Beach, offering family rooms, free public parking, restaurant, bar and free WiFi.
Where should I stay in Split for the first time?
Old Town is the best area to stay in Split for first-timers because it is the heart of the city, and it offers a wide variety of tourist attractions and amenities. if you stay here, you will be located in the middle of actions, within easy walk to sights, restaurants, bars, and shops.
What are the best areas to stay in Split?
Old Town, Bacvice, Veli Varos, Poljud, Znjan, and Stobrec are some of the best areas to stay in Split because the are the most popular locations for tourists that offer a wide variety of attractions and amenities.
Where is the best area to stay in Split for nightlife?
The best area to stay in Split for nightlife is Bacvice, located to the south of Old Town. Bacvice neighborhood home to white sandy beaches, as well as lots of cocktail-bars, beer bars, nightclubs. and restaurants.
How many days in Split is enough?
If you’re planning a trip to Split, I’d recommend spending at least 3-4 days to really get a good feel for the city and its surroundings. There’s plenty to see and do, from exploring the historic old town to taking a boat trip to nearby islands. Enjoy your travels!
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Summary – Where to stay in Split for tourists?
In conclusion, Old Town, Bacvice, Veli Varos, Poljud, Znjan, and Stobrec are some of the best places to stay in Split for tourists and first-time travelers. They are popular locations on the island that has a wide range of accommodations and activities for all budget travelers.
Overall, Old Town is the best area to stay in Split for first-time travelers due to its central locations and proximity to major attractions. If you stay here, you will be located in the middle of action, within walking distance to tourist attractions, shopping, dining, nightlife venues.