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Split Yacht Charter

Backed by grey-green mountains and edged by the deep blue Adriatic, Split is a buzzing city of palm trees and promenades, palaces and beach clubs.

On a yacht charter in Split you can dine inside the ruins of a Roman palace, dance in a city square surrounded by ancient columns, or party with the beautiful people on a moonlit terrace by the sea.

For fans of Game of Thrones, Split is a film-set paradise, foodies will delight in the city’s fine restaurants and produce markets, and history buffs have thousands of years of human history to explore at every turn.

Evening in Split, Croatia

There is something for everyone in this ancient, bustling city, where every day of summer feels like a party just waiting to happen. And where else can you shop, drink and dine inside the walls of a Roman emperor’s palace? Split really is like nowhere else on earth, a place where the old world and the new collide in spectacular ways.

Many Croatian yacht charters begin or end in Split, and this splendid city serves as our final destination in our Dubrovnik to Split Croatia Yachting Series.

Yachts and boats in Split, Croatia

Alternatively, if your charter yacht is heading northwards from Split, taking in the dreamy Kornati Islands to Zadar and up to Krk, Split is the first stop of your adventure. (Stay tuned for our upcoming Split-Krk charter guide.)

History : Diocletian Still Rules in Split

It’s impossible to overstate the importance of Diocletian in Split’s history. While the Illyrians preceded the Romans, it was Emperor Diocletian’s decision in 295 BC to build his retirement palace in Split that would shape the city’s history, as well as its physical appearance to this day.

Old street in Split, Croatia

As anyone who’s been following along with our Bespoke Croatia Yachting Series will know, Dalmatia passed between the control of many empires throughout its history, and split is no exception to the rule, falling under the control of the Byzantines, Croat Kings, Venetians, Austrians, and Italians over the centuries.

Napoleon’s reign would see Riva transformed into the fine promenade it is today (the French being exceedingly good at all things boulevard), but it is Diocletian who still rules the hearts and minds of Split—so much so that the city square has daily re-enactments of his rule, and a ‘Days of Diocletian Festival’ each September, which transforms the city into parades of Roman legions.

Diocletian's Palace in Split, Croatia

Is any other emperor in history so well-known and so well-loved? But then, with 3,000 residents living within the confines of the Diocletian’s Palace walls, the degree of local affection makes sense. After all, how many other people in modernity can say an ancient Roman emperor built their suburb?

A yacht charter in Split is the chance to be a part of Diocletian’s 1700 year old story.

Walk through living history in Diocletian’s Palace

It can be a little hard to explain the sheer wonder of Diocletian’s Palace. This is no tumbledown Roman ruin, where you’re left trying to imagine the shape of an ancient building from remnants of a mosaic on the floor. Nor is it a hushed museum, with red velvet rope cordoning off rooms that you can’t go into, like you might see in a palace in England.

No, Diocletian’s Palace is something else altogether, something so unique that it almost beggars belief. It is a living city within a city—a walled town that has stood for over 1700 years, shaped by the waves of history and architecture that have swept through the Western world.

Diocletians Palace in Split, Croatia

Diocletian built his mighty Roman palace in 295 as a private complex, but during 7th century invasions, Split’s residents took refuge behind the high palace walls…and never left. A town grew up in between the palace walls over a thousand years, leaving behind a dizzying melange of Roman ruins, medieval churches, baroque and gothic architecture, and even a headless black Sphinx from Egypt.

As you walk through the 8-acre complex, you can see Split’s history at every turn, and all around you, people are still living it–leaning out of apartment windows, stringing their washing up to dry, drinking in the funky bars and shopping in the boutiques that cram inside the city walls. It is no wonder that Split was awarded UNESCO status in 1979.

The ‘unmissable’ sights of Diocletian’s palace are almost too many to name, but the basement of Diocletian’s Palace is certainly one of them—even with its collection of market stalls selling jewellery and crafts to passing tourists.

Cathedral at Diocletian's Palace, Split, Croatia

The Cathedral of Saint Domnius is possibly the oldest working Catholic cathedral in the world, and has a magnificent Romanesque Bell Tower, which you simply must climb to get the best view of the city and the Adriatic.

The Temple of Jupiter also impresses with its headless black Sphinx standing guard, and the Peristyle Square is the heart of the palace complex, with its daily re-enactments of Diocletian and his guards, and lively evenings of music and dancing (more about that in our nightlife section below.)

The city of Split, Croatia

Shop eclectic boutiques

If you’re looking for Hermes and Dior, you’re in the wrong place. The treasures of the Split shopping scene are to be found in the independent boutiques that you’ll stumble upon as you navigate the narrow cobbled lanes of the Old Town and Diocletian’s Palace.

For artisan jewellery or an evening dress, head to Arteja or the globally-known Michal Negrin, while for silk cravats and scarves, you need go no further than CROATA, which has a 24 carat gold tie in the window and an elite clientele.

Being Dalmatia, some of the finest stores trade in gourmet food, from chocolates from Nadalina or Kras to the famous Uje Oil Bar, which sells more than 50 olive oils from its shop inside the palace walls.

Promenade along the Riva

As you approach Split on board your Croatia charter yacht, you’ll see the palm trees lining a grand waterfront promenade. This is the Riva, a bustling boulevard of cafes where all of Split life converges. The Riva gets livelier as the day goes on, with locals and tourists coming here in the afternoon to socialise and enjoy the Adriatic views.

Fishing boats at dusk in Split, Croatia

Take a walk up Marjan Hill

To get a sense of the city and enjoy its green spaces, take a walk up Marjan Hill, a forested park of Mediterranean pine and cactus offering stunning views across the Adriatic, the Old Town, and the mountains behind the city.

View from Marjan Hill in Split

Ringed by city and sea, the park has been used as a leisure space since at least the 3rd century AD, and there are very pleasant walking and bike paths to explore. There’s also a small zoo for the kids, tennis courts, access to some very lovely beaches, and two churches dating from the 13th and 15th centuries.

One of the most popular things to do in Marjan Hill is to have a coffee or a cocktail up at the very popular Vidilica Café, where the view at sunset is particularly breathtaking.

Flowers on old house in Split

Explore the film-set locations of Game of Thrones

Anyone with even a passing interest in the fantasy series Game of Thrones will get joy out of visiting Split on their Croatian yacht charter, which doubled as the fictional city of Mereen in the show.

Die-hard fans will want to join one of the themed walking tours through Diocletian’s Palace, channelling their inner Khaleesi as they take in the filming locations of the fictional city of Mereen, including Daenery’s Throne Room and the palace basement where the dragons were kept, as well as other locations such as Papaliceva St, where a scene from the slave revolt was filmed.

The promenade in Split at dusk

Just outside Split, the impressive Klis Fortress was the location of the hillside scenes where Khaleesi crucified the masters and later got turned on by the slaves she saved.

Klis Fortress in Split, Croatia used in Game of Thrones

Even if you’ve never seen GOT or think it’s a load of tosh, Klis Fortress is quite wonderful regardless, offering sweeping views across the Dinaric Alps and a rolling countryside of almond and olive groves stretching down to the distant sea. While you’re exploring this area, be sure to stop for lunch at the tremendous Antonica’s Mill restaurant by the river, which still has a working water wheel and mill.

Take in some Croatian Culture

Split has two particularly good galleries featuring Croatian art. In the city, the Gallery of Fine Arts houses more than 3,500 works from the late Middle Ages onwards, all displayed in a beautifully converted old hospital building.

Split Gallery of Fine Arts

And for something rather special, we suggest heading towards the Marjan peninsula, where you’ll find gorgeous waterfront gardens and a spectacular villa housing the sculptures and artworks of Ivan Mestrovic, one of the world’s finest sculptors and the first artist to have a one-man show at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. Wandering through the lush sculpture gardens by the sea is a highlight of any culture-lover’s trip to Split.

Visit the Green Market or the Fish Market

Unpretentious and bustling with locals, produce markets capture the local spirit of a city better than anywhere else. Split has two markets: the fish market and the green market.

Food market in Split, Croatia

Both have become attractions in their own right, telling the story of the locals and the natural landscape through a happy din of greetings and bartering between the colourful piles of fruit and vegetables. Far away from the touristed lanes, this is one for foodies, as well as those who want to get into the local spirit of Croatia. This is a top spot to buy a locally made jam or olive oil to take home with you.

Beaches (and Beach Clubs)

If you’ve followed our charter series and your itinerary has already brought you through the Dalmatian islands, you probably won’t be that excited by the prospect of a beach near a city.

Beach near Split, Croatia

But Split’s pebbled beaches have a character all of their own, with popular Bacvice Beach bustling with locals and tourists, and cafes and street food stalls lining the shore. The shallow water is full of locals playing picigin—a locally created game where a ball is thrown between players, never being allowed to touch the water. The best spot for people-watching is the wildly popular Zbirac bar.

There are many other good beaches in Split, including Ovcice, Firule, and Bene, but the real star for the yachting set is pretty Kasjuni Beach, where Joe’s Beach Lounge and Bar is a vision in white curtains and daybeds by the sparkling sea.

Enjoy the summer festivals and performances

Running each year in July and August, the Split Summer Festival is a two-month spectacular of concerts, opera, ballets and theatre performed on open air stages throughout the town and in atmospheric, ancient venues like the basements of Diocletian’s Palace and the Peristyle Square.

Split Summer Festival 2017

Over three days in early September, the city transforms during the Days of Diocletian Festival, with parades of Roman legions marching through the town, and Emperor Diocletian being carried through the cobbled streets. There’s Roman-era songs and delicacies to be enjoyed, and the locals have good fun with it (as they seem to do with everything!)

If you’re not visiting during a festival, you can see a re-enactment of Diocletian, his wife and his guards each day in Peristyle Square.


Given the freshness of its seafood and fantastic produce market, it’s not surprising that Split is an excellent place to dine, whether you’re looking for innovative gastronomy or traditional Dalmatian fare.

For innovation, try Ma:Toni’s just off Bavcice Beach, where you’ll dine in a cellar to jazz music, or the young and funky Mazzgoon. NoStress Bistro is much more cutting edge than the name suggests, while fresh, airy Brasserie on 7 is the most sophisticated of the offerings on the Riva promenade. Boban is another standout that’s been on the gastronomy scene for decades, while the Adriatic Graso and Zrno Soli are both pure class by the water. The latter is in the ACI Marina, so you won’t have to venture far from your yacht!

Ma Toni restaurant in Split, Croatia

If you’re after delicious Dalmatian food prepared as it has been for centuries, head to Nostromo, a local seafood institution located, just by the fish market. In the palace, Uje Oil Bar is a fantastic place to dine, using the local oils it sells in its shop to create olive-oil inspired Dalmatian dishes. Take a table outside on the stone steps and savour the feeling of dining in such an ancient setting.

The Paradox Wine and Cheese Bar is an excellent place to sample some local wine and antipasto to help you along with your sightseeing.

Nightlife : Party in a Palace or On a Beach Terrace

Split hasn’t got the glamour of Hvar when it comes to nightlife, but there’s plenty to do after dark.

For an unforgettable Split experience, start your night off on the Riva at one of the pavement cafes (F-Caffe is the most famously lively) before heading into Diocletian’s Palace to enjoy the bars inside the city walls, including Ghetto Club and Fluid.

You absolutely must go to the Peristyle, the central square where live musicians play on summer nights. Take a seat on the steps near Luxor Café and the waiters will bring you drinks as you listen to the music and soak up the atmosphere—you’ll often see people getting up to dance and sing along. Where else can you party in a palace but in Split?

Tropic nightclub in Split, Croatia

The other nightlife hotspot is Bavrice Beach, where Tropic Club and Bavcice Club overlook the water, and O’Hara Club is on a nearby bay and caters more to the rock scene.

If you’re looking for something a bit more refined, the plush Hemingway Bar just along the coast is for you, with its 1500sqm summer terrace and line-up of international DJs.

Day Trip : Be enchanted by Trogir

This magnificent UNESCO listed destination almost deserves its own article, and is best visited on your yacht from Split. Located on a small island connected to the mainland by a bridge, the walled city of Trogir dazzles with its beauty.

Waterfront in Trogir, Croatia

Founded by the Greeks of Issa (Vis), Trogir was subsequently ruled by the Romans and the Byzantines, before being destroyed by the Saracens in 1123. A great renaissance in the city’s fortunes was enjoyed under the Hungarians and Venetians, leaving behind a tiny, perfectly formed town that was once the cultural heart of all of Dalmatia.

The breathtaking 13th century St Lawrence Cathedral and the imposing Kamerlengo Fortress are the most notable attractions, but be sure to take a little time to explore the photogenic town, admiring the desperately pretty squares and the Renaissance architecture.

The town of Trogir in Croatia from above

Summer is coming. Why not spend some of it on a yacht charter in Split? To organise your Croatia yacht charter and tailor an itinerary to your tastes, contact Bespoke Yacht Charter:

This article was written by Jo Morgan – Jo is a freelance writer for yachts and travel, offering targeted feature articles, content marketing, blogs and press releases for the yachting and travel industries.














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