Split, Croatia, is known as the ‘Gem of the Adriatic,’ and it’s the perfect spot as your base for exploring Dalmatia. From scouting out waterfalls to exploring ancient towns to island hopping, there’s plenty to see and do. All of the day trips are available to visit via public transportation (like bus or ferry), but the easiest (and quickest) would be to rent a car. Car rentals are affordable and offer you the flexibility to visit other things on the way to and from your destination.
Perhaps the most well-known city in Croatia, Dubrovnik is 229.4 kilometers from Split. While you could certainly visit this UNESCO World Heritage site in a day, we’d suggest spending at least an evening there to see everything. The drive from Split will take you about four hours one way, and make sure to bring your passport, as you’ll pass through two border stops – by the Bosnian city of Neum. The picturesque, walled city may remind you of Split’s walled façade, but as it’s been mostly untouched by time or damage. While in Dubrovnik, don’t miss the cable car, the ornate Sponza Palace or the Church of St. Blaise.
Less than 90 kilometers sits Krka National Park, known for its stunningly beautiful waterfalls. Swim in the crystal-clear waters, explore the park via wooden paths and check out the first European hydroelectric power system. Plus, the Skradinski Buk is the most extensive European travertine waterfall system – see if you can find all 17 steps.
A 2.5-hour drive away, you’ll find Plitvice Lakes National Park, home to the largest waterfall in Europe. These 16 lakes (upper and lower) along with the travertine mineral rock deposits make for an incredible sight. Don’t miss the Great Falls, a 256-foot waterfall – it’s no Niagara, but definitely worth the visit.
The Split Harbor is an excellent spot to book a ferry ride to one of the many islands in the Adriatic Sea. From the quiet, secluded island of Vis to the medieval village of Korcula to the buzziest island of Hvar, island hopping can give you a much-needed break from the hustle and bustle of Riva while soaking up some Dalmatian sun.