Forget Game Of Thrones and Dubrovnik just for a moment. As the second-largest city in Croatia and the capital of the Dalmatian Coast, Split is a gorgeous Croatian gem that's equally worthy of attention. At the city's center sits a mesmeric ancient Roman palace, attributing to its old-world historic feel that charms visitors time and time again. But whilst the town center is a beautiful place to spend a day or two, the outskirts are mostly suburbs with not a lot going on.
But what many tourists don't know is that Split is actually perfect as a base for trips to surrounding islands and national parks. Home to one of the busiest harbors in Europe, the city plays a central role that connects all of Croatia - a role that allows for amazing day trips to other incredible parts of the southern Croatian coast. With dozens of islands to hop to, stunning national parks to explore, and plenty of historic, entertaining towns and cities to discover from Split, it's truly a destination for Croatia-bound travelers seeking out the best and most famous attractions in the country.
10 Hvar Island
Hvar is one of the most highly recommended day trips from Split. At only around one and a half hours by boat, it's possible to venture out and spend the whole day and be back in the late afternoon or evening. Hvar Island is truly an all-around splendid, luxurious place; there's the main town coupled with a few other small quaint seaside towns dotted along the coastline - all of which are as beautiful as they are entertaining. Plus, there are also a few small surrounding paradisal islands perfect for boat trips and swimming.
In general, aside from its beauty, Hvar is especially renowned for its awesome nightlife. It's one of the best spots in the region for parting thanks to its array of cocktail bars by the sea along with its fantastic nightclub. Overall there are many tours to the island available, but naturally, for a more private and controllable experience, one can rent a catamaran for the day and enjoy a leisurely trip without any strict time limits.
9 Plitvice Lakes National Park
Plitvice is a huge waterfall park with acres upon acres of cascading blue water and waterfalls. The park's famous highlights are spread across Croatia travel magazines and every influencer's Croatian vacay, and it's no surprise why. It's one of the most famous and visited parts of Croatia thanks to its fantasy-like beauty, which translates to tourist crowds throughout the seasons - especially in summer.
Even so, when the crowds get too much, it's possible to take off for the day and spend it all walking from one end of the park to the other in search of quieter waterfalls away from the hordes. It's truly that big with plenty of space for trekking across waterfall-laden hiking trails, dipping in turquoise waters, and sauntering across pretty boardwalks.
8 Krka National Park
This is the closest of the two nationwide famed waterfall parks in Croatia and promises a wonderful day out swimming, hiking, eating, and drinking. Krka is a truly stunning national park home to flowing waterfalls with inviting natural pools perfect for a refreshing swim. There are also a few trails to stroll along for soaking up more scenery, as well as many lovely sunbathing spots when in need of a break. Plus, there are many good restaurants and gift shops.
7 Blue Cave
Blue Cave on Biševo Island acquired its name through the stunning blue glow that occurs when the sunlight shines through the crystal clear water, illuminating the entire cave with a tranquil ocean hue. The cave was first discovered several hundred years ago by an intrepid explorer who found a small crack in the cave wall and ventured through.
A larger entrance was created to allow small boats inside, and now tours take visitors into the cave to take photos and marvel at its natural splendor. Because of its popularity, there is often a queue of boats waiting and the time spent inside is only several minutes. But it's definitely worth seeing and getting beautiful Insta-worthy photos for one's Croatia trip photobook nonetheless.
One of the best ways to see the cave, along with many other day trip spots on this list, is by opting for the popular and highly-rated Five Islands Tour. This particular excursion takes guests from Split to various touristic locations, including the Blue Cave, Vis Island, Stiniva Cove, the Green Cave, and Hvar Island all in one day.
Šibenik is a breathtaking coastal town only a few hours north of Split. It's the perfect addition to a Krka National Park Visit as it's very close by. It offers an enchanting old town built from white stone very much like other historic Croatian towns, adding to its charming centuries-old vibe. The town's main attraction however is the famous Cathedral of St. James, which is a magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Site with an extraordinary exterior containing sculpted human heads of unknown Šibenik inhabitants from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.
The town is also home to St. Michael’s Fortress - another fascinating historic monument that was built in the Middle Ages on a nearby hill, from where exceptional vistas over the entire town and the surrounding area can be enjoyed. In summer, the fortress also hosts sensational live music concerts and festivals.
The picturesque, historic town of Omiš is undeniably worth a visit just for how close it is to Split (as well as its Insta-worthy beauty). At under an hour south of Split, Omiš is famed for being the adventure hotspot of Croatia's south coast where the Cetina River travels through mountain peaks and into the Adriatic Sea. The enormous mountains' height combined with the river makes for some incredible outdoor adventures, such as hiking, biking, rock climbing, river rafting, canyoning, and one of the most fun of all: zip lining.
4 Bosnia & Herzegovina
Hop over the border and pay a visit to neighboring Bosnia And Herzegovina, where even more beauty and history await. The areas of Mostar, Kravica, and Medjugorje in Bosnia and Herzegovina are right next door to Croatia and can be visited as part of a long day trip from Split. It's predominantly an Islamic country whose beautiful culture, architecture, towns, and natural environment look and feel much more like Turkey than the Mediterranean, which makes a day trip feel as if one has gone to an entirely new exotic continent altogether.
On a day trip over the border, one can discover the unique differences between the two nations whilst enjoying the majesty and awe of the towns. Of particular towns of interest, there's Mostar - home to the stunning "old bridge", as well as Medugorje, which is a pretty place with highly religious culture and history. There are several other spots to visit in the area too, including the amazing Kravica Falls, Blagaj Springs, and the photogenic Počitelj Castle.
3 Scuba Diving
Surprisingly, Croatia is an amazing scuba diving destination. Although it's not the most popular activity in the country, it's definitely worth trying - especially when in Split. The water is crystal clear, which makes for excellent dive conditions with plenty to see.
Furthermore, as Croatia's scuba scene is still vastly underrated, the majority of its dive sites are quiet and rarely ever suffer crowds. This means that at any given dive site, it's highly likely that divers have the entire underwater world all to themselves. As diving in the area is still growing and developing, dive centers in Split are few and far between. But they do exist - and one of the most well-reputed is Split Diving.
2 Vis Island
Vis a pretty island with two entertaining little towns, lots of lovely swimming spots, old-world historic fortresses, and tip-top food. It's also home to the famous and stunning Stiniva Bay, which is a must for any discerning traveler in the area. The island also boasts rich military history and miles of tunnels that guests can see and learn all about on guided military tours, which are available through local tour operators.
1 Brač Island
As one of the largest Adriatic Islands that's also the closest to Split, it's only natural that Brač is an ever-popular day trip destination. In fact, it's so big that it's visible from anywhere in Split. Not for its size, though, Brač is actually well-known for its white stone quarries, which towns and cities all over Croatia use for their buildings. Almost every single old town in the country is constructed with stone from Brač, making it a place of extreme significance in terms of history and construction throughout the nation's entirety.
However, that's not all that the island is famed for. Of its several pristine white beaches with bright turquoise waters that look like they've been teleported over from Thailand, Brač's iconic triangular beach is one of the most stunning spots worthy of one's camera. It's truly one of the island's most idyllic places to relax, take a dip, and get some photos for the Instagram feed. On the other hand, Brač's largest town - Supetar - awaits with its tempting restaurants and entertaining shops. Brač also boasts lots of small secluded coves, little quirky towns, and plenty of vineyards too for even more photography-worthy adventures.