How to Visit Split with Kids [Itinerary & Things to Do]

Hey there! This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I may be compensated if you click on one of my links, at no cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read my disclosure policy for more information.

We just returned from a two week trip to Split with 6,7, and 9 year old boys. This was my third trip to Croatia but my first with kids, and I have a LOT to say about visiting Split and Croatia with kids. I visited back in 2014, and Split today is much different than it was 10 years ago.

This article will go over everything you need to know about visiting Split with kids (and whether you should visit!).

Highlights of Article

Croatia is a kid-friendly destination and children are welcome everywhere.

In the warmer seasons, there are plenty of water activities and beaches.

Split makes a great base camp for day and overnight trips to the islands.

About Split

Split is located on a Peninsula in the Adriatic Sea toward the southern end of the country. Italy sits across the Adriatic and there are ferries that run between them.

Split is a medium sized city with about 175,000 people, but over 350,000 people when you include the outer areas. Most visitors stay in and around the Diocletian Palace, an ancient Roman palace that was built in 295 – 305 CE by the Emperor Diocletian.

The word palace might suggest that it’s a building, but it’s far from it. Instead, it’s an 8 acre rectangle filled with cobblestone streets, shops, restaurants, apartments, and stunning architecture everywhere you look.

This is the crown jewel of Split and I highly recommend staying inside the palace if possible.

Should You Visit Split with Kids?

So let’s dive in with the most important question, should you visit Split with kids?

My answer to that question is yes, absolutely. Split and Croatia in general are incredibly kid-friendly. Everyone was so welcoming with our rambunctious kids and did not seem annoyed or frustrated with them at all. They were welcome in restaurants and even bars too, and many places had crayons and coloring paper (not all, but many).

I would add though that I think Split should be just one of many stops on your trip. I would recommend adding in some of the islands and visiting Dubrovnik, about 3 hours south of Split (more on that below).

Our kids favorite parts of the trip were the food, the fresh juices, the beaches, the boat rides, the croissants, the pools at our hotels, and exploring the narrow old town streets.

Split and Croatia are definitely on the map and were quite touristy when we visited in May. So it’s not an off the beaten path type of destination that is used to be. However, the islands we went to were less visited and felt more local, and were a highlight of our trip. So if you like less crowds, then be sure to stay at one of the many islands just off the coast of Split.

How Many Days Should you Spend in Split?

Here’s where I think we erred. We booked 7 nights in Split with plans to do day trips and explore some of the islands. We *thought* that it would be too taxing to move the kids every few days, but after 2-3 days we saw nearly everything we wanted to see and could have moved on. In fact, we visited Hvar town on Hvar island on the fourth day and loved it so much we booked a last minute Airbnb that night.

Compared to Split, Hvar felt so peaceful and laidback, even though it’s known for being a party town. All of the locals told us that if we liked Hvar then Brac Island (the one closest to Split) is even better.

Because of this, the itinerary I created isn’t going to mirror our experience, but what I would do if I visited again.

Where Should you Stay in Split?

We stayed in the Diocletian Palace in an Airbnb. The pros to staying here are that you’re incredibly central and don’t need a car. We were traveling with friends and felt this was the perfect place for us. In the morning our friends would wake early and grab coffee and croissants (most places open at 7am) and walk the old town. We were able to do our own thing if we wanted and didn’t have to always travel as a group.

There was a restaurant directly at the bottom of the flat we rented so we were even able to leave the boys upstairs while we grabbed food and drinks downstairs.

The ferry terminal is a few minutes’ walk from the palace making it a central location. And this area is loaded with restaurants and shops. There’s no shortage here.

The biggest downside to staying in the Diocletian Palace is that it can be noisy late at night with partygoers. We could hear people as late as 4am talking and making noise downstairs as they walked by. However, if we’d had a fan or white noise machine I doubt we would have heard them.

At the tail end of our trip we used points and stayed at Le Meridien, about 20 minutes south of Split. I really loved dividing our trip between Airbnb’s and nice hotels (with points, of course). The kids loved the pools here and we loved all the amenities.

This particular hotel has a promenade with many private yachts and boats. Along the promenade are many restaurants and some shops just for hotel guests (including gelato!). And inside there are also many restaurant options.

The infinity pool here is incredible, although the kids preferred the indoor one (it had a few waterfalls, a jacuzzi, and more shallow areas). If you have points with Chase (like us) or another card (our friends used their Amex), I highly recommend staying here at least one night. The biggest downside is that it’s away from Split and the ferry port, so if you’re short on time I’d stick to the Diocletian Palace area.

Is Split an Expensive Place to Visit?

I wanted to touch on this topic as we experienced a lot of sticker shock here. Croatia is now on the Euro and due to that and inflation, prices in the touristy areas are comparable to most Western European cities we’ve visited over the years. Long gone are the days where you could get wine for the equivalent of a dollar and a kilogram of calamari for roughly $10.

Drinks were around 5-12EUR each and mixed drinks were even more (sometimes upwards of 20EUR if you wanted a view with your drink). Meals were anywhere from 18-30EUR for a sit down restaurant. Even the grocery stores were much more expensive than I anticipated.

INSIDER TIP! I highly recommend going to DM if you need sunscreen, aftersun gel, and any toiletries. The DM brand is German and is great quality. Their sunscreen ran for about 4EUR whereas in the grocery stores most were over 15EUR each.

The ‘Green Market’ in Split, just outside the walls of the Diocletian Palace, has a lot of vendors and we were able to score some great prices on items. You can barter with the vendors and we were able to get a good deal on towels and beach toys for the boys. Don’t be afraid to ask for a lower price, the worst they’ll say is no or meet you in the middle!

If prices are a concern, outside the city walls prices are a bit cheaper. But outside the walls, there are many rundown areas that aren’t so aesthetic. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, just something to consider if that’s an important factor for you.

I was quite surprised to find that Hvar prices were the same as Split. I’d just assumed an island would be more expensive. I would guess that some of the lesser visited islands are more affordable than in Split.

Beaches Around Split

We explored a handful of beaches while here, and there’s one that absolutely stole the show. We visited in May and the water was chilly but the kids didn’t mind. I’ve read that September is the best time to visit as the waters have warmed over the summer and it’s less crowded.

Let me start with the beach that everyone recommends but was a huge letdown for us. We went to Bacvice Beach, the best known sandy beach in the area. Most beaches are pebbly or rocky, so this one is a welcome change with fine sand.

The waters are shallow and protected by a rocky area further out, so there aren’t big waves. When I visited this beach years ago, I loved it. It was the perfect way to spend an afternoon.

Walking past Bacvice along the path

When we visited on this trip, I was shocked at how much trash was strewn around the beach. There were so many cigarette butts and bits of trash that I wouldn’t feel comfortable bringing my toddler here. There’s also construction going on right next to the beach so instead of hearing the birds and waves, all you could hear was construction. This may change after 2024 but I anticipate this will be ongoing as they’re constructing an entire multi-story apartment building.

The water also isn’t super clear because of the sand, and there was a lot of seaweed and other things in the water. Overall, I was not impressed with this beach.

However, the one I can absolutely recommend is Kasjuni Beach, on the west side of Marjan Park. It’s not walkable from the Diocletian Palace, but you can take a quick 10 minute Uber there or bus line 12. Ubers are cheap and plentiful. I don’t recommend driving as there’s limited parking and it fills quickly.

This beach is pristine and quiet. From here you have beautiful views of Marjan Park and the surrounding hills. The waters are crystal clear and gently slope down. It’s not sand but rather small pebbles that are gentle on the feet. Our kids were able to play in the water near the shore for hours.

Since most beaches are pebbly, I recommend bringing water shoes or buying some once you’re there (they are sold everywhere). I brought my own pair that I love and bring to every beach we visit. They fold flat and are a lifesaver with hot sand and rocky areas. If you visit a beach once a year I highly recommend these water shoes, they’re the best!

There’s a restaurant and bar here, although the prices are steep. You can rent a sun lounger for a whopping 35EUR or just lay a towel on the pebbles.

How To Get Around Split with Kids

Although prices have increased in many areas, Uber is incredibly affordable here. A 30 minute drive only cost the 7 of us about 10Euro. Uber is also everywhere and super easy to use. We were warned that a new law recently passed that prohibits Uber’s from having more than 6 passengers, but no one seemed to follow it.

We did take a taxi once and the driver explained that the white colored taxis are much more affordable than a black taxis. I have no idea if there’s a difference in quality but we heeded their warning.

If you stay in the Diocletian Palace then you can walk everywhere. Inside the palace there are a few places with steps but overall you can get around with a stroller. The stones on the ground get really slippery when it rains so I recommend sturdy anti-slip shoes for your kids!

Suggested Split Itinerary with Kids

I created this itinerary based on our experience with a 6,7, and 9 year old. If we were traveling with a toddler, I’d spend two days maximum in Split then head to the islands. The Diocletian Palace in Split can get really crowded during the day and I prefer quieter, low key places with younger kids.

2 or 3 Day Itinerary

If you’re traveling with kids over 5, like we did, here’s how I’d do my next Croatia trip.

  • 2-3 days in Split and follow my itinerary
  • 1-2 days in Brac. Head to Bol and see Zlatni Rat (Golden Horn Beach).
  • 2 days on Hvar Island (either Hvar or Stari Grad). Hike to the fortress, explore Hvar, see the lavender fields if they’re in season, rent a car and explore, etc. I’d stay at the Valamar Amicor Green Resort in Stari Grad with kids. We stayed at a Valamar in Dubrovnik and the kids loved it.
  • Ferry to Korcula for 2 nights. I heard SO many great things about Korcula. We tried to make it happen but with our Airbnb already set, we had to skip it.
  • Dubrovnik for 2 nights. Dubrovnik exceeded all of my expectations. I thought it would be gimmicky or hokey with all the Game of Thrones activity, but this fortified city is truly incredible and worth a visit!

    We stayed at two resorts a short distance from Dubrovnik’s old town, Hotel Rixos and Valamar Lacroma Dubrovnik, both using points. Valamar is possibly the most kid-friendly hotel I’ve stayed at. It has a place called Maro World with a large trampoline park, indoor play structure and slides, video and interactive games, blocks for building, and more. There are three beaches accessible for hotel guests only too. Rixos is perhaps the nicest hotel I’ve ever stayed at (we usually never splurge on hotels) but you definitely pay for it. The dinner buffet was 55EUR per person but kids 7 and under are free! It’s not geared toward kids but the pools were a highlight for our son.
  • Take a Flixbus back to Split

If this looks like too much movement for you, I’d strongly consider basing yourself on one of the islands and doing a day trip to Split versus staying in Split and day tripping. Split is so busy compared to the islands and with kids, it’s nice to get away from all the bustle (at least in my opinion).

The ferries run regularly to the closer islands like Brac and Hvar and are so easy to use. We just walked up and purchased tickets, but you can just as easily book them online (prices are the same).

The ferry to Hvar is only an hour on the fast Krilo catamaran (pedestrian only). I’d book a place with easy access to beaches and restaurants. And honestly, I’d look for places with pools since most kids need downtime and a pool to play in is about as fun as it gets!

Day 1

Arrive in Split and spend the day exploring the Diocletian Palace. Visit the Green Market and other open markets. Walk underground and learn about the palace. Visit the 3,000 year old Egyptian Sphinx sitting in the main square. Check out the shops and grab some gelato (fyi Gelateria aMara has gluten free cones if you need that option). Climb the St Dominus Bell Tower.

If you’re into Game of Thrones, there’s a fun tour you can do. If you’d rather dive into the history of Split, there’s a 90 minute walking tour that would be great for older kids.

There’s a decent playground behind Bacvice Beach, so if you’re in the area it’s a great spot for kids to get out their wiggles. You can try Bacvice Beach, but as I stated in the beach section, we didn’t enjoy it as much as other beaches. You can continue along the path on the water to another smaller beach called Plaza Firule. Our kids enjoyed playing at this beach for a few hours and we hung out up at Mythos bar on the hill.

Optional Tour: Pirate Ship & Sunset Tour

We did this pirate ship tour and the kids loved it. The boat really looks like a mini pirate ship. You can book it online or just walk up and try your luck. We visited in May before high season so we were easily able to get tickets at the dock.

The boat cruises around the area and is only about 90 minutes long. There’s one stop at Kasjuni Beach for 20 minutes before making your way back. If your kids get bored easily, this boat tour is short enough to keep them entertained. The pirate ship is parked right on the promenade and it’s impossible to miss.

Day 2

Today you’ll start off with a nice hike to Marjan Park. This park is great for kids of all ages, but those younger than 4 might need some coaxing or a carrier. This park is more of a small hike comprised of many steps, so unfortunately a stroller won’t work.

And if you’re looking for a carrier for a baby or toddler, this hiking carrier is probably the most portable one out there. I have a toddler and don’t always want a big carrier – and this one works great for both small and bigger toddlers (like mine!). Just note it only works with a backpack as you need straps to attach it to.

The trail to Marjan Park starts out at the west end of the Diocletian Palace. You can simply type in ‘Marjan Park’ to Google Maps and head out. The park is a large hill with many, many steps to climb. The viewpoint (Šetalište Luke Botića 3, 21000) provides a fantastic panorama of the city and beyond and is well worth the climb.

We continued on to Telegrin, the highest viewpoint in the park. Nearby is a lovely playground that looks new as well as a small zoo. We didn’t go but noticed it’s small. It looks more like a petting zoo with mostly donkeys, horses, sheep, and goats. But there are a few vending machines and some drinks if you need some convincing to go back down.

Once you leave Marjan Park, head back to the Diocletian Palace and grab a bite to eat at one of the hundreds of restaurants. Then make your way to Kasjuni Beach. It can get busy in the later afternoons, so I recommend heading out before 1pm if possible.

Spend the afternoon at this stunning beach. Bring food for a picnic or grab a bite at Joe’s Beach Lounge & Bar (just know prices are fairly high).

In the evening, head back for dinner and walking a bit more of the palace walls.

Day 3

If you have an extra day, I’d recommend booking one of the longer boat tours. We personally avoided the Blue Cave as it’s at least a 10 hour tour and we didn’t know if the kids could handle it, but we did do this shorter half day tour to the Blue Lagoon which was recommended by our Airbnb host.

This tour takes you on a speedboat to Trogir, the blue lagoon for snorkeling, and a private beach. The speedboat is very fast but they get you where you need to be quickly! If you don’t want it to be so bumpy try sitting closer to the front. It’s about a half day but you get to see a lot and the blue lagoon is worth it. We were also told the Blue Lagoon is much better with kids too as it’s much more calm than the Blue Cave.

I hope this article inspires you to think about a trip to Croatia for your next big adventure. I recommend spending at least 10 days here to explore this region of the country. We found a mix of activities and downtime were perfect with our kids. Oh, and plenty of beach and pool time is a must!

Now that we’re back we’re trying to convince ourselves to go somewhere else on our next trip. From the people to the landscapes to the food and wine, Croatia has an allure to it that’s hard to resist.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *