Croatia on a budget – A few days in Split

I thought I’d have a look back at one of my favourite places I’ve been lucky enough to visit – Split, Croatia.

We loved Split so much the first time we visited, we went back a year later, and we still want to return again for more.

I’ll share a few things we loved to see and do in and around Split, and how we managed to have a great time on a tiny budget.

Getting to Split

We try to travel on a tight budget where we can, and one of the deciding factors that led us to Croatia when we were looking for ideas was the cost. It’s generally very cheap to fly to and stay in Croatia, especially Split.

We flew from Luton in September for a very good price. Being easyJet’s hub, Luton usually has a lot of cheaper flights available.

Easyjet A320 in rainy Luton

Split is rapidly growing as a tourist destination, so they have recently opened a new airport terminal which is much better than the previous one, however there still isn’t a lot of flexibility when it comes to public transport connections between the airport and the city. There is a bus in to the centre, however, we chose to stay just outside of Split in a nearby village, so took an Uber instead.

Staying in Stobreč

There’s plenty of accommodation in and around the centre of Split, however we opted to stay in a small town just down the coast – Stobreč.

….. And wow, are we glad we did.

Stobreč is a quiet village just along the coast from Split, offering many apartment style accommodation options, many of which have incredible views over the Adriatic sea.

I would recommend an apartment with a sea view towards the south of Stobreč if you can – the sea views are unbelievable, and prices for this sort of accommodation are a fraction of what you’d pay in other destinations.

This was the view from our private balcony for example:

Stobrec Apartment
View from our Stobrec Apartment
Stobreč coastline, Split, Croatia
Stobreč coastline, Split, Croatia

Another benefit to being on the south side of the village is that you’ll get to see the incredible sunset every night.

Sunset at Stobreč, Croatia
Sunset at Stobreč, Croatia
Stobreč coastline at sunset, Split, Croatia
Stobreč coastline at sunset, Split, Croatia

Believe it or not, Split and the surrounding area isn’t really known for its beaches, or not the white sandy beaches you might have in mind at least. Most of the beaches around this part of Croatia are rocky.

Stobrec has a beach in the North of the village, or alternatively there are several small swimming areas dotted around, like this one just underneath our apartment:

Stobreč swimming area, Split, Croatia
Stobreč swimming area, Split, Croatia
Stobreč swimming area, Split, Croatia
Stobreč swimming area, Split, Croatia

The peaceful Marina at Stobreč is at the centre of the village.

Stobreč marina, Split, Croatia
Stobreč marina, Split, Croatia

Stobreč also has a bakery, 2 supermarkets, a pharmacy, and number of bars and restaurants along the marina, including a lovely Italian restaurant called Orbis which does great pizza (and a good takeaway), a seafood restaurant called Lovacki Rog, and my favourite, Kaša grill bar which is up the hill towards the top of Stobreč with lovely staff serving DELICIOUS grilled chicken 🧑‍🍳 It’s well worth the walk up the hill to eat here!

We found it incredibly cheap to eat out in Stobrec, away from the tourist centre of Split.

In the centre of Stobrec, just in front of the bakery, there’s also a bus stop with regular busses in to Split and the surrounding towns.

Getting around in Split

We didn’t bother hiring a car – public transport isn’t bad, and Uber is incredibly cheap in Croatia, so this was enough for us. Split is also a very small city, so getting around isn’t an issue at all.

Visiting the historic centre of Split

beige concrete building during daytime

Split may be the 2nd largest city in Croatia, but it’s absolutely tiny. That’s not to say there isn’t plenty to see though, it’s a Unesco World Heritage Site, packed with ancient buildings including the ruin of Diocletian’s Palace from Roman times, the Cathedral of Saint Domnius and the Bell Tower, and the Grgur Ninski Statue.

Along the front of the city is the Riva Harbour, which is lined with restaurants and bars all the way along. This seafront is also where you’ll find various kiosks by the water’s edge selling boat trips out to the islands where you can visit the Blue Cave and Hvar (more not those in a moment!)

Heading in to the city, there are plenty of cobbled streets winding in and out of the enormous palace walls, full of little shops, cafes restaurants, bars and wine cellars, along with more modern shops around the edge of the city.

You can also go in to the Palace of Diocletian where there is a market held, and you might even recognise parts from Game of Thrones. Luckily the dragons have since moved out.

Climbing the St Dominus Bell Tower

One of my favourite parts of Split’s centre was climbing the bell tower, which offers the best views in Split.

View from the top of the Split Bell Tower

5 island tour

If you’re staying in Split for more than a couple of days, I would recommend taking a boat tour as a must-do.

We chose a 5 island tour by a company called Shotgun Tours, which is a full-day excursion, including the following:

  • Travel to Bisevo Island and view the Blue Cave.
  • Make your way to Vis island and the cove at Stiniva Bay for swimming and snorkelling.
  • Blue Lagoon at Drvenik Veli.
  • Move on to Carape Diem on Hvar Island, where you pause for lunch at your own expense.
  • Spend your time in Hvar Town exploring the area.

We bought our tickets from a kiosk along the Riva seafront in Split a few days prior, which cost us around £90 each as far as I remember – which was unbelievable value considering what it was!

On the morning of our trip, we were kindly picked up by a taxi that they had arranged for us and brought to the Riva in the city centre, where we met the rest of the group and boarded our 12-person RIB, and off we sped in to the Adriatic (at speed!) 🚤

The first stop 40 minutes later was the incredible blue cave, which my terrible photos do no justice at all. Have a quick look online at how amazing this cave is – the trip was worth it for this alone in my opinion.

Entering the Blue Cave, Croatia
Entering the Blue Cave, Croatia

Because of the unique way the cave is formed, the rock has eroded away underwater, leaving a gap for the sunlight to shine through and illuminate the crystal clear, blue water.
You can see right down to the sea floor, with the fish swimming around beneath your boat.

Blue Cave, Split, Croatia
Blue Cave, Split, Croatia

After various swimming and sightseeing stops, we stopped at Carpe Diem, which is the club you see in all the photos of the nightlife in Hvar. During the daytime however, Carpe Diem is transformed in to a tranquil relaxing place with plenty of lounging areas to chill and have a cocktail or something to eat.

Carpe Diem, Hvar, Croatia
Carpe Diem, Hvar, Croatia

We chose to wait to eat in Hvar itsself, which was the next and final stop on the tour.

Hvar, Croatia
Hvar, Croatia
Hvar, Croatia
Hvar, Croatia
Hvar, Croatia
Hvar, Croatia
Hvar main square, Croatia
Hvar main square, Croatia
Hvar, Croatia
Hvar, Croatia
Hvar Main Square, Croatia
Hvar Main Square, Croatia

Hvar is a lovely little town to have a wander around and a meal. It’s a tiny place, so for us a pitstop here was enough time to explore before getting back on the boat for the 40 minute, wildly rough and choppy ride back towards Split, this time in to the now incredibly strong wind!


I would 100% recommend a visit to Split to anyone – Croatia is a beautiful country, slightly off the beaten tourist track, lined with amazing scenery and dark blue crystal clear sea, all just waiting to be explored, and Split has something for everyone.

Thank you for reading!
Have you been to Split before? Please share any tips below!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Timothy says:

    I was only a few hours in Split, but loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Matt says:

      It’s such a nice place isn’t it! 😊

      Like

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