To spend a weekend in Split as a local means you will need some nice clothes, comfortable shoes, lots of free time, and a pair of sunglasses. Today I share with you my favorite things to do on a weekend in Split.
Weekend morning in Split
For the majority of people in Croatia, the morning is for a coffee in a popular gathering location. In Split that is Promenade called "Riva", or any cafe bar that has a terrace and a sea view. Don't be surprised to see how people in Split usually spend a couple of hours sitting and chatting, enjoying the time off with their friends or family. In fact, there is an expression "polako" which means "take it slow, there is no rush" and people often stick to it. Since there are plenty of sunny days in Split, drinking coffee for a long time, means also enjoying in sun and fresh air and relaxing from a working week. Apart from cafe bars on Riva and nearby locations in the old city center, you can also walk along the coastline and see many other cafes along the way. For example on Bačvice Beach, Firule Beach in Zenta marina, or even further ahead on Žnjan Beach. Seems a lot but, a nice 2-hour walk with occasional rest is one of the best ways to fill your batteries up. Although it's not my favorite activity, many people ride a bike on this route, and some of them even go further to Hill Marjan. It's definitely something you can do, even with a rented city bike.
On the other hand, the majority of citizens in Croatia are Catholics so they very often go to church on Sunday. The cathedral St. Duje is particularly beautiful, but there are a lot of churches all around the town and people usually go to their local one in the morning. Don't be surprised if your local friends set the first meetup of the day around 11AM or even noon.
People in Croatia are very traditional, so Sunday is usually reserved for a family lunch. On the menu, there is roast meat or fish and sometimes some typical Dalmatian meals like "pašticada" or "brujet" which is a cooked fish in a tomato sauce. If you already have friends in Split it is very common that they might invite you to lunch, as people here are very friendly and generous. FYI It is a common courtesy to bring something over, like a bottle of wine or a box of chocolates. On the other hand, if you are a good cook, be like a local and invite friends over to your place! If you don't like preparing your own Sunday lunch, there are a lot of restaurants that offer Dalmatian food. Some are decorated in typical Dalmatian style and are very cozy, they are called "konoba". There are a lot of "konoba" restaurants in the city center and some restaurants are situated along the seaside so you can enjoy in sea view as well. In most restaurants, you will find a variety of standardized Croatian restaurant food like grilled meat, pasta, and pizza. Unfortunately, Split is not very diversified with different cuisines in restaurants. However, during summer months some street food joints get more creative to please different types of tourists that visit the time.
Check out my guide for the best restaurants in town here:
Throughout most of the year, every 2nd weekend is reserved for cheering for a local football club Hajduk. Make sure to go at least once to stadium Poljud, soak in the atmosphere, and learn more about the love that the locals have for this club. People in Split love sports in general, and you can find them playing at many places around the town, so feel free to join, especially on basketball courts where +1 always comes in handy. Speaking of Basketball, the local team "Split" is also playing the regular season at Hall Gripe. Price tickets are very approachable for any sport event so it's a good activity to do on a budget too.
Another popular activity that Croatians like is window shop in shopping centers, especially during colder months. This is why you will find many bars, restaurants, and cinemas in them, so it can happen that one spends long hours there on a Sunday afternoon. The most popular shopping mall is Mall of Split which features a cinema, great shops of all kinds, and popular brands. Also, it's very convenient that one can find a pharmacy and a big supermarket too. In case you don't own a car there are shuttle buses and regular bus lines that can bring you to any mall in Split, like City Center One too. By the way, the government has recently decided to close shops on Sundays, apart from 8 Sundays in a year, so make sure to double-check opening hours from June 2023 onwards. If you are not a fan of shopping malls but prefer spending a free day in nature, don't worry, there are a lot of places where you can go from Split for a day trip.
Evening rest - or not?
Apart from Friday evenings, Saturday evenings are reserved for the main "action" of the week. Split offers many pubs with live music in the city center, as well as nightclubs that can be found in various locations, starting at the city center, around Bacvice Beach, or even near the Poljud stadium. If you prefer something more relaxing two main cinemas Cinestar and Cineplexx are a good idea for an evening activity. Apart from Cartoons movies are always shown in original language with Croatian subtitles. To find out more about cinemas in Split check my full guide.
Day trips in nature
If don't feel like going out of town for the whole day to spend your time in nature, you can always go to Marjan Hill. That small hill is very popular among people in Split, they go there to walk, jog, exercise, drive a bike, and even try rock climbing on the south side of the hill. Please just make sure you have the right equipment and a fellow to assist you.
In case you like hiking, you are in luck since Split is surrounded by mountains The most popular choices are Mosor and Biokovo. Both can be reached by car or public transport, and both of them offer accessible walking routes with amazing views. There are also some hiking associations ("planinarsko društvo" or "planinarski klub"), like Planinarski Klub Split where you can join, meet new friends, and go hiking together. Keep in mind never to go hiking in the mountains alone, with no appropriate equipment. If you happen to go with friends you can explore more of the hiking routes with the mobile app Komoot. It's excellent for exploring new routes with filtering options based on your time and fitness level.
So, be sure not to spend your Sundays at home, use a lot of possibilities that this town offers and enjoy in your free time. And of course if it a summer time maybe the best solution is to go to the beach. Keep in mind that the beach season in Split starts very early, sometimes even in April, and finishes at the beginning of November. Since during the peak season the beaches are usually overcrowded, the best time to go to the beach is May, June, September, and October. The sea temperatures in those months are very pleasant and there are not so many people on the beach so you can totally relax and enjoy.
There are many more ideas on how to spend a weekend in Split. You can check my guide for daily trips outside to learn more.