Dalmation Coast Tiebreaker-Split or Dubrovnik-Image of Diocletian Palace in Split
Diocletian Palace in Split

Croatia is a great alternative Mediterranean destination from Italy or Greece. But do you visit Split or Dubrovnik? Learn the pros and cons of each in this Travel Honey Tiebreaker.

You’d like to travel to the Mediterranean in the summer to soak up the sun, sip wine by the beach, and eat delicious seafood. Why not check out Croatia? A popular vacation destination for Europeans but just starting to pick up with travelers across the Atlantic, Croatia is a great alternative Mediterranean destination from Italy or Greece. So, where do you go? Split or Dubrovnik?


First up is Dubrovnik. Located on the southern coast of Croatia near the Montenegrin and Bosnian borders, Dubrovnik is where you’ll see the iconic orange-roofed houses and buildings and turquoise water. For Game of Thrones fans, Dubrovnik is where part of King’s Landing was filmed. Split, also located on the Croatian coast but a bit further north, has a wealth of Roman ruins, including Diocletian’s Palace. Amazingly well-preserved, the palace is the focal point of the city.


The pros of visiting Dubrovnik include:

– It’s a charming old city and lots of history.

– There is amazing seafood and wine bars. The swimming and kayaking in the summer in the Adriatic just outside the city walls.

– You can spend hours exploring the narrow alleyways with shops and restaurants in the old city.

– It’s an easy day trip to Montenegro or Bosnia.

However, remember to consider:

– It’s extremely touristy, especially in the summer. Be prepared for large crowds in the old city.

– You should expect inflated prices for souvenirs.

– There are only a few public restrooms near the old city, and they only accept Croatian coins, not Euros or credit cards

– If you go in the summer, the heat is intense and there is very little shade, especially if you’re walking on the city walls.

Split and Dubrovnik
Bird’s Eye View of Split and the Harbor in Dubrovnik

The pros of visiting Split include:

– There is great shopping, including a small market just outside of Diocletian’s Palace.

– It’s only a short ferry ride to the glorious islands off Split, including Brac, Solta, Hvar.

– If you like nature, Split is only a 1.5 hour drive from Krka National Park.

– It’s a foodie’s paradise, with lots of up-and-comingrestaurants, and a good nightlife.

– It’s very close to beaches, such as Bacvice, Trstenik, and Znjan.

However, remember to consider:

– Many of the stores in the underground part of Diocletian’s Palace do not accept credit cards and some only accept Croatian currency.

– In the summer, Diocletian’s Palace can get extremely crowded.

– Outside of the old city, Split is not as charming as Dubrovnik, more like a generic Mediterranean city and more spread out than Dubrovnik.

When traveling to the Dalmatian Coast, you can’t really go wrong with either city. Both offer history, shopping, great food, and beaches. However, there are some differences: While both cities can get quite crowded and touristy in the summer, Dubrovnik wins for the “most crowded” Dalmatian city, especially in the summer.

If you prefer less crowds but still want a Mediterranean city with history and shopping, head to Split. For beaches, it’s hard to beat swimming in the Adriatic with ancient city walls and orange roofs as your backdrop, while taking a break and sipping a glass of wine or beer and sunbathing.

Sea Views Dubrovnik


You can do this at Buza Beach just outside the city walls in Dubrovnik, where you will literally climb down rocks to get to the beach. You can also grab and snack and wine at Café Buza, which overlooks the sea. Note that prices are definitely inflated – you are paying for the view, too! If a more relaxed and traditional beach day is more your thing, head to Bacvice Beach in Split, where you can soak up the sun, swim, and grab something to drink at Caffe Bar Zbirac.

History abounds in both cities. If a more “interactive” history experience is your thing, take a walk on the city wall in Dubrovnik. See Fort Lovrijenac, Sponza Palace, and Pile Gate, before entering Placa Strada (Old Town). If you like Roman history, Split is your place. Walk among Diocletian’s Palace, and head underneath the palace to shop for traditional Croatian red coral jewelry. Also see St. Duje’s Cathedral, which was built around 305 AD. Both places are great for foodies, but Split wins here, with its great wine bars and restaurants featuring traditional Croatian fare and Mediterranean cuisine. If ambience is important to your dining experience, however, Dubrovnik is your place. With small alleyways and ever-present stairs leading to hole-in-the-wall restaurants, you’ll feel like you’re dining in a medieval city.

Old Town Dubrovnik
Old Town Dubrovnik



So, which is it, Split or Dubrovnik? While both cities offer history and shopping, if you’re trying to decide between Split and Dubrovnik, and you don’t like huge crowds of tourists in the summer, head to Split. You’ll get to see some ancient Roman history and stroll through the markets for fresh food and souvenirs. If you don’t mind crowds and/or are not traveling in the summer, Dubrovnik is great for history, shopping, and sampling Croatian wine. There’s a reason why it’s the image of Croatia – the city is like no other!

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Hi, I’m Maura! I’m a late twenties information technology professional working in the non-profit sector in Boston and love to travel whenever I can. I was bit by the travel bug when I was a child traveling throughout the United States with my family to national parks across the country, and to Canada to visit my grandparents every year. When I was 17, I had the opportunity to travel to China, and I haven’t looked back ever since! I’ve been to Denmark, Sweden, France, Italy, Croatia, Turkey, Greece, China, Thailand, and Cambodia, along with a few other Caribbean islands and Canada.

Check out my 7 day tour of Italy, an on the go adventure through Rome, Venice and Pompeii.

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