Is Split, Croatia, Expensive? That’s what we’re here to answer. This guide will home in on several of the most important outgoings for travelers who are keen on getting lost amid the ancient Roman temples and the babbling fountains of this amazing Croatian city on the Adriatic Sea.
We’ll see what you can expect to fork out on local foods and activities, along with the cost of hotels, whether you’re after a honeymoon pad with views of the Dalmatian Islands or something a bit more low-key that will let you cook for yourself.
Our aim is to provide a rough estimate as to what that 2023 holiday will cost. You know, so you can get back to dreaming about the 2,000-year-old shrines, the buzzy EDM clubs, the pine-scented beaches, and the soaring heights of the Dinaric Alps. Let’s begin…
How much does a holiday cost in Split, Croatia
An average holiday to Split in the peak summer months will probably cost in the region of $1,617 per person for a whole week. That’s based on staying in a three-star hotel right in the immersive UNESCO old center, eating out every night, and doing a few planned activities.
To stress: These are prices for peak-season travel between June and August. Things can drop considerably if you’re willing to risk the less-stable weather of the spring (April and May) or fall (September and October), sometimes to the tune of 50% less.
On top of that, you can influence the total outgoings of your trip a lot by selecting different parts of the town and different types of accommodation. Staying outside of Diocletian’s Palace area is a great way to cut the cost of hotels, for example, but you can also go for luxury stays near local beaches that will be double or triple our estimated amount. It all depends on what you’re after.
Let’s dig a little deeper in what it costs to vacation in Split…
Is Split, Croatia, expensive to get to?
Split Airport is now officially the busiest airport in Croatia. It trumped Zagreb’s airport to over 3.5 million passengers in 2019 and its rise is set to continue with more and more budget and charter arrivals set to touchdown in the coming years.
As it stands, there are no long-haul connections into Split at all. You can only pick from short-haul links from across Europe, which means US travelers will need to fork out for the transatlantic hop before even thinking about getting Croatia bound.
The good news is that the cost of flights to Split has dropped considerably in the last decade. Competition from more and more carriers has pushed average airfare down, and it’s now possible to bag some real bargains. Taking the popular route in from London airports as an example, stats show that the average cost of a seat to the ancient Roman town on the Adriatic is about $202 return. That dips a little in the shoulder seasons of October and May but stays relatively steady throughout the peak summer months.
You can also make use of the cross-Adriatic ferry that comes in from Ancona in Italy. That costs about $50 in total and takes eight hours. Of course, that doesn’t include the price of transport to the marina on the Italian side in the first place.
Is Split, Croatia, expensive for hotels?
The cost of hotels in Split depends a whole load on where you choose to stay in the city. Now, the UNESCO-tagged heart of the town is definitely the place to be. You’ll have Roman ruins just outside the door of your suite there and the hotels tend to be really historic. However, it’s a luxury you’ll pay for, as rates tend to hit something near $123 per night in the peak summer season. Head just outside of town to the newer areas and you can find comparable spots for $100 a night, saving $160 over the course of a week-long stay, though you will need to walk before you get to the sightseeing.
All that’s calculated on an August stint in a three-star hotel. There’s plenty of scope to spend more if you want a taste of Croatian luxury, with some of the chicest options heading skywards to the tune of $285 per night. At the other end of the spectrum are the hostel stays that are aimed at the backpacker crowd. There isn’t an overload of them, but the handful that are about offer dorm beds in the region of $39 a night, even in the peak season.
Here’s a look at different accommodation options from across the full range:
- Cornaro Hotel ($$$) – Rooftop hot tub overlooking the skyline of Split’s ancient center? Don’t mind if I do! You’re looking at $240 for a night here in the summer.
- Apartment & Room Split Lea ($$) – A midrange aparthotel that gets you right into the thick of the old center, costing something like $120 a night in the mid-season.
- Dulcis ($) – A cheap and cheerful pad with a bed and ensuite, all close to the beaches to the east of the center. This goes for under $50 a night in August.
Overall, we’d budget something in the region of $860 for a whole week-long stay in Split if you want to be in the historic center, and about $560 if you’re happy to stay outside of it.
Is Split, Croatia, expensive for food?
As an estimation, we’d say a meal for two people in a local Croatian konoba (tavern) will cost about $35-40 including wine. That’s roughly in line with what you’d expect to pay in most Balkan resort towns, but perhaps a touch pricier than northern Croatian seaside escapes like Pula, which tend to be a little bit cheaper overall.
There are some pretty chichi places close to the Riva – the main promenade of Split – where the cost of food can double and then some. You’re paying for the setting there, and for some of the top-quality dining in the city. We’re talking venues like Brasserie on 7, where it’s $23 for a ribeye steak and $16 for pappardelle. Prices also tend to remain high throughout the old town area, where $13 is the going rate for a pasta dish and $10 gets you a breakfast burrito.
The good news is that loads of the accommodation options in Split are self-catering. They come with either small or full kitchenettes that mean you can cook for yourself and hit the local supermarkets. If you’re doing that, we recommend ditching the old town area and shopping in the new town where the locals do, as prices are considerably lower.
We’d recommend budgeting around $385 for a whole week’s eating in Split, Croatia and less if you’re going to be cooking your own meals.
Is Split, Croatia, expensive for activities?
Ready for it? Entry to Split’s number one attraction, the UNESCO site of Diocletian’s Palace, is 100% free. To be honest, it has to be, because the site is an integral part of the city. Getting in is just a case of ducking under one of the ancient gateways and wandering around to your heart’s content. Of course, unless you’re a classics grad, you might want a tour guide, which should only cost about $15 per person for a couple of hours.
And it gets better because the second big pull of Split also happens to be totally gratis. Cue the beaches, from party-mad Bačvice to the cove of Kašjuni, every single one of them comes without a demand on the wallet, except maybe the dollar or two it costs to get there on public transport. The same goes for the hiking in the Dinaric Alps – some trailheads even begin right in the town center and they don’t cost a dime.
Some things that might cost you some dollar bills include:
- A sea kayaking tour of the surrounding bays and coves with rock jumps and a guide – $42
- A day trip to the Krka National Park waterfalls with wine tasting – $51
- A return ferry to Hvar Island, one of the sunniest isles in Croatia – $20
In total, we’d recommend budgeting something in the region of $150-200 for all your activities during a week-long holiday to Split.
Is Split, Croatia, expensive? Our verdict
Our estimation of just over $1,600 for the full cost of a holiday to Split includes everything from dining out to hotel rates to the cost of flights into town in the first place. That puts it roughly in line with other Croatian holidaying meccas – Hvar, Dubrovnik – but probably a bit more expensive than the country’s lesser-known coastal destinations – Zadar, Pula.
Of course, it’s important to stress that this really is an estimation. It’s based on travel during the most popular time of the year (June-August). That’s when everything, from the cost of flights to hotels, will be at its peak because the crowds are also at their peak. You can save a whole load by traveling in different seasons, but also by looking for hotels slightly further away from the historic heart of the town.