Split or Hvar: Where is It Better to Stay?

Many tourists, when planning a trip to Croatia, have a common dilemma whether it is better to stay in Split or Hvar.

Split and Hvar are popular places to visit in Croatia, and choosing where to spend more time, or which place to visit first, isn’t always an easy choice.

Below we compare Split vs Hvar, helping you decide whether to visit Split or Hvar during your vacation in Croatia.

Is Split or Hvar Better?

Are you looking for the hustle and bustle of a large city or the calm tranquility of a small island?

Split, the second-largest city in Croatia, offers a lively atmosphere and rich history and teems with activity. On the other hand, Hvar, a picturesque island in the Adriatic Sea, is known for its gentle pace, stunning blue waters, and pristine beaches.

Split or Hvar: Where To Stay, Illustratiomn

The choice between Split and Hvar comes down to personal preference and the type of vacation you’re looking for. Whether it’s an active adventure or a peaceful getaway, Split and Hvar have something for everyone!

Split Overview

With 160,000 residents, Split, Croatia is the largest city on the Dalmatian coast and the second-largest city in Croatia. Its rich history, central location, and many attractions and activities offer plenty to visitors. It has incredible architecture dating back to the Roman times, and one of the main attractions is the Diocletian’s Palace, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visitors can also explore the bustling marketplaces, Riva promenade, lovely restaurants, and cool bars for a fun experience.

Hvar Overview

On the other hand, Hvar Island, Croatia, home to 10,500 residents, stands out as one of Croatia’s most beautiful and famous islands, with a more leisurely pace of life. The island has crystal clear waters, stunning beaches, and plenty of nightlife and entertainment in Hvar Town. Visitors can enjoy the stunning landscapes and pristine beaches, engage in water activities such as sea kayaking, snorkeling, and fishing, and indulge in local food and wine. There are plenty of opportunities for visitors to explore and relax in Hvar.

Split and Hvar: Pros and Cons

Choosing between Split vs Hvar can be tough when planning a Croatian vacation. Both destinations have their advantages and disadvantages, depending on what type of experience you’re looking for. Below is a detailed breakdown of the pros and cons for each location.

Split Pros

  • Lively atmosphere
  • Abundance of historical attractions
  • Wide range of activities
  • Rich history
  • Incredible architecture dating back to Roman times
  • Central location
  • Good public transportation links to other destinations in Croatia
  • Suitable for backpackers, budget travelers, and couples

Hvar Pros

  • Peaceful and leisurely atmosphere
  • Crystal-clear waters and stunning beaches
  • Plenty of nightlife and entertainment in Hvar Town
  • Beautiful landscapes
  • Variety of water activities
  • Local food and wine
  • Good choice of resorts and full-service hotels
  • Suitable for families, couples, and young people

Split cons

  • Touristy
  • Crowded during summer months
  • Too many day tourists from cruise ships and those in transit

Hvar Cons

  • Less accessible than Split
  • Limited public transportation links to other destinations in Croatia
  • More expensive than Split

Both Split and Hvar offer unique experiences for travelers wanting to explore Croatia. Whether you’re seeking the lively atmosphere of Split or the laid-back vibe of Hvar, both destinations have something for everyone!

However, remember that Croatia has plenty of other attractions to offer visitors, making for an unforgettable holiday regardless of your destination. So, pack your bags and head off on a Croatian adventure with Split or Hvar – you can’t go wrong!

Are beaches better in Split or Hvar?

When it comes to beaches, both Split and Hvar have a lot to offer. However, beaches in Hvar are better than those in Split. You can’t compare a big city’s beaches to an island’s pristine beaches.

Kasjuni Beach, Split
Kasjuni Beach, Split

Split is home to various beaches, some urban, others natural. Beaches like Bacvica, Jezinac, Firule, and Trstenik are urban beaches nestled amidst residential buildings and bustling city life, reflecting the vibrant character of this city. On the other hand, at the base of Marjan Hill, you can find natural oases like Kasjuni and Bene beaches. These beaches in Split offer a serene escape from the city’s hustle and bustle, even though they are within easy reach of the city center.

As for Hvar, its stunning beaches are among the best in Croatia, with secluded coves that are perfect for swimming or sunbathing. If you prefer peaceful beaches with small pebbles or sand rather than crowded ones, the island of Hvar in Croatia is an excellent choice for a holiday.

Zucica Beach Zavala Hvar
Zucica Beach Zavala Hvar

The range of beaches available on the island is extensive, offering everything from rocky and pebbly shores to even cemented ones that are easily accessible, as well as those that can only be reached by boat or by walking along narrow paths. You can find lively party beaches with popular beach bars and secluded oases where you’ll encounter only a few people. Hvar truly offers something for everyone’s taste and style regarding beaches. By venturing slightly away from the well-known spots and avoiding the crowds, you’ll discover hidden beaches where you might not encounter anyone all day.

Final verdict: Hvar has better beaches than Split!

Is Split or Hvar better for holidays?

The key difference is that Hvar offers a more low-key and relaxed experience, while Split offers the excitement of city life. So, Split is a better city break destination, while Hvar is a better destination for beach holidays.

If you plan a weekend getaway, Split is the perfect place to explore the city’s bustling streets and vibrant nightlife. Meanwhile, Hvar offers beautiful beaches, serene landscapes, and a slower-paced atmosphere ideal for relaxing holidays spent by the sea.

Is there more to do in Split vs Hvar?

In short, there is more to do in Split than in Hvar, especially outside of the primary summer months!

Split is a bustling city that attracts visitors all year round. It has a rich history, with old palaces, museums, and art galleries to explore. In addition, Split is home to a substantial university population, which adds to the city’s vibrant culture. There are also cinemas, shopping centers, and theaters to enjoy. Even during the winter months Split offers plenty of activities, making it an ideal destination for those looking to travel during the off-season.

Lvxor terrace at the steps of Peristyle Square

On the other hand, Hvar is a charming island known for its beaches and relaxed atmosphere. There are plenty of outdoor activities on Hvar Island to enjoy, such as hiking, boat trips, and swimming in the clear waters. Hvar is also home to fascinating historical landmarks, such as Stari Grad Plain, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Many businesses in Hvar close in winter, making Hvar quiet and deserted at that time of the year.

Overall, Split offers more opportunities for visitors due to its central location and accessibility. Exploring other popular destinations in Croatia from Split is accessible, such as Plitvice Lakes, Krka Waterfalls, and Trogir. Visitors can enjoy thrilling activities like zip-lining and rafting on the nearby Cetina River. In contrast, Hvar is more limited in terms of accessibility and activities.

While Hvar is perfect for those looking for a relaxing holiday, Split is the ideal destination for those seeking a more vibrant and active experience.

Final verdict: There is more to do in Split than in Hvar!

Which one is cheaper: Split or Hvar?

Split is slightly cheaper than Hvar, although the price difference has narrowed.

Below is a table displaying the prices of food, drinks, accommodation, and entertainment in Split and Hvar, giving a more detailed comparison. You will notice that Split provides relatively cheaper options across different categories. Additionally, it is important to note that transportation expenses are lower in Split than in Hvar. The cost of ferries can significantly impact the budget, especially for those traveling by car.

Split offers a variety of budget-friendly accommodation options, such as hostels and holiday rentals. Hvar has a limited selection of hostels, so travelers on a tight budget are better off staying in Split than Hvar.

Food and Drinks

ItemSplit Hvar
Pizza11€-14€ 15€-20€
Seafood Risotto18€22€
Grilled Chicken with a Side14€15€
Fish (kg)75€80€
Local Beer (0.3 liter)5€5€
International Beer (0.3 liter)6€6€
Wine (a glass) 5.50€5.50€
Coca-Cola / Pepsi (0.25 liter bottle)3€4€
Water (0.33 liter bottle)2.5€3€

Accommodation (high season, daily rate for two persons)

Accommodation type SplitHvar
Airbnb (Old Town)150€200€
Hotel 3* (with breakfast)250€250€
Hotel 4* (with breakfast)300€400€
Hotel 5* (with breakfast)450€600€
Hostel (dorm room)50€60€


5 Islands and Blue Cave speed boat tour100€100€
Wine and olive oil tasting95€105€
Sunset Sailing Tour65€65€
Private Guided Walking Tour110€120€
Sea-kayaking Tour45€45€

Final verdict: Overall prices in Split remain lower than in Hvar, but the gap between them has diminished.

Does Split or Hvar have better nightlife?

Split and Hvar offer vibrant and exciting nightlife options, making it difficult to determine which is better. Split has a larger population and more tourists, so it tends to have a broader range of choices for bars, clubs, and live music venues.

On the other hand, Hvar is known as the party island of Croatia, with famous Hvar beach clubs and exclusive yacht parties. Both cities have their unique atmosphere, and it, in the end, depends on personal preference when it comes to deciding which has a better nightlife.

Photo credit: Hula Hula Bar, Hvar

You can enjoy bar-hopping in Split charming old town or partying to electronic music at nightclubs like Vanilla and Central Club. Hvar offers a more upscale experience with trendy bars and beachside clubs like Carpe Diem and Hula Hula. The famous music festival Ultra Europe takes place in both places. Additionally, both cities have their fair share of live music events, from traditional Croatian concerts to international acts.

Final verdict: Both Split and Hvar have decent nightlife! There is no clear winner here! But, bear in mind that, unfortunately, due to the popularity of both places, there are many young drunk Brits. It has started being a problem in the last few years.

Is Split or Hvar better for day trips?

If you’re looking for a day trip destination in Croatia, Split and Hvar are two great options to consider. Both offer breathtaking natural landscapes and rich historical sites nearby. However, if you want to take full advantage of a day trip, Split is the better choice.

Plitvice Lakes panorama

Split’s central location in mainland Dalmatia makes it an ideal base for exploring the surrounding areas. You can easily take day trips from Split as far north as Plitvice Lakes and as far south as Dubrovnik. Several popular day trip destinations near Split include Krka National Park, Trogir – a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Mostar in Bosnia & Herzegovina, known for its iconic Old Bridge and Ottoman architecture. For the adventurous, nearby Omis and Cetina River Canyon offer a range of activities such as rafting, canyoning, and zip-lining. You can also take a boat tour to nearby islands like Drvenik, Solta, Brac, Hvar, and Vis.

On the other hand, Hvar is situated on an island and is more remote compared to Split. Therefore, day trips from Hvar are limited to nearby islands like Brac and Vis. Although these islands offer beautiful beaches and charming villages, they may not have as many activities or attractions as those near Split.

Final verdict: Split is a better destination than Hvar to take day trips!

Does Split or Hvar have better accommodation options?

Regarding accommodation, both Split and Hvar have a wide range of options for all budgets and travel styles. However, the similarities end there.

Amfora Grand Hvar Beach Resort, outdoor swimming pool
Amfora Grand Hvar Beach Resort

In a nutshell, Hvar accommodations focus on providing a beachfront, resort-style experience with a relaxed atmosphere. They are situated along the beautiful coastline, offering direct access to beaches and stunning sea views. Many hotels in Hvar feature beachfront bars, pools, and water sports facilities, making it an ideal choice for those seeking a beach-centric vacation.

On the other hand, accommodations in Split are typically located within the city’s historic core, surrounded by landmarks such as Diocletian’s Palace and historic squares. Staying in Split provides a more urban and cultural experience, with easy access to museums, restaurants, and historic sites. The city’s rich history characterizes the ambiance, making it perfect for travelers interested in exploring history and immersing themselves in its vibrant atmosphere.

Villa Split Heritage Hotel, Bedroom, stone walls
Villa Split Heritage Hotel

In Split, you will also find leisurely resorts like Radisson Blue and Le Meridien Lav, while in Hvar, there are small heritage hotels like Heritage Suites Zanini or the Palace Elisabeth Heritage Hotel. However, these are exceptions rather than the norm.

Hvar caters to a more upscale crowd, offering an upscale setting with accommodations with beautiful sea views and easy access to beaches. It’s an excellent choice for travelers seeking a more tranquil and luxurious experience compared to the bustling atmosphere of Split.

Final verdict: Hvar offers better accommodations, focusing on beachfront resort-style options, full-service hotels, charming guesthouses, and vacation rentals. On the other hand, Split provides a choice of small boutique and heritage hotels in the historic center and budget-friendly options like hostels and vacation rentals.

Is Hvar or Split better for longer stays?

If you’re planning a longer vacation, both Hvar and Split have unique advantages.

With its beautiful beaches, beachside resorts, and full-service hotels, Hvar is perfect for those seeking a relaxed and tranquil beach vacation. Families with children will appreciate the clear, shallow waters and a variety of beach activities. Hvar also offers mesmerizing sea views and stunning sunsets.

In contrast, Split offers a dynamic and vibrant atmosphere full of things to do and see. Its central location makes it an excellent base for longer durations, where you can easily embark on day trips and visit other popular places in Croatia.

To sum up, if you’re looking for a laid-back beach vacation, Hvar is an ideal fit for an extended stay. On the other hand, if you wish to explore the diverse cultural landscape of Croatia and engage in various activities, Split would be a suitable base for a more extended period.

Final verdict: Split and Hvar are excellent choices for longer stays but for different reasons. Hvar is perfect for those seeking a relaxing vacation by the sea, while Split is an excellent base from which to visit other must-see places on your tour of Croatia.

How warm is Hvar vs. Split?

The cities of Split and Hvar have pretty similar weather. Both have a Mediterranean climate, with hot summers and mild winters. During the summer months, the temperature in both places can reach up to 38°C (100°F), with an average temperature of around 25°C (77°F). The water temperature is also warm and pleasant, with an average range between 22-26°C (72-79°F).

For those looking to escape the colder winter months, both destinations can still offer pleasant weather for exploring and enjoying outdoor activities. With average temperatures between 7-12°C (45-54°F), Hvar and Split are suitable destinations for a winter getaway.

Even during the colder winter months, both destinations offer pleasant weather for outdoor activities, with average temperatures ranging between 7-12°C (45-54°F). Hvar is slightly sunnier than Split. Hvar also has fewer rainy days than Split, with 4-10 rainy days per month throughout the year, while Split has 5-12 rainy days per month. There is an anecdote about hotels in Hvar offering free accommodation on rainy days due to the rarity of rain, but it’s uncertain whether this story is true. Nevertheless, with climate changes, there are no more guarantees like this in Hvar.

Final verdict: Split and Hvar have almost identical temperatures throughout the year. Hvar has fewer rainy days and more sunshine.

Is Split or Hvar prettier?

Both Split and Hvar are stunning towns, each with its unique charm. I honestly cannot decide which one I like more.

Hvar Old Town
Hvar Old Town

Hvar’s old town has a smaller, more intimate atmosphere, with narrow streets, beautiful squares, and historic buildings. The town is famous for having the country’s oldest public theatre, founded in 1612, as well as the 13th-century fortress Spanjola, the splendid Franciscan monastery, and the picturesque Paklinski Islands lying ahead, all surrounded by the crystal-clear sea in various shades of blue and green.

Split, Croatia panorama

On the other hand, Split is a larger and more bustling town, with its prime attraction being the magnificent Diocletian’s Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town also boasts the famous Riva promenade, with lively cafes, bars, and restaurants overlooking the Adriatic Sea. Additionally, Split offers a remarkable collection of museums and galleries, including the Archaeological Museum, Maritime Museum, and the Mestrovic Gallery.

Final verdict: No clear winner! Split and Hvar are both beautiful towns with unique attractions, making them both worth visiting.

Is Split or Hvar better for families?

When considering whether Split or Hvar is a better destination for families, it’s important to consider the activities and amenities that cater to children. In this regard, Hvar stands out as the more suitable choice. Due to its smaller size, Hvar offers a more intimate and less overwhelming experience compared to the bustling town of Split. The location is heavily focused on beaches, making it ideal for families who enjoy sun, sea, and pebbles.

Hvar’s tourism infrastructure is robust and well-suited to families, with beachside resorts and full-service hotels that offer a wide range of facilities and amenities. You’ll find swimming pools complete with slides for adventurous youngsters and separate pools designed specifically for babies and smaller children. The accommodation options often operate on a half-board or full-board formula, making meal planning for your vacation much easier.

Many places also offer family rooms, which provide ample space and facilities for families of varying sizes. To keep the little ones entertained, there are plenty of entertainment programs and kids’ clubs available, ensuring that children always have engaging activities at their fingertips. Therefore, for a family holiday, Hvar presents itself as an enticing destination with its child-friendly amenities and relaxed pace. You can’t go wrong with Hvar!

Final verdict: Hvar, being smaller and having full-service hotels with various amenities, is generally better equipped to cater to families.

Is Split or Hvar better for couples?

Split and Hvar are two romantic destinations in Croatia that offer unique charm to couples seeking a getaway.

Split is a bustling city with various historical sites, cultural activities, cozy wine bars, and bistro-style dining. The lively atmosphere and vibrant nightlife make it popular among young couples.

On the other hand, Hvar is a smaller, more relaxed town that offers a quieter and more intimate setting for couples to enjoy. The stunning beaches and picturesque villages also add to the romantic ambiance of Hvar.

Choosing between Split and Hvar as a destination for couples mainly depends on your personal preferences. Split is a better choice if you’re looking for a mix of history, culture, and excitement. Meanwhile, Hvar is your perfect destination if you prefer a more laid-back and romantic vacation.

Final verdict: Both cities offer a variety of activities and experiences for couples to enjoy together. So why not plan a trip to Croatia and experience the best of both worlds? You won’t regret it! Discover the beauty and charm of Split and Hvar with your loved one, as both towns are good destinations for couples.

Is Split or Hvar better for solo travelers?

If you’re traveling solo, Split is preferable to Hvar. It offers a larger town with abundant hostels, making it easy to connect with fellow travelers. Moreover, Split provides a multitude of activities and numerous day trip options to explore. In essence, Split provides a wider range of choices for solo travelers.

However, Hvar can still be a viable option for solo travelers, albeit not as ideal as Split. Although hostels in Hvar are scarce, they do exist. So, staying there allows you to meet fellow travelers, rent a scooter, hop from one beach to another, and embrace the laid-back lifestyle enjoyed by both locals and tourists on the island.

Final verdict: Split is a better place for solo travelers.

Should you visit both towns?

Yes, if possible, it is highly recommended to visit both Split and Hvar during your trip to Croatia. Each town has its unique charm and offers different experiences that cater to various types of travelers. By visiting both, you can get a well-rounded experience of the country and make the most of your vacation. Their proximity makes it easy to travel between the two towns and explore both in one trip. So, don’t limit yourself to just one town – why not have the best of both worlds?

How to get to Hvar from Split?

There are a few ways to get to Hvar from Split. The most popular option is taking the Split to Hvar ferry, which departs multiple times a day from Split’s main port and arrives in Stari Grad on the island of Hvar. From Stari Grad, you must take a bus, an Uber, or rent a scooter or car to reach Hvar Town. Another option is to take a catamaran from Split to Hvar, which is faster and brings you directly to Hvar Town.

Speedboat transfer is the most convenient and fastest way to reach Hvar from Split. The speed boats operate between Hvar and Split and Hvar and Split Airport. The ride is about one hour and a one-way transfer costs about 120€ (US$ 126) per person.

Hvar Day trip from Split

If you are short on time or can’t spend a night in Hvar, you can also plan a day trip from Split to Hvar. Many tour companies offer full-day excursions, including transportation, guided tours of Hvar Town and nearby attractions, and free time for swimming and exploring independently. This is an excellent option if you want to experience Hvar’s beauty and culture but have limited time.

A 5-island speedboat tour is the most popular Split to Hvar day trip. Besides visiting Hvar, this speedboat tour stops at Bisevo Island and the Blue Cave, Vis Island, a small island of Budikovac, and the Blue Lagoon.

This tour lasts 10 to 11 hours in total, with 2.5 hours spent in Hvar Town. The prices start at 100€ per person (US$ 106).

Other must-visit destinations in Croatia

While Split and Hvar are popular tourist destinations, many other amazing places in Croatia should not be missed. Dubrovnik, Plitvice Lakes, Rovinj, Zagreb, and Korcula Island are just some of them. We’ve dedicated an entire article to the best places to visit in Croatia.


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