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Split vs Dubrovnik: Which City Should You Visit?

Updated: August 19, 2023

Can't decide if you should visit Dubrovnik or Split for your vacation? This post compares costs, historic sites, nightlife, beaches, food and weather

We also cover which is best for families, best for couples, and best for day trips.

Which City is Cheaper? Split vs Dubrovnik

Split for sure. Dubrovnik is the more luxurious of the two (though still affordable), while Split is better for budget travelers and families.

Accommodation-wise, Split is on average slightly less, though prices are creeping closer each year to Dubrobrovnik.

Split, the larger of the two cities, has more accommodation options.

Sightseeing is less expensive, as many of the top attractions in Split are free.

As for public transportation, Split is considerably less expensive than Dubrovnik.

However, Dubrovnik is very walkable and you may not end up spending anything on transportation at all.

Food is more affordable in Split which has more restaurants suited for those on a budget. That’s due to the fact locals want affordable places to eat. 

Dubrovnik eateries cater more to luxury-seeking visitors so they can get away with charging higher costs. 

Nightlife fluctuates based on what you prefer to do. If you are into evenings in a bar, the cost of alcohol is comparable.

Average prices per person per day look like this:

Split average prices per day per person

  • Accommodations: $50 for a double occupancy room in a 3-star hotel
  • Food: $26 for a simple breakfast, lunch, dinner and a treat like a beer or dessert
  • Local Transportation: $4 for a 24-hour bus card
  • Sightseeing: Potentially nothing. Some of the most popular attractions in Split are free and you can take free walking tours as well.

Dubrovnik average prices per day per person

  • Accommodations: $56 for a double occupancy room in a 3-star hotel
  • Food: $36 for a simple breakfast, lunch, dinner and a treat like a beer or dessert
  • Local Transportation: Nothing! Dubrovnik is a very walkable city. If you do use the bus system, a 24-hour bus card is about $6.
  • Sightseeing: Dubrovnik's most popular attractions, like the City Walls, have entrance fees.

Best for Historic Sites: Split vs Dubrovnik

This is a tough call. Both cities are ancient -- Split was founded between the 2nd and 3rd centuries, and Dubriovnik just a few hundred years later around 614 AD. 

Both cities’ Old Towns are UNESCO World Heritage sites and have several spectacular historic attractions.

You won't be disappointed visiting either Split or Dubrovnik (maybe you can do both!) 

We have to go with Dubrovnik in this category. There are simply more historic sites for those who love old buildings! 


Some of the best are the Dubrovnik Walls, Dubrovnik Cathedral, Rector's Palace, Revelin Fortress, and the Franciscan Monastery with Europe’s third oldest pharmacy.

Visit historic sites on a free walking tour of Dubrovnik and read about these Game of Thrones locations that are also some of the best historic places in the city.


In Split, you can see Diocletian’s Palace, built for Roman Emperor Diocletian in the 4th century.

Highlights of the palace are the Cathedral of St. Domnius, the central square Peristyle, Jupiter's Temple, and the cellar (used as a location in Game of Thrones).

If you want a taste of the Renaissance and Romanesque buildings, hop on a ferry to Trogir, another UNESCO World Heritage Site across the bay from Split.

Visit historic sights on a free walking tour of Split.

Best for Families: Split vs Dubrovnik

As mentioned above, Split is somewhat cheaper than Dubrovnik so more family-friendly for those on a budget.

Though it can be more crowded in peak season, Split is better for families, especially those with younger children.

Split has a few sandy beaches, so the kids can build sandcastles. Dubrovnik’s beaches are rocky.

In Split, little children will love Dinosaur Playground in Zvonac Park.

Older children will love this family-friendly semi-submersible Submarine trip

Older kids, tweens, and teens may like this zip line adventure, going to the Game of Thrones Museum, and taking this Game of Thrones Tour.

Plus Split has loads of water activities.

Dubrovnik’s best attractions for families are riding the cable car to the top of Mount Srd, taking a Game of Thrones Tour, and visiting Lokrum Island, just a 15-minute ferry ride from the city.

Like Split, Dubrovnik has plenty of water activities.

Best for Couples: Split vs Dubrovnik

Both cities are stunning with beautiful views of the water, especially at sunset.

Both have Old Towns with ancient narrow streets to stroll while holding hands. 

In terms of sheer beauty and romantic atmosphere, Dubrovnik wins this category.

Here are just a few activities for couples in Dubrovnik:

Split leans toward the party vibe so it can be harder for couples to find activities to share intimate moments. 

A great romantic activity from Split is this tour of National Park Krka Waterfalls with a wine-tasting session.

Find more activities for couples to enjoy in Split.

Best for Nightlife: Split vs Dubrovnik

Split is the better choice for great nightlife. It’s not that Dubrovnik has no nightlife. On the contrary.

But Split has more trendy nightclubs and an overall party vibe.

Split is larger which means that you can find more bars and clubs which are spread out in different neighborhoods, including at the beach.

Dubrovnik’s nightlife is primarily based in the Old Town. It leans towards hip bars over dance clubs. 

If you like bar crawls, Dubrovnik will be a good fit. Otherwise Split is the better choice for dancing, drinking and general partying.

Other Things to Consider

Here’s information that answers some other questions you may have to see which is the best city for your Croatian adventure.

Best Food: Split vs Dubrovnik

While both cities have Croatian cuisine, each city has its own take on traditional dishes.

Split has many more dining options as it is a bigger city than Dubrovnik.

Traditional food in Split is mainly Mediterranean, or Mediterranean/Balkan. Of course, you can find every kind of cuisine here.

Because Dubrovnik is more of a luxury destination, there are multiple Michelin-starred restaurants to try as well as mid-range restaurants. 

In addition to serving Croatian cuisine, Dubrovnik restaurants integrate international cuisine, as well as fusion and modern cuisine. 

Rest assured both cities have excellent seafood.

Best Beaches: Split vs Dubrovnik

This is a tough one to call. Both cities are on the crystal blue Adriatic Sea and both are scenic.

But the better beach for you depends on what you like about a beach.

Many of Dubrovnik’s beaches are rocky and have a dramatic look to them, plus the rocks act like natural diving boards if you are feeling brave!

Split has some sandy beaches. But they can be packed with both locals and tourists.

In Dubrovnik, there are some quaint beaches. 

Many of Dubrovnik’s beaches are within walking distance of the Old Town and its outskirts.

Split has more options, but you may have to take the bus to reach the best beaches. 

Best for Day Trips: Split vs Dubrovnik

Both cities offer opportunities for day trips to beautiful places in Croatia, though Dubrovnik is near neighboring countries.

Dubrovnik is close to the island of Korcula, the Elafiti Islands, and Mljet Island. 

It also offers you the chance to visit other countries with a day trip to Mostar in Bosnia & Herzegovina or a day trip to Montenegro.

Find out about other day trips from Dubrovnik.

From Split, you can easily take a day trip to see the Krka waterfalls in Krka National Park, as well as Plitvice Lakes National Park

Also, the islands of Hvar, Brač and Vis are reachable by ferries within 60 to 90 minutes.

Find out what other day trips you can take from Split.

Best Weather: Split vs Dubrovnik

As both cities are located on the Mediterranean coast, the weather is nice most of the year.

Split does reach slightly higher temperatures in the summer whereas Dubrovnik is slightly warmer in the winter.

The months of June, July and August are the best for spending time at the beach as temperatures regularly hit 25 Celsius.

Importantly, Dubrovnik has more sunny days than Split. (See how the weather is in Dubrovnik year round).

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About The Author

Stephen Pickhardt

Stephen is the CEO of Free Tours by Foot and has overseen the transformation of a local walking tour company into a global tour community and traveler’s advice platform. He has personally led thousands of group tours in the US and Europe, and is an expert in trip planning and sightseeing, with a focus on budget travelers. Stephen has been published and featured in dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal, BBC, Yahoo,, and more.
Updated: August 19th, 2023
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