We are completely enamored by the historic cities along the Adriatic Coast. While they are each unique in their architecture and culture, they are – to a degree – similar in their setting: cobblestone streets, narrow alleyways and wide squares…and not a whole lot of green space. Split, Croatia, however, is different. Just a short walk from Old Town Split, Croatia is Marjan Hill, an expansive nature retreat.
Marjan Park Split covers the peninsula to the west of the historic core. The area – often called the Lungs of the City – is lush with trees, scenic viewpoints and paths for those who want to enjoy Split hiking and the outdoors.
It’s best to hike Marjan Split, Croatia when the sun is shining, the sea is shimmering and the heavy scent of pine and fresh earth is in the air. Following the paths into Marjan Forest Park, visitors can take a break from Split sightseeing and become immersed in nature. Listen to the birds chirpping; chase butterflies floating on a breeze; watch caterpillars make their long trek to…wherever they are headed.
Whether you are looking for a city vantage point, a full dose of nature or a day at the beach, Marjan Hill is the place to go!
Marjan Split Lookout Point
At the informal entrance to Marjan Park at the top of the Varos Neighborhood, there is an outdoor cafe, Vidilica, and a small lookout point. From the platform, the views of the city are stunning. The rising bell tower of the Split Cathedral stands out among the orange rooftops that wrap around the deep teal bay. The rocky mountains that stand behind the city offer the perfect backdrop. This lookout point provides the best views of the city – even if you aren’t interested in hiking in Split, Croatia, make an effort to climb the stairs to this viewpoint!
Tip: If the gate to the right of the cafe is open, wander up the stairs into the Old Jewish Cemetery Split, Croatia.
Split, Croatia Hiking Trails at Marjan Forest Park
After taking in the city views, continue hiking Marjan Hill Split up the steep incline on the wide path. Benches line the way and just over the treetops you can catch a glimpse of the sea. Joggers, dog walkers, families, cyclists, locals, tourists and those just out for a stroll share the path.
About 300 meters into Park Forest Marjan, is the small stone Church of St. Nicholas, one of many Catholic churches in Split, Croatia and one of several churches in Split Park Marjan.
From St. Nicholas there is a choice: continue up the gradual path, which is interconnected to other Marjan hiking paths, or march up a steep set of stairs that led to the 360-degree viewing platform.
Tip: There is a place to refill water bottles next to the church.
Marjan Hill Trails
There are many trails that crisscross Marjan Hill Park. If you are planning on spending an entire day in Marjan Park Split, Croatia, there is no need to rush to the top. Explore the many trails of the nature reserve and enjoy your Marjan Hill walk!
Trail to Weather Tower
Follow the main path toward the end of Marjan peninsula. Although there are options to break off onto other paths along the way, stay on the main path to an intersection with a small parking lot. Continue walking straight (through the lot). Take the inclined trail to the left (passing a house) and you will find a secluded westward lookout point at the weather tower.
Trail to Cave Dwellings and Rock Climbing Split, Croatia
Follow the main trail to the intersection and parking lot; after passing through the parking lot, turn left onto the path. The trail leads down to a couple of churches and rock cave dwellings, called Karepić’s Tower. The rock dwelling was built in the 1500s. The sheer cliff wall next to the cave dwellings is a popular spot for rock climbing Split, Croatia.
Tip: You can book a tour for Split Rock Climbing!
Trail to Marjan Beach
The Marjan Bene Beach is the most popular Marjan beach in Split. Follow the main path to the parking lot and intersection. Turn right onto Marjanski Put (don’t go through the parking lot!). On your left, follow the Bene signs onto trails through the forest that lead down to the water.
Tip: There are many Marjan Split beaches, not just Bene! Follow the coastline of the Marjan Peninsula to a multitude of beaches!
Marjan Hill 360-Degree Viewing Platform
There are two routes that lead to the Marjan Hill Viewing Platform. The shortest (but perhaps not easiest!) route is -step staircase from behind the small Church of St. Nicholas; the stairs lead right to the top. However, we prefer a less-direct route. Instead of taking the stairs, continue walking straight on the main trail to the intersection and parking lot. Turn right at the intersection onto Marjanski Put (the same direction to Marjan Bene Beach). Immediately on your right, take the 5-steps onto the dirt trail that leads into the forest in the center of the peninsula. The path leads past lookout points and, eventually, to the platform, which is the highest point on Marjan Hill at 178 meters. In addition to the views, visitors will find a large white cross and enormous billowing Croatian flag.
Tip: From the platform, we take the stairs back down, making a loop back to the entrance of the park. Halfway down, you will come to the Zoo in Split, Croatia. We have never visited the Marjan Zoo, but we have seen a donkey grazing in the field next to the zoo.
How To Get To Marjan Hill
From the west end of the Riva in Split Old Town, cross through the square with the fountain to the St. Frane Church and Monastery (look for the Marjan Park signs). Follow the street into the Varos neighborhood, which leads to a long staircase. At the top of the stairs is the cafe, Old Jewish Cemetery and first lookout point.
Split Marjan Hill Map
Click here for a link to the Marjan Hill Split, Croatia Map on Google.
Want more ideas of things to do in Split, Croatia? Check out our 3-Day Split Itinerary!
We want to know: Is hiking Marjan Hill something you did while in Split, Croatia? What other Split hiking trails have you explored? Tell us where you went in the comments!
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