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, boasts historic lanes and parks. Just steps 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 chirping; 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!
How To Get To Marjan Hill from Old Town Split
There are three ways to easily get to Marjan Hill from the Riva in Split. Outlined below are step-by-step directions, as well as a link to Google Maps for each route.
Direct Route Through Varos Neighborhood with Stairs
From the west end of the Riva in Split Old Town, cross through the square with the large fountain to the St. Frane Church and Monastery. The lane to the right of the church leads uphill; you can find one of the Marjan Park signs at the beginning of the street on the right side. Follow the street into the Varos neighborhood, which leads to a sloping staircase. At the top of the stairs is a cafe, the Old Jewish Cemetery and first lookout point. Use this link to Google Maps for walking directions to the platform (and plan on it taking 15-20 minutes…not the Google Maps estimated 10 minutes).
Gradual Climb Through Varos Neighborhood
For a more leisurely stroll, we recommend winding through a narrow street in the picturesque Varos Neighborhood that gradually climbs to Marjan Hill Park. From the west end of the Riva, cross into the square with the large fountain, and turn right (north) into the pink, arched Republic Square. At the northwest corner, there is an alley; walk through, cross the street and continue walking up the street, named Krizeva Ulica. (Note: Google Maps directs walkers to use the street to the west of Republic Square, Bana Josipa Jelacica; both routes go to the same place!) Walk along the narrow street to Prilaz Vladimira Nazora Street. Turn left (south) and follow the street to Marjan Hill Park. Use this link to Google Maps for directions.
Staircase from Matejuska Fisherman’s Port
The third way to get to Marjan Hill is via a steep staircase off Marasovica Ulica, which is past the Fisherman’s Port, Matejuska. From the Riva, follow the harbor past Matejuska. Detour away from the water before the curve (at Fife Restaurant) onto Solurat Ulica. Walk to the staircase (on your right) that leads all the way up to the first lookout point. Use this link to Google Maps for walking directions.
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 to this viewpoint!
Tip: If the gate to the right of the cafe is open, wander up the stairs into the Old Jewish Cemetery. If the gate is not open, but you want to go inside, ask for the keys at the cafe.
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; outlined below are a few of our favorites. If you are planning on spending an entire day in Marjan Park Split, 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
To get to the Weather Tower Viewpoint, 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 (map coordinates). Continue walking straight (through the lot and straight ahead). Just past the parking lot there is an inclined trail to the left (which passes a house). Follow the trail to the top and you will find a secluded lookout point just below the weather tower.
Trail to Cave Dwellings and Rock Climbing Split, Croatia
To get to the Marjan Park dwellings, follow the main trail in the park to the intersection and parking lot (map coordinates); 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. Again, follow the main path to the parking lot and intersection (map coordinates). Don’t go through the parking lot; instaed, turn right onto Marjanski Put. Look on your left for Bene signs. 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! Rather than climbing up Marjan Hill, hikers can follow the coastline of the Marjan Peninsula to a multitude of beaches!
Marjan Hill 360-Degree Viewing Platform
Getting to the platform at the top of Marjan Hill, where the Croatian flag flies above the forest, is the most popular destination for tourists. The views from the hilltop perch are amazing; encompassing islands, mountains and the city below. The platform is the highest point on Marjan Hill at 178 meters. In addition to the views, visitors will find a large white cross.
Stairs to Platform
There are two routes that lead to the Marjan Hill Viewing Platform. The shortest (but perhaps not easiest!) route is a steep staircase located behind the small Church of St. Nicholas (the first church that hikers come to from the cafe/viewpoint entrance). Take the stairs up, turn left at the path that leads to the Marjan Zoo. (We have never visited a Split, Croatia Zoo, but we have seen a donkey grazing in the field next to the zoo.) Turn left and follow that path to the steep stairs that lead right to the top.
Forest Path to Platform
There is, however, a less-direct route, that we actually prefer. Instead of taking the stairs, continue walking straight on the main trail through the park, past the St. Nicholas Church all the way to the intersection and parking lot toward the west end of the park (map coordinates). At this main intersection, turn right onto Marjanski Put (the same direction to Marjan Bene Beach). Immediately on your right, there are five stone steps that lead onto the dirt trail. Hop on that trail; it leads through the forest in the center of the peninsula. The path passes lookout points and, eventually, to the platform.
Marjan Hill Platform Loop Route
We prefer to hike in loops, rather than out-and-back. With two access points to the Marjan Platform, it’s easy to complete the hike in a loop. We start by following the longer (but easier) route to the Platform via the forest trail. From the platform, we take the stairs back down, making a loop back to the small church and continuing on the downhill trail to the entrance of the park.
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!
Like what you’re reading? Join the journey!
Subscribe to JetSetting Fools and get new blog posts and our quarterly newsletter direct to your inbox:
Pin it! See all of our travel pins on our JetSetting Fools Pinterest Board.