A Day Trip to Trogir
Trogir is both a Unesco World Heritage Site and an easy day trip from Split. We came here a week ago on a Sunday. A Sunday in April? We’d been warned that April is ‘off-season’ and that Sunday is “God’s Day” (we’ve learned that Croatians are a lot more devout than we ever expected). Still, this ended up being a fun excursion and we had almost the whole town to ourselves. I also got an unexpected adrenaline rush when I almost fell from the tower (I’ll describe that a bit lower along with a warning about the bell tower).
Trogir’s history goes back to 3BC when Greek colonists founded a town here named Tragurion (translated as ‘Island of Goats’). It later expanded and flourished during the Roman period, fell under Hungarian rule in the 12th Century, and became part of the Venetian empire in the 1400’s. Much of the buildings that you see today in Trogir were built between the 13th and 15th centuries.
Most of the highlights of the town are concentrated around the main square. You’ll see St Lawrence Cathedral and its bell tower (photo above), the town loggia, and the church of St. Sebastian and its city clock tower. You’ll also find the town’s Tourism Office on this square (closed on the day we visited). I’ll describe all these further below.
The St. Lawrence Cathedral, the bell tower, and the baptistery are the main attraction in Trogir. You can gain access to all these sights with a 20 Kuna ticket (about $3 US).
The Cathedral was built in the beginning of the 13th Century and constructed over the site of a previous Cathedral (built in Roman times) that had been destroyed when the Venetian attacked the city in 1171. One of the most interesting highlights of the cathedral is the outside portal built by Croatian sculptor Radovan. You’ll see exotic animals and fantastical creatures as well as sculptors of Adam and Eve.
Related: Our detailed guide on Split
Right next to the portal to the Cathedral is the entry way to the Bell Tower. The tower has great views. And it’s not a hard climb until you get close to the top – you’ll find yourself climbing a steep metal stepladder the last 10 feet or so and will have to hoist yourself up to the floor by grabbing one of the metal beams along the side (fine if you have long arms like me but short people or children might not be able to). Actually, my near-accident had nothing to do with either going up or down; I was walking around taking photos when I stepped right over the entryway and almost fell down the hole. So keep your eyes open and looking down at the floor when walking around the top of the bell tower.
Within a few minutes walk (Trogir is really small) you’ll be stepping out of the city walls onto the promenade (Riva).
At the end of the Riva is the Fortress of Kamerlengo which was built in the 14th Century by the Venetians to protect the town’s harbor. You can get in for 10 Kuna. Honestly, they haven’t done a great job of preserving the fort and it was a bit of a disappointment. You can however see great views of town and the surrounding countryside.
Interesting was a visit to St. Dominic’s church and convent (below). Very pretty and we had the whole place to ourselves.
Although quiet, a few restaurants were open. We had a beer and cheese plate, enjoying the peacefulness until a Korean tour group suddenly showed up and started an ice cream eating orgy at one of the ice cream shops on the square. We can only imagine how busy this town gets in summer. So is it ok to visit Trogir on a Sunday in April? Yes, we think so. It might not be lively but you’ll have the tiny streets all to yourself without any jostling from the tourist hordes. A totally enjoyable day trip for us.
Some practical information
– Trogir is right next to Split Airport (airport code: SPU). They should actually call it Trogir airport because it’s just a few minutes away.
– Bus. Trogir is an easy 30 minute bus ride from Split. Buses can be taken from the main bus station in town (next to the ferry piers) and there’s usually 2 buses an hour (see this site for schedules). A slower city bus (bus 37) also makes it to Trogir as well as the airport (Split airport is located 3 km from Trogir).
– Want to rent a car to see Trogir and other highlights in the area? Primosten, Sibenik, Split, Omis, Makarska are all within easy driving distance. I’d also drive up Mt. Biokovo which is an incredible experience. See this post on car rental.
– Time. We explored the town in 3 hours. Even if you spend longer, you can easily do Trogir in half a day. It is quite a small town. This 1.5 hr Walking Tour is recommended.
– Accommodation. Trogir is also a relaxing place to stay for a night or two. Since our first visit, we’ve come back several times and stayed overnight. Recommendations: Bifora Heritage Hotel (beautiful hotel right across the bridge from the old town), Tragos Lemon Tree (apartments in the old town), Guest House Tiramola (also right in the heart of the old town).
– Tours. There are some great tour options from Trogir, both inland and in the nearby islands.
Related: Omiš, another great day trip from Split
Related: Bbqboy’s Guide to Croatia
Related: Why you might like Antalya (Turkey)…and why it disappointed us
PS. Looking to book flights, hotels, tours, or rent a car? Have a look at our Travel Resources page.
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Very helpful post. I’ll be visiting Trogir in a few months. I love seeing views from bell towers, but my claustrophobia holds me from climbing some of them. I don’t have a problem with the climb itself. From your video it looks like it’s a wide open stairway (is that correct?), so it should be fine.
Hi Cathy. Mostly easy but the last few feet is like a ladder and you have to pull yourself up a bit (or have someone pushing you up by the butt 🙂 ) Other than that fine – and if Lissette can do it you can!
Harry Music Box
This is very interesting place to visit I like it so much. this is more adorable places to visit.
Thank you 🙂
Looks like a beautiful town. I’d also prefer to visit when things are quiet. Less tourists getting in the way of my pictures!
Yes, we went in early April – we’re now June 1 and Croatia packed with tourists!
Trogir is the pearl of Adriatic coast, so charming and romantic. I must say this fact – this area of Trogir and island Čiovo is very popular for longer family holidays 7 or 14 days among many European holidaymakers
Why? Many beautiful beaches, wide choice of restaurants, quality private villas, many with pools and proximity of airport Split.
Thanks for your input Vendy.
Trogir is one of my favorite cities in Croatia. It is small, cozy and medieval.
I can certainly see why it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Also for someone who has a fear of heights, reading about your near fall, unnerved me. Look where you are walking! 🙂
Yeah, Spanky almost got a payout on the insurance policy 🙁
These pictures are stunning! I’m definitely adding this to the list the next time I find myself in Croatia!
Thanks Dave! Just watch out for the hole in the Bell Tower!
Great photos. European history amazing and to us N. Americans just seems crazy to imagine an island of goats founded by Greeks before even the time of Jesus. Europeans probably take all the history for granted but just seems mind blowing to me. And to imagine all the people and civilizations that walked in your very steps…
I know. We feel exactly the same way!! We love being in Europe.
What a beautiful place – so historical and packed with musueums and churches I see. I wanted to take my mom there this summer and guess what… your post makes me wanna do it even more now!
Thanks for taking the time to comment Agness 🙂
It’s beautiful! I would enjoy having the place to ourselves too. Better for pictures as you show with some really nice ones. The view from the tower is lovely, even though l don’t think it’s worth killing yourself for :-). I can only imagine how busy it gets in the summer. Another place to check out when we eventually get there..thanks!
Yes, I read on Wikipedia that there are 20,000 beds for visitors in the Trogir area – sounds like an incredible number and I can’t believe that there can ever be that many tourists here…but I do hear that there are lots so it’s actually pretty nice not having to deal with them this time of year (I’m sure Sevilla where you are just the same). I think visiting Europe in the shoulder seasons actually quite nice…