The Best of Marjan Hill in Split (Croatia)
Marjan Park has some of the best attractions in Split including the best views of the city and our favorite beach. It has churches, arguably the best museum in Split, a cemetery, and lots of trails where you can enjoy the most accessible nature in the city. It’s the place for hikes, fresh air and fantastic scenery.
Marjan Park is one of our favorite things about the city and a place everyone should explore if visiting Split.
This post will cover the best of Marjan Hill.
Note: I have a very detailed Split guide. But it doesn’t cover Marjan hill in the detail that this post does.
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Even if you’re only in Split 2 or 3 hours, the viewpoint is a place you HAVE to visit.
It’s a 10 -15 minute walk (depending on what kind of shape you’re in) from the Old town and it’s the best view in Split. If looking it up on Google maps, it shows up as “Split viewpoint (belvedere)”. When we lived there I would come up here almost every day – the views are always different depending on the light conditions. It is fantastically beautiful.
There are a few different ways of getting up to the viewpoint from the center but the most obvious one is crossing from the Riva to Sperun ulica (you’ll see a small church, St. Francis, on the corner) and continuing straight…you’ll eventually be walking up a set of stairs to the viewpoint. Like I say, a 10 to 15 minute walk to get to the top.
Note: for those that have mobility issues – you can take a taxi up here or take a Tuk tuk tour (better value).
Besides the great views, there are 2 things you can do right next to the lookout.
The first is sit at the cafe up there (Teraca Vidilica) to enjoy the views.
The 2nd is visiting the Jewish cemetery right next to the cafe. It dates back to 1573 and holds about 700 tombstones. It’s estimated that there were about 2500 Jews in Croatia prior to the 2nd world war. During the war many were killed, those that weren’t mostly resettled in Israel.
Go up to Telegrin Lookout
It’s a bit of a strenuous walk, but if you have time and want to see more views, go to the Telegrin Lookout – it is the highest point on Marjan Hill and has 360 degree views of Split.
From the Viewpoint I’ve described above, take the steep ramp up.
It will lead to a small church (St. Nicolas). It is the first of many small churches you’ll see on Marjan hill. St. Nicolas was built in 1219 and devoted to St. Nicolas, the patron saint of fishermen. During its history, it’s been cared for by Benedictine monks and later by hermits. Today it is in the care of the Marjan society.
To get to Telegrin lookout, take that path right behind St. Nicolas and follow it. It will eventually bring you to a road. Go up the steep road until you round the corner and see another path to your left (by then you should be able to see the flag that flies at the top of the Telegrin lookout). Follow that…you’ll be climbing more steps but you’re almost there.
You’ve arrived! From here you have 360 views of Split, the Adriatic, the commercial facilities and the mountains in the background.
Churches, Caves, rock climbing…and more views
There’s a lot more to see on Marjan Hill if you have more time and energy.
Exit the platform of the Telegrin lookout on the west side (ie the opposite side to which you entered). You’ll be going downhill and following a cemented path.
You’ll eventually get to this sign.
The signs all point to: Top) the church of Our lady of Bethlehem, Middle) St. Jerome Church, Bottom) Sacred Rock (ie. where the cave dwellings are).
BUT before you follow that path to the left, go to the right. A 5 minute walk will bring you to an old tower and an observation point where you’ll have more great views;
You can now go back to the sign (above) and follow the arrows in the direction of the churches.
The first church you’ll get to is Our Lady of Bethlehem.
I’ll admit that Our Lady of Bethlehem isn’t the most interesting church you’ll ever see. It’s just a simple building and we’ve never once seen it open. It was however built in the 1500’s so it has a long history…
The next church is more interesting.
Continue along the road downhill. You’ll soon arrive at a sharp bend in the road. To the right is a well-worn path to the church of St. Jerome.
The church of St. Jerome was built in the second half of the 15th century and dedicated to St. Jeronimus (or Jere), the saint patron of Dalmatia. The church was tended to by hermit monks who lived in the caves along the cliff wall.
If you look along the cliff here you’ll see various caves where the monks lived. They’re closed off, you can’t access them. But on top of seeing the caves and the structures along their exterior, you will almost always see rock climbers here (some people come to Split just to rock climb).
After seeing the St. Jerome and the cave dwellings, continue down the road (there’s also a shortcut from St. Jerome that takes you to the road). You’ll soon be hitting the road that winds its way along the coast. There you’ll have a decision to make.
You’ve gone down the hill and are now on the coast road.
1) You can decide to go right, which will take you to Bene beach (this option will take you further from downtown Split though, so consider what time it is when making your decision)
2) You can decide to go left, which will take you back towards the city passing Kasjuni beach, Kaštelet beach and the must-see Ivan Meštrović Gallery.
I recommend option 2, going left. You can save Bene beach for another day.
Beaches, beaches and the Ivan Meštrović Gallery
Kasjuni beach is one of Split most beautiful beaches (I included a photo up above) and one of many pretty beaches in Split. It’s slightly off the main road which you’re on. A bit further, through a little park, is Kaštelet Beach.
Kaštelet Beach is a beautiful beach with all the facilities you need including a restaurant where you can buy food and drinks.
Very close by is the Ivan Meštrović Gallery which is a must-see in Split. He was one of the most famous sculptors in the world and chances are you’ve seen some of his work (the huge Grgur Ninski statue outside Split’s Golden Gate for example). You’ll see many of his works in this beautiful museum.
A link to the Ivan Meštrović Gallery.
The above will have covered the best of the interior of Marjan Hill as well as the southern coast. It’ll probably have taken 5-6 hours to do (of course it depends on how fast you walk, if you stopped at one of the beaches, how much time you spent at the museum…)
That leaves the Northern coast of Marjan Hill park and Bene beach (our favorite beach in Split).
Beaches along the Northern coast…and Bene Beach
Walking from the center of Split to Bene Beach will take you about 40 minutes. But you’ll be walking along a large, shaded path through the forest and seeing many beaches along the way. It’s a nice walk and Bene Beach is a relaxing place to spend the day.
People sometimes get lost finding the northern entry point to the park.
Google “Mandalinski Put” and navigate your way to it from downtown Split. Once you get on this street, just follow it. It will lead you to the northern gate of Marjan Hill Park.
The northern coast of Marjan Hill Park is wooded, the smell of pine trees filling the air. There are tons of little coves where you’ll see locals lounging around and swimming. It all has an idyllic, peaceful atmosphere.
Continue on and you’ll get to Bene beach. What makes Bene special is the sand under your feet when you get in the water (something you don’t get in many places in Croatia…most of the country’s beaches are rocky). There are lots of chairs under the trees where you can relax in the shade and the beach has facilities: bathrooms, a restaurant, a play area for kids, even tennis courts. And you’ll be mostly with locals: the beaches here won’t be crowded with tourists.
The combination of all the above make Bene Beach our favorite beach in Split.
And that sums up the best of Marjan Hill Park 🙂
Related: Travel Guide to Split, Croatia