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Trogir Fruit & Vegetable Market
Trogir Fruit & Veg Market (21)

Which is better for a Croatia holiday – Dubrovnik or Split

by Saron Lease 7th April 2024

If you haven’t been to Croatia before this can be the dilemma! Where to choose villas to rent in Croatia – Dubrovnik or Split? The answer is that both are outstanding destinations, but they are quite different. In fact, the truth is that once you are in Croatia it will likely cease to be a problem. This is because you will quickly decide you will definitely be coming back!

But seriously, they are quite different locations so let us differentiate..


In short, Dubrovnik is beautiful, and the most sought-after destination in Croatia. The Dubrovnik Riviera is consistently the most popular coastline and Dubrovnik Old Town itself is certainly the jewel in the crown of the Croatian coast. Its old town is known as the Pearl of the Adriatic for good reason. With its sun-bleached stone and terracotta rooftops against the bright blue sea, it’s an iconic sight. As the day ends, the bright sunshine mutes into incredible sunsets of pink and red across the old town and its islands.

The wider Dubrovnik coastline

The Dubrovnik coastline is extremely picturesque with little bays scalloping along the coast on each side. Here there are some of the best Dubrovnik villas with their picture-perfect sea views. Little fishing bays like Mlini, Cavtat, Stikovica and Zaton haven’t got much bigger than they originally were and are great choices for villas to rent in Croatia. There are taxi boats into the Old Town of Dubrovnik from most of the bays. Use these also to hop to one of the four idyllic small islands off its coast for an adventure. Perhaps head out to a perfect sea-edge eatery for dinner, or if you want a real treat, a quick bite at a Michelin star restaurant may be warranted. You’ll discover there is a fine gastronomic offering in the Dubrovnik area.

There is also a super agro-tourism scene in the areas north and south of Dubrovnik. Here, in the little villages you’ll be able to try traditional cooking with superb organic produce. Already praised by the likes of Rick Stein and his ‘From Venice to Istanbul’ cooking show, you’ll be walking in good footsteps. Restaurant Konavoski Dvori in the Konavle region is the most well known but there are other, family run restaurants to try. You won’t regret it. There are also smaller concerns where you can book the only table and be treated to the best produce they have. From wonderful herb and fruit grappa’s to home-made cheeses, to the unmissable pork or lamb cooked in the traditional way over the hot coals ‘under the bell’. It’s fabulous!

VIPs & Celebrities love it

Everything is stunning, delightful, and charming here. The service is of a high level, and it’s become the go-to destination for VIPs due to its exclusive top-notch hideaways. Take the Beckhams who recently hid out on Lopud Island, and Beyoncé & Jay Z who famously yachted in. But equally its beauty and coastline are open to all and there’s a variety of accommodation to suit all pockets.

Things to do

From walking the old town walls, seeing a show in the historic and beautiful theatre, to getting an adrenalin rush on the zipwire or cable car, there’s something for everyone. Get out of the city for some water sports (a Kayak paddle to a nearby island maybe), horse riding, being adventurous at one of the Konavle adrenalin parks, or doing our favourite of people-watching from a sea edge restaurant.

In summary, Dubrovnik is cosy in size and a dazzling must-see, yet really accessible from nearby sea edge villages. Whether you just enjoy a coffee (spend a long time over it like the locals), find a pizza place in the back streets, or go for that special meal in one of the high-end restaurants, you can immerse yourself in the Dubrovnik culture.


Split, on the other hand, is a much larger city. Many more people live in the city of Split and its environs. Approaching from the sea, Split old town is glistening white with its vibrant, bustling Riva. A large part of the old town of Split is Roman Emperor Diocletian’s palace and makes for fascinating sightseeing. You can wander among the ruins which have in large part been taken over by locals for their day-to-day living. There are many more shops, boutiques, cafes and restaurants here in Split, and more nightlife if that’s what you’re after.

The wider Split riviera coastline

Around 40 minutes drive up the coast from Split is UNESCO protected Trogir old town. Charming and full of atmosphere, its wider area is the hub of many of the villa locations in the Split area. Convivial places like Okrug Gornji for example, is so close to Trogir, and a great base for families looking for villas to rent in Croatia. It has plenty to do and places to eat within easy reach. However if you want a slight ‘off the beaten track’ feel without actually being far from anything at all, head to somewhere like Okrug Donji just a bit further around the coast. Up from Trogir, Marina Bay, Vinisce and Sevid are equally delectable as holiday locations and new luxury villas are springing up there.

Things to do

Head down from Split and you’ll find lovely stretches of beach, and at Omis the adrenalin junkies can have their fill. From quiet kayaking to zip wires and canyoning, there’s a lot available based on the Cetina River which flows out to sea here.

Split is perfect if you want to do and see lots of things. It’s a real hub close to national parks, several UNESCO world heritage sights, and the islands. Explore the coast north and south of Split, visit the awesome Plitvice Lakes and Krka Waterfalls. Boat out to nearby islands like the Krknjasi lagoon or further out entirely to the blue caves of Vis.

In summary, Split town has bustle, shops, culture and is a good hub. It’s definitely worth a day’s visit from one of the nearby sea edge villages where you’ll find lots of choice for villas to rent in Croatia.


We can’t make the decision for you. Both are fascinating places and you really need to visit both. But beware, once you’ve caught the Croatia bug, you’ll be hooked! When you do, we at Croatia Gems will be ready to help you find a lovely Croatian villa

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