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Of the many things to do in Split like exploring the Diocletian’s Palace and taking day trips to the islands, I have to say my favourite activity was hiking Marjan Hill and exploring the Forest Park, sometimes called the ‘Lungs of Split’.
Just a short walk (but many stairs) from Split Old Town, this 178m hill offers spectacular views of the city and coast. Climbing to the top is indeed a highlight especially if you want amazing photos, however I can also vouch for the whole peninsular park as a lovely place to relax and spend time.
While living in Croatia, I was lucky enough to live seconds from the starting point of this hike for a few months in 2022. Along with my other digi nomad friends, I hiked to Marjan Viewpoint every day before work! Easily the best morning routine I’ve ever had.
For me, it’s the outdoorsy nature of Split with wonderful greenery that makes it such a great addition to a Croatia itinerary or a bigger Balkans itinerary. In the city, you can get fantastic food, coffee and cocktails but – within 15 minutes – you can be swimming in the ocean, admiring roaring waterfalls and boarding ferries to explore world-class islands!
I’ll share my Marjan walking route and tips for visiting this wonderful viewpoint…
Marjan Hill map
Hiking to Marjan Hill Viewpoint from Split
The most popular activity regarding Marjan Hill is climbing to the Vrh Telegrin point at the summit. It’s not the easiest hike with 314 steps to the peak and several additional flights from Split ground level to the start point.
From the Old Town
There are a couple of ways to reach the starting point of the hike. The first is following Senjska street which begins close to Vodoskok fountain and Republic Square near the Old Town. For an exact location, set your GPS to Konoba Marjan restaurant and follow Senjska to the top. The walk takes less than 10 minutes.
The other route, if you’re staying in Varoš neighbourhood, is the staircase close to Pizza Bokamorra (side note, one of my favourite restaurants in Split). Find the Marjan staircase pinned here.
Note – either route requires a bunch of stairs. There’s no flat way to get to the starting point, sorry!
The hike officially starts beside Restoran Vidilica. Start your journey up this slope pictured with a handrail and some wooden gates.
Split Marjan Observatory
Note about arriving at Marjan by car or taxi
To save yourself the walk up from ground level to the first viewing platform, you can drive or take a taxi. Uber and Bolt apps are available in Split.
The main area of Marjan parking is on street level close to Vidilica Restaurant. In the summer season, you may have to park a few streets away.
Passing St Nicholas Church
After 5 minutes or so of walking upwards, you’ll pass St. Nicholas Church confirming you’re on the right track.
There’s a fresh water tap here should you need to top up your water bottle!
To get to the top viewing platform, there’s a small path found behind the church that’ll take you to the top. However, this is a shorter, steeper climb so I’d recommend continuing straight on the path until…
Turn right up the split path
When the path splits and one road continues flat and the other upwards, take the upwards path. Strangely this path doesn’t show on Google Maps but I can confirm the turn-off is located around here. But don’t worry, you can’t miss it.
This path weaves around but just keep following it up passing a children’s park. Soon you will arrive at a stone indicating that the final 314 steps start here. Once you’ve climbed them you’ll be at…
VH Telegrin – top of Marjan Hill Split
Welcome to the top of the world! The views from Marjan Hill Viewpoint are sublime. You’ll arrive at a large, flat area with a giant Croatian flag (replacing the Yugoslavia one that once stood in its place), a big cross and several benches.
Watching sunset at Marjan Hill is an unforgettable experience, but I’d advise leaving as soon as the sun sets while there’s still light to get down safely. The path down isn’t especially well-lit.
Another good time to visit is early in the morning when you’re likely to have the platform to yourself. My friends and I would arrive around 8.30am which was perfect timing for a peaceful visit.
To leave this area, you can follow the path you came down the 314 steps, or exit via the back beside the giant cross. Follow the path to your left and you’ll rejoin the original path headed down.
Option #1 – continue further
The other option is to follow the back entrance in a straight line and you’ll continue into Marjan Forest Park rather than turning left which will take you towards the exit.
Option #2 – coffee back down at Restoran Vidilica
A great way to end the Marjan Hill hike is to return to the starting point near the first viewing point and go for a coffee at Restoran Vidilica.
This is one of my favourite cafes in Split due to the spectacular views. The coffee isn’t bad but there are better (and cheaper) places to eat and drink in Split. However, the views really can’t be rivalled!
How long does the Marjan hike take?
My friends and I used to meet at 8.15am at the starting point and be back in our accommodation to work at 10am including a stop at Vidilica for coffee! So the whole thing could take just over an hour if you’re speedy.
However, I would set aside 2 hours for the return hike and to enjoy Marjan Viewpoint at your leisure. But, of course, it depends on your fitness level and how much you like to stop, look around and take photos. You could spend ages at the top simply gazing at the 360-degree views!
Entire coastal path hike around Split Marjan Forest Park
Whenever I had a spare Sunday while living in Split, I spent a few hours walking around the Marjan peninsular. With beaches and viewpoints, it’s a great way to feel outdoorsy without travelling too far from the city.
You could make this into a half day trip from Split by packing a picnic and stopping off at each of the beaches. You don’t get the same striking views you do from the Marjan Hill Viewpoint but, on the plus side, it’s a flat walk with no incline!
How to get around the peninsular
Walking is the best option in my opinion but there’s also a bus that runs around the exterior of the peninsular park. There are several places it picks up and drops off, one place is Bene approximately halfway around the peninsular beside a small beach and open-air restaurant.
Start point – Spinutska Vrata
The best place to start the flat walk around Marjan Forest Park is Spinutska Vrata. With no incline, it’s quite the contrast to hiking Marjan Hill!
This is approximately a 20-minute walk from Split Old Town through quiet, residential neighbourhoods. A great cafe just before the park gate is Kavana Procaffe. There are SO many cakes and the views of the coast are wonderful. My friend saw dolphins there!
Once you enter the park gates, you’ll follow the pedestrianised path along the coast shaded by huge trees. There are plenty of benches, water fills-ups and coves where you can admire the scenery.
Kupalište Bene Beach
Kupalište Bene Beach is one of the first places you’ll want to stop when walking around Marjan Park. It’s mainly a stony beach but it offers lovely coastal views. There’s an open-air cafe, Va Bene Kitchen & Bar where you can stop for food, coffee or beer. It’s nothing gourmet but it’s a decent refreshment stop on a hot day.
Tip of the park
The tip of the Marjan peninsular offers some of the best views for miles around. There’s nothing specifically to ‘do’ here but soak up the scenery. Head to Jure Church for views across the bay and islands.
Back around the coast
Continue along the other side of the peninsular back towards Split. This section isn’t as nice as the pedestrianised first half because you have to walk along the road for sections. However, it’s pretty quiet without many cars. Another option is to wait at a bus stop and catch a ride back.
There’s one final place I’d recommend stopping before heading back to Split…
Nicer than Bene Beach (the first one), this sandy beach is a thin strip surrounded by brilliant blue ocean. Although my photos taken in spring look quiet, I guarantee Kasjuni Beach won’t look like this in peak season!
In the summer, there’s a restaurant open and you’ll have to pay for beach beds. The car park is usually packed so arriving on foot, after hiking Marjan Hill or walking around the park, is best.
Finish near Plaza/Bay Jezinac in Split
This Marjan hiking route ends beside some small beaches. Plaža Kaštelet is a strip of sand jutting off the mainland where I used to watch sunset most nights (with wine and cheese, sometimes spotting dolphins) while Plaža Ježinac is another sandy spot for sunbathing and swimming.
Finally, you’ll walk through Varoš neighbourhood before arriving back in central Split. A few nice cafes in Varoš are Bobis (a chain with lots of tasty cakes and coffees) or, for ocean views, Kavanazona or Jadran Beach Bar.
What else to do near Marjan Hill
This is mainly a residential neighbourhood (and a very nice one at that). I spent a month in an Airbnb here and will always have fond memories of living so close to the ocean) but there are a few worthwhile museums. These are:
- Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments – relics dating back to the Middle Ages include jewels, statues and weapons. Visit to get a better idea of Croatia during this period.
- Mestrovic Gallery – dedicated to Croatia’s most famous sculptor, this grand museum with grounds full of statues is worth a visit for those interested in architecture.
More things to do in Split
- Explore the Old Town and Diocletian’s Palace complex
- Shop, eat and buy souvenirs at the Green Market
- Take a 30-minute drive or bus to beautiful Trogir town on an island
- Take a day trip from Split to Krka Waterfalls by car, group tour or bus
- Go hiking at Mosor mountain. This was one of the more adventurous trips I took from Split especially since we stayed over in a freezing mountain cabin with no running water or phone signal!
- Catch a ferry to islands like Brač, Hvar, Korcula and Vis.
Thanks for reading my guide to Marjan, Croatia!
Read more Croatia blogs: 7 day Croatia itinerary | Things to do in Dubrovnik | Lokrum island guide | Croatia solo travel | What to do in Zagreb | Zagreb cafes | Plitvice day trip from Zagreb | Zagreb street art | Zadar things to do | Dugi Otok island | Pag Island
TRUSTED RESOURCES FOR VISITING CROATIA
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Browse tours and activities on GetYourGuide and Viator.
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For travel insurance for other nationalities, I recommend Hey Mundo and for long-term digital nomad travellers, I suggest Safety Wing.
Check out my resources page for more travel discounts and budget tips from my 10+ years on the road!