Skip to content

Diocletian Palace walking tour

There are few towns in Europe that can match the history and architecture of Split, where the 1,700-year-old alleyways of a city constructed at the turn of the 4th century AD still hum with daily activity. Walking about, it’s hard to grasp just how old Emperor Diocletian’s waterfront retirement complex is.

This private, half-day walking tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site brings the 4th-centruy buildings and their original inhabitants to life, with your guide explaining the history of the complex, and its uses and development over the years.

You’ll be picked up from your hotel in Split, Trogir or Šibenik on the morning of your tour and taken to the Diocletian Palace. One of the most remarkable things about this Roman site is that it’s still in use, functioning much as it would have nearly 2,000 years ago.

The complex contains over 200 buildings linked by a warren of narrow streets and courtyards, many repurposed and redeveloped over the years to serve more modern functions. Imperial apartments became medieval tenements, Diocletian’s Mausoleum a cathedral dedicated to one of his victims, and the Temple of Jupiter became a baptistry.

Your guide will lead you through the streets, pointing out buildings of particular architectural or historical interest, explaining construction techniques, and bringing the daily lives of the people who lived in this extensive royal fortress to life. The city was later all but abandoned until the fall of the nearby Roman settlement of Salona led to an influx of refugees in the 7th century which revitalized its fortunes.

During the tour you’ll visit a variety of sites and plazas including Peristil Square, home to the white Brač-stone walls of the Cathedral of St Domnius, once Diocletian’s Mausoleum, and the Grisogono-Cipci Palace, which shows Roman arches incorporated into a 15th-century townhouse.

You’ll continue on to the town’s Ethnographic Museum and along with the displays, get a bird’s eye view of the city from the rooftop terrace. Passing through the Iron Gate, you’ll head to the open-air markets where people continue to shop for fresh fish and produce, just as they would have in Roman times.

Your guide will also talk to you about modern life in the city, efforts to preserve the ancient buildings, and strategies developed to maintain facilities for residents as well as visitors. Once you’ve completed the tour, your guide can offer tips on other places to visit or take you back directly to your hotel.

Speak to someone
who's been there

Start planning your tailor-made trip by contacting one of our Croatia specialists

Other experiences in Split

These activities are designed to give you the most authentic experiences around where you're staying. We work with local guides, who use their knowledge and often a resident's eye to show you the main sights and more out-of-the-way attractions. Our specialists can suggest tours and activities, such as cooking classes, that will introduce you to the local ways of life.

  • Stone hilltop church, Vis

    Biševo and Vis boat tour

    Brač

    Discover dramatic cliffs, historic coastal towns and the Blue Cave, an underwater grotto, on a private, full-day boat trip from Hvar. Visiting the islands of Vis and Biševo, you’ll gain a scenic introduction to the Dalmatian Coast.

  • Old town of Supetar, Brač

    Brač Island tour

    Brač

    Get a comprehensive introduction to the island Brač and its residents as you explore its karst scenery, fertile valleys and historic towns with a private guide. During the tour, you’ll take in olive presses and stonemasons, wineries and museums.

  • Stone church, Sinj

    Klis Fortress, Sinj and Gata

    Split

    Enjoy a private, full-day tour of the Dinaric Alps, a little-visited area where historic towns celebrate age-old battles, traditional customs and lifestyles are maintained, and you can sample local recipes such as soparnik, the precursor of pizza.

  • Skradinski buk, Krka National Park

    Krka National Park visit and winery lunch

    Šibenik

    On this full-day private tour, take in the karst scenery and gushing waterfalls of Krka National Park by boat before visiting a 15th-century monastery. Then, join the owners of a small vineyard on a tour of their estate before sitting down to a wine-paired lunch.

  • Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Mostar and Počitelj, Bosnia & Herzegovina

    Split

    Explore the Ottoman influence in Mostar on a visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina. This private, full-day tour offers an insight into the history of this ancient crossroads between East and West and includes a visit to the 14th-century town of Počitelj.

  • Local produce, Trogir

    Trogir with a local chef

    Šibenik

    Explore the cobblestone streets and historic architecture of Trogir, tour its market with a local chef, and enjoy a five-course meal in the city’s botanic gardens on this unusual tour that offers a comprehensive overview of local history and culture.