Overlooking the city of Split, in the mountain pass between Mosor and Kozjak, lies the small village of Klis speckled with vineyards and olive groves. At the center of this hillside village is a medieval fortress built into a rocky ridge giving visitors an incredible birds eye view of the entire Split “metropolitan” area, Adriatic Sea and surrounding islands.
The Fortress of Klis (Tvrđava Klis) has a history of more than 2000 years, beginning with the Illyrian tribe called Dalmatae that used it as a stronghold before it was taken by the Romans. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the site became a seat for several Croatian kings.
Later, the Klis Fortress was pivotal in defending the Balkans against the siege of the Mongols, then the Ottomans in the 1500s.
Now that we’ve condensed 2,000 years of history into a handful of sentences, let’s move on to the meat.
If you find yourself in Dalmatia, the fortress is not to be missed. Here’s why:
The killer view
The view from the top of the fortress alone is worth the small price you pay to enter. Go at sunset if you are here during winter.
You can explore it with freedom
Very few castles and ruins in this world still allow you to wander around the grounds unencumbered by ropes or locked doors. The fortress is so free, one misstep could land you at the bottom of a cliff.
The Klis Fortress is still not a big attraction. Only 15,000 people visit it every year. This means you won’t be fighting the crowds to get through the castle corridors. You might even score some pictures of the fortress without a single stranger in them. If you go during the off season, you might have the whole place to yourself.
How to visit the Klis Fortress
Where it is
The Klis Fortress is located in the village of Klis, 20 minutes north of Split.
When to go
The Klis Fortress opening hours are daily from 9:00 to 16:00 (every day excluding holidays).
How to get there
To reach Klis by car, there are two options.
- Local – Take D8 to Solin. Turn right onto Ul. Stjepana Radića, which will turn into Ul. kneza Trpimira. You’ll wind up the mountain through the village. After you go through the tunnel, you’ll make a sharp left onto a residential road. This will lead you to the fortress. For a map, click here.
- Highway – Take the D8 to the ramp for the A1 to Sinj/Rijeka/Zagreb. Take the first exit at the roundabout for the D1. Follow the highway up through the mountain pass. Exit Drniš/Klis and merge onto D511/D56. Take the second left towards Klis. Take the second right onto a residential road, which will lead you to the fortress. For a map, click here.
There are 3 bus lines that run to the village of Klis:
- 40 kuna for adults.
- 20 kuna for children.
- Dogs are free of charge as long as they are on a leash and you clean after them.
If you want a guided tour of Klis Fortress, there is an excellent Game of Thrones Tour that includes a historical walking tour of Klis Fortress as well as dinner at a 600-year-old water mill in another nearby village.
You can find more information about the history of the fortress on its web site.