Zadar is the city located on Croatia’s Dalmatian coast. It is a historic old town with Roman and Venetian ruins and medieval churches. With its very rich history and cultural heritage, it is no wonder that people from all around the globe are coming to see this city.
If you ever decide to come and see this city by yourself, here are some guidance which can help you to get the most from your holiday.
1) Watch the sunset by The Sea Organ and The Greeting to the Sun
The Sea Organ is an installation that made Zadar very unique and popular in the world. It’s a seventy meters long stairs that descend right into the sea and they have organ pipes built under the concrete.
These pipes are located in a way that when wind blows and waves come in it produces sounds. The Greeting to the Sun is another great installation which consists of 300 multi layered glass plates in the shape of diameter circle.
Under the glass plates there are photo-voltage solar modules which absorb energy from the sun and then in the evening they create a spectacular light show followed by the melody of the Sea Organ.
2) Climb up to the best city view
You shouldn’t miss this beautiful cathedral of St. Anastasia which is the biggest one in Dalmatia. With its spectacular Romanesque appearance and richly decorated facade it is really something to see.
Climbing all way up to the bell tower will give you a great view to the city and a chance to create beautiful panoramic photographs of the city roofs and the sea in the background.
3) Take a coffee brake at the Roman Forum
The Roman Forum is one of the most important landmarks in Zadar. It is a square that dates back from the Roman era and back then it was the center of the entire public life.
Today it’s a great place to have a coffee break. It makes you feel like you are sitting in the live museum watching modern life passing by.
4) Explore Kornati Islands
Located south from Zadar this National Park is a true beauty and a “nautical paradise”. This island archipelago consists of 89 islands, islets and reefs which are a real challenge for nautical lovers.
There are lots of bays and beaches that you can enjoy in, whether alone or in a company of other nature lovers. The most beautiful and popular beach on the Kornati Islands is Lojena beach, although the beach is covered with white pebbles, but when you get into the sea you will be surprised with beautiful silvery sand under your feet.
5) Take a selfie with the Sphinx
You read it right, Zadar is a proud owner of a real Sphinx. Just a boat ride to Zadar’s old town called Brodarica you can enjoy in a lovely walk of the most luxurious part of the city.
There you can find the most beautiful villas with exquisite gardens and right in front of such villa you can see the Sphinx of Zadar. The villa was owned by a local artist Giovanni Smirich who after his wife’s death ordered the building of the Sphinx as a memorial to his wife.
6) Take the museum tour
If you are a museum type you won’t be disappointed with Zadar’s top museums you can choose from, or you can visit them all. Archaeological museum is one of the tourist top choices when visiting Zadar.
It displays prehistoric archaeological material from the Stone Ages, Metal Ages, The Roman and Byzantine Periods all tied to the heritage of Croats. Second choice could be Museum of Illusions where you can have fun with intriguing visual and sensual experience and take some memorable photos. There are also Museum of Ancient Glass, Gallery of Arts and Zadar City Museum.
7) Try the local seafood
It’s a shame to be on the Adriatic coast and eat pizza or a hamburger because you are familiar with the taste. While in Zadar you should definitely give it a shot and eat at a local seafood restaurant.
These are the most popular dishes you can order: black risotto-a seafood rice dish made with cuttlefish or squid, octopus under peka, and although not a seafood but still one of the most popular dish called Dalmatian Pasticada -slow cooked beef in a special sauce served with gnocchi. After a good meal you can order a glass of local wine and just enjoy the moment.
8) Cool yourself with a scoop or two at People’s Square
At the dusk after a hot summer day, people like to walk around the city with the ice-cream in their hands. You can find great ice-cream on People’s Square and you can choose from at least 20 different flavors which change constantly. Whether you are sweet vanilla or sour cherry type or maybe both it’s always a good excuse to come back in search for more.
9) Go hiking in Paklenica NP
National Park Paklenica is just a 50 minutes of bus drive away from Zadar. If you are into hiking or mountain climbing then this is the right spot for you. Paklenica has magnificent forests and extraordinary geomorphological structures and the main reason for proclaiming it as a national park was preserving it from exploitation.
Most of the tourists come to see two gorges called “Velika” and “Mala” which have sheer cliffs that soar more then 700 meters in places. You can also take a nice walk beside beautiful stream that has a lot of small waterfalls and just enjoy the nature around you.
10) Check the Five Wells Square
You can find this square between the medieval City Walls and the Renaissance bastion Grimani. The Square got the name after it’s five wells lined up in a row.
Dating back in the 16th century the Venetians helped Zadar to survive under Turkish siege by building a large water cistern in the ground. Although the wells are not in use anymore, it’s a nice place to see especially in the evening when the lights start shining from the wells.