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Once known as Zara and the former proud capital of Dalmatia, the good times have well and truly returned to Zadar. The arrival of Ryanair in 2007 opened up tourism in a major way, and the city has won a number of accolades and awards in recent years for its tourism.
The historic old town on a peninsula contrasts with no less than four national parks within easy reach, a number of great island experiences, and a rising gourmet scene. Excellent connections make it a good base to explore the wider region, and with an increasing number of low-cost flights into Zadar Airport, it is little wonder than more and more tourists are coming to discover the city with ‘the most beautiful sunset in the world.’
This page is sponsored by Falkensteiner Punta Skala, your 5-star Zadar resort experience.
- How to get to Zadar and get around
- 5 best things to do in Zadar
- Accommodation in Zadar: where to stay?
- Where to eat?
- Where to drink?
- Nightlife in Zadar
- Exploring Zadar- Best Tours
- Active Zadar
- Beaches near Zadar
- Best day trips
- Zadar events and festivals
- 5 things you never knew about Zadar
- A city of basketball and Luka Modrić
- Digital Nomads in Zadar
- Zadar Souvenirs
- Conferences in Zadar
- Weddings in Zadar
- Real Estate in Zadar
- Map of Zadar
- Weather in Zadar
- Zadar and COVID-19
- More information
Is Zadar worth visiting?
Most definitely! Zadar is one of the most complete destinations on the Adriatic coast in many ways. An historic city with Liburnian roots dating back to the 9th century BC; a spectacular old town dripping in history as evidence of its might as the former capital of Dalmatia; gorgeous islands in front and mountains to the rear, both of which are home to some of Croatia’s National Parks; an activity paradise; and fabulous local food and wine. And why not throw in the world’s best sunset to end another perfect Zadar day?
Is Zadar expensive?
Much less expensive than nearby destinations such as Split, Dubrovnik or Hvar, prices in Zadar are reasonable, especially if you stay away from the tourist traps. Things are understandably more expensive in the summer months, one more reason why an out of season visit is an attractive option. For an overview of prices, check out the Numbeo overview of the cost of living in Zadar.
How many days do you need for Zadar?
That depends on what kind of holiday you are looking for. The pre-pandemic trend of keeping on the move seems to be changing somewhat, with people looking to spend more time in a single location. And as a base to explore, Zadar is excellent. Enjoy the historic old town, visit the islands, hike in the national parks, slow down to the pace of the Dalmatian way of life…
One can easily spend a week or more exploring the city and its surroundings, before moving on to the next place. And if you are looking to completely unwind, there are few better options on the coast that the Falkensteiner Punta Skala resort in Petrcane.
For those in more of a hurry, wanting to combine a visit with other destinations, the old town is a must see, but can be done in a day. Many tourists arrive on budget flights to Zadar Airport, spend a night or two in the city, then continue on to Split.
One of the great things about Zadar is its location, which gives travellers plenty of flexibility and options.
Is Zadar safe?
Yes. Croatia is one of the safest countries in Europe, with a strong sense of community. Safety incidents are rare, and women are safe to walk alone late at night.
How far is Zadar from…?
A very common search term – how far is Zadar from…? The city’s connectivity is one of its attractions. The airport connecting it to the world if just 20 minutes, away, and the A1 motorway brings the whole of Croatia within reach – Split 1.5 hours, Dubrovnik 4 hours, Zagreb 3 hours, and Istria 3 hours. And if you fancy a relaxing ferry from Italy, the Ancona ferry direct into Zadar in the summer is 9 hours.
When to visit Zadar?
The majority of tourists come in the summer, when the city is at its liveliest. In non-pandemic years, there are plenty of events and festivals, and the warm Adriatic is obviously enticing.
But Zadar is also appealing at all times of the year. The shoulder months of May, June, September and October have less crowds, lower temperatures (but still warm enough for swimming), and lower prices. If you are looking for an active holiday, this is perhaps the ideal time to come for cycling and hiking. Almost all tourist business will be open.
Winter on the Dalmatian coast is a totally different affair. The locals have time after their busy season, and thoughts turn to their olive groves. Many tourist businesses close over winter, which can give the feeling of a slightly desolate place. But if you are looking to escape the crowds, and have such a magnificent city and surroundings to yourself, off season can be surprisingly pleasant. The climate is temperate and the nature is divine.
Is Zadar a good place to live?
Yes! Not too big, not too small, Zadar has the convenience of a big city (although its population is 75,000) without the crowds. Add to that the leisurely Dalmatian lifestyle, access to the sea, islands and mountains and a great climate, and the pluses are already adding up. Its ease of connection to other parts of Croatia are an additional bonus.
Flying to Zadar
Many visitors these days arrive by air. The arrival of Ryanair in 2007 not only revolutionised air travel to Zadar, but it was the first budget airline into Croatia. When it made Zadar its 54th European hub, the city was already benefiting from the ‘Ryanair effect’ in its tourism numbers.
The airport is located about 20 minutes out of town, and the comprehensive Total Croatia guide to the airport will tell you all you need to know.
Zadar is also extremely accessible by road, with no less than two motorway exits (named Zadar 1 and Zadar 2) on the main Split to Zagreb A1 motorway. Split, example, is just 90 minutes away by car.
Bus to Zadar
The main bus station is a short walk south of the old town, and it has excellent connections to the rest of Croatia. Buses in Croatia are generally on time, clean and increasingly offering WiFi on board. For the latest timetables, and to book tickets online, click here.
If you are heading to destinations such as Vir, Nin or Petrcane (home of Falkensteiner Punta Skala), the bus station is even closer to the old town (see the map above)
Driving to Zadar
Zadar is also extremely accessible by road, with no less than two motorway exits (named Zadar 1 and Zadar 2) on the main Split to Zagreb A1 motorway. Split, example, is just 90 minutes away by car.
The access road from Zadar 2 is straight and fast, but pay attention to the speed limit if you want to keep your holiday spending money for the city’s excellent bars and restaurants.
Looking for a fast, reliable and trouble-free transfer to or from Zadar? Contact TC transfer partner Adriatic Transfers for your one-stop solution.
Ferry to Zadar
There are also numerous options by boat, and the city’s busy ferry port serves up to 36 destinations via 6 ferry companies, to nearby islands, other mainland destinations, and international connections to Italy. As elsewhere in Croatia, sailing schedules are seasonal. You can find the latest sailing information here.
How to get from Zadar to Pag (Novalja), Sibenik, Split, Krka, Dubrovnik & Dugi Otok
Google Search gives a good indication of where people are looking to travel to from Zadar. A more detailed TC explanation of how to get to some of these more sought-after places.
Getting around Zadar by Bus
The city also has great inter-city bus connections, although you should be aware that many of them take the coastal roads, and so a trip to Split can take 3 hours or more. There is also a well-connected city bus service to get you around town. More information on tickets, map and times on the Liburnija bus website.
Uber is present in Zadar if the global rideshare app is in your comfort zone. Taxis are also plentiful, and you can find a list here. The main taxi ranks are by the bus station on Liburnska Obala, the main bus station, and the bridge connecting the peninsula to Branimirova Obala.
Rent a car, car-sharing
The car rental market in Zadar is competitive and affordable. For a comprehensive list of companies, click here. Another option for getting around which is growing in popularity is car sharing, and services such as Bla Bla car are commonplace.
Cycling is increasingly popular in Croatia, and there are plenty of bike rental options, from mountain bikes to the more leisurely e-bike experience. You can check out a list of Zadar options here.
Parking in Zadar
In winter, you must pay for parking in Zadar from 08:00 to 16:00 Monday to Friday, 08:00 to 14:00 on Saturday, with Sundays and public holidays free. For a map of all the parking in Zadar, click here.
In summer, the paid period extends to 22:00, and the prices obviously increase. There are 4 zones for parking in Zadar, and you can pay by cash of SMS message (cash only). The zone codes, and summer and winter prices are:
In Zone 1 – Code 708231, 6 kuna/hr in winter, 12 kuna an hour in summer
For Zone 2 – Code 708232, 4 kuna/hr in winter, 10 kuna an hour in summer
In Zone 3 – Code 708233, 3 kuna/hr in winter, 3 kuna an hour in summer
Zone 4 – 2 kuna/hr
Daily tickets are also available for a reduced price. Summer prices take effect from May 1 to September 30.
How to get from Zadar to airport
There are several ways to get to the airport from Zadar, apart from driving yourself. For all the options with bus, taxi, Uber and private transfer, check out the TC Zadar Airport guide.
If you are looking for a private transfer from Zadar to anywhere in Croatia, please contact Adriatic Transfers, whose national network covers the entire country, as well as international connections.
Gondoliers for Venice, Barkajoli for Zadar
What gondoliers mean to Venice, barkajoli mean to Zadar! For over 800 years they have been connecting the two ends of Zadar harbour with their small rowboats during all weather conditions and saving time for their faithful passengers. This tradition has been passed on from father to son for centuries and has survived despite the challenges of modern times.
Zadar has some rather unique attractions and plenty of things not to miss. Here are the top 5:
The most beautiful sunset in the world
You will not be in Zadar long before you notice the extraordinary sunsets, but the chances are that someone will mention them before the sun goes down, for Zadar has the most beautiful sunset in the world. Who says so? None other than Alfred Hitchcock, when he stayed in room 204 of what was the Hotel Zagreb. Judge for yourself in the video above.
Of course, when I tried to show people the amazing sunset a few years ago, dressed up as Hitchcock a few years ago, the sun would not shine…
One of the best places to observe the sunset is at The Greeting to the Sun (in the video above), which consists of three hundred multi-layer glass plates in the shape of a circle 22 meters in diameter. It is conceived as a spatial installation in the form of an amphitheatre surrounded by stone blocks with a presentation of all Solar System planets and their orbits.
Where music meets the Adriatic: the Zadar sea organ
One of the best Zadar attractions is the sea organ. The magic that is the Sea Organ, known as the Morske orgulje in Croatian is mesmerizing. Okay, it’s not magic, the music actually comes from the waves. The waves push air through 35 underwater pipes stretching across 70 meters, and the sound pops-up all along the promenade, known as the Riva.
Ancient Glass Museum
A visit to Croatia’s 5th largest city is full of history which includes this unique glass collection of over 5000 different glass objects from the first century BC all the way to the fifth century AD. Specific objects include things such as jars, files, and goblets.
Of particular interest to me was to see how Roman royalty stored skin cream & perfume – 2,000-year-old skin cream jars – how amazing to see that survive. There are also iconic chalice’s that were used to celebrate mass, as well as delicate fish made from glass. All of the these have been delicately and expertly removed from various archaeological locations scattered throughout Dalmatia
Those who are interested in architecture will want to make their way over to this church because it is widely considered to be among the finest examples of Byzantine church architecture. The rounded interior is designed so that the light that falls into the sanctuary makes varied patterns at different times of the day. However, because the inside of the building is somewhat plainly decorated compared to the exterior, those who are not architecture enthusiasts may only want to view the building from the outside rather than venturing in.
Once night falls, during summer you can enjoy the sounds of the Musical Nights Festival, a classical music festival that runs from July to August each year, bringing the 9th century Saint Donatus Church and Roman Forum to life.
Gold and Silver Museum
There are quite a few museums in Zadar, and this is one of the best. Head to the church of St Mary’s, and then turn left. There you’ll see a small door selling tickets. This museum with priceless treasures has been preserved by the Benedictine nuns and has been since WWII.
Falkensteiner Resort Punta Skala
Zadar joined the map of luxury accommodation on the Adriatic back in 2011, with the opening of Falkensteiner Punta Skala near Petrcane. The self-contained resort lies on an idyllic green peninsula without neighbours, the perfect escape for a truly relaxing holiday. We are delighted to partner with such a great resort for Zadar in a Page. Falkensteiner introduces the resort as follows:
Welcome to the peninsula of unlimited holiday possibilities! Unforgettable moments await you in Croatia’s best holiday resort, right on the Adriatic Sea. From the most beautiful holiday experience with the family to large and small sporting highlights for active holidaymakers. And with the great culinary offer in the numerous restaurants and bars and the largest and most beautiful spa in the country, epicures will also get their money’s worth.
The sustainably built and operated premium resort is located on a beautiful, exclusive peninsula not far from Zadar, surrounded by the sea on three sides, with a breathtaking view of the Kornati Islands and the imposing Velebit mountains. Especially active holidaymakers who are looking for more than just lying on their lazy skin will find their ideal holiday resort here: extensive sports facilities with tennis, beach volleyball and multi-sports courts, a mini-golf course or golf training, a new indoor sports centre with an 800 m² fitness gym, a wide range of daily water sports activities and sports programmes from CrossFit to yoga or numerous training camps for young and old with international sports stars.
Falkensteiner Punta Skala comprises of three main accommodation options, all with their distinctive style and offer:
Falkensteiner Hotel and Spa Iadera
Experience luxury with a Mediterranean flair on the Adriatic coast. Amazing interior and architectural design, breathtaking panoramic views and a wellness world in black & white make the Falkensteiner Hotel & Spa Iadera the best spa hotel in Croatia.
Highlights include the 6,000m2 Acquapura SPA wellness area with Turkish Hammam bath; modern lifestyle architecture and Mediterranean flair; breathtaking comfort & exclusive 5-star service; and extensive sports and recreation opportunities. Dogs are welcome (from June to September).
These outdoor facilities include 7 tennis courts, 3- multi-sports courts, 2 padel-courts, 2 beach volleyball courts, mini-golf, and a golf-training range.
There is also more than 600m2 of modern, fully-equipped conference facilities. Visit the official website for more on this gorgeous hotel.
Falkensteiner Family Hotel Diadora
The exclusive Punta Skala resort is situated in picturesque surroundings on the beautiful Dalmatian coast. Specials, such as baby and children swimming courses, and beautiful facilities are included. In the Family Hotel Diadora everyone, our young and adult guests alike, can enjoy their holiday to the fullest. And babies are granted a VIP status. The Falkensteiner Family Hotel Diadora in Zadar is the best place to experience a relaxing and adventurious family vacation in Croatia.
Highlights include the 2,000m2 Acquapura wellness and water world with outdoor pool facilities and water slide, located directly on the Adriatic. Falky land children’s world, adventure playground, water world with Falky children’s SPA will keep kids happy all day long. Additional facilities include childcare, baby necessities, large sports and animation programmes. There is access to the same sporting facilities as Iadera, above. For more information about Falkensteiner Family Hotel Diadora, click here.
Falkensteiner Premium Apartments Senia
Have you been dreaming of your own piece of paradise? Well this luxury resort in Croatia is the place where your dreams will become reality. A luxury apartment awaits you directly by the sea, in the heart of the Falkensteiner Punta Skala Resort. You can choose from four different apartment layouts, with a range in size between 40-100 m². Within the resort you have plenty of possibilities to dine out: for example at steakhouse Planika, at fish restaurant Bracera or in hotel restaurants in neighbouring hotels Diadora or Iadera! More information.
The Lazy Monkey is a hacienda-styled hostel & apartments, set in a peaceful surrounding community, close to waterfront cliffs and daytime bars.
Located a pleasant walk from the old town we’ve shown that being outside the city walls, you can have the best of both worlds. Recently adapted towards the modern traveler, we have added studio apartments to our portfolio, supplying holidaymakers, digital nomads, and remote workers with an alternative vibe.
With huge social areas including front patio, grassed sunspots, hammocks and free parking facilities, a commercial-sized kitchen, pool table, and comfortable under terraced seating, there is plenty of space for everyone. Check it out.
Private accommodation in Zadar
With more than 2,000 available accommodation units to choose from, it should not be hard to find the holiday home of your dreams… and budget. Check out the latest availability and selection here.
Top 5 restaurants
Exquisite. Simply one of my best dining experiences on the coast. Fabulous fresh seafood served on the water in a wooded natural surrounding, with a trademark Zadar sunset to accompany the excellent selection of Croatian and international wines, Bracera is one of the best romantic dining experiences on the Adriatic.
Owned and managed by a couple from the Split region, their menu and attitude to service is fantastic and we’ve never had a bad meal. The restaurant has glass frontage with so much greenery inside you’ll feel like you’re in a jurassic movie. Open air sliding roof in the summer, and is located on the edge of poluotok overlooking the harbour. Traditional cuisine with a difference, slow cooked beef tail, truffled chicken, smoked pork kare, to name a few.
A traditional restaurant with well defined and knowledgeable waiters and a great wine list. The Lamb Shank and Shrimp Buzara are to die for. Restaurant is in a great location positioned on the riva, only a short stroll from St Donats.
A slightly dated decor but boy do they pack a punch with their meat variety. Steak, steak and more steak! Seriously good fillets, addictive sweet tasting fries, and surprisingly good house wine. It’s a little way from the town centre, but the restaurant sits on the waterfront near Borik harbour with great views. A must for any meat lovers!
Unbelievably cute fish restaurant with maybe only 20 covers. The owner has a delicate menu which I believe is changed on a regular basis. Very romantic and quaint with a really good wine list and memorable service. The prices I thought were very reasonable for a fish restaurant. Worth a visit!
Newly renovated with warm decor inside and comfy chairs. Food menu is Dalmatian with a variety of pasta and meat dishes. They do amazing pizza which shows from the streams of take away orders, and my siblings rave about their vegetarian lasagne everytime we go. A busy spot that doesn’t take bookings, so get there early!
5 restaurants on a budget
Delicious pizza slices that go well with a beer or three! Smack bang in the centre of town.
End of night burgers, wraps and fries at the bus station. It may surprise some, but these delights are not only eaten during the early hours of the morning. Very good fast food and way better than Maccy D’s next door!
Famous ice cream sellers that have been serving for decades. A few tables surround the entrance overlooking the Cathedral of St Anastasia. Always has a few people in the line but well worth the wait.
A little off the beaten track, located on Franje Tuđmana drive, this diner is traditional with Croatian barbeque being it’s fortee. Meat in pita is a stable diet for any local and they all head here for a pivo and a good feed.
Downtown American style street food for very reasonable prices. A few tasty bites to try – loaded fries, pulled pork burgers, crispy pork belly potatoes, and combo selections.
Set in the cobbled streets of old town, with inside and outside seating, Ox serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Eggs Benedict are surprisingly good and they serve an array of meat dishes from BBQ ribs to T-bone steaks to Chateaubriand.
Vegetarian and vegan restaurants
Only open in the summer months, but a special place to drink cocktails and dine out for an evening. Dishes sampled, spaghetti courgette, spring rolls, empanadas, chia porridge, kale chips, carrot vanilla cake and pizza. A little pricey but really tasty.
Not somewhere you will party but wow, what a location. The only bar that sits on the Riva, directly opposite the sea organ and greeting to the sun. You can’t ask for a better sunset location to sip a pivo and snap a memory.
Located at the far end of the peninsula near Punta Bajlo beach, an old caravan park, now with surrounding pine trees and rocks to jump from. This is the best daytime bar for me. Shady spots to put up a hammock, a well stocked bar and a swimming location right on its doorstep!
No dine in, no take away, no delivery, just really good pivo! Staff are spot on, great drinks list and good music with occasional live events. Only place in Zadar with decent guiness and 70+ whisky selections.
Two bars with connecting terraces, based in the old town. It’s never too early to party here, a place to watch your favourite team play on the big screen, see live local music events or try to join in during Christmas sing alongs. It gets crazy busy during the weekends and during sport events, you will always find something to grab your interest.
A great location in the old town with low level cushioned seating to really sink into the sunset vibe. Specialist cocktails are a bit pricey but worth buying a couple just for the view.
Nightlife in Zadar
Great to drink a coffee in the daytime but it really takes off at dusk. An integral part of the bar has a large terrace and is part of the beautiful gardens of Queen Jelena Madijevke set on top of the city walls. Live performances, DJ nights, concerts and parties pretty much every night during the peak months.
A perfect pre-drinking terrace to get the legs moving. DJs on sets and the bar is always vibrant and busy, just what every tourist is looking for.
Set below Ledana, near the five wells square, this club is predominantly outdoors, supplying it’s trade to R&B and house night. 21 and over in 2019 and growing in popularity due its location and DJ selection.
There is LOTS to see and do in and around Zadar if you are looking for a tour. Here are some of the most popular:
Private walking tour of Zadar at sunset
Book this walking tour in the old town of Zadar at sunset. See the famous Sea Organ and the largest Roman Forum on this side of the Adriatic coast. From US$4.
Island of Pag and Nin Saltworks Private day trip from Zadar
Discover the Island of Pag on a guided walking tour, learn about cheese production and visit the Nin Saltworks on a private day trip from Zadar. From US$190.
Saharun beach and Zverinac island private boat tour from Zadar
Discover some of Croatia’s most stunning islands during this private boat tour from Zadar. Visit the beautiful Zverinac island and Saharun beach. From US$78.
Private day-tour to Plitvice National Park from Zadar
Hike in the oldest and largest National Park in Croatia and enjoy the unique and beautiful nature in Plitvice. From US$348.
Zadar City Tour
Zadar flaunts a roll-call of Roman ruins and intriguing sights all packed within its historic streets. You’ll join a guide to see all the monuments, including the famed Sea Organ and Sun Salutation, then have some free time to soak it all up on this half-day excursion.
After being picked up from your hotel, you’ll venture into the historic centre of Zadar – a fascinating city on the shores of the Adriatic. Its churches – from Romanesque to Venetian – and elegant buildings as well as its mini-marina are a joy to discover. Wander around, visiting St Donatus Church, St Anastasia’s Cathedral, the Roman Forum and People’s Square, which lies at the heart of the action.
No visit to Zadar would be complete without witnessing the sounds of the Sea Organ and the light show of the Sun Salutation, both created by visionary architect Nikola Basic. After a walk along the seafront, you’ll have time to yourself to visit museums or sip on a maraschino and drink it all in. From US$29.
Private island hopping tour by speedboat from Zadar
This private boat tour is completely tailor-made: choose the departure time and the islands you’d like to visit. Enjoy a perfect experience on crystal-clear water!
Spend the day visiting Ugljan, Preko, Sabuša beach, Muline beach, Iž, Ošljak, Galovac and the Kornati Islands National Park by speedboat.
Your experienced skipper knows all the best spots on all of the islands and will give you tips on excellent local restaurants offering authentic Dalmatian food.
Discover the best spots for snorkeling and see the marine life in the blue waters of Croatia. Travel to secluded beaches where you can relax and soak in the sun. From US$63.
Krka National Park full-day tour from Zadar
Discover the natural beauty of Krka National Park on this full-day tour from Zadar. Admire the park’s magnificent waterfalls including Skradinski Buk. See the rich flora and fauna, explore the lake on a boat and take a refreshing swim.
The park covers an area of just over 142 square km (88 square miles) including the famous Skradinski Buk waterfall, one of Croatia’s most famous sights.
Due to its special position and its various types of habitat, the park is characterized by exceptionally rich and varied flora and fauna. The abundance of various species of birds and the significance of Krka National Park for spring and fall migrations make this an ideal tour for both amateur and experienced birdwatchers.
After the pick-up in Zadar, you’ll be taken to Skradin, where you’ll board a boat for a 30-minute ride on the lake. Take a guided walking tour past Skradinski Buk, and then visit the park’s ethnographic collection, mills, and weaving workshops. From US$72.
Kornati National Park full-day boat tour from Zadar
Spend a day touring Kornati National Park, one of the most magical places in Croatia. This group of more than 100 islands and cliffs will seduce you at first sight!
Visit this jewel of the Adriatic Sea sailing from Zadar. You’ll leave in the morning and make your way to the park on a boat. Enjoy breakfast on board as you travel through the 109 islands that make up the park.
Along the way, you’ll stop two times for total of 3 hours to go swimming. Then relax as you are taken on a tour around the park, admiring the dramatic karst-limestone formations that tower around you. In the middle of the day, you will also be treated to lunch aboard the boat. From US$45.
Wine and dine cooking class in Zadar
Experience the local cuisine cooking for yourself in a class led by an expert chef.
Prepare traditional dishes from the region using the best ingredients and learn how to pair your food with wine, of course with help from the experts. The chef will show you some special techniques and share their secrets to creating the perfect Dalmatian cuisine.
Enjoy prepping your meal with your friends and family, then dig into your creation! From US$144.
Zadar 4-hour private bike tour
Discover Zadar from a different perspective on a private 4-hour biking tour. Explore the lesser-know spots to the Old Town and the famous promenade with an expert guide. Ride along the narrow streets and learn about the legends and secrets of Zadar. From US$116.
The Zadar region has invested heavily in cycling tourism in recent years. Combine the Mediterranean with the mountains, and discover the diversity not only of the city, but the region beyond. Zadar Bike Magic is an excellent website and app to showcase the region’s offer, with plenty to see and do for families, MTBers, and road cyclists. Check it out here.
The Zadar region is a hiker’s dream. There are no less than 5 of Croatia’s 8 national parks within reachable distance, all of which comprise a fantastic day trip. Escape the city and find out just how beautiful natural Croatia truly is. Did you know that more than 10% of Croatia lies in its 20 national and nature parks?
With the Adriatic on the doorstep, it is no surprise that water sports are plentiful in Zadar. Sailing the Dalmatian coast is one of the great nautical experiences of Europe, but there are plenty of other activities to immerse yourself in the pristine Adriatic.
Zadar and surroundings abound with beaches. From the sandy (Zaton, Nin, Privlaka) to rocky (Kozino). As a special feature it should be pointed out that, unlike other big Dalmatian cities, one can swim in the very centre of the city. Zadar’s waterfront and the town beach Kolovare are very close. I certainly recommend going on a trip and swimming on Zadar’s islands that are well connected by boat lines.
Visit at least one national park
As mentioned above, with so much natural goodness to choose from, the national parks within easy reach of Zadar make for a great day trip. Plitvice Lakes is the most popular, followed by Krka National Park. Paklenica will appear to the more active tourist looking for some hiking or rock climbing. But if you are looking to enjoy a little time on the water as well, the raw beauty of Kornati offers an additional island experience. Check out all the national and nature parks of Croatia in this TC guide.
Just a few kilometres north of Zadar lies the delightful town of Nin, whose small size belies its rich tourism offer.
Over a thousand years old, Nin is the oldest Croatian royal town, the cradle of the Croatian state and it is called the Croatian Bethlehem. The Nin bay hides a strange and unusual heritage: sandy beaches, medicinal mud, salt pans, a rich bird life and rare endemic plants. And if that wasn’t enough, Nin also has the smallest cathedral in the world. So plenty to see and do in a day – learn more from the Nin Tourist Board.
Historic Split, Trogir or Sibenik, or perhaps all three!
There are so many fantastic places in the near vicinity of Zadar that it would take more than one holiday to see them all. There are, however, some fabulous cities to take in just a little to the south of the city. Three of the best boast their own UNESCO World Heritage Sites. I would say you could probably do Trogir and Split in a day, but Sibenik is also worth a visit. Three fantastic historic locations oozing heritage and great discoveries.
Visit an island
Sailing the Kornati is obviously a great option, but visiting an island is part of the Dalmatian coastal experience. Here are some good options from an online review:
Ugljan and Pasman you can visit by car. Take the ferry to Preko and then cruise around. Kali is one of the biggest fishing ports in this part of Adriatic, Mrljane on Pasman has a spectacular sandy beach, the Benedictine monastery in Cokovac is also very special and there are dirt roads that allow you to cross to the other side of the island of Pasman with special views of Kornati.
And I would add to that list Dugi Otok and its wonderful beaches. And try not to miss Pag, one of the most incredible islands I have visited for its sheer diversity.
Indulge in wellness luxury at Falkensteiner Punta Skala
Looking to escape the crowds and indulge yourself a little? About 12 km north of Zadar, next to the small village of Petrcane is the luxury Falkensteiner Punta Skala Resort.
Punta Skala is actually the biggest investment on the Croatian coast, and its spacious 15 hectare site is an oasis of calm and luxury. In addition to two quality hotels and residences, it boasts the biggest wellness facilities in Croatia. There are also numerous kids activities to keep the little ones busy while you relax. A truly wonderful escape and day of pampering.
There is plenty going on in Zadar throughout the year. The current uncertainty due to the pandemic makes it a little difficult to publish a definitive list, however. For the latest confirmed events taking place, check out the latest on the Zagreb Tourist Board events page.
Zadar is a fascinating city, but did you know…
Zadar is home to the first vacuum cleaner in Croatia – meet Baby Daisy
Ever wondered why apartments in Dalmatia are so clean? Locals have been obsessing about keeping their homes clean for generations. Indeed the first ever vacuum cleaner in Croatia was used in Zadar, and is in proud private possession today. Baby Daisy is her name, and isn’t she beautiful?
A rather unusual tour guide
“Not many people in Croatia can claim to being fluent in the Japanese language, and even fewer people in Croatia can claim to being fluent in the Japanese language without any formal education…
“29-year-old Lovre Štavun from the Dalmatian city of Zadar is perhaps one of the few people in Croatia who can claim that. The Japanophile is putting his skills to use and recently he became the first formally schooled tour guide in the Japanese language in the Zadar county and one of the very few Japanese-speaking tour guides in Croatia.” Read more…
Zadar, a city of firsts
Zadar is a city of firsts, reflecting its advanced seat of learning and its ancient heritage. Just a few firsts to mention are the first university in Croatia in 1396, the first operation under anaesthetic in Europe, and the first comic strip in Europe.
An ancient underwater city in the Adriatic dating back 3500 years
Zadar, a city of ancient heritage with spectacular history all around. Including in the Adriatic Sea. A truly spectacular story of discovery just 20 kilometres from Zadar by a team from the University of Zadar. Read all about it here, or watch the video here, one of a series of five.
Zadar and the Sound of Music connection
Various famous Croats were born in Zadar, but their names may not be familiar to international audiences, but one name which may well resonate, especially for Sound of Music fans is Georg Ludwig von Trapp (April 4, 1880 – May 30, 1947), an Austro-Hungarian Navy officer. His exploits at sea during the World War I earned him numerous decorations, including the prestigious Military Order of Maria Theresa. Later, von Trapp headed the singing family portrayed in the heavily-fictionalized musical The Sound of Music.
Recognise this little 5-year-old goat-herder, who is arguably now Zadar’s most famous son? Little Luke Modric won the hearts of millions with his performances for Croatia in the World Cup, but the Real Madrid star had very humble beginnings.
He is from the Zadar region, from a small village called Modrici. He is one of a quartet of famous footballers, who learned their trade on the streets of the city. The others are Sime Vrsaljko, Danijel Subasic and Dominik Livakovic. This is how Zadar welcomed home its World Cup heroes:
Football is not the only sport for which Zadar is famous, however. It is home to a respected basketball school and one of its sporting sons, Kresimir Cosic, is a member of the Hall of Fame. And visiting basketball teams have learned to fear the intimidating atmosphere of Jazine – see below.
Currently there is only one co-working area designated for DN / Remote workers called COIN. This is an area which I expect will expand rapidly in the next year or so. You can follow the latest on the TC Digital Nomad in Croatia in a Page.
When in Zadar you have to try…
Maraschino is a liqueur originally from the city of Zadar in Croatia and Torreglia (Italy), obtained from the distillation of Marasca cherries. The small, slightly sour fruit of the marasca cherry tree (cerasus acidior), which grows wild along parts of the Dalmatian coast, lends the liqueur its unique aroma.
Zadar for kids
Dalmatia is extremely child-friendly, and exhausted parents certainly enjoy life in the cafes on the squares in the region. A chance to relax with a coffee, or something stronger, as the kids run around chasing pigeons, or making new international friends with no language in common. There is always someone looking out for the little ones, and this aspect of life remains one of my favourite experiences of the lifestyle in Dalmatia.
But there is also plenty for the little ones to do! From playrooms, escape rooms, adventure parks, treasure hunts, and the nearby Biograd Fun Park, to water sports, horseback riding and a donkey farm, you will find it all in Zadar. Learn more here.
If it is total peace of mind with the little ones that you are seeking, however, look no further than Falkensteiner Punta Skala. As a self-contained resort catering to every need, the kids will have plenty to do, allowing you to concentrate on the important task of Total Relaxation.
With full support from nursery and babysitting, to animation programmes and swimming classes, there is plenty on offer to burn young calories throughout the day. Learn more about Falky-Land, the indoor and outdoor kids water world, complete with its own pirate ship, spa, slide, kids steam bath, and igloo. And more!
For kids a little older and looking for an active holiday, the resort boasts an outdoor sports centre with 7 tennis courts, beach volleyball and multi-sports courts (basketball, badminton, futsal etc.), and a mini-golf course.
And new for 2021 – meet Fortis Club, a sports, event and entertainment centre with 800 m² fitness / gym, extensive program of daily activities in 2 workout rooms, bowling, bar, restaurant, e gaming corner and event hall “Ventus” for up to 470 guests.
For more information about Croatia for kids in general, check out the TC guide.
Leave a lasting impression on your business partners by organizing meetings, conferences or company events in modern event space at Falkensteiner Punta Skala resort, Croatia.
A spectacular beachfront setting near Zadar offers the perfect blend of space for relaxation, recreation and unique culinary experiences. Falkensteiner resort Punta Skala is an unique and inviting venue that can accommodate up to 500 guests. With a location just 30 minutes away from Zadar International Airport and less than 300 kilometers away from the capital of Zagreb it is one of the best connected locations in Croatia. Learn more.
Is there a more romantic place to get married than the destination which has the most beautiful sunset in the world? We didn’t think so. Foreign weddings on the Adriatic coast are on the rise, and Zadar is no exception. Market leaders, Adriatic Weddings Croatia have the coast covered and offer an outstanding service along the coast.
Alternatively, if you are looking for a location which can accommodate all guests for the long weekend, as well as providing lots of entertainment for the kids, Falkensteiner Punta Skala is a perfect enclosed solution catering to all needs.
Zadar, as many other places on the Croatian coast, experienced a property boom in 2004, as predominantly UK and Irish investors bought property in large numbers. The spending spree stopped before the 2008 crash, but the market has never really recovered from the crash.
Buying property in Croatia is not for the fainthearted, and I advise that you read the TC property buying section before you dive in, as well as seeking professional advice to guide you through the process. If you want to proceed and are looking for a recommended agent, then please contact us.
Where is Zadar located on the map?
Map of townZadar Croatia
The pandemic has dominated everything for more than a year, and the situation changes almost on a daily basis. For the latest information, including where to test in Zadar, follow the TC Daily Travel Update.
Zadar live cam
Missing your favourite Dalmatian city, and dreaming of your summer there. Check out life in Zadar right now.
There are an increasing number of apps for your smartphone to help you get the most out of your stay in Zadar. These include the official tourist board app, Secret Zadar, Authland’s Authentic Things to Do in Zadar, and Zadar Bike Magic. You can learn more about and download each or all here.
Can I drink the tap water in Zadar?
Yes, the tap water all over Croatia is safe to drink, as is the water available at public fountains. So rather than throwing away that plastic bottle and buying a new one, why not refill the original bottle with some cool, refreshing Dalmatian water?
Dalmatia is a conservative society, and open displays of LGBT are not generally welcome. Having said that, things are a lot more tolerant than even a decade ago. For more information and tips, check out the TC LGBT Croatia guide.
Zadar Tourist Board
Jurja Barakovića 5
HR – 23000 Zadar
Telefon: +385 (0)23 316 166
E-mail: [email protected]
To follow the latest news from Zadar, check out the dedicated TCN page.