Zadar. Town in Croatia, Europe


Town in Croatia, Europe

Zadar Photo © unknown

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Zadar from
	the Bell Tower - Zadar
Zadar from the Bell Tower - Zadar. Photo by Michael Daines
Zadar is a vibrant medieval port in Dalmatia (Wikipedia Article) with a beautiful beach-side location, charming Old Town, and the stunning Kornati Islands National Park not far away. The city also has an interesting cultural life, with museums, galleries, and summer festivals. The main attractions in Zadar are the two amazing pieces of public art - the Sea Organ and the Greeting to the Sun.

The vicinity of three national parks offers plenty of outdoor activities, from hiking, mountain-biking to swimming and rock-climbing. Zadar is also a perfect base for visiting the nearby islands of Ugljan, Dugi Otok, Pag, Pašman as well as the more distant Ist, Silba, and Olib.

The city has a pleasant Mediterranean climate with long hot summers and mild winters. The best months to visit are May to mid-June or September to November when the sea is warm enough to swim and tourist attractions are open, but without the crowds.

Beach of Zadar - Zadar
Beach of Zadar. Photo by bferi

What to See

Church of St. Donatus -
Church of St. Donatus - Zadar. Photo by Ungry Young Man

Old Town

Wander around the Old Town, located at the northwestern part of the Zadar peninsula with plenty of historic sites. The Venetian Land Gate, the main entrance to the Old Town, was built in 1543. Look up and you’ll see the Venetian lion adorning the beautifully carved stone city gate. In the heart of the Old Town lies the Roman forum of which only a few columns and an altar remain. Behind the forum you'll find the 9th-century St Donat's Church, considered to be the smallest cathedral in the world, and the Archbishop’s Palace. Make sure you don't miss the excellent “Gold and Silver of Zadar” exhibition at St Mary's Church, located across from St Donat's Church.

Sea Organ

The Sea Organ, located in the west part of the waterfront at the end of Riva, is a musical instrument reliant on the rhythm of the waves which uses pipes under the marble steps to create amazing melodies. The force of the waves alters the ‘tune’, as do passing boats. It was created in 2005 by the Croatian architect Nikola Bašić (Wikipedia Article). If you head down to the Sea Organ around sunset, you’ll be able to enjoy the sound of the instrument coupled with a light show called “Greeting to the Sun”.

Greetings to the
Greetings to the Sun

Greetings to the Sun

Greeting to the Sun, located next to the famous Sea Organ, is made by the same architect, Nikola Bašić. It consists of 300 multi-layered glass plates placed on the same level with the stone-paved waterfront in the shape of a 22-meter diameter circle. The “Greetings to the Sun” uses solar power to create a light show which showcase displays at night and should not to be missed.

The Museum of Ancient Glass

The Museum of Ancient Glass, one of the city's newest attractions, is housed in the 19th-century Cosmacendi Palace. The museum has around 2,000 glass objects from ancient times, originating from the 1st century BC to the 5th century AD.

Paklenica National Park

Paklenica National Park, an hour's drive from Zadar, is the most visited climbing spot in Croatia and a popular hiking destination. It boasts two gorges, Mala Paklenica and Velika Paklenica. There are beautiful hikes throughout the several black pine forests to choose from. The trails are marked and their difficulty ranges from easy to challenging. The most popular hiking route is the trail leading to a mountain hut, Borisov Dom.

 - Paklenica National
Paklenica National Park. Photo by m_szymkowski

Where to Stay

There are only a few hotels in the Old Town - Hotel Venera, Art Hotel Kalelarga, and Hotel Bastion. The city isn't overrun with hotels so it's wise to book early, especially if you are visiting in July or August. Cheaper hotels tend to be concentrated in the areas west and north of Old Town. There are also apartments and studios available for rent in the surrounding area.



 - Zadar
Zadar. Photo by Mario Fajt


Zadar has a wide selection of great restaurants serving up a range of international and authentic local meals. Start your meal with octopus salad, Dalmatian smoked ham, and local cheese from the nearby island of Pag (Wikipedia Article). Local specialties to sample include black risotto made with squid ink, veal and lamb ‘ispod peke’; grilled fish, seafood prepared ‘na buzaru’ with white wine; garlic and parsley, and ‘pašticada’; beef studded with carrots and garlic, and smoked bacon served stewed with wine and prunes.

If you like Italian cuisine you’ll find pizza and pasta almost everywhere. Note that the restaurant does not need to have a fancy appearance as a guarantee for good food. There are bustling outdoor cafés lining the streets of the Old Town where you can enjoy a morning cup of coffee or an afternoon aperitif. And don't leave the city without having a glass of the famous Maraschino liqueur.

Getting Around

Zadar’s Old Town is easily to explore on foot as it is closed to traffic. If you are staying outside of the Old Town, you travel around by public buses. Local buses run frequently and connect the Old Town with the surrounding suburbs and beaches. The main bus station is located on the crossroads just east of the Old Town.

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Author: Ayda. Last updated: Apr 05, 2015

Pictures of Zadar

Zadar_7 - Zadar
Zadar_7 - Photo by Mario Fajt

Church of St. Donatus - Zadar
Church of St. Donatus - Zadar. Photo by Mario Fajt

View over Zadar from the Cathedral Tower - Zadar
View over Zadar from the Cathedral Tower - Photo by Alistair Young


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