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Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrZadar is a vibrant medieval port in Dalmatia 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.
What to See
Old TownWander 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 OrganThe 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 . 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 SunGreeting 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 GlassThe 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 ParkPaklenica 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.
Where to StayThere 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.
CuisineZadar 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 . 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 AroundZadar’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