Zadar is a beautiful city located on the coast of the Adriatic Sea in Croatia. This city has a rich history and culture that dates back to ancient times, which is reflected in its architecture and landmarks. With so many things to do and see, it can be overwhelming for visitors to decide what to prioritize during their stay.
Interesting facts about Zadar:
- Zadar is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Europe, with evidence of human settlement dating back to the Stone Age.
- Zadar was an important Roman colony, and the city was home to one of the largest forums in the world, the Forum Romanum.
- The Church of St. Donatus in Zadar is one of the most significant examples of Byzantine architecture in Croatia, and it’s named after Bishop Donatus, who was martyred in the 9th century.
- The Sea Organ in Zadar is a unique musical instrument that’s played by the waves of the sea, and it’s considered one of the best examples of contemporary architecture in Croatia.
- Zadar is home to the Museum of Ancient Glass, which has a vast collection of ancient glassware, including examples from the Roman and Illyrian periods.
- The University of Zadar is one of the oldest universities in Croatia, and it’s known for its strong programs in the humanities and social sciences.
- The city is also home to the Zadar Summer Theatre Festival, which is an annual event that features performances of theater, dance, and music in some of the most beautiful venues in the city.
- Zadar is known for its cuisine, which is a mix of Mediterranean and Croatian flavors, and includes local specialties such as grilled seafood, Pag cheese, and black risotto.
- The city is surrounded by beautiful islands, including Ugljan, Pasman, and Dugi Otok, which are popular destinations for visitors who want to explore the natural beauty of the region.
- Zadar has a rich musical history, and it’s the birthplace of many famous musicians, including composer Ivan Zajc and singer Marko Perković Thompson.
In this article, we will highlight the 20 best things to do in Zadar, from visiting historic landmarks to indulging in local cuisine.
Visit the Sea Organ
The Sea Organ is a unique attraction located on the coast of Zadar. It’s an experimental musical instrument that’s played by the waves of the sea, creating a soothing and enchanting sound. Visitors can relax on the steps that lead down to the sea and listen to the beautiful melodies created by this natural instrument. The Sea Organ was designed by architect Nikola Bašić, and it’s considered one of the best examples of contemporary architecture in Croatia. It’s a must-visit attraction for anyone who appreciates art, music, and nature.
Explore the Old Town
The Old Town of Zadar is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it’s easy to see why. This area is home to some of the most beautiful architecture in the city, including the Cathedral of St. Anastasia and the Church of St. Donatus. Visitors can wander through the narrow streets and alleyways and take in the historic charm of this part of the city. The Old Town is also home to many restaurants, cafes, and shops, making it a great place to spend an afternoon or evening. Visitors can explore the many landmarks of the Old Town, including the ancient city walls, the Roman Forum, and the Five Wells Square, which is named after the five wells that once provided water to the city.
Visit the Cathedral of St. Anastasia
The Cathedral of St. Anastasia is a beautiful church located in the heart of the Old Town. It was built in the 12th century and is a prime example of Romanesque architecture. Visitors can explore the interior of the church and marvel at its intricate design and stunning artwork. The cathedral is named after St. Anastasia, who was a Christian martyr in the 4th century. It’s one of the most significant religious landmarks in Zadar, and it’s a must-visit destination for anyone who appreciates history, architecture, and art.
Go Island Hopping
Zadar is located near many beautiful islands that are just waiting to be explored. Visitors can take a boat trip to islands such as Dugi Otok, Ugljan, and Pasman, where they can enjoy the beautiful beaches and crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic Sea. Each island has its own unique charm, and visitors can explore the many attractions and activities that each one has to offer. From swimming and sunbathing to hiking and biking, there’s something for everyone on these beautiful islands.
Take a Sunset Stroll Along the Promenade
The promenade in Zadar is a beautiful place to take a leisurely stroll, especially at sunset. Visitors can watch the sun dip below the horizon and take in the stunning views of the sea and the Old Town. The promenade is lined with cafes, restaurants, and bars, making it a great place to grab a drink or a bite to eat while enjoying the beautiful scenery. It’s also a popular spot for locals and tourists alike, and it’s a great place to people-watch and soak up the atmosphere of this vibrant city.
Visit the Forum Romanum
The Forum Romanum is an ancient Roman forum located in the center of Zadar. It was built in the 1st century and was the center of political and social life in the city for many centuries. Visitors can explore the ruins of the forum and learn about the history of this important landmark. The Forum Romanum is a must-visit destination for anyone who appreciates ancient history and architecture.
Climb up to the Bell Tower
The Bell Tower in Zadar is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the city. Visitors can climb up to the top of the tower and enjoy stunning panoramic views of the city and the sea. The tower was built in the 15th century and has been restored several times over the centuries. Visitors can climb the stairs to the top of the tower and enjoy the beautiful views from the observation deck. It’s a great place to take photos and see the city from a different perspective.
Visit the Museum of Ancient Glass
The Museum of Ancient Glass is located in the heart of the Old Town of Zadar and is home to a vast collection of ancient glassware. Visitors can learn about the history of glassmaking and see examples of glassware from different eras and cultures. The museum is housed in a beautiful Renaissance palace and features exhibits that date back to the Roman and medieval periods. It’s a must-visit destination for anyone who appreciates art, history, and culture.
Enjoy a Day at the Beach
Zadar is home to many beautiful beaches where visitors can relax and soak up the sun. Kolovare Beach is one of the most popular beaches in the city, and it’s located just a short walk from the Old Town. The beach is equipped with all the necessary amenities, including showers, changing rooms, and restaurants. Visitors can rent sun loungers and umbrellas and enjoy a day of sunbathing and swimming in the crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic Sea.
Go on a Wine Tour
Croatia is famous for its wine, and visitors to Zadar can go on a wine tour to explore the local vineyards and wineries. The region is known for its high-quality red and white wines, and visitors can enjoy tastings and learn about the winemaking process. The wine tours are led by knowledgeable guides who will introduce visitors to the different varietals and explain the unique characteristics of each wine. It’s a great way to learn about Croatian culture and enjoy some delicious wine at the same time.
Explore the Archaeological Museum
The Archaeological Museum in Zadar is home to a vast collection of artifacts from the ancient history of the region. Visitors can see exhibits that date back to the Roman and Illyrian periods and learn about the rich history of the area. The museum is housed in a beautiful Renaissance palace and features exhibits that include jewelry, pottery, and other artifacts from the ancient past. It’s a must-visit destination for anyone who is interested in history and archaeology.
Visit the Church of St. Donatus
The Church of St. Donatus is an ancient church located in the Old Town of Zadar. It was built in the 9th century and is one of the most significant examples of Byzantine architecture in Croatia. Visitors can explore the interior of the church and admire its stunning design, which features intricate mosaics and beautiful stone carvings. The church is named after Bishop Donatus, who was martyred in the 9th century, and it’s a must-visit destination for anyone who appreciates art, history, and architecture.
Take a Boat Trip to Kornati National Park
Kornati National Park is a beautiful natural park located near Zadar. Visitors can take a boat trip to the park and explore its many islands, bays, and cliffs. The park is home to many rare species of plants and animals and is a must-visit destination for nature lovers. Visitors can hike, swim, and explore the many natural wonders of the park, including the stunning landscapes and beautiful views of the sea.
Visit the Museum of Illusions
The Museum of Illusions in Zadar is a fun and interactive museum that will challenge your perception of reality. Visitors can explore exhibits that play with perspective, light, and shadow, and take amazing photos that will make their friends and family do a double-take. The museum features a variety of optical illusions, including the Ames Room, where visitors can appear to change size depending on their position in the room. It’s a fun and educational experience for visitors of all ages.
Explore the City Walls
The city walls of Zadar are a must-visit destination for anyone who wants to explore the history of the city. The walls were built in the 16th century and are a prime example of Renaissance architecture. Visitors can explore the ramparts and towers of the walls and learn about their strategic importance in the defense of the city. The walls also offer stunning views of the city and the sea and are a great place to take photos.
Try Local Cuisine
Zadar is known for its cuisine, which is a mix of Mediterranean and Croatian flavors. Visitors can try local specialties such as grilled seafood, Pag cheese, and black risotto. The city is home to many restaurants and cafes that serve traditional dishes, as well as international cuisine. It’s a great way to experience the culture and flavors of the region and indulge in some delicious food.
Visit the City Market
The City Market in Zadar is a vibrant and bustling place where visitors can experience the local culture and buy fresh produce and other goods. The market is open every day and features stalls selling everything from fruits and vegetables to clothing and souvenirs. Visitors can sample local delicacies and interact with the friendly vendors who are happy to share their knowledge of the region.
Visit the Museum of Contemporary Art
The Museum of Contemporary Art in Zadar is a must-visit destination for anyone who appreciates modern art. The museum features exhibits that showcase the work of local and international artists and explore contemporary themes and issues. Visitors can see exhibits that include painting, sculpture, photography, and other forms of contemporary art. It’s a great way to experience the creative energy of the city and learn about the current trends and movements in the art world.
Explore the City by Bike
Zadar is a great city to explore by bike, with many scenic routes that take visitors through the city and surrounding areas. There are many bike rental shops in the city, and visitors can choose from a variety of bikes, including electric bikes and mountain bikes. Some popular routes include the coastal path, which offers stunning views of the sea, and the path along the Zrmanja River, which takes visitors through beautiful countryside and past historic landmarks.
Visit the Greeting to the Sun Monument
The Greeting to the Sun Monument is a unique attraction located on the waterfront in Zadar. It’s a large circular monument that captures solar energy during the day and emits a stunning light display at night. Visitors can enjoy the mesmerizing light show and take amazing photos of the monument. It’s a great place to relax and enjoy the beauty of the sea and the city.
Zadar is a city that offers a perfect blend of history, culture, and nature. With so many things to see and do, visitors will never run out of activities to enjoy. From exploring the ancient landmarks to indulging in local cuisine, this city has something for everyone.
What is the best time to visit Zadar?
The best time to visit Zadar is during the summer months when the weather is warm and sunny.
How can I get to Zadar?
Zadar has an international airport, and visitors can also reach the city by bus or train.
What is the currency used in Zadar?
The currency used in Zadar is the Croatian Kuna.
Is English widely spoken in Zadar?
Yes, English is widely spoken in Zadar, especially in tourist areas.
What are some other nearby attractions that I can visit while in Zadar?
Some other nearby attractions that are worth visiting include the Plitvice Lakes National Park, Krka National Park, and the city of Split.