One morning I was heading to office, the next I was waking up in the beautiful ancient city of Zadar (What a surprise! Read about it here).
The fun loving coastal city of Zadar is defiantly the most underrated of the Croatian tourist destinations. At first, I didn’t even know where Zadar was but after spending just one weekend here I fell in love.
Zadar is the perfect place for a relaxing city break away. The old city is small and compact and you can easily walk your way around. We visited Zadar during the off-peak season in early October so we avoided the tourist masses.
What I really loved about Zadar is how relaxed and low key it was. Although we only had two days here, I didn’t feel under pressure to quickly go and see as much things as possible. I tend to have a “Go-Go-Go” attitude when it comes to city breaks, due to the fact that I have limited time there but Zadar was different. Zadar is a city for wandering- which is my favourite thing to do. I spent the weekend wandering around the narrow cobbled and burnished marble streets, soaking up the historical ambiance that surrounded me.
As I knew nothing about Zadar before we went, we ended up discovering things to see and do organically. From my short but sweet experience I have collated a list of the top five things to do and see in Zadar. Hopefully it will help those of you who plan on visiting (Highly recommended!).
Top 5 Things to do in Zadar
1. Sea Organ
Zadar’s Sea Organ together with the Sun Salutation (below) is one of the coolest tourist attractions I have seen. The Sea Organ is the world’s first musical pipe organ played and powered by the sea. The waves push air through the 35 underwater pipes stretching along the waterfront promenade known as the Riva.
The music is tad haunting yet relaxing. I loved sitting here on the steps watching the sailboats go by in the sun enjoying some Gelato. There are so many ice-cream parlors here so be prepared to indulge big time!
2. Sun Salutation: Greeting the Sun
The Sun Salutation, otherwise known as the ‘Greeting to the Sun’ is really something special. Located just right of the Sea Organ, shines the most beautiful solar-paneled work of art. The blue disc forms a 22-meter diameter circle which lights up at night like a seventies inspired dance floor!
This is the perfect spot to enjoy the most spectacular sunset and afterwards watch the light display as it changes hues. I’d imagine this gets very busy during the tourist season, so if travelling during the summer make sure you get down early!
My Boyfriend and I met another Irish couple on one of our day trips and we ended up sitting here until the early hours of the morning chatting (any maybe drinking) the night away.
3. National Parks
There are various different parks plotted around the region of Zadar to explore. We took a day trip out to Plitvice Lakes which was about an hour drive from Zadar. As I mentioned in my previous post, this is well worth a visit!
You will find an array of tour guides just down by the Bridge Gate that offer multiple different day trip packages to other places such as Krka National Park, Pag Island, Šibenik and Paklenica National Park. The day trips include food, entrance and transport which make it even easier to experience everything the region has to offer.
Zadar is abound with options such as kayaking, cycling and hiking to name a few. For more details on activities and excursions in Zadar click here.
4. The Forum and St. Donatus Church
For some history and culture St. Donatus Church and the Forum is located right in the heart of the town. St. Donatus Church is the most famous monumental edifice in Croatia from the early Middle Ages. Its round shape features was something that instantly caught my eye which made me want to go straight in to explore it further. Tickets are just 20 Kuna (around €3).
The Forum is the where you can walk around the remains of the romans which surround St. Donatus Church. The Forum has a gorgeous outdoor Café where you can relax and enjoy a coffee whilst taking in some history.
5. Street Wandering
As I mentioned earlier, this is the perfect city to wander. Stroll around the smooth marble streets; dine in the various restaurants and Cafés; browse in the cute and quirky boutiques and walk along the seafront.
Top Tip: Everything in Zadar shuts down at 10pm on Sundays. My boyfriend and I wandered the extremely quiet streets looking for a bar to have a drink in with no luck! You don’t go to Zadar for the nightlife more a relaxing retreat.
My trip to Zadar was short but above all, highly enjoyable. The activities outlined are simply my own experiences but I’ve no doubt I have missed other hidden gems and Zadar highlights. Please feel free to share yours in the comments below 🙂