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Best Things To Do In Zadar Croatia

Marvel At The Ancient Architecture Of Land Gate

10 Things to do in Zadar, Croatia Travel Guide

A post shared by Calvin on Nov 1, 2018 at 7:29am PDT

The beauty of Land Gate is timeless. It was built perhaps half a millennium ago but its charm is still remarkable today. This decorated white limestone gate, which has the same features as the Lion of St. Mark and Roman Triumphal Arch still stands tall on the top of the entranceway. Land Gate was built along with Sea Gate not just to use as the citys main entrance, but as a defense also.

Land Gate

Address: Trg pet bunara 1, 23000, Zadar, Croatia

Opening hours: 24 hours

Explore the beauty of Zadar in the most unique way by joining this excellent bike tour. Zadar is one of the most bike-friendly cities youll ever experience. For about two-and-a-half hours, the cycling tour will speed along Zadars stunning ancient streets. Throughout, the tour guide will tell stories about Croatias 3,000-year history. Get ready to unfold the hidden secrets of the city. Grab the opportunity to admire panoramic views of the coast and islands beyond. Moreover, children are also welcome to join the tour.

Explore Zadar Bike Tour

Duration: 2 to 3 hours

26reviews

Zadar: Small-Group Fishing Tour

Zadar Cathedral

Address: Trg Svete Stošije, 23000, Zadar, Croatia

Explore Kornati National Park

Kornati National Park , just off the coast of Zadar, is made up of 147 islands in the Zadar Archipelago and is easy to visit on a day trip. Established in 1980 to protect marine life and preserve natural habitats, these mostly uninhabited islands include Kornat Island, the largest, at 25 kilometers long and two-and-a-half kilometers wide.

Rugged and riddled with caves, cracks, and cliffs, these once lush islands used to be home to many Roman villas and farms, but a lack of freshwater and exploitation under Venetian rule left them desolate. Some of the islands still have Roman remains, including the ruins of Roman villas, and walls that run down the shoreline into the water, thought to have been a holding tank for fresh fish.

These days, the park is popular with yachters, scuba divers, and sightseers on tour boats or private charters, all drawn by the park’s unique beauty.

Address: Butina 2, Murter, Dalmatia 22243, Croatia

Hang Out In Narodni Trg The Peoples Square

Old Town Zadars main square, Narodni Trg, is a great place to hang out for a bit and people watch. Its a busy square, popular with both locals and visitors for most of the day.

On the northern side of the square is the Gradska straza with the clock tower. The building was constructed by the Venetians in the 16th century, but the clock tower was put in a couple of centuries after.

The City Guard with the Clock Tower dominates the main square

There are other beautiful buildings around the square: the City Loggia, restored after World War II damage and now used as an exhibition space, the pre-Romanesque St. Lawrence Church, and the City Hall, built in the 20th century after a palace on that spot was destroyed.

The City Loggia looks beautiful!

Relax with a drink at one of the cafes on the square and watch all the hustle and bustle. If youre lucky, youll be there when street musicians are plying their trade. We heard a couple of awesome performers on the square during our stay in Zadar.

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Welcome To Zadar Croatia

Some of the best places to visit in Croatia are the national parks, and four of them are located in or around Zadar county . Zadar County is a world-famous sailing destination surrounded by gorgeous islands, untouched nature, and the vast Adriatic Sea.

Our number 1 choice is definitely the Kornati National Park, which consists of almost 90 beautiful islands and islets. Each and every one of these is completely unique, with its own geomorphological structure and climate. When it gets really hot in the city take your towels, swimming suits and find your perfect chill-out spot around the Kornati Islands. In that area, you can enjoy in one of the best beaches in Croatia, actually, every place there by the sea can be a great private beach.

Sample Croatias Finest Ice Cream

The Best Things to do in Zadar, Croatia In 2020

The Italian influence around Zadar runs deeper than just architecture, decent pizzas, and 20th-century history. Every summer, Zadars many cafés, and ice cream parlours outdo each other to provide tourists with the finest gelato. For kids, the Slastiarna Donat gets the nod, for with its towering, all-colour creations of the old-school knickerbocker glory variety, guaranteed to get a Wow! when brought out before them. Adults might prefer the more contemporary, organic offerings at Eva il Gelato Originale, based at Mihovila Pavlinovia 8, where a dizzying range of flavours is created according to original recipes.

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Tour The Amazing Sphinx Of Zadar

A post shared by Tailor Made Brown on May 18, 2019 at 4:51am PDT

You hear it right! There is a Sphinx in Zadar. It is not just an ordinary Sphinx but the largest Sphinx in Europe. In fact, the Sphinx of Zadar is one of the reasons why plenty of tourists visit the town. There is a love story behind the construction of Sphinx. The Sphinx was erected as a tribute to the 19th-century painter Smirichs wife. Whats more curious about the Sphinx is, instead of paws, you will see that it was created in human-like hands, and seems to be guarding a small goldfish plus it has mysterious hieroglyphic inscriptions, which until now no one has been able to decode.

Sphinx of Zadar

Address: Obala kneza Trpimira 24A, 23000, Zadar, Croatia

Opening hours: 24 hours

Which Is Nicer Split Or Zadar

Whether Split or Zadar is nicer is honestly a matter of opinion. However, hes a little bit of information to help make that decision easier for you.

Zadar is less crowded and has a smaller town feel than Split. You can navigate the towns narrow cobbled alleyways without colliding with about a million other tourists. Zadar does have more tourists visiting in the summer though, but its still nowhere near as busy as Split, and overall, its much quieter.

Nonetheless, Splits old town has a much more vibrant atmosphere. When we visited, there was live music in the evening in the Diocletian Palace and more live music along the promenade. So, if youre looking for a more lively city, Split may be better for you.

Overall, we preferred Split by a very small margin, mainly due to the live music in the evening. However, it really is a matter of personal preference.

If you have the time, why not visit both? Theyre only just over an hour apart and easily reachable by car or public transport.

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Wander Through The Forum

Roman Forums dot the former empire, and that includes Zadar, which is home to the remains of the largest Roman Forum in Croatia!

Not many of the structures still stand today, but wandering through the layout of the public space and various temples commissioned by Emperor Augustus roughly 2000 years ago is one of the best things to do in Zadarand considering how centrally located it is, its also incredibly easy to access!

Learn The History Of The Roman Forum

Best things to do in Zadar, Croatia Watch before you go!

Located next to Zadars magnificent old churches, the Roman Forum is difficult to miss. Built between the first century BC and third century AD, the Roman Forum is best explored through a walking tour.

This impressive ruin is about 90 meters long and 45 meters wide and is an amazing sight at night when it lights up. The Roman Forum also features paving stones, the remains of old public structures, a pole of shame and a Corinthian column.

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Take In The Views From The Top Of The Bell Tower

Climbing to the top of the bell tower of the Zadar Cathedral should definitely be at the top of your list of Zadar sightseeing activities, if climbing steps is not an issue. There are about 180 steps to the top and they were in good shape when we visited.

Looking down into the main street of Old Town Zadar

The views from the top are spectacular, especially if you visit on a nice-weather day. You can see the pretty orange rooftops of Old Town Zadar, out to the Adriatic Sea, and into the harbor and the modern city.

A view of the rooftops of Old Town ZadarA view of the harbor and the new city

You can also get a nice aerial view of the Roman Forum, and the orange-tiled roof of the massive Church of St. Donatus. Seeing Zadar spread out below us from the viewing gallery of the bell tower was one of my favorite things to do in Zadar.

The orange roof of the Church of Saint Donatus against the blue of the water!

The free standing bell tower was built in two phases. The bottom two floors were built in the 15th century. The three upper floors were only completed in the 19th century. At the top is the statue of an angel that changes direction based on the wind.

You can tell the three upper floors were built at a later time!

The Best Day Trips From Zadar

Whether you are looking for extraordinary natural beauty, charming coastal towns with hilltops to conquer, or sun-soaked beaches for a spot of relaxation, youll find just the right day trip destination from Zadar.

A beautiful little alley in Sibenik

Here are 9 wonderful day trips from Zadar for your itinerary.

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Walk The Riva Of Zadar

Zadars seafront promenade is great for walking. A stroll along the water should definitely be part of your Zadar sightseeing itinerary, especially if you visit on a bright sunny day when the blue Adriatic is a mesmerizing sight.

Except for the area near the Sea Organ , the promenade was not crowded when we visited in late May, although perhaps it is more crowded during the high season months.

A sculpture on the waterfront walkway in Zadar

The clean long stretch of waterfront offers beautiful views out to the water and of the nearby Ugljan island. You can start at the Foa harbor and walk all the way to the Sea Organ, or vice versa.

Walking the beautiful waterfront promenade in Zadar

Along the land side of the walk youll see the beautiful buildings of the Zadar University, the oldest university in Croatia. And youll find a few cafes and restaurants along the promenade if you want a drink or a bite to eat.

When Is The Best Time To Visit

10 Things To Do in Zadar, Croatia

We actually went to Zadar in November. While we love to travel in the off-peak season, I did find that it was almost too dead in November. The weather was temperate and easy to walk around in ut I can imagine how much livelier the city would have been if we had visited in the height of the summer.

From what I have read since visiting, I think September would be a perfect time. A lot of the kids have gone back to school but its still warm enough to take advantage of the seaside town.

Zadar might be slightly out of the way for most visitors trekking to Croatia but I would say it is totally worth the trip. The town isnt overly busy, its gorgeous and its along the water! What more could you want?

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The Best Things To Do In Zadar Croatia

by Tamara Elliott· October 13, 2020

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With a perch on the glistening Adriatic Sea, Romanesque architecture, historic landmarks and a romantic old town, there are plenty of things to do in the coastal city of Zadar, Croatia. Often overlooked as a destination by those choosing to explore Split or UNESCO-protected Dubrovnik instead, Zadar has similar attractions without the throngs of crowds which makes it a wonderful seaside escape. Its compact nature means the main highlights can easily be seen in a day, and its also a good base for day tripping to other spots inland or along the Dalmatian Coast.

From the top sites to the best spot to see the sunset, heres what to do in Zadar.

Zadar Cathedral

Visit The Museum Of Ancient Glass

There are also some other museums in Zadar its also next to a Museum of Ancient Glass if youre into that kind of thing. This museum is directly next door to the Museum of Illusions so its easy to visit both in one trip.

The Museum of Ancient Glass showcases some of the best preserved Ancient Roman glass artifacts outside of Italy pretty cool right?

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Cool Things To Do In Zadar Croatia

Looking for the best things to do in Zadar, Croatia?

Weve rounded up the best things to see in Croatias fifth-largest city!

Located on the Dalmatian Coast, Zadar generally sees fewer tourists than cities like Dubrovnik or Split. However, this ancient, coastal city has a charm all its own.

Whether youre looking for a jumping-off point for visiting the Kornati Islands, are interested in Roman or Venetian history, or just want to enjoy the sun and sea, this guide to what to do in Zadar is bound to keep you busy.

Some links in this post may be affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Please see our disclosure policy for more detail.

Explore Zadar Old Town And City Walls

Things To Do In Zadar Croatia | How Expensive Is Zadar Croatia?

White limestone walls envelop the old city, which were designed to ward off invaders back in the 1500s. Two grand gates as well as the original walls remain to this day, encircling the historic centre where many of the major Zadar attractions are found. The old town is absolutely enchanting in the evening, when soft light illuminates the narrow streets and facades of the historic churches and crumbling ruins.

Venetian, Byzantine and Roman architecture is all on display here, like stately columns, a tower and the Roman Forum which is believed to have been built in the first century and was discovered in the 1930s.

The Forum

There are a number of picturesque churches as well, including:

  • Church of St. Donatus: Dating back to the 9th century, this domed church is Zadars crown jewel and the citys most recognizable landmark. Located beside the Forum, theres a bell tower that visitors can climb up for a birds-eye view of the old town.
  • St Anastasias Cathedral : With bragging rights as the largest cathedral in Dalmatia and being considered as a UNESCO site, this churchs picture-perfect stone facade is a popular spot for photography.
  • St Marys: Founded in the 11th century and run by a Benedictine Monastery, it now houses exhibits like relations artifacts, manuscripts and tapestries.

St. Anastasias Cathedral

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Explore The Charms Of Split

Split is a large city, but youd never know that once you enter the Diocletian Palace, Splits old town. Walk along the Riva, the waterfront promenade, and enter the Palace through one of its four gates.

Splits Diocletian Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Its not just one building, its pretty much the entire old town. With many squares, a labyrinth of streets, and a cathedral complex, Diocletians Palace is both unique and gawkworthy.

Looking up at the Bell Tower of the Split Cathedral

If you are planning to visit Split on your own, you might want to invest in aguided tour of the palace, for an efficient walk through the must-not-miss parts of the complex and some interesting context for what you are viewing.

Wandering around Diocletians Palace

After youve had your fill of the old town, you can head up Marjan Hill for viewpoints that provide panoramic vistas over the city and the water. If youre feeling energetic, there are walking trails at the top.

Beautiful view of Split from the viewpoint on Marjan Hill

The green market in Split is fun to browse, with its many stalls showcasing loads of colorful produce and fresh flowers. Visit early in the day and buy some fresh in-season fruit! We picked up some delectable berries when we visited.

Visit The Zadar Cathedral

If you saw the Zadar Cathedral without knowing you were in Zadar, you might think you were somewhere in Italy. The Zadar Cathedral is dedicated to Saint Anastasia and it is the largest church in Dalmatia, Croatias coastal region.

The two rose windows of the Zadar Cathedral

There was a church at this site from much earlier, but the current building was largely constructed in the 12th and 13th centuries. The cathedral is built in the pre-Romanesque style.

The beautiful Zadar Cathedral!

The facade of the St. Anastasia Cathedral is very striking, with its multiple arches, triangular pediment and two rose windows. The inside is worth a quick look around if its open, but I thought the exterior was much more impressive.

The beautiful entrance to the St. Anastasia Cathedral

You can see fragments of medieval frescoes inside, and the organ is beautiful. Photos are not permitted inside, and you need to cover your knees and shoulders to enter.

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