A few weeks ago I travelled to Zadar with a friend for a few days of relaxation. I fell in love with the city and thought I’d share with you the things I would recommend doing there if you are lucky enough to visit! It’s also worth noting that RyanAir fly directly to Zadar from London Stansted at great prices – my flights cost £70 including luggage!
Get Lost in the Old Town
The old town is absolutely beautiful, and there are hundreds of narrow streets to wander down. There are Roman ruins scattered about throughout the area, as well as lots of churches and a lovely cathedral!
I would recommend climbing the bell tower – it only costs 15kn and you get the best views over the whole of Zadar (as you can see in the pictures below). Plus you can stay up there for as long as you like which is a bonus!
Visit the Sea Organ and the “Greeting to the Sun”
The Sea Organ is situated at the edge of the old town, and is the type of thing that you really have to visit in person to fully appreciate it. It was created by a local architect and just looks like a large set of stone steps going into the sea. However, underneath the steps is a series of tubes, and when the waves push water through the tubes it creates eerie-sounding music. The music differs in pitch and melody depending on how large the waves are, so it’s well worth visiting at a few different times of the day throughout your trip to see how different it can sound. I loved coming to the sea organ in the evenings and watching the sunset (claimed to be the best sunset in the world) whilst listening to a calming soundtrack provided by the sea organ.
The Greeting to the Sun is right next to the Sea Organ, and is a large circle on the ground which , after the sun goes down, performs a light show representing the workings of the solar system. It’s a really interesting piece of art and is definitely worth checking out!
Go on a Boat Trip
During my visit I went on a boat tour of the Kornati Islands, which are just off the coast of Zadar, and it was one of the highlights of my trip. I booked online with Kornati Excursions who were very helpful and quick at answering any questions I had. We got on the boat at the Old Town, and spent two hours cruising past the islands. It was so relaxing to sit on the top deck admiring the view and listening to the sea. There were drinks and refreshments available throughout the trip which made it even more enjoyable, and we were told about the history of the islands and their settlers which was very informative.
We then stopped at one of the larger islands, where we were given time to explore the beach and climb the hills to get fantastic views over the surrounding islands. It was definitely one of the most stunning places I have ever visited, and hard to believe how close it is to the mainland! We were then served an enormous lunch of fish, lamb chops, potato and salad on board the ship which was made even more delicious by the views we could soak up whilst eating it!
After our meal we started sailing back to Zadar, but stopped off at another island on the way to visit a small church and an ancient military fortress – the only one still intact along the entire Adriatic coast. For me, the boat trip was the perfect combination of culture, adventure and relaxation and I would urge everyone to go on one!
Sample the Local Food
The food in Croatia has Italian and Eastern European influences, so many restaurants serve a variety of pasta, pizza, and other meat and fish dishes. My favourite had to be Zadar Jadera, which had fantastic food and great service, as well as superb value for money. The bakeries in the old town are also second-to-none, and I would recommend trying a “burek” (a traditional Croatian snack made with filo pastry and filled with either cheese, apple or meat). I lost count of how many I had during my trip!
Go to the Market
The market is held in the old town, and you can buy anything from clothes to flowers, although most of the stalls sell fresh fruit and vegetables. The market is lovely because it is not just aimed at tourists, but is visited by lots of the locals too so feels really authentic. It’s a great place to pick up a souvenir, such as some fresh olive oil or a Croatian hib (a traditional fig cake).
Go to the Beach
Zadar is not known for its beaches, but the Kolovare beach just down the coast from the old town is a great place to spend a sunny afternoon. There are also diving boards going into the sea if you’re feeling more adventurous! I visited Zadar in April so the sea was still freezing, but I spent hours relaxing in the Zara Beach cafe which is just next to the beach and has uninterrupted views of the sea and a laid-back, friendly vibe.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about what I got up to in Zadar, I’d love to know what your favourite thing was if you have ever visited!