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Zadar Travel Guide

A captivating coastal city in Croatia, steeped in history, featuring ancient ruins, a charming old town, and innovative attractions

Zadar is a picturesque coastal city located in northern Dalmatia, Croatia, along the shores of the Adriatic Sea. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Croatia, with a history dating back to ancient times. The city’s rich heritage is evident in its architecture, which showcases a blend of Roman, Venetian, and medieval influences.

Zadar’s historical old town is a captivating maze of narrow streets, ancient ruins, and charming squares. One of its most iconic landmarks is the Roman Forum, an ancient public square dating back to the 1st century AD. Nearby, you can find the St. Donatus Church, an impressive circular Byzantine church from the 9th century, which stands as a testament to Zadar’s medieval past.

The city’s waterfront, known as the Riva, is a vibrant promenade lined with cafes, restaurants, and beautiful views of the Adriatic Sea. One of Zadar’s most unique attractions is the Sea Organ, an innovative musical instrument powered by the waves, creating soothing and melodic sounds for passersby to enjoy. Adjacent to the Sea Organ is the Greeting to the Sun, a large solar-powered art installation that lights up with mesmerizing patterns at night.

Zadar’s coastline boasts numerous beaches, where locals and visitors alike can bask in the sun and swim in the clear waters of the Adriatic. For a more secluded beach experience, you can take a short ferry ride to nearby islands like Ugljan or Pasman.

Need to know about Zadar

When to visit Zadar

The best time to visit Zadar is during the shoulder seasons of late spring (May) and early autumn (September) when the weather is pleasant, and the tourist crowds are thinner compared to the peak summer months. During these months, Zadar experiences milder temperatures, making it ideal for outdoor activities, sightseeing, and exploring the city’s historical sites without the intense heat and large crowds of summer. Additionally, the sea is still warm enough for swimming in September, providing the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful Adriatic coastline. However, if you prefer a lively atmosphere with warm weather and vibrant festivals, then the summer months from June to August would be the time to go, although keep in mind that the city may be more crowded during this period.

The currency of Zadar, as well as the rest of Croatia, is the Croatian kuna (HRK).

Cuisine in Zadar is a delightful blend of Mediterranean and Dalmatian flavors, offering fresh seafood, grilled meats, traditional dishes like peka, and tasty pastries like fritule, all reflecting the city’s coastal location and rich cultural heritage.

Tipping in Zadar and Croatia, in general, is appreciated but not obligatory. As a general guideline, leaving a tip of around 10% for good service in restaurants, cafes, and bars is customary. However, tipping is not expected for every service, and it ultimately depends on the individual’s discretion and satisfaction with the service received.

Zadar offers a well-developed transportation system with options such as walking to explore the historical old town, public buses and electric buses for city and nearby neighborhoods, bicycles for easy access, taxis for convenience, ferries and catamarans for island hopping, and rental cars for independent travel, catering to diverse travel preferences.

Hotels in Zadar

Food and Drink in Zadar

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