Zadar is a coastal city in Croatia, located north of Split. Its historic center has been one of the most damaged during the war in Yugoslavia. Here’s things to do in Zadar in one day.
Zadar impressed us with its sunsets, the narrow streets of the historic center and its two main attractions detailed below. The city can easily be explored in a day, as the historic centre is small.
Actually, it was not in our plans to pass through this city, but seeing the weather forecast and that it would surely rain in Plitvice Lakes, we decided to wait for the weather to improve in this city.
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📷 Book here the day trip from Zadar to Plitivice lakes, including transportation and entrance to the lakes.
Things to do in Zadar in one day
1) Historic center of Zadar
Like Split, it is a peninsula and the old area is accessed by a bridge.
The old town is not as beautiful as in the previous Croatian cities where we have passed, probably influenced by the bombing suffered during the war in Yugoslavia in 1991, which left Zadar isolated from Zagreb and destroyed old buildings and churches.
Walls of the historic center
The old town of Zadar is surrounded by a wall with its corresponding access gates, the main one being the Terraferma Gate. Inside the walls the streets are pedestrian, except for the one that surrounds the wall.
St. Anastasia Cathedral
The main church of Zadar Zadar Cathedral which is more beautiful on the outside than on the inside. Access to the church is free of charge. The best thing to do is to climb the tower (for a fee) and see the views of the city centrefrom the top, especially when the sun begins to set.
Church of San Donato and Roman Forum
Its particular construction in the shape of a circle attracts attention. Normally, due to its acoustics, the church is used for musical events.
Next to it are the remains of what was once the ancient Roman forum. Today there are only small stones scattered on the ground as a witness of that history.
Five Wells Square
This particular square has as protagonists five wells perfectly aligned whose function was to supply a cistern that gave water to the city. Its construction dates back to the 16th century, although it is no longer used for that purpose. Next to the square, there is the entrance to the large green space in the center of Zadar, a garden with free access.
📷 Book the guided tour of Zadar to see the main attractions of the historical center.
2) Things to do in Zadar, the sea organ
One of the must-haves to see in Zadar in one day, as a picturesque sight at one end of the historic center, is the sea organ, a series of marble steps with pipes underneath, constructed in such a way that the Thepush of the waves produces a kind of music.
It is a meeting point for tourists to relax, contemplate the sea and watch one of the best sunsets in Zagreb.
3) Things to do in Zadar in one day, the Sun Salutation
Near the sea organ, there is a circle on the floor named Salute to the Sun. There are 300 glass plates in different layers and surrounded by stone cubes representing the planets of the solar system and their orbits.
At sunset these plates are illuminated with different shades of light, which gives it a picturesque appearance.
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4) Zadar’s central beaches
While they are not the most beautiful beaches in Croatia, in the new part of the city, there is a pebble beach. The “beach” part as such was a grass and stone park, and the “coast” was concrete. It’s not what we’re used to, but it was fine for an afternoon.
If you want long sandy beaches, then you should go a few kilometers away from Zadar and go to Kraljičina beach in Nin.
Practical information for your trip to Zadar
How to get to Zadar
There are regular buses arriving to Zadar from major Croatian cities such as Split or Zagreb. Please note that in Croatia you pay 10 kunas for carrying luggage in the compartment under the bus.
From Zadar also depart ferries of the company Jadronilija to some islands, although these routes operate mainly in the summer season.
Where to stay in Zadar
There are many apartments and hotels in the historical center of Zadar. As you move away from the center, prices are lower and you can also find lodging in sobes, private homes that offer their rooms or apartments. Three recommendations we give you to stay in Zadar in the downtown area are:
- Downtown Boutique Hostel: In the heart of the historical center, new and tastefully decorated double and shared rooms. It has a restaurant and common areas to relax.
- Palazzo Venezia: Palazzo Venezia is located in the center of the city, in a historic building with only four rooms, which guarantees guests peace and quiet and a good night’s sleep. The rooms are decorated with antique furniture.
- La Dolce Vita: Outside the center but just a few meters walking from the access bridge. It is a simple hotel but with all the amenities. Excellent attention and kindness from the owner.
🏨 Do you want to look for other options? Find here the best hotels in Zadar.
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