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Zadar Travel Guide: Notes for Exploring Zadar

June 19, 2024 13 min read.

Located in the Dalmatia region, Zadar is a unique tourist destination that perfectly combines history, culture and natural beauty. In this Zadar travel guide you will find the necessary information to plan your vacation in this beautiful city.

Why to Visit Zadar?

Are you thinking of taking a trip to Zadar? Then continue reading and be encouraged to take the first step on your dream trip.

Strategically located in the heart of the Adriatic Sea, Zadar enjoys a privileged geographical location. It is located on the northwest coast of Croatia, surrounded by crystal clear waters and beautiful islands.

The city of Zadar has a rich history dating back more than 3,000 years. Walking through its cobbled streets is like going back in time, while you explore its monuments and historical buildings.

In addition to its cultural heritage, Zadar is known for its stunning natural landscapes. The city's beaches are famous for their beauty and cleanliness, offering visitors the chance to enjoy crystal clear waters and relax under the warm Mediterranean sun.

Whether you want to explore its rich history, enjoy its beautiful beaches, or simply get lost in its charming streets, Zadar will captivate you with its authenticity and charm.

Sea coast and constructions

Sea coast and constructions.

Picture of Sidharth Bhatia on Unsplash

Location of Zadar

Below, we show you where is Zadar located:

Map of Zadar on Google Maps

Top 10 Places to Visit in Zadar

With its cobbled streets and picturesque old town, Zadar attracts many visitors each year. Here we mention some of the main places of interest in Zadar.

Old constructions

Old constructions

Picture of Philipp Neumann on Unsplash

  1. Zadar Old Town

Explore the maze of cobbled streets and discover historical monuments such as the Church of San Donato and the Roman Forum.

  1.  Sea ​​Organ

Enjoy the unique music generated by the waves of the sea while you sit at this innovative sea organ. An incomparable sensory experience.

  1. Salutation to the Sun

Marvel at this show of night lights that light up according to the rhythm of the waves of the sea. A perfect place to enjoy the sunset.

  1. St. Anastasia's Cathedral

Admire the Gothic architecture of this impressive cathedral and explore inside, where you'll find priceless religious artwork.

  1. Earth Gate

Stroll through this old entrance to the walled city and marvel at its impressive Renaissance design.

  1.  Zadar Archaeological Museum

Immerse yourself in the region's rich history at this fascinating museum, which houses an extensive collection of artifacts and archaeological exhibits.

  1. Square of the Five Wells

Relax in this charming square, surrounded by beautiful buildings and with a central fountain that adds a touch of serenity to the environment.

  1. Kolovare Beach

Enjoy the sun and crystal clear waters on this popular Zadar beach, equipped with all the necessary amenities to spend a pleasant day.

  1. Saint Simon Church

Visit this medieval place of worship and marvel at its Romanesque architecture and well-preserved frescoes inside.

  1. Telascica Nature Park

Escape the bustle of the city and enter this beautiful natural park, where you can explore impressive cliffs and a calm bay.

Eat and Drink in Zadar 

Zadar's gastronomy combines fresh and local ingredients with traditional techniques, offering an authentic and tasty culinary experience. Here we tell you about some of its most outstanding dishes.

Savoring "peka" is a must-have culinary experience in Zadar. This traditional recipe involves slow cooking meats, such as lamb or chicken, along with vegetables, herbs, and spices, in an iron pot under a metal hood.

"Prsut" is a type of cured ham that is served as an appetizer or part of a main course. Produced in the Dalmatian region, prsut is made from local acorn-fed pigs, giving it a rich, smoky flavor.

Fresh seafood is a specialty in Zadar, thanks to its seaside location. Try the "brudet", a fish stew made with different types of fish and shellfish, slowly cooked in a tomato and white wine sauce. Each bite will transport you to the flavors of the Adriatic.

When it comes to drinks, don't miss the opportunity to try "maraschino", a cherry liqueur originally from Zadar. Maraschino is made from the marasca cherry variety, which is grown in the region. Its sweet and fruity flavor makes it a perfect digestive after a good meal.

Finally, don't forget to enjoy the local wines, such as Babic and Posip.

The Cultural Identity of Zadar

Zadar's culture is rich and diverse, reflecting the history and identity of this charming Croatian city. The people of Zadar are known for their warm hospitality and welcoming spirit, making visitors feel welcome from the very first moment.

Tradition and folklore are fundamental elements in the culture of Zadar. Traditional songs and dances, passed down from generation to generation, are an integral part of the region's cultural identity, as are its traditional costumes.

In turn, music has a prominent place in the cultural life of Zadar. The city is famous for its unique sea organ, which combines nature and art to create a unique musical experience.

In addition, Zadar boasts a vibrant music scene that ranges from classical to contemporary genres, offering a variety of concerts and events to suit all tastes.

So too, architecture and art are also highlights of Zadar's culture. Historic buildings, such as churches and palaces, display a mix of architectural styles that reflect the influence of different eras and civilizations. The city's art galleries and museums display works by local and international artists, providing a unique insight into the art world.

The sense of community and the importance of the family are fundamental values ​​in the culture of Zadar. Family ties are strong and are celebrated on special occasions such as weddings and religious holidays. Solidarity and mutual support are key elements in the daily life of the city.

As you can see, Zadar's culture thrives on the combination of ancient traditions and the influence of modernity. The openness towards other cultures and the desire to preserve one's own roots make Zadar a fascinating and constantly evolving place.

How to Get to Zadar

Getting to Zadar is relatively easy, as the city has well-established transport links. Here I explain the different ways to get to Zadar:

  1. By plane: Zadar Airport (ZAD) is located about 8 kilometers from the city center. It receives national and international flights from various airlines. From the airport, you can take a bus or a taxi to the center of Zadar.
  2. By train: Zadar has a train station that connects with different Croatian and European cities. However, keep in mind that train connections may be less frequent and slower than other transport options.
  3. By bus: Zadar's main bus station is located near the city center. It is possible to reach Zadar by bus from many neighboring Croatian and European cities. The bus system is extensive and offers regular and comfortable options.
  4. By ferry: If you are on one of the nearby islands, you can reach Zadar by ferry. The city has a port that receives regular connections from the islands of the Zadar archipelago and other coastal cities in Croatia.
  5. By road: Zadar is well connected by road. If you are traveling by car, you can reach the city via the A1 motorway, which connects Zadar with Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, and other major cities in the country.

Remember that it is always advisable to check the schedules and transport options available before your trip, especially if you travel in high season.

How to Get Around in Zadar?

Getting around Zadar is easy and convenient, as the city has an efficient public transport system and offers additional options for getting around. Here are some ways to get around Zadar:

  1. On foot: Zadar's historic center is quite compact and many of the main attractions are located in a pedestrian zone. Touring the city on foot will allow you to enjoy its charm and discover its most picturesque corners.
  2. Bus: Zadar has a public transportation system that includes city buses that connect different areas of the city. Buses are a practical and economical option to get around Zadar and reach places further from the center. You can check the schedules and routes on the website of the Zadar public transport company.
  3. Taxi: Taxis are available throughout the city and are a convenient option, especially if you want to get around quickly or have a lot of luggage. You can find designated taxi ranks in strategic places, such as the bus station and the city center. You can also call a local taxi company or use transportation apps.
  4. Bike Rental: Zadar is a cyclist-friendly city, and bike rental is a popular option for exploring the city and its surroundings. There are several bike rental shops and services available in Zadar, and many of the streets have bike lanes.
  5. Car: If you prefer to have more independence and explore the surroundings of Zadar, you can rent a car. The city has several car rental companies where you can find a wide range of options. However, be aware that parking can be limited in the city center and in high season it can be difficult to find a spot.

Passers-by walking through the streets of Zadar

Passers-by walking through the streets of Zadar

Picture of Mikusa Martin on Unsplash

Beaches of Zadar 

Zadar has several beautiful and picturesque beaches for visitors to enjoy the sun and the sea. We tell you about some of the most outstanding beaches in Zadar.

Kolovare Beach

This is the most popular beach in Zadar and is located near the center of the city. Kolovare offers a wide strip of sand and pebbles, crystal clear waters and a wide variety of services, such as restaurants, bars, rental of sun loungers and umbrellas, as well as water sports facilities.

Borik Beach

Located in the Borik neighborhood, this beach is ideal for families. Borik has a wide sandy and pebble beach, shallow and clean waters, and a wide range of facilities and activities for children, such as inflatable water parks and games.

Diklo Beach

Located in the Diklo neighborhood, this beach offers a calm and relaxed atmosphere. With crystal clear waters and a combination of rocks and concrete sunbathing platforms, Diklo is perfect for those looking to escape the crowds and enjoy tranquility.

Puntamika Beach

This beach is located in the Puntamika neighborhood and is known for its crystal clear waters and calm atmosphere. It is a popular choice for locals and those who prefer a less crowded beach. Puntamika also has several bars and restaurants nearby.

Uskok Beach

This beach is located in the extreme southwest of Zadar, near the picturesque village of Petrcane. Uskok is a pebble beach surrounded by nature and offers a more calm and serene environment. It is perfect for those who wish to enjoy natural beauty and peace.

When to Visit Zadar

Zadar is a city that can be visited throughout the year, but the best time to do so depends on your preferences and desired activities.

Summer, from June to August, is the high season in Zadar, with hot and sunny temperatures ranging from 25°C to 30°C.

During this time, the beaches are lively, outdoor restaurants are in full swing, and various festivals and cultural events take place in the city. However, keep in mind that there may be a greater influx of tourists and prices may be higher.

Spring and autumn are also ideal times to visit Zadar. In spring, from April to May, and in autumn, from September to October, temperatures are milder, ranging between 15°C and 25°C.

These seasons offer a pleasant climate to explore the city, visit places of interest and enjoy the beaches without the crowds of the high season. In addition, it is possible to find cheaper deals on accommodation and flights.

Winter, from November to March, is the low season in Zadar. Temperatures can drop as low as 5°C, but frost rarely occurs.

During this time, the city is quieter and more peaceful, which can appeal to those looking to escape the crowds and want to explore Zadar at a more relaxed pace. In addition, some cultural events and Christmas festivities bring a special charm to the city at this time of year.

Festivals of Zadar 

Zadar is known for its vibrant cultural scene and exciting festivals that attract visitors from all over the world. Here are some of the most notable festivals in Zadar:

  1. Festival of the Sea and Maritime Culture: This festival is held every year in July and is a celebration of Zadar's rich maritime heritage. During the event, visitors can enjoy exhibitions of traditional boats, nautical shows, concerts and cultural activities related to the sea.
  2. Full Moon Night: This monthly event takes place during the summer and is a unique experience in Zadar. During the Night of the Full Moon, the old town comes alive with live music, street performances, art exhibitions and a lively party atmosphere. Restaurants and bars offer special promotions, and visitors can enjoy evening strolls through the illuminated streets.
  3. Zadar International Music Festival: This festival attracts internationally renowned musicians and is held at different locations throughout the city. It offers a wide variety of concerts, from classical music to jazz and contemporary music. The shows take place in historical places, such as churches and palaces, providing a unique musical experience.
  4. Summer Theater Festival: During the summer months, Zadar hosts an open-air theater festival featuring a variety of theater performances and shows. Local and international artists come together to give performances on makeshift stages in the old town, creating a charming and welcoming theatrical atmosphere.
  5. Kino Mediteran Outdoor Film Festival: This film festival takes place every year in July and August, offering free screenings of international films in an open-air location by the sea. Visitors can enjoy a movie night under the stars while soaking in the magic of the movies and enjoying the sea breeze.

Destinations Near Zadar

Zadar is an excellent destination thanks to its historical heritage, its culture and its natural beauty.

In turn, due to its proximity to Plitvice and Zagreb, many travelers combine their visit to Zadar with these destinations, which is why you will find these sites in several of our offers.

Are you looking to marvel at amazing beaches? Do you want to know a fascinating culture? Do you want to enjoy a great gastronomic offer?

If your answer is "yes", at Greca we have several proposals for tourist packages to Zadar, which you can modify and adapt according to your needs and times.

There are travel packages for all tastes. Choose your own adventure according to your needs!

More Travel Guides!

If you have been interested in our Zadar travel guide and want to continue learning about this and other wonderful destinations, we invite you to look at the section of all our Travel Guides. Plan your next adventure with Greca!

Do I need a visa to travel to Zadar?

Citizens of the European Union do not need a visa to travel to Zadar. However, if you are not an EU citizen, it is important to check the visa requirements before your trip.

What is the currency used in Zadar?

The official currency of Croatia is the kuna (HRK). It is advisable to exchange your currency for kunas before arriving in Zadar or use ATMs to get cash in the local currency.

What is the main language in Zadar?

The main language spoken in Zadar is Croatian. However, many locals in the tourism industry also speak English, so communication is usually not a problem.

What is the best time to visit Zadar in terms of weather?

Zadar has a Mediterranean climate, so the summer months from June to August are warm and sunny. However, spring and fall also offer pleasant temperatures and fewer crowds.

Is it safe to travel to Zadar?

Zadar is generally a safe city for tourists. However, like anywhere else, it's important to keep an eye on your belongings and exercise caution in crowded areas.

How much does it cost to eat in Zadar?

The cost of meals in Zadar can vary depending on the type of restaurant. In general, local restaurants and street food options tend to be cheaper than upscale restaurants.

Is English spoken in Zadar restaurants and shops?

Yes, many locals in the tourism industry in Zadar speak English. In restaurants and shops, you will likely find staff who can communicate with you in English.

Is it necessary to rent a car to explore Zadar?

It is not necessary to rent a car, as Zadar is a walkable city and has an efficient public transport system. However, if you want to explore the surroundings of Zadar with more flexibility, renting a car may be convenient.

What are the transportation options from Zadar airport to the city center?

From Zadar airport, you can take a bus or a taxi to get to the city center. Regular buses operate according to flight schedules and taxis are readily available outside the arrivals area.

What are some popular tourist attractions near Zadar?

Some popular tourist attractions near Zadar include the Plitvice Lakes National Park, the Kornati Islands, and the Paklenica National Park. These destinations offer breathtaking natural beauty and opportunities to hike, explore caves, and enjoy nature.

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