Zadar Travel Guide: Best things to do in Zadar
Zadar, with 75.000 inhabitants, is the second largest city in Dalmatia and a popular starting point for visiting the beautiful Zadar archipelago. The entire old town is rich in cultural heritage and on top it has a perfect size and can be explored by a lovely half-day walk.
With its temples, roman forum and the regular road network, Zadar still shows the characteristic of an ancient Roman city. Today, the old town is a historical center of Dalmatia and 2016 the town was even rated „the Best European Destination of 2016“.
Here is a travel guide about sightseeing in Zadar, a travel itinerary for spending a half day or day in this Dalmatian coastal town.
Sightseeing in Zadar – Best things to do
What to do in Zadar: Take a map from the tourist office, walk along the white cobblestone streets and explore the old town by yourself. Lovely squares, marbled street, roman ruins and beautiful churches – Zadar offers a few nice things to explore. However the city is really charming but not as touristy as Split or Dubrovnik and the prices are still moderate. You are going to find plenty of tasty restaurants and also the nightlife is fantastic. Basically this town is a great place for a day visit or even longer!
Here are some of the nicest thing to do in town which are all within walking distance:
People`s Square (Narodni trg)
The Peoples Square is located in the center of Zadar old town. We highly recommend to visit the ice cream shop at the corner of the square.
Zadar Cathedral – St. Anastasia
It’s the largest church in all of Dalmatia and surely one of the top attractions of the old town. Also in this area you are going to find plenty of shopping possibilities, some nice coffee places and ice cream shops.
Roman Forum & St. Donat`s Church
The Forum is one of the most famous among the Croatian ancient cities. Very well preserved it was once the main square of Zadar.The St. Donat`s church is located just next to the forum and it’s a popular place for marriages.
Old Town & St Mary Church
Around the St. Simeon`s Church
The St.Simeons`s Church and the area around is just lovely. The historic townscape is really interesting in that area and a wonderful place to do some photography. The relaxing cafés invite for a break and let you enjoy the ancient ambience.
5 Wells Square
The name is the program, five wells are lined up in a row. From the Queen Jelena Madije Park nearby you are going to have a lovely view. Fun fact, this park was actually the first public park in Croatia.
Fosa – Land Gate of Zadar
Before, the Fosa was the main entrance to the city center. Today tourists admire the beautiful Renaissance style of the gate
Riva is the sea-promenade and a lovely place for wandering around. From there you are going to have a lovely view of the islands Ugljan and Pasman. Some tourists visit Zadar for the outstanding beautiful sunset view. Walking up to the western end of the Riva you are going to find the famous Sea Organ.
The Sea Organ
The Sea Organ is probably the best known tourist attraction in Zadar. It’s located in the western end of Zadar’s old town. Just sit down on the stairs leading down to the water and enjoy this orchestra of nature that plays music made of the oceans waves. Each sound is completely unique – a great place to relax after a long city walk.
Greeting to the Sun
On the end of the Zadar Riva, just next to the Sea Organ, you are going to find the „Greeting to the sun“ The sight should be visited in the evening, when the photo-voltage solar modules are alight.
St. Francis Church and Franciscan Monastery
The church is the dated back to 1283 and is thus the oldest church in Dalmatia. It’s built in gothic style and the inner yard of the monastery is really beautiful.
Other things to see in the old town of Zadar
General Zadar Travel Info
Parking in Zadar
Parking in the city center is charged every day from 8:00-22:00. Here you are going to find a map about the parking spaces near the old town.
Where to stay in Zadar
Most of the tourist stay somewhere around Zadar and visit the city for a daytrip. Anyway, inside the old town you are going to find a handful of nice hotels. It is more common to rent an apartment. Peak season is July/August, so you should book in advance. Check out here for some great choices.
Beside sightseeing and shopping, Zadar also offer some nice beaches to refresh yourself:
Boric beach – is the main beach of Zadar and offers various kinds of water entertainment for young and old
Kolovar beach – a small pepple beach, surrounded by pinewoods. It belongs to the most popular beaches to visit for locals.
Drazica beach – the beach is reachable through a short 5 minute walk.
Daytrips from Zadar – top holiday activities
Krka National Park
This National park is truly beautiful and one of the best places to visit in Dalmatia.
Dugi Otok and the Telascica National Park
The island offers quiet and peaceful beaches. Some of them belong to the most beautiful ones in Croatia. The Telascica Nature Park with its breath-taking 161 m cliffs and the lovely salt lake called Mir is really worth a visit!
Kornati Islands National Park
With 89 uninhabited islands, islets and reefs the National Park is the most widely-spreaded archipelago on the Mediterranean.
Amongst others, the Kornati Islands can be visited by day-excursions from Zadar or with a private skipper.
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Read more about Croatia:
- Kornati Islands – Excursions to Croatia’s nautical paradise
- The 8 best beaches in Croatia
- Krka National Park Waterfalls – a must see in Croatia
- Visiting Murter in Croatia – A travel guide
- Kamenjak National Park in Premantura – Croatia
- Top things to do in Istria – travel highlights