10 Things to do in Zadar

Situated along the picture-perfect Dalmatian coast, Zadar is a small, yet truly charming Croatian city. From the incredible Roman ruins as well as the 12th century Venetian architecture to the traditional mouth-watering cuisine, Zadar has so much to offer that you will have no time to spare while exploring the city. While you will be tempted to dive straight into the charming alleys of Zadar old town, it is also worth considering taking a few short-day trips to the nearby fishing villages and unspoiled islands. Keep reading as I am sharing the top 10 things to do in Zadar!

  1. Get Lost in the Old Town

It is impossible to visit Zadar without exploring its narrow pedestrian only alleys lined with old Venetian style houses. Make sure to head to the old town and just get lost in between the little streets as you are admiring the impressive fusion of Roman, Byzantine and Venetian architectural. The old town of Zadar is surrounded by ancient fortification walls that were once used to defend the city. Nowadays, however, they draw history buffs, who would like to take a step back in time and fully experience the heritage of Zadar where they can walk on the walls.

  1. Pay a Visit to St Anastasia’s Cathedral and Bell Tower

As you are exploring Zadar’s old town, you will definitely find yourself in awe with the impressive facade of St Anastasia’s Cathedral. With history dating all the way back to the 12th century, the cathedral has a massive significance to the entire region, as it is known to be the largest in Dalmatia. Take a few moments to soak in the beauty of its rich Romanesque exterior, but make sure to climb the Bell Tower next. The climb to the top is so worth it, as you will be presented with one of the most breathtaking views that you could find in Zadar. The city beneath you, surrounded by the turquoise waters of the Adriatic Sea is the scenery you will be dreaming of long after you have gone back home.

  1. Be Inspired at Sea Organ and Greeting to the Sun

Among the 10 things to do in Zadar is getting inspired! The best places to do that are the two impressive art installations by the architect Nicola Basic – the Sea Organ and Greeting to the Sun. The Sea Organ is a series of marble steps, located by the waterfront, which create peaceful and calming sounds played by the wave’s power. Greeting to the Sun, on the other hand, is an incredible solar panel installation 22 meters in diameter. During the day the panels collect energy from the sun during the day and at night they illuminate in a colorful light show. Both of these spots are ideal for a visit as the sun is kissing the horizon goodnight.

  1. Take a day trip to Kornati National Park

Conveniently located by the Dalmatian Coast, Zadar is also an excellent destination if you like renting a boat or taking the ferry to explore Croatia by water. Widely known as one of the most stunning preserved areas across the country, paying a visit to Kornati National Park is one of the top 10 things to do in Zadar. With more than 80 stunning islands, the park is home to numerous secluded pristine beaches. You can  take the Jadrolinija ferry one of the many tours or even rent a boat for the day and explore on your own pace!

  1. Take a day trip to Petrčane village

Located just 12 km away from Zadar, the charming small Petrcane village should definitely be part of your travel itinerary. Everything from the fishing culture and traditions, the colorful bay and the pebbled little beaches shaded by fragrant pines  make it a picture-perfect spot for a day away from the touristy streets of Zadar. It is also worth paying a visit to Kraljevski vineyard, especially if you are a wine lover, as their wine tasting sessions are excellent. We loved trying the variety of locally produced wines and learning more about the wine production in this part of the country.

  1. People Watch while Sipping on Delicious Coffee

There is something extra calming about having an early start to your day and having a cup of coffee, while the city and its residents are still waking up. That is the reason why, next on my list of the 10 things to do in Zadar is heading to the main square and people watching while sipping on a delicious coffee. Just enjoy the little morning rituals of Croatians as they are getting ready for their day. A nice added bonus is the fact that you will be enjoying the compulsory dose of tasty morning coffee in a historic, picturesque surrounding.

  1. Shop at Zadar Open Air Market

If you are a sucker for good fresh food, shopping at Zadar Open Air Market is one of the top 10 things to do in the city. You will find a huge variety of locally grown organic fruit and vegetables. Stop by the herbal stands to take all the scents in and choose your favorites to make your own herbal mix, which you can then use to create some delicious meals at home. Do not forget to stop by the fish market just across the street as well. Seafood meals are extremely popular in Zadar due to its close proximity to the water and the city’s fish culture and traditions. Experiment and try something new!

  1. Spend a Day by the Beach

Are you wondering how to spend a relaxing laid-back day in Zadar! The answer is as simple as heading to the beach for a day filled with sunshine! Kolovare Beach is the most well-known beach in the city. It has more of a pebble beachfront, but the water is crystal-clear. It is worth renting a kayak, a stand-up paddleboard or just going for a swim in the refreshing waters, especially on a hot summer day. To escape the crowds, make your way to Puntamika Beach, which is a lot smaller, but also much quieter and secluded. With a little promenade and a charming lighthouse, it is a great option for couples looking for a few hours of romance.

  1. Have traditional authentic food from Dalmatia

One of the best things about taking a holiday to a new destination is being introduced to a completely new and different cuisine. I am a strong believer that trying the traditional meals is one of the best ways to fully immerse yourself into the Croatian and more specifically the Dalmatia culture and traditions. Choose one of the small, charming restaurants in the old town area serving home-made authentic food. Make sure to order some Peka, which is a dish made of potatoes and meat or seafood. Try some Black risotto, Pasticada or Brudet – all flavorful dishes traditional for the Dalmatia region. 

  1. Shop for Souvenirs at the Riva

Before your holiday is over and you head back home, the last thing to do in Zadar is shop for some souvenirs to take back home as memories of your fantastic trip. I strongly suggest going for a little stroll down the Riva, which is a pleasant promenade at the end of the Old Town. It is first a great spot just to spend a few hours getting the feel and vibe of Zadar, but also you will find a number of small local shops that sell fantastic hand-made items, which can be excellent souvenirs for yourself and your friends back home!

Are you ready to start planning your trip to Zadar? Which of the above 10 things to do in Zadar would you like to try first?