My mother, friend and I planned to stay in Zadar from June to September, but my dog Onawa was diagnosed with Addison’s disease causing us to cut our stay short. Our departure became the end of July making our next stop Zagreb for a few weeks for her treatment. We found many reasons to love Zadar, everything is available; The beaches, historical sites, Venetian architecture, fun bars, good restaurants, cool neighborhoods to explore and islands which are easily accessible by ferry. The Croatian/Serbian language is intimate, for example greetings are izolete which means “there you are.” I love it, so cute! Café culture is another lovely aspect, they are the neighborhood congregation. Many of the beaches are in front of cafés, enabling patrons, both young and old to drink, hang out and swim within the same space. People spend hours in cafés.
The Adriatic Sea is great for swimming, it’s very salty, clear and clean. The water is typically calm and access can be found either from pebble beaches, rocky coves, or concrete walls with steps, or ladders. A few city buses deliver riders to the different towns and villages outside of the city center. Many of the stops are right in front of swimming areas from Zadar to Duklo. Other buses leave the central bus station on their routes to Petrčane and Pag among other interesting places including Nin and the island of Vir. My favorite swim spot on the mainland was tucked away coves on the north side of Petrčane, it can be found north of the Falkensteiner resort. A nude beach is further up toward Nin, I found the perfect place to swim for hours, or lay around and relax under short dense shrubs and pines. Petrčane has a cute little town with several cafes and restaurants as well as a larger beach filled with people.
Another one of my favorites was Bamboo Beach Bar in Puntamika, I came here a few times to relax under the pines and swim out of the shallows into chilly deep waters. The concrete wall piers created a comfortable home for baby fish which makes this a great place for swimming around with a mask and snorkel. The beach bar along with the others in the area become a nightclub with music and lots of tourists having fun. Most of the tourists come from different areas of Croatia, or Germany.
In the city center the nightlife reminds me of Key west during the winter season. Every bar fuses into another, where the crowds of the streets are more like the crowds of the clubs. The narrow Venetian style alleys act as guides to explore the old town, especially when needing their shadow to shelter from the hot sun. Each ally is home to many restaurants and bars.
Zadar and much of the northern coast were a Venetian colony. The architecture and style of city development is reminiscent of Venice.
I didn’t get a chance to try out any of the restaurants in the center. After six months of living in a hotel all I wanted was to cook every meal for as long as I could. We tried a pizza place near our house which had an amazing truffle pizza and a black squid ink pizza. We also tried a few outside of the center. Some of the recipes I created while there were a braised spare rib tripe dish and a vegan cherry chia pudding. I’ll share both recipes in October :). We had a lot of gnocchi, they are a popular in Croatia, especially in Zadar. We gorged ourselves on fresh fruit, the cherries in the beginning and watermelon in the end.