Zadar

by Ucman Scher
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day trip to Zadar

A Perfect Day In Zadar

Disclaimer: This is a guest post and all information is provided by a guest writer from Zadar.

If you are visiting the Balkans or Croatia or even Slovenia, Zadar offers a great day trip from Split. There’s another small secret not many people know; Zadar is way cheaper than the rest of Croatia and still offers a good Croatian experience even if it is for a single day.

If you are a sunset lover who appreciates long history and rich heritage but also wants to visit as much as possible in one day, Zadar is the city for you. With the most beautiful sunset in the world (according to some) over the gorgeous Adriatic, Zadar often does not get the attention it deserves.

Think about it like this – Croatia has so many stunning places, why not visit a place that offers a great experience without all the crowds and crazy prices, isn’t it a great deal? 

Check out my country guide for Croatia for a perfect trip.

day trip to zadar

The sunset over sea organ
Image by Ivan Vuksa from Pixabay

Where is Zadar?

Located on the beautiful Adriatic coast, Zadar is a town in the region of North Dalmatia, one of the oldest regions of Croatia, with more than 20,000 inhabitants.

Organize and find your best accommodation in Zadar, so that you can enjoy it to the maximum!

What Is the Best Time To Visit Zadar?

Summer is the perfect time to visit Zadar but it is also a great place to visit off-season for great weather and glorious beaches.  The weather is almost always sunny, creating a shimmering reflection in the sea. In the end, it all looks as shiny blue as it can get.

If you don’t want to risk and you want to make sure you will experience the best of Zadar, travelling in the spring or summer is most rewarding.

Of course, this touristic town has its crowded periods – July and August. So, if you are longing to release the stress and charge your batteries in a peaceful and quiet place, think about avoiding peak season for travelling to Zadar.

If, however, you want to feel the summer atmosphere without standing in line in the crowd, think about travelling in May, June, or September.

History City, Zadar
Image by Filip Filipović from Pixabay

A Little History of Zadar…

The history of Zadar is difficult to shorten in just a few sentences. It has changed names through its past, depending on whose territory it was under at the time.

Zadar is first mentioned in the 4th century BC under the name Iader, given by the Illyrians. The name changed to Idassa (Greek), Jadera (Roman), Diadora, Zara (Italian), and finally, Zadar. Besides the name, Zadar changed a lot of ”owners” too – Byzanth, Franks, Venice Republic, Austria, France, Italy, and finally, Croatia!

Today’s look is a combination of all the historic styles, with the biggest impact from the Romans. Except for the historical remains, things that will make an impression are the Greeting to the Sun and the Sea Organ – thanks to these places, people travel here from all around the world just to see them.

Zadar – Must-See Places

Luckily, Zadar is still a small town, small enough to do most of the sightseeing in one day. Even though it has many historical spots, they are all very close to each other, placed in the Old Town (peninsula) surrounded by ramparts.

If you are looking for a longer route, you can always make a schedule and a list of places to visit each day and mix it with some beach visits.

Churches in Zadar

St. Anastasia’s Cathedral and the Church of St. Donatus are some of the most popular places to visit, for sure.

The Cathedral of St. Anastasia is the largest one in Dalmatia, known for its bell tower. If you have the time, do not miss the chance to climb on the top of the bell tower from where you can see the view of the whole Zadar and its archipelago extends.

To make the most out of it, climb on the sunset time – it will be unforgettable!

St. Donatus Church is the iconic church in Zadar, unique because of its circular shape. It was built in the 9th century and is placed right next to the Cathedral. Also, it is the largest pre-Romanesque building in Croatia!

Zadar Cathedral
Image by smartapa from Pixabay

Public Squares in Zadar

People’s Square, Five Wells Square and Forum are unavoidable places to visit when you are in Zadar.

People’s Square (Narodni Trg) is the main square in Zadar, connected to the most popular street, Kalelarga. On this square, you can see other important parts of the city – City Lodge and City Guard.

Stepping on the Kalelarga, the way leads you to Forum and St. Donatus Church. Forum is the ancient square filled with artefacts, describing the history and giving you a picturesque impression of life in the ancient time.

If you turn left instead of right from the People’s Square, you will end up in another Square – the Five Wells Square (Trg pet bunara).  Built in the 16th century by the Venetian Republic, this place was used as a water supplier for the people. Connected with the park above itself, this part of Zadar offers you insight into the former entrance of the town.

Image by katkaZV from Pixabay

Museums in Zadar

For all the history lovers who love to explore ancient stories and see what Zadar was made of throughout history, the Archaeological Museum offers you just that. Located on the Forum, this three-floored museum is something you shouldn’t skip.

Again for some history lovers, there is a Museum of Ancient Glass. In this museum, you can find some interesting pieces of glass, but you can also see for yourself how the glass is made. It offers you a look into the glass blowing technique!

If you are looking for something different and fun, you might want to visit the Museum of Illusions. Its content has nothing to do with Zadar itself, but it guarantees you a lot of fun things such as optical illusions.

Walking Tours in Zadar

For some extra experience, consider just walking around Zadar. These tours are something you can’t avoid even if you try because they connect all the places listed above.

Kalelarga (from Italian ”wide street”) is the most popular street in this town – Zadar owes its popularity to this street. Along Kalelarga there are so many souvenir and gift shops, bakeries, restaurants and, of course, a lot of places to buy some ice cream! Another beautiful walking path is the one which extends along with the Museum of Illusions. It is newly renovated into a pedestrian zone.

St Donatas Church in the evening.
Image by katkaZV from Pixabay

One Day Itinerary for Zadar

Visiting Zadar is going to remain in your memory for quite some time, so make sure you see as much as possible. 

Starting from the Sea Organ and Greeting to the sun, relaxing music and calming atmosphere will charge your batteries and give you the energy for the rest of the sightseeing.

From the Sea Organ take a walk to the Cathedral and buy yourself some ice cream in Donat confectionery. Continue your walking tour for a few hundred meters more along the Kalelarga and you will find yourself in the Forum, where you can visit the Archaeological Museum and admire the St. Donatus church.

Return to Kalelarga and keep walking – you will get to the People’s Square and, if you keep going, finally, you will get to the Five Wells Square. 

Just down the stairs, you can visit the City Gate (also known as Lion’s Door), built in 1543. The Door is one of the most iconic things to visit!

Finally

Wherever you go in Zadar, you won’t be disappointed. Along the route you have planned, be prepared to see many more beautiful spots in the city so don’t hold yourself back and add it to your Croatia itinerary now.

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