The largest city in Northern Dalmatia, Croatia is Zadar and yet, is not necessarily as well known as other great cities in the country.
For those who do visit this city, they are not disappointed and will return for ever more because there are a wealth of attractions from ancient ruins to beautiful beaches to be explored and admired.
The history and cultural heritage are both exceptional and rich in Zadar and there are numerous guided tours, sightseeing tours and city tours to do, whereby you get to see and learn the most fascinating things.
Then the other side of Zadar are the exceptional variety of beaches, small and large bays, peninsulas and Islands. Relax on the beaches here or be more adventurous and do water sports which are available on most beaches. Enjoy surfing, wind surfing, kite surfing, water skiing, sailing and jet skiing.
The social aspect in Zadar is another plus for this city. The restaurants serve delicious gourmet delicacies, the cafes on the promenades offer views to admire and then the bars and nightclubs are the perfect endings to a wonderful day. Read More...
The Most Unusual and Unique Place to Visit on a Sightseeing Tour of Zadar Is the Sea Organ
When it comes to unique places to visit on sightseeing tours, Zadar has one and that is the Sea Organ. This is, in essence, a massive musical instrument upon which the waves play. The ‘music’ is created due to the toned tubes placed in the water under marble steps which descend into the sea and the movement of the waves.
Another fascinating sight near the Sea Organ is the Greeting of the Sun. This is made up of 300 multilayered glass plates and solar panels that light up at nighttime with breathtaking effect.
Zadar has many beautiful, stunning and extraordinary places and monuments to see on varied tours but also the option of sun soaking beach days and water sports adventures.
Top 10 Things to See and Do in Zadar
The Sea Organ
On sightseeing tours visit the unique to Zadar, Sea Organ. This is the largest ‘musical’ instrument in the city situated on the Zadar’s Riva western end. Toned tubes placed under broad marble steps that lead down into the sea create ‘music’ with the movement of the waves. It is 70 meters long and there are 35 organ pipes. The sounds that it makes may not be music to your ears, but it is fascinating.
The Zadar Cathedral or the Cathedral of St. Anastasia is a wonderful place to take a guided tour. It has a unique blend of period architecture. First built by Byzantines in the 9th century, it was rebuilt in Romanesque style during the 12th and 13th century. The cathedral's facade has three entrances, two rose windows, blind arches and a gothic style top. The interior is also exceptional to see.
Zadar Archaeological Museum
Take a guided tour of the second oldest museum in Croatia, the Zadar Archaeological Museum which was established in 1832. On tour here, you get an idea of the influences which shaped Dalmatia. It is dedicated to the rich history of Zadar and some of its best displays include finds from the 7th and 12th centuries. The oldest historical items displayed are from the Copper, Bronze, Paleolithic, Neolithic and Iron ages.
Kornati National Park
The 147 islands of the Zadar Archipelago is what makes up Kornati National Park and is just off the city of Zadar’s coast. To preserve natural habitats and protect marine life, this park was established 1980. There are many adventure tours to do here including hiking tours, cave explorations, cliff climbing and great diving tours. There are still ancient Roman remains on these islands that are of Roman Villas.
The City Walls and Gates
The magnificent old city walls and gates must be seen on a city tour of Zadar. The Romans built the oldest section which is near the footbridge along the eastern wall. The others are known to have been built by the Venetians mainly. The Land Gate is the most impressive and important of the city four remaining gates which are relatively well preserved. It was constructed in 1543 in the style of Renaissance by the Venetians.
Church of St. Donatus
See the Church of St. Donatus in Zadar on a guided tour. This church is among the largest Byzantine architectural example in Dalmatia built in the 9th century. It was named Church of the Holy Trinity and later changed to be named after Bishop Donat. This church is noted for its circular form with three circular apses around it. It also has two supporting pillars that were from the original Roman structure that was on this site.
The Zrmanja River
Do adventure safari tours in The Zrmanja to explore this beautiful river in Europe. It takes about one hour to reach the Kastel Zegarski village from where your adventures begin. The most popular safari tour is the canoe safari where you paddle the clear waters through amazing canyons and the most stunning travertine waterfalls. There is also river rafting and trekking safari tours to do here.
The Paklenica National Park
The closest mainland national park to the city of Zadar is the Paklenica National Park which is around 50 km from the city. It is located south of the largest mountain range in Croatia, the Velebit and is a mix of peaks with stunning views, deep gorges and forests. The type of adventurous safari tours to do in this park include hiking trails, climbing trails, clubbing tours, cycling trails and cave tours.
The Museum of Ancient Glass
Take a guided tour of the Museum of Ancient Glass which is located in the Cosmacendi Palace which is near the waterfront in Zadar. Here you will find one of the largest collations of antique glass artifacts in Europe. The is a very interesting tour with ancient Roman Jars, Vials, and goblets dug up during archaeological sites in Dalmatia. As an added extra there are stunning views over the Jazine Harbour.
The Greeting of the Sun
Next to the Sea Organ, also created by the architect Nikola Basic, is another wonder of Zadar, The Greeting of the Sun. This is made up of 300 multi-layered glass plates with solar panels set into the pavement. Once the sun sets, it illuminates and produces a light show to go with the sound from the Sea Organ. It also saves up enough energy to power the lighting system on the entire harbour front. This is spectacular.
Travel Tips for Zadar
Best Time To Visit
The best time to travel to the city of Zadar in Croatia is during the months of April to September. These are the months whereby you can enjoy both the sun-soaked holiday, water sports and sightseeing tours. However, the ideal time for tours is March, October and November when it is no longer very hot and that makes conditions better when walking or traveling around on various tours. It is also much cheaper at this time too.
The prices for tourists in Zadar are very reasonable. The average daily cost for hotel, food and transport for a full day is US$67 per person. The price of sightseeing tours will vary with the seasons. The price of a hotel room for a night starts from US$40 and can rise to outrageous amounts depending on your preference and budget. There are cheap and cheerful restaurants serving just as tasty food as some of the more expensive ones.
Know Before Visiting
When getting ready to travel to Zadar, do some research on the culture and lifestyle, the type of food you can expect and the best areas for nighttime socializing. When out on sightseeing tours and any tours, do not stray from the group and in busy areas beware that there could be pickpockets around. While Zadar is a safe city, it is still advisable not to walk alone at nighttime, always travel in twos or more.
The weather in Zadar is a meditation climate which means it has warm and dry summers with calm and mild winters. You can expect little or no rain during the summer months, but it does rain regularly in Autumn, Winter and Spring. The wettest months are May, June, October, November and December. The driest month is usually August, it is also the hottest month with average temperatures of almost 30 degree Celsius.