Why Zadar is the perfect city break
For tantalising blue water, piercing sunshine and mouth-watering seafood in Croatia without the crowds, look past Dubrovnik, Split or Hvar and venture instead to Zadar. Encased by Roman Walls bridges and the Adriatic Sea, Zadar is one of Europe’s oldest settlements and the perfect city break to explore a slice of Croatia.
Here are our Top 8 reasons why you should make Zadar your next city break:
1. Unique attractions
Zadar’s boardwalk is one of Europe’s most unique. Stretching from the university grounds along the sea edge to the tip of the Old Town you’ll be greeted with a low humming noise. That’s the natural sound of the Sea Organ caused by the crashing waves of the Adriatic Sea pushing air through small holes in the boardwalk producing the organ-like noise.
You will also notice the 22-metre solar panel on the floor. This is the Greeting to the Sun which transforms into an outdoor disco as night falls after soaking up the rich rays from the sun. Just steps away from the Adriatic Sea, Zadar’s charm and character culminates into one unique space.
2. One of Europe’s prettiest sunsets
Alfred Hitchcock once described Zadar’s sunset as the most beautiful in the world. And once you experience it for yourself, you’ll agree.
Zadar’s residents and visitors congregate on the boardwalk to witness the sun disappearing over the Dalmatian Islands. Many people take a bottle of wine or an ice cream from the exceptional Slasticarna and watch the sky turn into a delicate purple and orange hue.
3. Easy to travel to
Zadar is easily accessible from the UK with routes from London (Gatwick & Stansted), the North-West (Liverpool & Manchester), Birmingham, Edinburgh and many more.
The airport is just a 15-minute drive west of the city centre. Buses leave outside the airport 30-minutes after planes land and cost 25 HRK one-way. Taxis also operate outside the airport.
Compared to Dubrovnik, Split, Hvar and even Zagreb, activities and food/drink in Zadar cost a fraction of the price. You can eat at great spots such as 4 Kantuna, Konoba Martinac and Congo for £15 per person.
5. Easy to navigate
The last thing you want to do on a city break is spend time and money travelling from your hotel to your activities by public transport.
Thankfully, Zadar’s Old Town is completely walkable with infrequent buses or cars ever entering the city, and no train station in sight. Explore the Vladimir Nazor Park outside the Land Gate (dating back to 1543) and continue beyond to Kolovare Beach along the sea front for spectacular views over the Dalmatian Islands - maybe occasionally stop at one of the inexpensive beach bars and get up close to the waves against you.
6. Perfect base for island-hopping
Need your fix of the crystal sea? Zadar makes the perfect base to hop on and off the Dalmatian Islands close by and explore its sandy coves for yourself.
The Kornati Islands are the most renowned for spectacular beaches and sapphire-blue water.
7. Hiking trails
Scattered across the Dalmatian Islands are ancient fortresses, lighthouses and secluded viewpoints only accessible by hiking trails.
On the most accessible island, Ugljan, is the most famous hiking trail to Fort Saint Michael, a 6th-century hill-top fort and observation post at the highest point of the island. The views will take your breath away. The dramatic cliff edges around the fort epitomise Zadar’s importance centuries ago as a trade haven and a gateway to Europe.
8. Perfect day trips
Zadar makes the perfect base for day trips in-land too. Krka National Park, awash with waterfalls, castle ruins and walking trails is only an hour away by coach. Plitvice Lakes, north of the city, is an outdoor lovers dream, blanketed with alpine forests and secluded caves.