Croatia guestpost

6 Amazing Things to Do in Zadar, Croatia

Last Updated on 22/04/2024 by kami

I visited Zadar a few years ago but somehow never really wrote about this trip to Croatia. Fortunately, a fellow blogger Anna from Expert World Travel offered to share some of the best things to do in Zadar. If you are planning a trip to Zadar, Croatia this is a great resource for you. Enjoy!

things to do in zadar croatia

Croatia is full of beautiful beaches, vacation-worthy islands, and amazing National parks, but most people forget the culture-filled historic towns. Sure, you can spend a bit of time discovering amazing things to do in Dubrovnik, but I have another worthy attraction for you: visit Zadar!

Zadar essentials

Things to do in Zadar, Croatia

Zadar is a fairly large town. But, the best Zadar sightseeing is all in Old Town, so you can easily visit all of these places in a day (or even visit Zadar as one of day trips from Zagreb). Zadar old town lies on a tiny little peninsula, so you have stunning views of the sea wherever you look.

Zadar attractions are an amazing combination of both old and new – from a church built in the 9th century to an art installation constructed a little over a decade ago. Those are just two of the best things to do in Zadar, Croatia – here are the rest!

things to do in zadar croatia

Church Of St. Donatus

The Church of St. Donatus is one of the most iconic things to see in Zadar. Originally built in the 9th century, the majestic church is some 27 meters tall. It is characterized by simplicity, of both its interior and exterior. Which is to be expected, of course, considering that the church was built in the pre-romanesque times.

In close proximity to the church, you will find the Zadar cathedral bell tower, another stunning sight in this city. It’s an amazing building on the outside – especially in the night when it lights up from the inside. But the best part is that you can actually enter the bell tower and climb to the top.

And if you like taking scenic shots, you will definitely want to do that. The view from the bell tower is breathtaking, whether you’re looking at the vast expanse of the ocean or at the rest of the city on the other side. This is one of the must things to do in Zadar!

things to do in zadar croatia

Sea Organ

Designed and built not too long ago by the famous Croatian architect Nikola Bašić, the Sea Organ has quickly become one of the most popular Zadar attractions. It’s a sound art object, quite possibly unlike anything you’ve ever witnessed before.

The Sea Organ consists of marble steps that go into the Adriatic sea. There are tubes hidden behind the steps, which allow the waves to create unique sounds when they crash against the steps. The sounds they create are very harmonic, albeit a bit random.

You can find the Sea Organ at the very edge of the Old Town. Just try to picture it – arriving here in the late evening, listening to the nature around you compose music while admiring the red and purple sky during sunset. I cannot think of a better way to end a day full of exploring Zadar.

things to do in zadar croatia

Monument To The Sun

Just a few steps away from the Sea Organ, you will find the Monument to the Sun. It consists of some three hundred glass plates in the form of a circle that are on the same level as the stone pavement. The circle has a diameter of 22 meters, so it is a pretty astonishing sight.

But here’s the interesting part – the circle is supposed to represent the sun, and you can also see representations of other planets in the solar system near it, leading you straight to the Sea Organ. At night the solar-powered monument lights up, for a truly spectacular experience.

Monument to the Sun was actually designed by the same architect who designed the Sea Organ, Nikola Bašić. These two masterpieces of his are indeed connected – the Sea Organ represents an attempt to communicate with nature via sounds, while the huge solar panel stands for communication with light.

things to do in zadar croatia

Museum Of Ancient Glass

This museum is very interesting and something you should definitely check out if you’re ever visiting Zadar. It is situated in a beautiful building, and the exhibitions inside are quite fascinating to observe.

Not only can you learn about the art of glass blowing, but you can also see it in action in one of the workshops. There are also photos of Zadar throughout the years around the museum and a small exhibition that focuses on the city lighthouse.

You will see lots of glass bowls vases in all shapes, sizes, and colors, as well as some rather interesting shapes of glass. In general, I think the museum is among the best things to do in Zadar on a rainy day, as the place is rather unique in its nature.

The tickets for the museum are inexpensive, and you don’t need to pay for a guided tour. Most of the placards have an English translation that gives you a good idea of what you’re looking at. And there is also a gift shop inside the museum, where you can purchase some very unique glass items. Including gorgeous jewelry.

People’s Square

The People’s Square in Zadar was built way back in the middle ages, and it has been the center of public life since then. The square is largely dominated by the city hall building and the city sentinel, with plenty of shops, restaurants, cafes, and bars around. The foundations for most of the municipal buildings in the city were laid here in the early Middle Ages, and they remain there even today.

However, you won’t be able to fully enjoy the city square in high season. It tends to get congested with large groups of tourists, and it’s not really a great spot to be if you don’t like crowds. But it is pretty much the perfect spot for people watching – get a table at one of the restaurants there and you can observe the movement of the crowds for ages.

There is one thing that will photograph really well even with lots of crowds on the square – the majestic clock tower. It is part of the city sentinel, and it stands tall in the sky. Which is why you don’t have to worry about other people ruining your photos.

things to do in zadar croatia

Queen Jelena Madijevka Park And Surroundings

The city’s oldest public park is just before the entrance to the old town. In fact, as you exit the park towards the old town, you will go through the Land Gate, which marks the entrance.

The Queen Jelena Madijevka Park was built on top of the city fortifications, and it is pretty unique in its structure. The park itself is not that of an astonishing sight – it’s a park like any other. But, since it is on a higher altitude than the old town, it offers some gorgeous views. You can get a good glimpse of one of Zadar’s many marinas, with beautiful sailboats and speedboats.

You will also have a great overview of the Five Wells Square, which is immediately below the park. And you can also spot the Captain’s Tower from the park – a very tall building that offers the best view of the city. You will need to climb a lot of steep stairs to get to the top, but the panoramic view will make it all worth it.

things to do in zadar croatia

Plan your trip to Zadar, Croatia

Now, that you know what to do in Zadar it’s time to plan your trip! Below are some information and resources that you might find useful.

How to get to Zadar

If you are arriving from abroad you can fly directly to Zadar airport. Numerous airlines, including low-cost, operate to Zadar airport and you can often fly really good fares there.

From the airport, you can take the frequent bus that will take you to either Zadar bus station or Zadar Old Town. One way ticket is around 4€, you can find the schedule of buses here.

You can also arrive in Zadar by bus, there are daily direct connections with Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik, Pula and numerous other destinations in Croatia.

Where to stay in Zadar

The best area to stay in Zadar is the Old Town or near it. Here are some of the best Zadar accommodation choices:

Zadar restaurants

You will find plenty of good restaurants as well as bakeries and fast food joints in the Old Town. Zadar and the Croatian coast is the best place to try some delicious fish and seafood, you will also find a decent pizza here.

Some of the recommended Zadar restaurants are:

  • Restaurant Kastel
  • Konoba Malo Misto
  • Il Piccolo
  • Proto Food&More

things to do in zadar croatia

Beaches in Zadar

Unfortunately, there are not too many beaches in Zadar center but if you would like to spend some time relaxing at the seaside and sunbathing your best option would be Kolovare Beach, just a walking distance from the Old Town. This is the oldest and longest beach in Zadar and some consider it the best one in the city.

Day trips from Zadar

Zadar can be also a perfect base for some interesting day trips in the area. You can reach some places (like Plitvice Lakes or Sibenik) by bus, but some can be done only with the organized tour. Here are some recommendations of the best day trips from Zadar:

Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes

Travel insurance

Don’t forget about travel insurance as you never know what might happen. Better safe than sorry! You can get the insurance policy for Croatia here.

About the author: Anna was born to travel the world having studied languages all her life. Although she has traveled the world, she now calls Switzerland home and spends her time writing about her experiences on her travel blog with her husband.

Further reading

I published many articles about Croatia that you might find useful when planning your trip there. Here are some of them:

If you are looking for articles about a specific destination – check out the map with all the articles I’ve published (and their locations). You can also join my Facebook group about traveling in the Balkans and ask your questions there.

For the end I left a few announcements that might interest you:

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  • Join my Facebook group about Eastern Europe, the Balkans and former USSR and connect with fellow travellers and enthusiasts of these regions – just click here!
  • I’ve included a few handy links of services and products I personally like and use so you can plan your own trip to Croatia too. They are often affiliate links. This means I will get a small commission if you book/purchase anything through my links, at no extra costs for you. If you like what you are reading and seeing here and would like to support me and my blog please consider using those links. It would be like getting me a virtual drink that you don’t have to pay for! Thanks!


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