In July 2022, I went on a vacation with my girlfriend to visit one of the most beautiful cities in Croatia. We were looking for a place where we could enjoy the traditional foods, the landscapes, and the seas of Croatia, and boy o boy, we found it. Zadar is not only a beautiful city with history but has many stunning places to visit and numerous things to do.
1. Visit the Sea Organ
The Sea organ is an architectural sound art object located in Zadar, Croatia, and an experimental musical instrument that plays music with sea waves and tubes located underneath a set of large marble steps. In 2006, the Sea Organ was awarded the prize ex-aequo of the fourth edition of the European Prize for Urban Public Space. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience to sit at the coast of the sea and hear the unique sound of the Sea Organ.
Although, a video can’t give justice to how beautiful it sounds in real life. You can get an idea of what to expect when you visit the Sea Organ.
2. Climb up the Cathedral
The Cathedral of St. Anastasia is the Roman Catholic cathedral of Zadar, Croatia, the seat of the Archdiocese of Zadar, and the largest church in all of Dalmatia (the coastal region of Croatia). For a couple of euros, you can go to the top of the Cathedral and have the perfect view above the city.
3. Try the local food at one of the local restaurants
Croatians have a lot of national dishes, including a lot of seafood. I wanted to try local dishes that I would usually not eat at home. That’s why I ate fried squid and tuna during our vacation. Before you visit Croatia, search for dishes you would like so you can order more easily in the restaurants.
4. Sit down at the coast of the sea and have a drink
For me, one of the most relaxing things to do is to buy my favorite drink and sit down on one of the coasts and watch the sunset in the evening or the sunrise in the morning. It is astonishing to see the Sun disappear on the horizon.
5. Check out the yachts at the port
Zadar has many ports for small boats and full-on yachts. If you appreciate the look of big sailboats or yachts, it is worth the visit. There are at least a hundred boats varying in design and size. The owners or renters go there at night to have parties or simply to relax there. The whole port has a great atmosphere. If you go there from Old Town, you will have to go through a beautiful bridge called Gradski Most, which basically means City Bridge.
6. Go for a boat trip to one of the islands
Zadar is surrounded by many fascinating islands and waters that are just as exciting as the city itself. Many companies are focused on boat trips. Tripadvisor made a list of the ten best boat trips in Zadar. Make sure to check it out if you plan to visit Zadar.
7. Go snorkeling at one of the beaches
On the first day, we tried snorkeling at the closest beach to our apartment. Unfortunately, there wasn’t anything worth seeing there. I think the city of Zadar has either done something to clean this part of the beach, or wildlife doesn’t dare to come so close to people. The next day we opened the map and looked for more abandoned coasts, and we found one 20 minutes from our apartment where we could see crabs, clams, and fishes. There are specific places in the area of Zadar that are focusing on diving and snorkeling. Some companies even take you by boat to interesting snorkeling locations.
8. Visit The Greeting to the Sun
The Greeting to the Sun is a monument in Zadar dedicated to the Sun. It consists of three hundred multi-layered glass plates, placed on the same level as the stone-paved waterfront. It consists of a 22-meter diameter circle, with photovoltaic solar modules underneath. Lighting elements are installed in the circle that turns on at night and make a beautiful light show. The monument is designed by the same Croatian architect who was responsible for the Sea Organ, Nikola Bašić. Whether you stay in Old Town or on the other side of the sea, make sure to visit this place.
9. Experience the Nightlife
Whether you like to sit in a bar sipping your favorite cocktail or take a cooling walk on the coast of the sea, Zadar offers one of the best experiences for nightlife in Croatia. The city and the places are full of tourists and locals – it feels like the city is living from 9 AM until dawn. A bar that I suggest visiting is the Ledana Lounge Bar. The bar is located inside a stunning garden filled with interesting landscapes and exotic greenery. You can enjoy a soothing soundtrack for your cocktails.
10. Visit Five Well Square
The Square is located on a site between the medieval City Walls and the Renaissance bastion Grimani, where the oldest park in Croatia is located. The Square features exactly what its name suggests – five wells lined up in a row. It is a place for taking great pictures. If you get hungry, there are a lot of interesting bars and restaurants next to the square. The bar mentioned in the previous point is located next to the Five Well Square as well.
To be honest, this list could be way longer. We planned a four-day trip to Croatia and thought that these four days would be more than enough to discover Zadar and even the surrounding islands. A little advice: the four days were not even enough to explore the old town. We haven’t had the time to visit the islands. I collected the above list to show you some of the things you can do in Zadar, but once you arrive, you will understand and see how many things you can do in Zadar.
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