Zadar

Add Zadar to your itinerary in Croatia: it will amaze you with ingenious urban artwork, a charming old town and delicious local liquor.
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Zadar seems to have finally left behind its long and troubled history of aerial bombardment and civil war. Today it is a lively centre, with numerous museums and art galleries, pretty squares and streets for strolling.

Its pride may lie in its two modern installations that combine human ingenuity and nature, the Sea Organ and the Sun Salutation, both works of the highly acclaimed Croatian architect Nikola Bašić.

They are both exceptional vantage points from which you can admire the sea and be moved by the lights and sounds that nature produces by human design.

From here you can easily explore other famous tourist destinations in Croatia, such as its beautiful nature parks, but don’t leave without tasting maraschino, the city’s delicious sour cherry brandy.

Things to do in Zadar

Sea Organ and Sun Salutation

Zadar’s most spectacular attraction, and the main meeting point for its inhabitants, is the Sea Organ, an ingenious piece of work in which the sea itself composes and performs incredible symphonies.

The organ consists of seven steps that descend towards the sea below which are 35 pipes: these are pierced by air that is pushed by the motion of the sea waves and produce sounds thanks to openings placed under the feet of passers-by.

It is a spectacle created simultaneously by the ingenuity of man and the extraordinary power of nature. Not to be missed!

The architect Nikola Bašić, to whom we owe the design of the Sea Organ, winner of numerous international awards, has achieved with the Greeting to the Sun another incredible result of the fusion of ingenuity and nature.

In this case, the urban artwork consists of a circle made up of 300 panels beneath which are photovoltaic solar modules through which a symbolic communication with nature in the form of light is realised.

From here you can enjoy an extraordinary sunset over the sea, which will make your holiday in Zadar unforgettable.

Churches

The Cathedral of St Anastasia in Zadar

The emblem of the city of Zadar is the monumental Church of St Donatus, with its characteristic circular shape.

It is a pre-Romanesque style church, built in the early Middle Ages partly with materials from the former Roman Forum, of which two columns incorporated into the church structure and the floor remain today.

Other noteworthy churches are:

Museums

Zadar is a city rich in museums of art, history, handicrafts: here are the most interesting ones.

The National Museum, founded in 1962, comprises four departments: the Art Gallery, Zadar City Museum, the Museum of Natural History and the Department of Ethnology. The first two are the most visited.

The Art Gallery of the National Museum was founded in 1948 in a city devastated by aerial bombardment and where there had never been a strong tradition of fine arts. From an initial, very important collection of only 80 pieces, it has now grown to more than 1700 works of art from the 17th to the 20th century, including an interesting collection of icons.

Zadar City Museum traces the history of the city from the 13th century to contemporary times, showing its urban appearance over the different centuries. On display are maps, urban plans, paintings, photographs, sculptures, ceramics, glass, furniture and numerous other objects and artefacts that tell the story of Zadar and the lives of its inhabitants.

Gold and Silver of the City of Zadar‘ is the title of a permanent exhibition on display in the Church of St Mary since 1976. It is an exceptional collection of sacred art objects from the 18th to the 18th century: reliquaries, chalices, paintings, gold embroidery, lace, book miniatures and sculptures found in various churches and convents in Zadar.

The Archaeological Museum, housed in a newly built building in the city centre, exhibits archaeological finds from the Palaeolithic, Neolithic and Metal Age periods, objects from the Roman period and artistic works from the 7th to the 12th century.

If craftsmanship fascinates you, you can visit the Museum of Ancient Glass, which illustrates the entire history of glassmaking, with a historical collection of thousands of pieces including unusual Roman miniatures.

A museum for the whole family

The entertaining Museum of Illusions will take you into a world where nothing is what it seems!

Jump into the Vortex Tunnel, where taking a small step will seem like a huge effort, or have fun seeing your face distorted by curious mirrors, photograph yourself in a thousand different poses, resist gravity..

With its optical games and holograms, the museum is a fun educational game that will change your perception of the world.

Other points of interest

Square of the Five Wells

There are four ancient gates that open along the city’s Roman and medieval walls. One of these, the Sea Gate, dates back to the 16th century but has elements of an earlier Roman triumphal arch. Note on the gate the lion of St Mark, the symbol of Venice.

Calle Larga is the main street in the centre of Zadar and stretches from the Piazza del Popolo to the Roman Forum. Despite its name, do not expect a wide boulevard, it is more of a pleasant city street. The buildings that once faced Calle Larga were destroyed during World War II; what you see now are more recent modernist-style buildings.

In the atmospheric Square of the Five Wells you can still see the wells that were built at the time of the Turkish invasions to provide the city with the necessary water resources. In the first half of the 19th century, the first public garden in Dalmatia was built on this square and it is still one of the prettiest places in the entire city.

If you want to cool off with a dip in the sea after a day of visiting museums, you can find a city beach over a kilometre long.

Excursions around Zadar

Aerial view of Zadar

Zadar is an ideal base from which to explore the wonders of northern Dalmatia. Famous sights that can be reached on a day trip from Zadar include the Paklenica National Park, the Plitvice Lakes National Park and the Krka waterfalls.

Many tourists come to Zadar to visit the Kornati Islands, the most indented archipelago in the Adriatic with more than 140 uninhabited islands, islets and reefs. Numerous cruises and day-long boat trips depart from the city, usually including a couple of stops for swimming and lunch.

A popular destination for a Sunday outing for locals is the island of Ugljan, easily reached by boat from Zadar. Densely inhabited, it can be quite crowded on summer days but quieter beaches can be found.

The Maraschino of Zadar

Tourists visiting Zadar almost never resist the temptation to take home a very special souvenir: a bottle of the city’s typical liqueur, Maraschino, famous the world over for its characteristic sweet taste and aromatic scent.

Only Zadar’s Maraschino liqueur is made from indigenous Maraschino cherries, considered the best in the world, following a procedure that has been handed down from generation to generation for over three centuries.

How to get to Zadar

Zadar is easy to reach by car as it has a fast motorway connection. From northern Croatia it takes less than four hours.

The train, on the other hand, is inconvenient, as you are likely to have to make several changes.

Zadar Weather

What's the weather at Zadar? Below are the temperatures and the weather forecast at Zadar for the next few days.

Monday 15
17°
19°
Tuesday 16
11°
20°
Wednesday 17
10°
15°
Thursday 18
10°
15°
Friday 19
13°
Saturday 20
11°
14°

Where to stay in Zadar

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Where is located Zadar

Zadar is located on the Dalmatian coast, not far from the island of Pag, about halfway between Rijeka and Split.

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