- The city of Zadar sits on the Adriatic Sea, with its city proper spanning nearly 10 square miles. The urban architecture found throughout Zadar includes landmark structures, and dates back to the Roman times. One of the most notable of these buildings is the Church of St. Donatus. The construction on this church began as early as the 9th century, and it currently stands as the largest Pre-Romanesque building in Croatia. Another interesting feature about this church is its shape. While overall the church would be considered quite simple, it’s circular shape adds a unique quality to its already interesting history. Another impressive building of age to see on a trip to Zadar is the Zadar Cathedral. Though most of the standing structure dates back to the Romanesque style 12th century, the origins of the church go back to a 4th-5th century Christian basilica. Zadar’s walls once protected it and allowed it the independence that many of the surrounding cities didn’t have, and offer a piece of the past to any visitor. These walls have several entrances, though there is one that stands above the rest. The Land Gate was once used as the main entrance to Zadar. Built in 1543, the Land Gate is considered one of the finest Renaissance Monuments in Dalmatia. The gate forms a triumphal arch in the center, and is flanked by two smaller arches for pedestrian traffic.
- Though the architectural history that can be found within the bounds of Zadar is enough to warrant a visit, the Croatian city has much more to offer than just old school architecture. One of the most unique attractions located in Zadar is the Sea Organ. The structure is an experimental musical instrument that uses the sea waves, partnered with tubes hidden under a set of marble stairs, to play music. The project opened in 2005, and draws many visitors. The sounds that play are harmonic, though they are based solely on the wind and sea, and how the waves crash across the marble steps. The Museum Of Ancient Glass is one of the city’s newer attractions, and is a great way to spend an afternoon in Zadar. The museum houses one of the premium collections of Roman glassware outside of Italy. From ornate goblets to holy water flasks, the Museum of Ancient Glass contains artifacts from digs all over Dalmatia. The museum is kept in the historical forming of the Cosmacendi Palace, which has been restored with accuracy. Not only is the museum’s building a beauty, but it offers spectacular views of the Jazine Harbour. The Zadar Archaeological Museum is another way to see some of Zadar’s past. With several different departments including submarine, medieval, and pre-historic the museum has over 100,000 artifacts on its grounds for visitors to view.
- To get a real peek at the every-day ongoings of Zadar, make sure to spend some time in the People’s Square. It is the center of the public life in the city, and often abuzz with noise from the surrounding restaurants and businesses. The foundations of the municipal institutions were laid in this square in the Middle Ages, and still today you can find Zadar’s past here. For example, the City Guard is located on the northern side of the square; gaze upon the central clock tower erected in the early 19th century, and the Church of St. Lawrence: it is the oldest preserved building in Zadar and dates back to the 11th century! After you’ve spent the day seeing the sights of the square, end the night with a visit to The Monument to the Sun. Consisting of 300 multi-layer glass panels placed in a circle, the Monument to the Sun aims to communicate with nature in the same way that the Sea Organ does. Lighting elements installed in a circle turn on at night, producing a show of light; it is located on the port entrance to Zadar, next to the Sea Organ.
- For a park experience that is sure to make your trip to Zadar all the more unique, take the family to Queen Jelena Madije Park. It is the oldest park in the city, and is built on top of the fortifications on the Five Wells Square. The park was opened over 150 years ago. Building a park on top of an old military object was quite a risky move, but a move that the city of Zadar is grateful to have made. To see more of the quirky side of Zadar, don’t miss a chance to spend some time at Muzej Iluzija. This museum focuses on optical illusions, like rotated rooms, holograms, and so much more. The museum focuses on offering a visual experience that makes visitors question (or assert) their confidence in their senses. It is perfect for all ages, as no age gap can touch the fun of illusion! If you happen to be in Zadar over the summer, July to be exact, do not miss the opportunity to be a part of The Full Moon Festival. The quay’s are alight with torches and candles, and vendors sell an array of local dishes considered delicacies. If not, you can still enjoy some of those local foods by browsing the Zadar market. A traditional Croatian market, you can find seasonal produce at low prices, along with other foods and items. If you’re in for a day trip, head out to Kornati National Park. Accessible from Zadar by boat, this collection of islands in all shapes and sizes is not to be missed while visiting the area. Explore the different plant life, gaze into the beautiful waters, or soak in the sun taking in the beauty. Throughout the 89 islands that make up the park you will find old lighthouses to explore, perfect for the young adventurer.
- Not only is Zadar steep with history, but it is also full of wonderful dining options. Local foods and restaurants give visitors a way to immerse themselves in the culture and try new things at the same time. Pet Bunara is a great option to try some Dalmatian soups and stews, or homemade pasta. If you go, don’t pass over the traditional Zadar fig cake for dessert. The olive-tree lined terrace is the perfect place to unwind after a long day of exploring. If you’re looking for something upscale to celebrate your time in Zadar, book a dinner at Kornat. Situated in a fantastic location right on the harbour, Kornat effortlessly mixes Italian sauces, French sauces, and fresh Croatian produce to make some of the most delicious dishes available in Zadar. Paired with the elegant atmosphere, Kornat is a real treat. For something a little more laid back, grab a late breakfast at Gourmet Kalelarga. This chic cafe is the perfect place to gear up for a long day of adventure. And, if you’re looking for something geared towards all the different preferences in your family, be sure not to miss an opportunity to eat at Restaurant Niko.
A trip to Zadar is one worth taking, and with the help of Via Tours Croatia your vacation will be nothing short of magnificent.