Zadar is situated in the very heart of Adriatic coast with gorgeous nature, favorable climate and rich culture. It is a city with irresistible Mediterranean charm that has always been fit for living and never left anyone indifferent.
Zadar is among the oldest European cities and for a thousand years it was the capital of Dalmatia region. All historical stages, starting from Liburnians, Romans, Venetians, Napoleon and Austrians have left their mark on city’s appearance and culture that can be spotted even nowadays. If you are interested in Zadar’s history and cultural sites, then you should check out our previous post “Zadar cultural route”.
Its historical center is situated on a peninsula and surrounded by the blue sea. In front of the city stretch hundreds of islands and islets lined in three rows, while in the background of the city extents fertile plain and peaks of Velebit mountain.
Even though Zadar has Mediterranean easy-going and relaxed atmosphere it is the city of joy and amiability. There is plenty of things to do and see for everyone.
Read our list of 9 reasons why you should visit Zadar this summer and find out why many have fallen in love with this ancient and picturesque coastal city.
1. Sea organ and unique melody of the sea
Zadar Sea organ (Croatian: Morske orgulje) are stone stairs descending into the sea with a system of pipes and whistles that exude wistful sounds when the sea waves push air through it. The installation of the Sea Organ has been completed in 2005. Its hypnotic melody increases the volume when a boat or ferry passes by. You can sit at the steps and peacefully watch the sun go down while listening to the mesmerizing melody of Zadar’s most popular attraction. Each sound you will hear is completely unique as the shifting sea never plays exactly the same melody twice.
2. Sun salutation and light show
Sun salutation (or Greeting to the Sun) is 22 m-wide circle set into the pavement, filled with 300 multilayered solar glass plates that collect Sun’s energy during the day. After the sunset the installation performs light show with lighting effects in various colors.
3. Remains of the largest Roman Forum built in Croatia
Impressive Roman Forum in Zadar is the largest built in Croatia with dimensions 95 m by 45 m, and about as large as similar forums in Italy. It was constructed between the 1st century BC and the 4th century AD and it was the center of public life with various shops, temple and basilica for public gatherings. Although today it is partially overrun by buildings, it still offers faithful image of the antique city because its undisturbed layout is open to public. The church of St. Donatus from 9th century, the symbol of the city, is dominating the Forum.
4. Magnificent and unspoiled beaches
Zadar offers unspoiled bays with crystal clear waters, most seductive sandy shores, pebbly coves and rocky beaches. Families with children will prefer beaches located in Nin, while those who seek isolated beaches should go to the nearby islands (Pag, Ugljan, Dugi otok ect.) and Zrće is perfect for those looking for dancing and listening to music while on a beach. Find your perfect slice of coastline and start your dream summer holiday.
5. Vicinity of 4 national parks
Zadar is a city that is close to four national parks: Kornati islands, Plitvice lakes, Krka waterfalls and Paklenica canyon. Read more about national parks that you can visit from Zadar in our previous blog post.
6. Archipelago with 300 islands
Islands are the most attractive part of Adriatic coast and the symbol of recognition of Croatia in Europe. About 150 islands can be found in the Zadar island group and together with the Kornati National park they amount to 300! There are no cities only few of them are inhabited and Zadar is their center so they are its suburbs, or its gardens, as Emperor Justinian called them in 6th century.
They have various shapes, and perhaps the most famous is Galešnjak, unique heart-shaped island. You can visit islands by a ferry from Zadar or in organized day-tours.
7. Maraschino liquor with 500 years old tradition
Maraschino is authentic liqueur of the Zadar region, whose recipe was noted down at the beginning of the 16th century in the Dominican monastery in Zadar. Marasca cherries which grow wild along parts of Zadar region lends the liqueur its unique aroma.
It was consumed by world lover Casanova, world military leader Napoleon, world renovated film director Hitchcock and it was consumed on the first and final voyage of the legendary Titanic while the writer Honoré de Balzac wrote about it in his novel “Un début dans la vie” from 1842.
During warm summer nights, find your perfect spot next to the sea and enjoy sipping Maraschino. You might as well try and cocktails made with this unique liquor.
8. Gastronomy – the finest of the Dalmatian cuisine
Gastronomic offer of Zadar region contains the best of Dalmatian cuisine. Check our list of 15 meals you must try while staying in Zadar.
9. The only city in Croatia to have Virtual Reality sightseeing tour
Put on Virtual Reality glasses and immerse into the exciting world of Zadar’s history. You will walk through Roman Forum in his golden times, witness battleships attacking the city in 13th century, watch airplanes bombing the city in World war II and so much more. You will visit different locations within the old town and after seeing recreated historical moment, you will be able to see how that location looks nowadays. Great thing is that the assistant will be leading you through the city and you have local products tastings included in the price of the tour.
Zadar is the only city in Croatia to offer city sightseeing tour with Virtual Reality experience, so if you are into new ways of discovering the city and you love technology, then don’t miss out the opportunity to take this tour while in Zadar.
If you are interested in visiting Zadar and spending your summer holiday there, then you should check the link with Summer holidays in Zadar that we have prepared for you. Accommodation is in comfortable apartments close the old town that are walking distance far from the nearest beach, bonus are full-day trips from Zadar included in the price.