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Zadar
Courtesy of Croatian Tourist Board

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Located in central Dalmatia , in the county of Zadarska, Zadar (population 75,000) is 226km from Rijeka, 160km from Split and only 72km from Sibenik. (see Zadar on a map)

The Old Town lies on a peninsula contained within the roads running along two quays. Beyond medieval Zadar lies the economic heart of the city as postwar housing, industrial parks and commercial zones sprawl outward to the suburbs.

About 6km to the northwest lies the wooded beach suburbs of Diklo and Boric which have been developed into a tourist zone replete with hotels and a hostel. (see more on Zadar accommodation)

Visiting Zadar is like peeling back layers of time until you end up in the 9th century BC in ancient Illyria. The Old Town is paved with gleaming white stone and the straight streets were first laid out by the Romans. A high wall remains on the harbour side, built by the Venetians in the 16th century, and an entrance gate still sports the Venetian lion.

History

Zadar was conquered by the Romans and became the colony of Iadera. Later the Venetians moved in but the port city was repeatedly attacked by the Turks. Venetian rule passed to the Austrians in the 18th century and then to Italy until 1943 when the Germans moved in. Allied bombing destroyed much of the historic centre which was rebuilt after the war only to suffer more attacks by Yugoslav forces in 1991. Read more Zadar history.

What to See

Sv Donat church, Zadar
Sv Donat church

In addition to reminders of Venice, Zadar highlights include

Roman ruins from its days as a Roman colony,

St Donat church in a Byzantine style which dates from the 9th century

Cathedral of St Anastasia completed in the 13th century

Franciscan Monastery and Church, the oldest Gothic church in Dalmatia

St Simeon Church with an intricately carved gold-plated sarcophagus

sea organ that transforms waves into mournful melodies

sun salutation a circle of glass that captures the daylight and emits it at night.

See more on Zadar sights.

What to Do

In recent years Zadar has undergone a startling revival. Cafes and bars are filled, museums and churches have been restored and tourists are pouring in to take advantage of the beaches, bars, restaurants and cultural offerings. Not only is Zadar one of the Adriatic's most historically interesting towns but it lies within driving distance of four national parks: Plitvice Lakes, Krka Waterfalls, Paklenica and Northern Velebit, plus there are boat excursions to the Kornati Islands National Park. There are also the large islands of Pag and Dugi Otok to visit as well as an archipelago of smaller islands such as Ugljan, Pasman, Molat and Premuda.

Experience Zadar at night. Make the effort. It's easy to wander from cocktails to dinner to after-dinner drinks to a nightclub, all within the Old Town. You'll be glad you did.

Festivals and Events

At the beginning of August the Zadar Dreams (Zadar Snova) festival brings contemporary theatre to the streets of Zadar. Focusing on the exciting and cutting edge, this festival attracts companies from around Europe. See Zadar Snova Facebook page.

Film buffs will want to catch the Zadar Film Forum Festival at the end of August. For the duration of the festival, Zadar is transformed into a giant open-air cinema as screenings are set up throughout the old town. More.

The massively popular Garden Festival at the beginning of July is Croatia's first electronic dance music festival. It's in Tisno, south of Zadar but it's well-linked by public transport. More.

Also in Tisno but in August is the Soundwave Festival with a more world music approach that features hip-hop, dub,  afro-beat,  soul and house in live and electronic form.

Getting to Zadar

Croatia map showing Zadar

Flights: Croatia Airlines connects Zadar with Zagreb daily and there are direct international flights to Zadar in the summer. More.

Ferries: Getting to Zadar from Italy is easy on the Ancona-Zadar ferry but it only runs in the summer. From other towns in Croatia, not so much. More.

Buses: Buses are frequent, convenient and cheap. More.

Trains: It may not be the most practical solution but trains are a convenient option from Zagreb and Split. More.

Driving: Major motorways make Zadar easily accessible and it's easy to rent a car. More.

Zadar Travel Planner

Where to Stay

What to See & Do

Transport

Eating & Drinking

Accommodation
There's one excellent hotel and a number of private rooms and apartments in Zadar's Old Town.



.

Sights
Museums, galleries, monuments, churches and Zadar's famous Sea Organ.

Getting to Zadar

Restaurants
The best dining in Zadar

Day Trips
Four national parks, islands and beaches--all within easy reach.

Getting Around
taxis, buses,car rental & a Zadar street map and a Zadar bus map.

Nightlife
Bars, clubs, discos and pubs

get psyched read up on Zadar History

Tourist Information in Zadar

The Zadar tourist office (tel 023-316 166) is in the town centre at Mihe Klaica 5.

Video

I took the following video as I was leaving Zadar one morning in April. The Jadrolinija ferry I was taking to Mali Losinj only ran once a week (it no longer exists) and it was packed. I started filming while we waited for the heavily-laden trucks and cars to lumber aboard and finished just as we were leaving the port. The view that you see is of the northeastern walls that border Jazine Bay, the body of water that separates the peninsula containing Zadar's Old Town from the greater metropolitan area. You'll see the bell tower of Zadar's cathedral as well as a series of Jadrolinija ferries!

 

Zadar Travel Directory

Zadar Travel News

The Best of Modern Croatia 07/31/2014
Six new attractions in Croatia to experience the best of modern Croatia.
More.
Summer Events 06/27/2014
What's happening this summer.
More.
Timetrekkers: A New Kind of Croatia Tour 04/24/2014
New company offer archaeological tours of Croatia.
More.
BREAKING: Emilia Romagna Lines Closes Doors 05/30/2013
Emilia Romagna Lines is an Italian ferry company that has connected the Emilia Romagna region ...More.

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