Looking for the best things to do in Zadar? You have come to the right place because after reading this you will know Zadar like the back of your hand!
Did you know that Alfred Hitchcock said that the stunning city of Zadar has the most beautiful sunsets in the world? He was a world traveler, so you know that there is something special here. You will love visiting Zadar beaches, the beautiful square, and the Roman town center. The Zadar nightlife is fun, vibrant, and affordable.
When you visit Zadar Croatia you will see it is less touristy than other big towns. Even though Zadar is the fifth largest city in Croatia there are fewer crowds, any time of the year, and be able to really enjoy Croatia. If you have the time there are also plenty of day trips from Zadar including to the island of Pag, with the famous pag cheese!
Best Things to Do in Zadar that You Cannot Miss
Zadar Sea Organ
One of the most popular and free things to do in Zadar would be to see the Sea Organ. The first time we went and listened to the Sea Organ it was nighttime and ironically my birthday. Without seeing the structure and only being able to hear the noise was a bit creepy but we will remember it forever.
We did go back to see the sea organ on Zadar’s waterfront on the Adriatic Sea during the day and at sunset. Since it is such an epic sunset it was a little crowded but so worth the views. Down below is a beautiful photo of the sea organ we got with a drone, You will want to add this area to the best things you do in Zadar, for sure!
Zadar’s Greeting to the Sun
Located at the southern end of the city’s waterfront is the Greeting to the Sun. This remarkable monument was designed by local architect Nikola Bašić. It has 300 multi-layered glass plates in the stone-paved waterfront. During the day, the glass plates absorb sunlight and store powerful energy.
As the sun sets (which is so beautiful in Zadar), the stored energy in the glass plates is transformed into an amazing light show. This unique blend of artistry and technology shows the connection between humanity and nature, reminding us of the importance the Sun plays in everyday our lives.
Greeting to the Sun is not just an artistic creation; it is also a technological marvel, harnessing renewable energy and showcasing power through a display of lights.
City Center Roman Ruins
Another thing to do in old town Zadar is to take visit to the City Center known as the Roman Forum. This ancient forum, located on the Adriatic Sea, holds great significance as the center and city hall of civic and religious life during Roman times.
It was commissioned by Emperor Augustus and constructed between the 1st century B.C. and 3rd century C.E. It is the largest Roman forum, and legend states that this area was built for the Roman gods Juno, Jupiter, and Minerva.
Its location is between the Church of St. Donatus and the waterfront in the northern section of Old Town. As you explore this pedestrian only zone, you’ll be transported back in time, walking the very square that was once, and still is bustling with local life.
The ancient Roman forum in Zadar is also known for its grandeur, dominated by the medieval St. Donat church. It was messed up in the Second World War, and you can see the Roman artifacts, as it is always open to the public. No tickets or entry tickets are required.
Zadar Beautiful Beaches
Although there are so many beaches in Zadar to check out four of them stand out and are a must-visit.
The first beach is Borik Beach at the Falkensteiner Resort. We were lucky enough to stay at the Digital Nomad compound, Work Remote Croatia, that was at the resort so we were able to go here for free.
If you are not staying at the resort or campground you may need to pay a small fee to get in but it is totally worth it. Borik Beach is the best Zadar beach for families because there is so much for children to do here. They have waterslides, beach games, restaurants, and the Beach Bar Bamboo nearby. The beach itself is a mix of sand and rock but is still so comfy to relax at.
The next beach you must check out is Kolovare Beach. This beach is super close to roman ruins and is known to be one of the best beaches in Zadar. You will find it right under the Hotel Kolovare. This is also the biggest beach so you will be able to find room to lounge under a big palm tree.
There are restaurants and anything you would need to rent to have the best day in Croatia. Visiting the Zadar beaches is one of the best things you do in the summer.
Wild Puntamika Beach
Puntamink Beach, is located on a picturesque peninsula in the vibrant city of Zadar. Just a short 3.5 km drive from the center, this pebble beach offers a serene and relaxing environment for sunbathing, swimming, and enjoying the crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic Sea.
The beach is easily accessible by car, scooter, or even on foot if you like a good stroll. Unwind and soak up the sun on the comfortable pebbles, or set up shop under the nearby trees that provide natural shade. There are also quiet coves to explore.
With its beautiful location on a cape, Puntamika Beach offers panoramic views of the sea and the cityscape in the background.
Sakarun Beach – Island of Dugi Otok
This hidden gem is located on the northwest coast of Dugi Otok, an island just off the coast of Zadar. With its long stretch of sandy beach, Sakarun is a paradise for sand lovers.
To reach this beautiful beach, you can take a ferry or boat from Zadar, and in about 1.5 hours, you’ll find yourself in a Caribbean setting. The crystal-clear waters and white sand create a picture-perfect scene.
The surrounding area of Sakarun Beach is also worth exploring. Nearby attractions include Veli Rat, Veruni, and Soline, each offering its own unique charm and beauty.
Boat Rides | Zadar Things to Do
One of the best ways to explore Croatia is to hop on a boat for the day. On our ride, the captain was incredibly nice and took us to a few secret spots along the dreamy Dalmatian coastline. Most of the boats will offer you lunch and we had a simple but delicious meal of potatoes and freshly caught fish.
During our ride, we also stopped at a small island with an incredible history. Our lovely captain took us on shore walked us around and explained the sites to us. This is one of the top things to do in Zadar Croatia and is the best way to have a few secret beaches all to yourself. It lasted the whole day and we were back just in time to catch the sunset on the water.
Book a boat tour in Zadar: GetYourGuide.com
Nearby Island Hopping | Things to do near Zadar
Next up is to go island hopping. There are so many amazing Islands nearby that you have to get out and explore. There are cute fishing village islands, or bigger islands if you are looking for a party and places to visit near Zadar.
Heading to the island of Pag should be on the top of your list for a day trip from Zadar Croatia along the Croatian coast. If you are there in the summer they also have music festivities going on with the hottest DJs. If that is not your jam they also have incredible hikes on pag island and waterfront restaurants that you are going to love.
Other islands you must check are Molat Susac, Silba, Dugi Otok, Losinj, and Olib. There are plenty of ferry options that will take you to all of these islands and some are as short as 20 minutes away. Below is a map of all of the ferry routes to help you better plan your trip and here best website for finding ferry tickets in Zadar.
Watch the Sunset
This has already been mentioned a few times as one of the fun things to do in Zadar but it has to have its own section. The sunsets in Zadar are so magical and they are different every day. A few of our favorite places to watch the sunset in Zadar were at Bamboo Bar, Borik Beach, and with a drink in our hand at one of the many cafes and bars overlooking the water.
Close to Krka National Park | Zadar waterfalls
Another perfect one of the best places to visit near Zadar, Croatia would be the Kirk National Park. Getting from Zadar to Krka National Park is less than an hour and is the best national park in Europe, I think. Situated on the Krka River there is so much to do and see.
There are seven waterfalls to explore in the National Park but Skradinski Buk is the prettiest. You can reward yourself with a swim at the base of the waterfall after your hike to get there.
There is also a walking trail in the north of the national park that you can take and you will pass the Roški Slap waterfall and the Krka Monastery which is built right above the Roman catacombs. There are also bike trails and you could book a guided tour if you wanted to as well. This is one of the best things to do in Zadar and you will have so many beautiful memories.
City Walls & Gates For Zadar Sightseeing
These enormous walls were built back in 1543 and have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2017. It was originally built for the holy league’s naval victory, over the nearby eastern neighborhoods. There are two main sections of these gates and are the most famous things to see in Zadar Croatia.
The first one is known as the Sea Gate or the Gate of St Chrysogonus. This gate is from the ferry port to the city market. You will also through the Roman triumphal arch while walking along the city walls, which is remarkable.
The second gate is the land gate and it will take you along to the people’s square which was built during the Venetian rule of Zadar. You should spend some time walking around and through these the land gate, you seriously cannot miss them they will be one of the first things you see and they are an important part of the history of Zadar.
Zadar Museums | Places to Visit in Zadar
No matter what you are interested in there is a museum for you to see.
The City Loggia is inside an old Renaissance building on the south side of the square and is one of Zadar top attractions. It was once the municipal court and now serves as a display site for many collections showcasing art, history, and culture.
You can immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of Zadar. It displays ancient artifacts to contemporary artwork, there’s something for everyone to admire and appreciate. You can find it situated in People’s Square, opposite the City Sentinel building. This charming clock tower of the city guard adds to the allure of the square and provides a picturesque backdrop.
Address to the Loggia
Museum Of Illusions
If you want to have a fun day out you should check out the Museum of Illusions. It is a small museum with fun exhibits where reality bends and illusions come to life. This captivating museum is located in the heart of the town.
As you enter the Museum of Illusions, be prepared to have your mind blown and your senses challenged. There are optical illusions that play tricks on you to mind-numbing puzzles and interactive displays.
If you want to learn about the culture and history while on your holiday then the Archaeological Museum will tell you the history from Prehistoric times to the Middle Ages. – keywords.
The history of this museum is intertwined with the iconic St. Donat Church. Fun fact: for 15 years, it served as its protective haven in 1880. Talk about teamwork, right?
This Zadar museum offers a narrative of the surrounding lands. It covers prehistoric times to the Middle Ages. There are over 100,000 archaeological artifacts and monuments, each with its own story to tell.
What I love about the Archaeological Museum in Zadar is how it cleverly showcases ancient Rome in a contemporary way. With thematic sections that delve into the everyday life of ancient Zadar, you’ll uncover the secrets of this remarkable civilization.
Museum of Ancient Glass
The Museum of Ancient Glass is always a favorite with travelers as well. It is dedicated to showcasing the beauty and artistry of glass from various eras. Over 5,000 stunning glass artifacts date back to the Roman era.
You will find it in the Cosmacendi Palace which has breathtaking views overlooking the Jazine harbor. There are delicate vessels to intricate sculptures. Take your time to admire the collection and learn about the ancient Roman techniques used to create these masterpieces. This is one of the best things to do in Zadar inside and beat the heat.
Zadar City Market
The Zadar Market is open Monday to Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sundays from 7 a.m. to noon. This is no ordinary city market it dates all the way back to when the Romans were in control in the early middle ages.
There are over six locations to choose from so you will definitely be close to one. You will see the people of the city coming together and collectively offering you anything you may need.
As you walk past the booths the aromas of the fresh fruits and vegetables fill the air you can not help but smile. There is also a fish market where the fishermen bring their fresh catches of the day for you to purchase. This is a very local experience and one of the unique things to do in Zadar!
Even if you do not plan on doing any cooking while on vacation you should still stop by and see the magic of these historic markets. If you are looking for cool things to do in Zadar this should be high up on your list.
Zadar Wine Route
Did you know that Zadar had a wine route? Škaulj Winery is the most popular and maybe the oldest vineyard. They produce over 200,000 bottles of wine a year. Like most vineyards in the region, they specialize in red wines and you can take your pick from over six different blends.
The MasVin is another vineyard in Zadar. Here you will also find olive oil to taste. At MasVin you can sit back and relax in the tasting room and enjoy their award-winning products.
Next up is the Degarra Winery Zadar which is right in town so you will not need a car to visit. They have flawlessly transformed an old military base into their tasting room.
Last but not least is the Kraljevski Vinogradi. Although this one is not technically in Zadar we had to add it because the view alone is amazing. You can book a tour to see all of these vineyards in one day or you could always drive yourself.
You will not want to miss out on tasting the amazing wine from this region is it one of the best things to do in Zadar Croatia for adults.
Stop for a Coffee | Zadar What to Do
Okay, this may seem a bit silly to add as a thing to do in Zadar. But during our time in Croatia, we learned a saying that loosely translates into, “There’s always time for coffee”. I think that is a beautiful way to think about life. Even though you want to experience everything you can while on holiday sometimes it is nice to just sit back in a cafe and drink a good cup of coffee.
Also if someone invites you for a “coffee” it doesn’t always mean coffee, they just want to hang out!
Coffee & Cake was one of our favorite places to stop when looking for Zadar Croatia things to do. They serve all types of food not just cake so it was a win-win for everyone. The Bamboo Bar was another one of my favorite places to go and at sunset it was magical. So just take some time out of your day to sit back and relax like a Croatian.
Croatian Music Festivals
There is always something going down in Croatia. When you are visiting be sure to check out the local lineup because they are always having shows. The island of Pag is only an hour away and they have amazing sets all summer long. If you are looking for some amazing Zadar nightlife check out this website for a list of all the best live music in town.
Zadar Old Town | Zadar What to See
The Old Town of Zadar is said to be the oldest historic center city in all of Croatia. You will have so much fun wandering around the narrow cobblestone streets and visiting medieval churches. There is a wonderful mix of new-age stores and traditional vibes throughout.
They have any cuisine you can think of, and trendy clothing shops. And then like it is the most natural thing in the world a group of nuns will walk by. They have breweries, bars, restaurants, dance clubs, a lively bar scene, and pretty much any of the zadar tourist attractions you can think of.
It is a wonderful mix of everything Croatian and you cannot go to Zadar without visiting Old Town. It might be a little more expensive to stay here but you could even it out by not needing to rent a car or take a share riding app. You will not regret one minute you spend exploring Old Town because it is one of the best things to do in Zadar.
Kornati National Park Day Trips from Zadar
The Kornati National Park has 89 unforgettable islands, islets, and reefs! This Croatian gem is also known as a “nautical paradise.” It’s like stepping into a postcard!
The Kornati National Park covers both land and sea and is Located in the Northern Dalmatia region, between Zadar and Sibenik. Be amazed by the vertical cliffs, quiet coves, and beautiful beaches that await.
One of the unique features of Kornati National Park is its abundant marine life. Both snorkeling and diving are popular here! The vibrant underwater world is teeming with colorful fish, coral reefs, and cute marine creatures.
For those who prefer to stay above the surface, boat tours are also a popular way to explore the park. Keep an eye out for the native Dinaric donkeys, a Croatian breed that lives only within this park. These gentle creatures add an extra touch of charm to the already enchanting landscape. If you are looking for zadar croatia what to do, this park is always a good time.
Find a boat ride: GetYourGuide.com
Bell Tower | Zadar Places to Visit
The Bell Tower, also known as St. Anastasia’s Cathedral Bell Tower, is a historical landmark that dates back to the 15th century. This towering structure has witnessed centuries unfold.
You can climb the Bell Tower, which brings you a jaw-dropping view. Don’t forget to capture these picture-perfect moments with your camera!
But it’s not just the views that draw people; it’s the enchanting melodies from the Tower. Its impressive collection of bells creates a song that adds a touch of magic.
The Bell Tower is part of the larger architectural complex that also includes St. Anastasia’s Cathedral. Take a moment to appreciate the intricate details and craftsmanship that went into its construction.
Inside the Bell Tower, you’ll find a small museum that offers fascinating insights into its history. Explore the exhibits, learn about the tower’s restoration, and dive deeper into the stories that have shaped Zadar over the centuries.
Address to the Bell Tower
Foodie Walking Tour
Calling all foodies who love to explore local cuisines! Get ready for an incredible 3-hour walking tour in Zadar that will take your taste buds on a delightful journey through the Croatian coastal region. From traditional delights to modern classics, this fun and informative tasting tour will introduce you to a variety of mouthwatering dishes.
You will make a stop at the green market, charming Zadar restaurants, and enticing food shops. Along the way, you’ll not only indulge in delectable treats but also discover some of the best Zadar things to see, like the Roman Forum, the bustling Kalelarga – the main street, and the People’s Square.
Think perfectly-aged prosciutto and flavorful pag cheese. Pair it with a refreshing glass of Croatian beer or wine to enhance the experience. And for those with a sweet tooth (like me), try the Croatian chocolates.
Check your dates for a foodie walking tour in Zadar: GetYourGuide.com
Fun Park Biograd
The Fun Park Biograd is one of the best places to visit in Zadar Croatia for families. They have a wide range of outdoor attractions that are fun for everyone. Get your heart going with rides like Big Blue, Alien, and the spine-chilling Horror House.
But Fun Park Biograd isn’t just about fast rides. It’s a place where families can come together and create lifelong memories. Take your time walking around the park, exploring all the areas, and immersing yourself in the fast-paced atmosphere.
Queen Jelena Madijevka Park | Must see in Zadar
The Queen Jelena Madijevka Park dates back to the 1800s and was built atop Zadar’s ancient fortifications. It’s a testament to the city’s heritage and pays homage to Queen Jelena Madijevka. Beyond its historical significance, Queen Jelena Madijevka Park showcases a fusion of garden art styles.
It’s a cultural blend that adds to the park’s charm and appeal. As you wander view the monuments scattered throughout the park. These artistic pieces add an air of elegance and fascination. You’ll find influences from Chinese pagodas and European garden elements, creating a distinct and captivating ambiance
Or just walk around the shaded promenades, lined with pretty trees and it provides the perfect escape from the heat. The park also offers the perfect opportunity for photography. There are lovely landscapes and charming corners, Queen Jelena Madijevka Park is a true paradise!
Local Churches of Zadar Croatia
Church of St Anastasia’s Cathedral | Zadar Cathedral
The Church of St Anastasia is also known as the Zadar Cathedral. It is a very special church in Zadar as it was visited by Pope John Paul II when get came to visit Zadar.
It is also the largest church in Zadar Croatia. Built back in the 12th and 13th centuries, the cathedral features beautifully decorated church art. It serves as the seat of the Archdiocese of Zadar. With its rich history and architectural beauty, the Church of St. Anastasia’s Cathedral, or the Zadar cathedral is a must-visit attraction for anyone exploring the beautiful city of Zadar.
Church of St Simeon’s Church
The Church of St. Simeon’s Church is a 17th-century church known for housing the mummified body of St. Simeon! One of Zadar’s patron saints. The church also is home to the Chest of Saint Simeon, a remarkable sarcophagus from 1377 and made of medieval goldsmith.
This is one of the best historic churches in Zadar and offers visitors a glimpse into the Radar’s religious heritage. If you love history and creepy things, this is what to do in Zadar!
Mary’s Church & Benedictine Monastery
This Mary’s church Benedictine Monastery was first founded in 1066 and is on the eastern side of Zadar’s old Roman forum. It is a peaceful retreat for contemplation and exploration.
The church, built in the 11th and 12th centuries, is a mesmerizing masterpiece that showcases stunning architectural details. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit this hidden gem and immerse yourself in its spiritual atmosphere.
Church of St Donatus Church
The church of St Donatus, named after Donatus of Zadar, dates back to the 9th century and is a remarkable pre-Romanesque architecture. As you step inside, prepare to be awed by its impressive three-nave interior with remnants of beautiful frescoes.
Situated on the Zadar Peninsula, the Donatus church is a historical gem that stands on the remnants of the Roman Forum, This is one of the things to do in Zadar old town!
There are so many Zadar restaurants to enjoy, and to fit all budgets! Throw a few of these stops in when you are in between activities in Zadar.
Bulter Gourmet & Cocktail Garden
For a delightful supper, head over to Butler Gourmet & Cocktails Garden. This elegant restaurant is one of the best places to eat in Zadar. It is a blend of Croatian cuisine with the freshest seafood. With its cozy atmosphere and delectable menu, it’s perfect for a romantic evening or a special celebration in Zadar Croatia.
If you’re seeking a locals’ hangout with cheap food options, make your way to Pet Bunara. With a tradition of more than forty years, this restaurant is known for its delicious Mediterranean food with seasonally changing menus. It’s a great spot to meet with the locals and enjoy tasty dishes without breaking the bank.
Scenic Zadar Lighthouse
The lighthouse in Zadar or the “Oštri rat” Lighthouse is situated in the historic city of Zadar, with stunning views of the Adriatic Sea, the Kornati Islands, and the coastline. The Oštri rat Lighthouse stands as a symbol of the maritime heritage of Croatia. Its strategic position adds to its allure.
Is Zadar worth visiting?
Yes! Zadar is absolutely worth visiting. You will be able to experience all the best things about Croatia wrapped up in one little seaside town. Located on the beautiful Dalmatian coast there are ancient Roman and Venetian ruins nestled throughout the bustling city. Old Town Zadar is a great mix of traditional and new-age restaurants and boutiques.
What should I see in Zadar?
In Zadar you should see the old town, the historical Roman Forum, and the Zadar beaches for sure. The nightlight is also amazing but one of the best things do to in Zadar would be to just relax in the people’s square and take in all the sites. There are many other places to see in Zadar too!
How many days do you need in Zadar?
You need three to five days in Zadar. In 3-5 days you should be able to do everything you want. Although you could spend so much more time here and explore the city and try all the yummy food and learn about the epic history. If you decide to stay five days you will also be able to take at least one day trip from Zadar and still be able to do all things on this list.
What is Zadar known for?
Zadar is known for being Croatia’s oldest city. So you will find a beautiful mix of Medieval, Roman, and modern architecture throughout the city. Also, Zadar is known for the sea organs that are right off the city center in the main part of town. It is also the entry point for many of the dance festivals that happen throughout the country.