Looking for the best things to do in Zadar? You have come to the right place because here you will discover the streets of Zadar like a local. Did you know that Alfred Hitchcock said that Zadar has the most beautiful sunsets in the world? He was a world traveler so you just know that there is something special here. You will love visiting the Zadar beaches and the city center.
Although Croatia is a mecca for travelers visiting Zadar is lesser touristy. You will have fewer crowds, even in the summer, and be able to really enjoy Croatia. There are Venetian gates that date all the way back to the 11th century and so much history. You cannot miss them they surround the town. If you have the time there are also plenty of day trips from Zadar including to the island of Pag, you will not regret it.
Is Zadar worth visiting?
Yes! Zadar is absolutely worth visiting. You will be able to experience all the best things about Croatia wrapped up into 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?
There are so many places and hidden gems in Zadar. But if you had to just pick a few things to see in Zadar you should check out the old town and the 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.
How many days do you need in Zadar?
In five 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?
First off 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.
14 Best Things to do in Zadar that you Cannot Miss
One of the most popular and free things to do in Zadar would be to see the Sea Organs. The first time we went and listened to the Sea Organs 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 during the day and at sunset. Since it is such an epic sunset it was a little crowded but so worth the views. You are not going to want to miss checking out the sea organs. They are right off of old town by the waterfront and it is one of the coolest things you do in Zadar.
City Center Roman Ruins
Another thing to do in old town Zadar would be to walk around and look at the city center’s Roman Ruins. They are right in the center of town in front of the churches and cathedrals in the center of town. Legend states that this area was built for the roman gods Juno, Jupiter, and Minerva.
And just like today, it was a meeting center for the town citizens. The Roman Ruins date all the way to the 2nd century and they are free to look at and are one of the best things to do in Zadar. It was unreal to us that they were free and open to the public at all times. They are incredibly old but blend in perfectly with the city center.
Although there are so many beaches in Zadar to check out two 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, and restaurants. The beach itself is a mix between 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 the old town 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.
One of the best ways to explore Croatia is to hop on a boat for the day. We did this and it was so amazing. 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 and walked us around and explained the sites to us. This is one of the top things to do in Zadar and is the best way to have a few secret beaches all to yourself. It lasted almost the whole day and we were back just in time to catch the sunset on the water.
Next up is to go island hopping. There are so many amazing Islands nearby that you have to get out and explore. Heading to the island of Pag should be on the top of your list for a day trip from Zadar. 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 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 best 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
Another perfect day trip from Zadar would be to Kirk National Park. Getting from Zadar to Krka is less than an hour and is one of the best national parks in Europe. Situated on the Krka River there is so much to do and see. There are seven waterfalls to find while exploring the 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 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
These enormous walls were built back in 1543 and have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2017. There are two main sections of these gates. 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.
The second gate will take you along to the people’s square which was built during the Italian occupation of Zadar. You should spend some time walking around and through these gates, 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.
No matter what you are interested in there is a museum for you to see. 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. If you wanted 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.
The Ancient Glass Museum is always a favorite with travelers as well. A few more to check out would be the Permanent Exhibition of Religious Art, the Town Museum, and The Zadar City Museum. Any of these wonderful museums will fill your day and they are some of the best things to do in Zadar inside and beat the heat.
The Zadar Market is open Monday to Saturday from 7 am to 3 pm and Sundays from 7 am to noon. This is no ordinary city market it dates all the way back to when the Romans were in control in the 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. 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.
Did you know that Zadar had a wine route? Škaulj Winery is the most popular and maybe the oldest vineyard. They are producing 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.
And 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
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 which 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 in for a nice break. 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.
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.
The Old Town of Zadar is said to be the oldest city in all of Croatia. You will have so much wondering around the narrow cobblestone streets. 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, and pretty much anything else 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.