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Orbit's Travel Blog - 30.03.2022.

12 Reasons you should visit Zadar

If you are planning a holiday to Croatia, take a look at these reasons why you should visit beautiful Zadar. You’ll be sure to enjoy your stay!

Zadar is one of the most beautiful coastal cities in Croatia. It has a very long and rich past, which you can see when walking through the centre of Zadar. The city is known as the first college city in Croatia, and today it is home to the second-largest college in the country. In addition to students, Zadar is also full of tourists, especially in the spring and summer. The city also has an important port with numerous connections to the surrounding islands.


Zadar has a lot to offer; everyone can find something for themselves here. Besides great architecture and monuments, there are many cultural events such as concerts, theatre performances, exhibitions, film projects, etc. You will not be disappointed here if you are looking for nightlife either.
You can come to Zadar by plane as there is an airport near the city. If you come by car, you can choose the highway Zagreb-Ploče, where you look for an exit, Zadar 1 or Zadar 2. By car, you can also come to Zadar via the Rijeka-Split motorway.

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VISIT OLD PORT - "FOŠA".


This picturesque harbour is located at the entrance to the city centre. Above the port, there are massive gates with many beautiful decorations, and these gates were also the main entrance to the town from the mainland. Foša was an inspiration for many painters because it has a unique view with a lot of charm. You can not miss Foša, so when you enter the city centre, take a moment to enjoy this little jewel of Zadar.

VISIT THE FIVE WELLS SQUARE AND QUEEN JELENA MADIJEVKA PARK


This wonderful and romantic square with five fountains was built for water supply in case of a long siege during the Turkish invasions. This square leads directly to Queen Jelena Madijevka Park, a stunning park with beautiful trees and small paths to walk and enjoy the wonderful atmosphere and surroundings. Here in the garden, there is also a lounge bar where you can sit down and have a cocktail. The remarkable thing about this park is that the trees provide shade throughout the day, making it a fantastic place to visit even on hot summer days.

Five well square in Zadar

QUEEN JELENA MADIJEVKA PARK

TAKE A WALK THROUGH KALELARGA


Kalelarga is the most prominent street in Zadar. But for the locals, it is more than just a street. It is a place where people meet, walk, have a coffee, store, eat ice cream, etc. This street is mentioned in many Croatian songs, primarily romantic songs, because almost every Zadarian can tell at least one romantic story from their life in Kalelarga. So if you are in Zadar, you should take a walk down Kalelarga. The street is officially called "Široka ulica" - Calle Larga, but if you talk to the locals, they call it the most romantic, lively and famous street in Zadar Kalelarga.

EXPLORE THE ROMAN FORUM


In Zadar, you can visit the remains of the most significant Roman forum built in Croatia. This forum is well preserved and is located at the end of Kalelarga Street. The Church of St. Donat and the Stošija Bell Tower are two important buildings surrounding the platform. The forum was built in the 1st century BC. Besides the remains of the forum, you can also see the remains of the old city walls, land gates and sea gates. This place is especially recommended in the evening, as the lights give the city a magical atmosphere.

VISIT THE CHURCH OF ST. DONAT AND ST. STOŠIJA BELLTOWER


The Church of St. Donat is the most famous building in the city and a Zadar symbol. This massive architectural structure is located in the Roman forum. Next to the church, there is a bell tower of St. Stošija, which you can also visit and climb, where you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the whole city from a height of 62 meters. The church of St. Donat, which prompted the construction of this building, was built in the 9th century. Its shape is oval, making this church even more unique and special. There is probably no one who has visited Zadar without having a photo in front of the Church of St. Donat. It is also one of the most popular places to take a picture on social media (Instagram, Facebook, TikTok).


Besides the Church of St. Donat, there is another famous church in Zadar, the Church of St. Stošija, the second largest church in the city, best known for its bell tower, which offers a breathtaking view of Zadar and its surroundings. Be sure to visit this cathedral during your vacation in Zadar; it is stunning.

Zadar old town in Croatia in the sunset

STROLL AROUND CHARMING STREETS AND SQUARES OF ZADAR


Zadar is a beautiful city with many charming squares and small streets that will enchant you during your vacation in this Dalmatian city. The city walls around the old town are protected by UNESCO and provide a perfect way to walk and explore the hidden places of Zadar. There are many small squares, and each of them has its history that you can find out if you are curious enough. Locals are amiable and talkative and will tell you some myths and legends about the streets and squares of Zadar.

Places you should not miss are: "Narodni trg", the city's centre, a favourite meeting place for locals for more than 500 years. Another square is "Trg Petra Zoranića", but we can not forget about the Five Fountains Square and the Roman Forum.

LISTEN TO TO UNIQUE SOUND OF THE SEA ORGAN


Time and sea waves have destroyed the old Riva of Zadar, so the city administration launched the project of a new Riva and announced a competition for the best idea on how to make this place unique. One of the ideas was architect Nikola Bašić, who designed a project for a sex organ. These are 70-meter long steps that lead into the sea. Under these steps are many tubes and a system that creates seven chords that sound in unique harmony when the sea waves hit the bay. But that's not the only fascinating thing about the ocean organ.

During the day, the sun charges the solar panels on the ground and in the evening, this provides enough energy for the lights to react to the sound of the sea organ, creating a perfect combination of sound and light show. It makes Zadar so special, as the Sea Organ is a truly unique project that is well worth a visit. The new Riva is not just about the Sea Organ, as there are many beautiful things to see here. Take your time and explore this piece of Zadar.

Areal shot of Zadar and Zadar sea organ

ENJOY ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL SUNSETS IN THE WORLD


Even Alfred Hitchcock once said that Zadar has the most beautiful sunset he has ever seen, even more, beautiful than the one in California. Zadar truly offers a breathtaking view of the sunset. So if you spend your time here, be sure to book an evening to spend on the beach or the terrace of one of the many bars or restaurants and enjoy the sunset view. You will be mesmerized and probably spend another evening with this fantastic view.

RELAX ON THE BEAUTIFUL BEACHES


Zadar has gorgeous beaches. Of course, the best beaches are located outside the city, but they are not too far away, so you can easily reach them by car, bike, or foot. One of the most popular beaches in this area is undoubtedly Borik beach. But of course, there are many beaches around Zadar, especially on the islands in this area, that you definitely can not miss.

EXPLORE THE ISLANDS IN ZADAR AREA


The Zadar archipelago consists of about 150 islands, and with the Kornati National Park, there are about 300 islands in this area. From Zadar (port Gaženica), there is an excellent connection with ferries and catamarans to the islands in this area. There are so many islands with a great variety of tourist offers. For example, the island of Iž is known for its hotel for vegetarians. The most popular islands in this area are: Iž, Ugljen, Dugi otok, Galešnjak (Love Island), Pašman, Molat, Olib, Sali, Premuda...

The heart shaped island of Galesnjak

Zadar islands archipelago and Velebit mountain view

VISIT NATIONAL PARKS NEAR ZADAR


Zadar has the privilege of being close to many great tourist spots in Croatia. You can get to Krka National Park quickly from Zadar via the highway. It is one of eight national parks in Croatia. It is located in Šibenik-Knin County, is 109 km² in size and has been officially protected since 1985. The park is primarily used for education, science, culture, and recreation, but the number of tourists has dramatically increased since the construction of the Zagreb-Split highway. The park's main attraction is undoubtedly the seven waterfalls, which are a unique natural wonder that you will not find anywhere else in the world. The Krka and Čikora rivers both flow through the park, and thanks to them, this park is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Croatia.


Another national park near Zadar is the Plitvice National Park. It is the largest and oldest national park in Croatia. It is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The main attraction of the park is the lakes. There are 16 large lakes with names and many smaller lakes that are not named. The lake system is divided into two parts, the upper lakes are Prošćansko jezero, Ciginovac, Okrugljak, Batinovac, Veliko jezero, Malo jezero, Vir, Galovac, Milino jezero, Gradinsko jezero, Burgeti and Kozjak. Then there are the lower lakes, namely Milanovac, Gavanovac, Kaluđerovac and Novakovića Brod. The lakes end with spectacular waterfalls called Sastavci, flowing into the Korana River. But Plitvice is so much more than just lakes, as the lakes make up only 1% of the park's total area. This unique area with its breathtaking nature was declared a national park in April 1949. It stretches between the two counties of Lika-Senj and Karlovac. It covers an area of 300 square kilometres.

Krka National Park in Croatia

HAVE A TASTE OF WONDERFUL DALMATIAN CULINARY


Dalmatia is a region famous for its gastronomy. The main ingredients in Dalmatian recipes are fish and seafood, olive oil, wine, lamb and vegetables. The Dalmatian sun provides the best conditions for various vegetables and herbs, making the dishes here unique.
Besides quality wines, the most popular product here is the traditional liqueur Maraschino. It is an authentic liqueur made from a remarkable variety of Maraska cherry, grown only here in the Zadar area. The recipe is more than 500 years old, and it is believed that it was the favourite liqueur of Napoleon Bonaparte, Cassanova, and Alfred Hitchcock. So take your time and try this excellent liqueur. If you do not want to drink a strong liqueur, you can enjoy it in many different cocktails based on this traditional drink. Enjoy it!

Looking for more Croatia adventure? Find more of our Croatia travel blogs here: 

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