Zadar Travel Guide

Photo of Zadar

Zadar Overview

Preserved Roman street plans, medieval churches, Roman ruins and a vibrant nightlife all make Zadar, the principal city of Dalmatia, an interesting yet largely undiscovered traveller destination. With a history of over 3,000 years the city, or big-town as it feels, has a rich and diverse heritage having passed through the hands of the Romans, Turks, Austrians, Italians and Yugoslavs.

 
Almost completely wiped out during WWII, in recent years Zadar has undergone somewhat of a resurgence, no more so than the OldTown. This is where the main action takes place and, a result of renovations, it has become a curious blend of Romanesque churches, contemporary architecture, traditional homes and swanky cafés and bars. Throughout the day Zadar is a city to explore at ease, wandering the traffic-free streets to admire the fascinating array of churches, dropping into an absorbing museum or meandering along the waterfront to explore the local markets. As night draws in the OldTown lights up with a wonderful selection of bohemian cafés and modern bars, favourite haunts of the large student population.
 
Situated between Rijeka and Split, Zadar is well connected with the rest of the country with buses running to Zagreb and Dubrovnik as well as to many German destinations. The city is also ideally located for its residents and visitors to make a weekend beeline for the beach at nearby Borik and the islands of Ugljan and Dugi Otok.

Things to do in Zadar

St Donats Church - Built in the 9th Century, legend has it by St Donat himself, the church is one of Zadars most striking and curious monuments. With a huge stone cylindrical façade based on early Byzantine styles, the church was built on top of a Roman forum and much of the original stone floor is visible inside. Today the church serves as a concert hall during the St Donat Music Evenings of July and August.

 
Cathedral of St Anastasia - A short walk from St Donats sits the city cathedral constructed in the 12th & 13th Centuries with a lavishly adorned exterior. Check out the marble tomb holding the bones of St Anastasia, assigned by St Donat himself. If visiting be sure to climb to the top of the bell tower for excellent views of the city and bay.
  
Archaeological Museum - Croatias second oldest museum contains interesting exhibits of over 10,000 archaeological findings from the Old and New Stone Age, Bronze and Iron Age and Roman and Byzantine Periods. Open daily from 9am - 2pm & 5pm - 9pm in summer and 9am - 2pm in winter.
 
Museum of Church Art - Housed in the Benedictine monastery adjacent to St Donats is a fine collection of religious paintings as well as some sculptures and embroidery from the 15th & 16th centuries.
 
Zadar Dreams - Zadars International Festival of Contemporary Theatre takes place around the parks and plazas of the city and aims to promote and support local artists with a challenging fusion of art, dance and theatre.
 
Zadar Nightlife
By night Zadar boasts a down-to-earth collection of cafés, bars and nightclubs, most of which are centred around the streets of the historic OldTown. Summertime is the best time of year when the huge student population fill up the outdoor cafés and bars with a fervent atmosphere. Top of the list should be Arsenal an impressive 3-storey venue of lounge bar, restaurant, concert hall, boutique clothes stalls and galleries. Garden is one of the hottest spots to hit, located on part of the city wall and opened by two former members of UB40 - a great place to relax whilst looking out to the port. Gotham is a popular club in the OldTown with funky DJs and go-go dancers.

Hotels in Zadar

Budget Hotels Zadar

Albin - Family guesthouse located north of the city and ideal for the beach at Borik. Tel (385) 23 331137.
Old Town Hostel - Decent dorms and private rooms close to the citys main square. Tel (385) 99 809 3280.
Pansion Maria - Family-run guesthouse with pleasant rooms and a courtyard patio garden. Tel (385) 23 334244.
 
Midrange Hotels Zadar
Hotel Kolovare - Central location, ensuite rooms and swimming pool. Tel (385) 23 211017.
Villa Hresc - Mediterranean styled hotel overlooking the coast at Borik. Tel (385) 23 337570.
 
Luxury Hotels Zadar
Hotel Adriana - Charming and personal boutique hotel with gourmet restaurant. Tel (385) 23 206636.
Hotel President - Elegant luxury hotel in Borik decked out in period furniture. Tel (385) 23 333696.

Zadar Weather

Zadar Travel Resources

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