A historic city that’s packed with ancient structures everywhere you look, Zadar’s landscape is complemented by modern artwork and vibrant streets. There’s more to see within those centuries-old gates and walls, fascinating history in buildings that showcase time periods in its architecture, and a respite in those quirky art pieces by the seafront.
A true Croatian gem, and only 3 hours away from South of Zagreb, Zadar offers an eclectic mix of things to do and see while you’re in the city. Here’s our list of the best things to do in Zadar, Croatia.
- 10 Best Things To Do in Zadar, Croatia
- 1. Learn the history of the Roman Forum
- 2. Listen to the Sea Organ in Zadar
- 3. Church of St. Donatus
- 4. Kornati National Park
- 5. Check out the City Walls and Gates in Zadar
- 6. Museum of Ancient Glass
- 7. Greeting To The Sun
- 8. Check out Narodni Trg (Peoples Square)
- 9. The Zadar Pijaca
- 10. Kolovare Beach
10 Best Things To Do in Zadar, Croatia
1. Learn the history of the Roman Forum
Located next to Zadar’s magnificent old churches, the Roman Forum is difficult to miss. Built between the first century BC and third century AD, the Roman Forum is best explored through a walking tour.
This impressive ruin is about 90 meters long and 45 meters wide and is an amazing sight at night when it lights up. The Roman Forum also features paving stones, the remains of old public structures, a pole of shame and a Corinthian column.
open 24 hours
Address: Poljana Pape Ivana Pavla II Zadar
2. Listen to the Sea Organ in Zadar
Created by Croatian architect Nikola Bašićis, Zadar’s famous sea organ is one of the city’s top attractions. Spending an hour or two by the broad marble steps of the seafront is definitely one of the best activities to do in Zadar, as you listen and allow yourself to be mesmerized by this one of a kind musical instrument.
The Sea Organ is made up of a series of underwater pipes of varying sizes, with each tube producing a unique sound whenever wave crashes. The result is an enchanting soundtrack to the entire experience, making it one of the best places to be in as the sun rises or sets.
3. Church of St. Donatus
The Church of St. Donatus is an important Zadar relic, a stunning example of a Byzantine structure that’s a must-see. Originally called the Church of the Holy Trinity, this dates back to the 9th century and one of the best attractions in Zadar.
This church was named after Bishop Dobat and is most famous for its unique architecture. It was built on top of an old Roman forum, this rare circular church has been deconsecrated and now a popular venue for classical concerts.
Children from 10 years and adults – 20.00 kn (€2.71)
Pupils, students and senior citizens (groups) – 12.00 kn (€1.63)
Other groups – 15.00 kn (€2.03)
Vouchers – 15.00 kn (€2.03)
Address: Trg Rimskog Foruma, 23000, Zadar, Croatia
Phone: 023 250 613
4. Kornati National Park
When in Zadar, make sure to take an easy day trip to Kornati National Park. It’s located just off the Zadar coast and composed of 147 islands in the Zadar archipelago.
Kornati National Park was founded primarily to protect and preserve marine life, with most of the islands in it uninhabited. There was a time when the islands had Roman villas and farms, but at present only had caves and cliffs, therefore preserving its natural rugged beauty.
Make sure you join a tour group, where you’ll be taken on a cruise along the islands.
Kornati National Park is popular among yachters, scuba divers and boat tours, making it one of the best things to do in Zadar on weekends. It is also one of the best national parks in Croatia.
Address: Kornati National Park Butina 2 22243 Murter, Croatia
Phone: +385 (22) 435740
5. Check out the City Walls and Gates in Zadar
Zadar is cramped with ancient structures showcasing a variety of architectural styles that exploring them has become a must-do for those visiting. The area along the eastern walk near the footbridge is built by the Romans and considered the oldest part, while the rest were constructed by the Venetians.
Zadar’s ancient gates are remarkably well preserved, and the most impressive of all is the Land Gate. There’s also the popular Sea Gate or the Gate of St. Chrysogonu, which has been around since the 1500s.
A closer look at the Sea Gate allows you to see interesting features like a memorial to sailors, the lion of St. Mark and a commemorative plaque to a papal visit.
Address: Ul. Ante Kuzmanica | incrocio Obala Petra Krešimira IV e Ul. Ante Kuzmanića, Zadar 23000, Croatia
Phone: +385 92 229 3887
6. Museum of Ancient Glass
Set in the stunning Cosmacendi Palace, is the Museum of Ancient Glass. This place houses one of Europe’s biggest collections of glass artifacts.
Be sure to visit this one of a kind Zadar attraction, and check out a variety of items that were discovered during decades of archeological explorations in Croatia’s Dalmatian region. These rare finds on display include Roman goblets, jars, and vials; vessels used to hold oils and perfumes, as well as cups and flasks used in early churches.
After your visit, stroll along the palace grounds and enjoy the scenic views over Jazine harbor.
Monday to Sunday – 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Adults: 30 kn (€4.06)
Groups (5+ persons): 20 kn (€2.71)
Students and pupils: 10 kn (€1.35)
Address: Poljana Zemaljskog odbora 1 23000 Zadar, Croatia
Phone: +385 (0)23 363 831
7. Greeting To The Sun
Another stunning installation that beautifully complements the nearby Sea Organ, the Greeting To The Sun is another of the best things to see in Zagreb.
Another masterpiece from the same artist who made the Sea Organ, this one is essentially a solar-powered circle that lights up in different colors come nightfall.
This huge circle has a diameter of about 22 meters and made up of 22 multilayered glass plates.
An amazing sight at any time of the day, this installation is even more magnificent at night as it lights up in a burst of colors. It’s definitely a must-visit in Zadar that shouldn’t be left out of your itinerary.
Address: Jurja Barakovića 5
Phone: +385 – (0)23 – 315 316
8. Check out Narodni Trg (Peoples Square)
Also known as Narodni Trg, the People’s Square in Zadar has been around for centuries. Built in the 16th century, it has always been a favorite place to relax among locals and tourists alike, as well as a meeting point or a place to get some coffee or a meal. It has quaint cafés and restaurants, within walls and city gates that are centuries old.
Regarded as one of Zadar’s attractions, the Narodni Trg has other sights within it that you must check out.
Be sure to visit places like the City Guardhouse or Renaissance City Loggia and a lot more, as this area is practically surrounded by ancient walls and structures.
9. The Zadar Pijaca
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Operating since the middle ages, the Zadar Pijaca or market is a must-visit. This massive marketplace sells everything from fresh produce, meat, a variety of fish to cheese and ready meals.
While there, check out the fish section or the Peskarija as they have a variety on offer which changes every day. Be sure to also get some Pag cheese, or you can also try the award-winning Gligora cheese.
The Zadar Pijaca has practically everything you need, and if your accommodation has a kitchen, this is the ideal place to pick up stuff you’ll need to try some Croatian dishes.
10. Kolovare Beach
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One of the top beaches in Zadar is Kolovare, which has amenities and facilities for guests to fully enjoy their visit. It’s also a blue flag beach which means it’s clean and its management is sustainable.
Spend several hours or an entire day here to relax in the sun, swim in the clear blue waters or enjoy the many activities Kolovare has on offer.
Located within walking distance from Old Town, a trip to Kolovare Beach is an ideal way to relax in between exploring the rest of Zadar. It is also one of the best things to do in Zadar.