Ton & Lucia in Zadar: here are our tips!
Are you spending your holiday in Dalmatia? Then you don’t want to pass up a visit to the town of Zadar. Medieval buildings, modern architecture, lovely terraces and an actual ‘sea organ’ (a what?!) – you’ll find it all in this city. It’s time to discover Zadar!
Zadar has a newer area with modern shops, supermarkets and apartment buildings, but it’s the old town of Zadar where you really want to be! My boyfriend and I went to Zadar last summer, and I’ve put together my best tips for you here. It’s a list of musts and some great options for when you find yourself in Zadar.
Also interesting ⇒ Ton & Lucia send our love from our holiday village on the Croatian coast
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Wandering through Zadar
Ok, this is probably a crazy activity to start a list of fun to do’s. But if you wander around the old town of Zadar, you’ll see so much! Stroll through narrow alleys, pop into small shops and get a glimpse of daily life. Plus, this section of this Croatian town is car-free, so you can amble around comfortably. Discovering these types of towns is one of our favourite activities when we’re on holiday.
Roman Forum and St. Donatus Church
As you’re touring around the city, you’ll automatically end up in a square with various historical sights, including the Roman Forum. It’s the largest forum in Croatia and was commissioned by the Roman Emperor Augustus. You can see the ruins of old temples, and every stone and pillar you see tells its own story. It feels like a step back in time.
What also makes this square special is the St. Donatus Church, which was built in unusual, cylindrical shape. The unique shape gives it gorgeous acoustics, so the church is regularly used as a concert hall. It is both the pride and symbol of Zadar. Now, I have to admit that we didn’t end up going in, but we could’ve. For 15 knots (€ 2) you can stop in and take a look.
Sea Organ: an endless concert by the sea
Zadar’s entire boulevard runs along the water. From here you have a beautiful view across the Zadar Channel, the islands of Ugljan and Pašman and the open ocean in the distance. And at the end of the boulevard, you’ll find the ‘sea organ’.
The sea organ is a kind of staircase that descends into the sea where you can sit and enjoy the pleasure yachts and sail boats as they pass by, as well as the sound that this ‘sea organ’ produces. Due to the unique architecture of this staircase, the waves that hit the stairs create a special sound. It’s unique in the world. You can happily spend half an hour here just sitting, listening and enjoying the sun and the view.
Next to the Sea Organ is the Greeting to the Sun. This work of art is an ode to the setting sun, and sunset is the time to see it. Because when the sun goes down, the work of art lights up.
Eating on the harbour
Fancy a dish that’s a taste explosion in every bite? Then you need to go to Harbor Cookhouse & Club. It is a trendy spot full of wood and leather furniture, a large bar and a huge ship bow on the wall. The staff here speak English well and are very friendly. I ordered a leg of lamb with sweet mashed potatoes, rosemary and a delicious sauce for 139,00 KN (€18). And my boyfriend had the special: salt crusted fish, which was then flambéed. I’ve never seen him as happy about a piece of fish! Deliciousness at its best, plus a view of the harbour. Don’t miss it!
Zadar from above
Are you light on your feet? Then it is worth your time to climb the bell tower of the St. Anastasia Cathedral. You can walk among the many bells hanging in the tower and when you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful view over Zadar and the surrounding mountains and coastline. A ticket is only 15 kn (€ 2).
Other tips in Zadar:
- Parking in the old town. In the summer, it’s difficult to find a parking space at the edge of the old town centre of Zadar. I do not recommend looking for one. We parked at the Garage Center. From here it’s a 10-minute walk into to the Zadar old town. Plus you get to walk along the harbour, so it’s quite a nice route.
- Lounging in the park. Zadar also has a vibrant nightlife. You can lounge and party at the Queen Elena Madijevka Park at Ledana. This bar is located in the middle of the park, which gives it a kind of fairytale feel.
- Do not visit Muzej Iluzija. This blog started with a crazy to do, so let’s end with an absolute don’t: Muzej Iluzija. This museum in Zadar has a number of different optical illusions on display. My boyfriend and I are always interested in that kind of thing. But the visit is not worth the money, not even for children. We were in there for half an hour, which is how long it took us to see everything and the optical illusions are not that exciting. In short, it was pretty disillusioning!
Campsites near Zadar
Have you been to Zadar before? Please share your tips with us.