Zadar is the oldest continuously inhabited city in Croatia. The city is also considered as the open-air museum of the country. There are lots of historical places to visit in the city. Dubrovnik or Split might be the most popular, but Zadar offers great beauty to its visitors. Zadar is much more than a historical site from ancient times. The city is located on the shores of the dazzling Adriatic Sea. There are great pristine beaches in the city. It is possible to have a great summer vacation in Zadar. If you want to fully explore the city, from its culinary practises to its rich history, here are the best things to do in Zadar.
Listen to the Sea Organ
If you have ever wondered if nature can play the organ, Sea Organ is the first place you should visit in Zadar. There are thirty-five organ pipes installed in the Murter. The Sea Organ is an art installation by the local artist Nikola Basic. It was introduced in 2005, and from that day to this, it has been one of the most visited places in Zadar. The pipes are made from stone. These pipes produce unearthly sounds of the waves velocity and size. You’ll be amazed by the masterpiece of the sea on a wavy day.
Taste Maraska Liqueur
Maraska Liqueur is the most famous drink in the city. It is possible to come across Maraska Liqueur ads everywhere in town. The maraska liqueur is made from maraschino cherries and is the third largest crop after olives and grapes in the city. Early Maraska productions date back to the early 1700s in Zadar. The best part is that the liqueur recipe has mostly stayed the same. Maraskas mature in specifically designed oak casks. It is possible to find many cafés and bars in town. It has a sweet yet sour taste.
Attend Classical Music Concert at the Church of St. Donatus
The Church of St. Donatus is the symbol of the city. This magnificent circular building is among the best examples of Byzantine architecture. From early July to August, there are many classical music concerts in the Old Town part of Zadar. Church of St. Donatus is also a breathtaking concert hall. But you can also find many concerts and recitals in Roman Forum, Bibinje, Marina Dalmacija, and Saint Anastasia Cathedral. Musical Evenings at St. Donatus has been held for more than 60 years. It is a great event to attend if you are looking for what to do in Zadar.
Amazed by the Archeological Museum
The Archeological Museum of Zadar is one of the oldest museums in Eastern Europe. It was established in 1832, for nearly 200 years shedding light on a city’s rich history. The museum has an excellent exhibition about the first Croatian settlements from the prehistoric ages. There are many artifacts and daily life tools from thousands of years ago. There are also some exhibitions from more modern eras. It is possible to find the armory or weaponry from Middle Ages. The museum is just by St. Mary’s Church. While exploring the Old Town part of the city, the museum is one of the best things what to see in Zadar.
Explore the Treasures of the City
The Church of St. Mary is an essential place in Zadar’s history. It is also known as the Museum of Gold and Silver of Zadar. Actually, it’s a Benedictine monastery, but there is a breathtaking religious art exhibition. The gallery has the most important religious artifacts of Croatia. You’ll witness one of the finest artisanries in the region. There are precious Byzantine treasures, including crucifixes, reliquaries, reliefs, tapestries, and embroideries. The Benedictine nuns curate the exhibition of the monastery for centuries. The Church of St. Mary also has magnificent architecture. It is located Roman Forum inside the Old Town part of the city. It was built in 1066. The allies heavily bombed the monastery during WWII, but it was restored after the war.
Have a Party in Stomorica
Stomorica is a great place filled with tiny bars in the south quay. These bars place their furniture outside all year round. If you like crowded pubs, high-volume electronic music, and colorful nightlife, Stomorica is a great place to spend time. It is possible to find great beers from local brewers, also. From fine wines to exotic cocktails, you can find anything you want in the bars of Stomorica. As you may assume, this hub of bars is crowded during summer, the high season for the city. If you want to explore Stomorica less crowded and quieter, spring months are a great time to visit.
See also; Where to stay in Zadar?
Have a Lunch in Kastel
Kastel is one of the finest restaurants in the city. The name of the restaurant means castle in Croatian. The Michelin-starred restaurant offers mouthwatering delicacies from Mediterranean Cuisine. Suppose you want to try more local tastes rather than Mediterranean; you can order some of the great beauties of Dalmatian cuisine. If you plan what to do in Zadar, Croatia, you should definitely add eating in Kastel to your list. The restaurant is located in the Old Town part of Zadar. If you visit the restaurant in summer, you can also have your meal on the terrace. During your meal, you’ll be amazed by the beautiful views of the Old Town and its elaborately built historical buildings. Kastel also offers excellent wines from local producers.
Greet the Sun
Sea Organ isn’t the only art installation of Nikola Basic in Zadar. The Greeting to the Sun is another artistic monument in the city. It is just after the Sea Organ. The installation is also known as the Monument to the sun. It has more than three hundred glasses. These multilayered glasses have a distinct feature. There are photovoltaic solar modules under these glasses. The monument is a 22-meter diameter circle. There are also the same, yet smaller, monuments representing the planets of the Solar System. The solar modules underneath the glasses absorb the solar power during the day. The system transforms it into electricity. There are colorful light shows in The Greeting to the Sun. The monument also produces half of the electricity used in the lightning at the Zadar waterfront. It is a great place to enjoy the city and have a great activity near the seaside with other visitors to the monument.
Hike in Lush Green
Zadar is at the center of the five extensive national parks of Croatia. If you like to get lost in nature and hike long times around the greenery, you should visit at least one of these national parks. The parks are also great places for photographers. The closest one is Paklenica National Park. If you have limited time and are thinking about what to do near Zadar, Paklenica is an excellent option. It is also a fantastic place for families with kids. If chasing waterfalls is an excellent activity for you, Krka National Park is a great option. Plitvice Lakes is one of the great options for visitors with broader time. It is about half an hour away from the city center.
Learn How to Surf
Surfing is a great summer activity for visitors. Even if you don’t know how to surf, you can learn it in Zadar. Learning how to windsurf at Zdrijac beach, just outside the city, is possible. YOu can even try kiteboard in the Surfmania. If you have experience but need a refresher session, you can also take a couple of classes. You shouldn’t worry about not having the right equipment for these breathtaking watersports. Surfmania provides all the equipment you need. If you want to have a thrilling experience, windsurfing is an excellent option for you. But if you are looking for a less strenuous but safer experience, kiteboarding is a great activity.
Enjoy the Pristine Beaches under the Bright Sun
Zadar is one of the coastal cities of Croatia. This means there are lots of dazzling beaches in the city. During the hot summer, swimming is an excellent activity for a cool down. You can also lie down and sunbathe under the bright sun. It is possible to see every shade of blue in the beautiful Adriatic Sea. Borik Beach is located on the north side of the city. It is considered the most beautiful beach in Zadar. Attending many activities like beach volleyball, parasailing, or jet skiing is possible. As you may assume, Borik Beach is also one of the most visited beaches in Zadar. If you want to find a quieter beach, Diklo is the right choice. It is just a little bit outside the city. It is a fantastic beach yet didn’t crowd like Borik. Kolovare is another option in Zadar. It is on the east side of the town. Kolovare is a pebbly stoned beach. It is blue flag accredited also. It isn’t crowded like Borik but also isn’t quite like Diklo. You will be fascinated the moment you realise how clear the water is in Kolovare.