Top attractions in Zadar
Best things to do in Zadar
For all its historic buildings, ruins, and eccentric attractions, Zadar is a lively city that rises far above the trappings of your typical Dalmatian tourist destination. Here are the attractions that'll lure you away from its beaches!
1. Church of St. Donatus
Built on top of the old Roman Forum, this Byzantine church incorporates many of the ruins' structural elements. The floor has even been removed so visitors can look down into it!
If you came to Zadar to relax, board a boat south to the island of Ošljak. No crowds, no cars, just rustic fishing villages, cypress-lined hills, and the best seafood restaurants!
3. Sea Organ
This beloved art installation is essentially an instrument played by the waves. At night, the nearby Greeting to the Sun provides a fittingly impressive visual accompaniment.
4. Paklenica National Park
Established to protect the mountain region's diverse flora and fauna, this UNESCO biological reserve is a hiker's dream, as well as a paradise for birdwatchers!
5. Archeological Museum
You may notice how Roman ruins seem to jut out of Zadar's every corner. For a great round-up of Dalmatia's colorful history, head over to Croatia's second-oldest museum.
6. Monastery of St. Francis of Assisi in Zadar
The city's religious focal point for centuries, this monastery was built around 1221, and was where the Venetians signed away their Dalmatian holdings in 1358's Treaty of Zadar.
7. Zadar Cathedral
The Cathedral of St. Anastasia blends architectural styles from the Byzantine to the Gothic. Climb its bell tower for beautiful views over the city and sea.
Planning Your Visit
When to go?
If you can, arrive at either end of the tourism season – May/June or September/October – to experience perfect seaside weather without the crowds that come in the peak months.
How many days?
Zadar has a wide variety of attractions, including an archipelago that's perfect for island-hopping! You could complete your city sightseeing in a weekend, but we recommend taking it slow and relaxing into Mediterranean life. If you do choose to explore the islands, allow at least a week.
Good to know
- Croatian Kuna (kn)
- Time Zone
- UTC (+01:00)
- Country Code
- Best time to visit
- Go in late spring or early fall for the best of all worlds – warm weather, better prices, less crowds!
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What people are saying about Zadar
The trip was great! We tried sailing ourselves and also stretching the sail. Along the way we stopped on the island of Ošljak. There are beautiful beaches as well as the sea and no one around. Then we went for coffee on the coast. On the way back we stretched the sails and took great photos.
It was great experience and adventure to my wife myself. We tasted rakija, we were given breakfast as well. Additionally we were hosted with delicious dinner - fish and meat. Futhermore we drunk very good white wine and had a great day on boat.
An excellent day out with Philip, our skipper. It's a long way to the Kornati Islands and takes about three hours, so take a cushion for the seats!
Ended up with a private tour and my guide was fantastic. As a local she was very well informed, personal, and was able to share a wealth of info.
A very interesting guide who gave us a very comprehensive history of Zadar and showed us places to visit.