Zadar, a city on Croatia’s Dalmatian coast, is known for the Roman and Venetian ruins of its peninsular Old Town. There are several Venetian gates in the city walls. Surrounding the Roman-era Forum is 11th-century St. Mary’s Convent, with religious art dating to the 8th century. There’s also the grand, 12th-century St. Anastasia’s Cathedral and the round, 9th-century pre-Romanesque Church of St. Donatus.
What is Zadar Croatia known for?Zadar is the entry point for the majority of Croatia’s many dance music festivals. From here, it’s an hour to the island of Pag, best known for its cheese (more on that below) and long, pebbly, Zrce beach, which sees the return of Hideout Festival, along with the hip-hop happening, Fresh Island Festival, this year.
What to do in Zadar
Cathedral of St. Anastasia: For both History and Art Buffs
The Katedrala sv. Stoije (Cathedral of St. Anastasia) dates from the 4th century A.D. and was extensively rebuilt in the 12th century. It’s the largest church on the Dalmatian coast. Inside you will find an ornate hexagonal baptistry and an intricate floor mosaic from the 5th century that depicts a pair of deer. The cathedral also has a museum of art, which contains the Zadar Polyptych, an early work by Vittore Carpaccio. There is also an imposing bell tower and the church is still home to a sarcophagus containing the remains of St. Anastasia
Morske orgulje: A Unique Musical Experience
The Morske orgulje (Sea Organ) is an extremely unusual musical instrument and well-known feature of Zadar. It is built into the town’s sea wall and features a selection of pipes that emit music as sea waves enter the structure. The result is continuous but random music, much like whale song in character. There are steps from the structure down to the water and the area is much favored as a picnic site. If you visit in the evening, you will also be able to enjoy the accompanying light show, as lights mounted in the ground react to the waves.
. Arheološki muzej Zadar: Learn More about Croatian History
The Arheoloki muzej Zadar (Archaeological Museum of Zadar) is the second-oldest museum in Croatia, having opened in 1832. It houses more than 100,000 exhibits, covering everything from prehistoric times, to medieval and submarine collections. The museum specifically focuses on Zadar and the surrounding area and islands, and it offers a fascinating insight into the history of the town. The museum is located in a modern building on the Forum Square, easily accessible in the center of the Old Town.
. Crkva Sv. Donata: Appreciate the History and maybe Catch a Concert
Crkva Sv. Donata (Church of St. Donatus) occupies the northeastern part of Zadar’s Forum Square. It dates from the 8th century and is the largest pre-Romanesque building in Croatia. It is circular in design, as was typical for medieval Dalmatia. The tall and round interior is known for its excellent acoustic qualities and the church is often used for concerts today. It was built on the site of the ancient Roman forum and actually used stone from that earlier building, including a sacrificial altar that can still be seen today.
Kornati National Park: Discover One of the Most Stunning parts of the Dalmatian coast
Kornati National Park is just 15 miles from Zadar but takes you into a completely different world. It is a natural haven of islands and inlets and one of the most beautiful parts of the Dalmatian coast. The clear blue waters invite you to swim, snorkel and scuba dive, while the islands themselves offer fantastic hiking routes. There are 140 islands covering 114 square miles but no permanent residents. Instead, the residents of the nearby island of Murter keep cottages there to work the orchards, vineyards and olive groves in the harvest months. You can stay in one of these cottages (No electricity or running water!) for a truly ‘back to nature’ experience. Alternatively, there are lots of day trips from Zadar.
EXPLORE ZADAR OLD TOWN STREETS
Exploring Zadar Old Town is a joyful thing to do in Zadar because the streets are made for pedestrians with no cars. Most of the historical sights in Zadar Old Town are within a walking distance of each other and you will find it quite enjoyable to stroll around the Old Town’s many squares and narrow polished streets.
As you wander around, you can’t help but notice that Zadar Old Town bear a strong resemblance to cities in Italy probably this is due to Zadar’s long history under Venetian rule.