If you’re visiting Zadar soon, you’ve come to the right place. After reading this guide, you’ll know which area to stay in, where to find the best restaurants and how to get around this coastal city in Croatia.
What to expect in Zadar
Often overlooked in favour of its well-known neighbour Split, Zadar is a perfect base to visit Plitvice Lakes and Krka Waterfalls from!
One of the best things about Zadar is that it isn’t packed with other tourists, and in general, is a bit cheaper than Split.
Is Zadar worth visiting?
Zadar is somewhere you can really observe and embrace Croatian culture. It’s a place where you don’t feel like you have to be busy all of the time.
A perfect way to spend your time is to simply find a cafe or bar, and take in your surroundings. The majority of this Dalmatian city’s charm comes from its laidback lifestyle, fresh gastronomy scene and narrow marble streets.
Boasting a fascinating combination of modern and rich history, Zadar often holds a special place in everyone’s hearts after they leave!
How many days should you spend in Zadar?
With not as much to do as in some of the other Croatian cities, you don’t need that much time in Zadar.
We recommend spending 1-2 days here. Most of the city can be seen within one day. It really depends on whether you want to do day trips to the nearby islands, national parks etc.
To help you make the most of your time in this beautiful city, we’ve put together a list of the top things to do in Zadar.
Where to stay in Zadar
Zadar is the 5th largest city in Croatia, but it still doesn’t feel that big. The city is made up of different neighbourhoods, but we think that there is really only one place to stay in Zadar.
In the Old Town
When staying in the Old Town, you’re experiencing the heart of Zadar. This is where you’ll witness the hustle and bustle of the streets, the locals going about their day and listen to the laughter that flows through the streets.
Being able to wake up and be only steps from a fresh patisserie or coffee shop is very close to perfection.
Here everything you need will be at your fingertips. Plus this is where you’ll find some incredible accommodations.
Accommodation in Zadar Old Town
There are plenty of places to stay within the Old Town. You can pick from a selection of boutique hotels, Airbnbs, apartments and hostels.
A lot of them boast a cute and traditional Dalmatian style. Private rooms start from around €30 per night.
Best places to eat in Zadar
Zadar has a flourishing culinary scene that will leave you spoilt for choice. You can find some of the freshest and highest quality seafood in the cosy Dalmatian restaurants.
There are some spots where you shouldn’t leave Zadar without trying.
These are our top 3 unmissable places to eat in Zadar:
Restoran Bruschetta — exciting blends of different cuisines
If you ask for a recommendation of where to eat in Zadar, most people will give you Restoran Bruschetta. Their ambition is to take you on a culinary journey, whilst getting to experience the aromas and tastes of Mediterranean, Dalmation and Croatian cuisine.
This may be one of your favourite culinary experiences during your time in Croatia. Everything about this place is faultless and will leave your mouth buzzing with joy.
Svabos Soul Food — feel-good food
The owner of Svabos Burger and Soul Food will welcome you into his cosy restaurant with open arms. It’s like you’ve been friends for years.
It’s the perfect place to enjoy some hearty and delicious food. They definitely want you to leave full and satisfied with their generous portions.
Enjoy a plate of tasty loaded fries, or indulge in one of their juicy and overflowing burgers. Vegetarians or vegans don’t have to miss out on the excitement either.
Proto Food&More — fresh and tasty seafood
Zadar is by the sea, so there’s no better place to enjoy some deliciously fresh seafood. Everything about Proto Food&More is top quality – the food, the service, the atmosphere and the decor.
The presentation of the food looks almost too good to eat. Don’t worry, you won’t be able to resist for long. The famous black risotto or tuna steak is irresistible.
How to get around in Zadar
You’ll likely spend most of your time within Zadar’s Old Town. This is mainly a pedestrianised area, so you won’t have much need for transportation. If you do want to venture a bit further, here’s how to get around in Zadar:
Like we said above, your own two feet will get you pretty far in Zadar.
The streets are narrow and like a fascinating labyrinth. Getting lost in them is one of the best things to do in Zadar.
The bus is Zadar’s only form of public transportation. That’s not a problem, as you probably won’t have to use it anyway.
However, if you’re arriving at the main bus terminal, then you can use the bus to get to the Old Town. The city bus is run by Liburnija and tickets cost 10 KN (€1.30) per journey or a return for 16 KN (€2.00).
You can buy your bus ticket at one of the offices or onboard the bus.
It’s difficult to go more than a minute without seeing a yellow taxi driving around. Taxis are the most convenient and fastest way of getting around.
Agree on the price before getting into the taxi. Most journey’s around Zadar should cost between 20 KN (€2.60) – 40 KN (€5.00). Keep this in mind when agreeing on a price.
If you’re planning on just staying within Zadar, then you don’t really need a car.
Renting a car for the day can be a good idea, though. It can be used to get to further away locations such as Plitvice Lakes and Krka Waterfalls.
There are several car rental agencies in Zadar. Alternatively, you can rent one in advance online. Car rental isn’t exactly cheap in Zadar, though.
You can rent a car for around €50 per day.
Now that you’ve finished reading this guide, you’re almost ready for your adventure in Zadar. The next step is to create your personalised itinerary with our top picks of things to do in Zadar. Simply choose your favourite activities and places to visit, and you’re all set to make lasting memories in Zadar.
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Kate is a writer, (ex)Management Consultant and avid traveller. She recently returned from a 2-year career break exploring the world and decided corporate life wasn’t for her. She’ll soon be testing life as a digital nomad. She’s visited over 40 countries and fell in love with Latin America in particular. Her travelling has inspired a passion for yoga, salsa, hiking and Spanish.