Zadar, Croatia Travel Guide

Welcome to my penultimate blog in my Croatia series on Zadar, a beautiful and underrated Croatian city just north of Split. To be completely honest, we were only staying in Zadar as a travel stop on the way to Plitvice lakes. But I am so happy we did because it is such an incredible place and I cherished our couple of days there.

Zadar is a city on Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast which is known for Roman and Venetian ruins in the Old Town and it has several gates to enter and exit its Old Town. One thing to be aware of is that Zadar is set on a peninsula and so it is at high risk of flooding and heavy rainfall. However, we found the climate agreeable and it didn’t really rain at all!

Arriving in Zadar:

We immediately set off to find our Hostel, which was inconveniently on the opposite end of Zadar to the historic Old Town. However, it was in a beautiful area on the Coast and it was much quieter than our accommodation in Split, because it was so far from the centre. We stayed in HI Hostel, Zadar, and would really recommend it! We had a private room and ensuite which was perfect for our stay. Although a long walk from the centre, the hostel is right next to a bus stop which made getting into Zadar easy.

Our hostel’s location

What to do in Zadar:

Our bus took us into the Zadar city centre, we then walked across the Great Zadar Bridge which connects the Old Town to the rest of the city. The bridge is very wide and is even lit up at night, it really is unmissable! Once we reached the Old Town, we wandered around and took in all the sights. Zadar is not too dissimilar to Split in terms of architecture, however we found it to be much quieter! We loved exploring the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one highlight was seeing the distinctive Church of St Donatus and the bell tower of Cathedral of St. Anastasia which sits beside it.

The Great Zadar Bridge
Zadar Old Town

We also explored the other squares and enjoyed getting lost in the beautiful streets with their coloured houses, which we felt resembled cities in Southern France.

Zadar Old Town streets

In the evening, we watched the sunset on the steps of the Sea Organ. The marble steps in Zadar may appear ordinary, however, underneath these steps are a series of tubes which overlap with the sea and create a beautiful melodic and haunting sound. Next to the Sea Organ you can find the ‘Sun’ in Zadar which lights up at night and almost transforms into a disco floor. These two unique attractions create an incredible multi-sensory experience for tourists and shouldn’t be missed if you’re in Zadar!

The marble steps and Sea Organ

The next morning we left Zadar to go to Plitvice Lakes, which was the highlight of our trip!

Plitvice Lakes:

The Plitvice Lakes National Park is Croatia’s most popular tourist attraction and was rewarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 1979.

The National Park is over 295-sq.-km in forest reserve in central Croatia. It is comprised of sixteen lakes and waterfalls, that extend into a limestone canyon. The walkways and hiking trails wind around the water and there is even an opportunity to take an electric boat to the lower lake!

Plitvice walkboards

Plitvice is just phenomenal and so it is no surprise that the Park receives over a million visitors each year. Despite it being very busy, we were still able to get some shots without people in them as we explored the various lakes and saw some of the bluest water ever! If you’re looking to get some hiking into your holiday or you’re looking for a way to increase your steps, Plitvice will help you reach your daily goal easily. We spent just over four hours in the Park in order to see absolutely everything and think three to four hours is more than enough time.

Plitvice Lakes

There are a lot of restaurants and cafés to choose from for food and refreshments in Plitvice, so don’t worry too much about where to get lunch. Visiting a café in Plitvice also gives visitors a well deserved rest and helps break up all the walking. We actually ended up eating our dinner in Plitvice as well as our lunch, since the area we were staying in had very few restaurants. If you are also visiting Plitvice while on the road, then you can use the Plitvice luggage storage to keep your possessions safe while exploring the Lakes. We found this very useful, since we didn’t want to lug our suitcases around with us!

Really, Plitvice was spectacular and I would wholeheartedly recommend you visit if you’re staying in Zadar.

From Plitvice we travelled to Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. Follow my blog to be sure to see the next posts I share!

Have you been to Zadar and Plitvice?

Beth x

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