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Expect unique art installations, Roman ruins, and fascinating museums from this coastal Croatian city.

Our most recommended things to do in Zadar

Zadar: Kornati and Telašćica Full-Day Boat Trip with Lunch

1. Zadar: Kornati and Telašćica Full-Day Boat Trip with Lunch

Unwind and get back to nature with a cruise from Zadar to the Kornati National Park and the salt lake in Telascica. Savor a delectable lunch and breakfast onboard and relax with a refreshing glass of wine and an aperitif. Take a dip in the Adriatic and in a salt lake. Meet your captain at the boat in the morning and embark on your cruise to the Kornati National Park. Enjoy the Adriatic Sea as you snack on a scrumptious breakfast sandwich on the way through 109 islands that make up the Kornati National Park. Admire soft grassy hills, steep rocky cliffs, and the dramatic karst-limestone formations from the boat. Stop to swim through the crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic. Sit down to a delicious packed lunch. Visit Telašćica Bay, one of the largest natural ports in the Adriatic, with 25 small beaches. View the cliffs of Dugi Otok which rise up to 161 meters above the sea and reach down to 90 meters below sea level. Keep an eye out for the local bird population that frequents the Mir salt lake. Hop into the salty lake for a swim in water that's warmer than the sea. Return to your meeting point in Zadar at the end of your tour.

Zadar: Plitvice Lakes with Boat Ride and Zadar Old Town Tour

2. Zadar: Plitvice Lakes with Boat Ride and Zadar Old Town Tour

Visit Croatia's first national park, Plitvice Lakes National Park, one of the greatest natural wonders of Europe. Also, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the park's unique geology makes for a popular destination for people from all around the world. Meet up in Zadar and be greeted by your tour escort and board your transportation for the day. While driving to the park, have the chance to enjoy the beautiful Croatian landscape. Upon arrival to the park, you'll be given a map of the park and told about the day's itinerary. Then, have 4 hours of free time to explore 16 beautiful lakes of crystal blue-green water and hypnotic cascades, tour 7 different routes, hike 4 different trails, or just lounge in the shade. Plitvice's natural phenomenon causes it to change through the sedimentation of calcium carbonate constantly. It creates special kinds of algae and moss, tufa, or travertine, which are deposited to form the natural dams that separate the lakes. See the changing travertine barriers, curtains, stalactites, channels, and cascades being built and the existing ones. Check out interesting caves in which remains of prehistoric settlements have been found. After returning to Zadar, explore the Old Town area with an optional and guided walking tour that you can take any day during your stay at 6:00 PM.

Zrmanja: 5-Hour Canoe or Kayak Trip in Kaštel Žegarski

3. Zrmanja: 5-Hour Canoe or Kayak Trip in Kaštel Žegarski

Glide down the easy rapids of the Zrmanja River on a scenic kayak or canoe tour from Kaštel Žegarski. Join your guide on a breathtaking journey through a spectacular canyon. Swim under the Krupa Waterfalls and arrive at the village of Muskovci to purchase a meal. Begin your trip in Kaštel Žegarski, a striking area with safe and gentle rapids for beginners. Learn how to handle your kayak or canoe as you slowly enter the canyon. Allow your guide to point out fish and birds, and teach you about the natural phenomenon of karst. If time and weather permit, stop by the beautiful Krupa Waterfalls and enjoy the chance to swim under them. Come across more beautiful waterfalls as you make your way down to the town of Muskovci. After the tour, your group's driver will be transported back to the starting point to pick up your car. While you're waiting to be picked up, you can relax and buy some snacks or lunch.

From Zadar: Full-Day Boat Trip to Sakarun Beach & Dugi Otok

4. From Zadar: Full-Day Boat Trip to Sakarun Beach & Dugi Otok

Discover the natural beauty of Sakarun Beach on this full-day catamaran trip and explore northwestern shores of Zadar. Meet the crew in the city harbor and hop onto a spaciouos catamaran that will take you along the northwestern shores of Zadar on the way to Sakarun Beach. During the journey, enjoy a beautiful views of nearby islands before entering the port of Božava. Hop on a bus and travel to Sakarun Beach. Have 4 hours of free time to explore the area at your own pace. Relax on the white sand beach, swim in the turquoise-colored waters, or grab a bite to eat at one of the beach's many restaurants.  At the end of the day, hop back in the bus and travel back to the port for your return boat journey to Zadar. 

Zadar: Plitvice Lakes Guided Day Tour with Tickets

5. Zadar: Plitvice Lakes Guided Day Tour with Tickets

Experience Plitvice Lakes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, on a day trip from Zadar with entry ticket and a tour. Listen to interesting stories about Croatia before arriving at the park. Walk the path around the lakes and relax on a boat trip. Make your way to the meeting point in the morning and meet your friendly guide and group for the day. Enjoy a brief introduction and start driving out of the city, admiring the Croatian countryside and listening to live commentary on your way to the park. Arrive at the lakes and have 4 hours of free time to explore the upper and lower waterfalls. Take amazing photos by the water and discover flowing springs, flowering meadows, and mysterious caves. Afterwards, rest your feet with a train ride and a scenic boat trip on the turquoise water with banks of lush green trees. Take one last look at the waterfalls before returning back to Zadar. After returning to Zadar, explore the Old Town area with an optional guided walking tour that you can take any day during your stay at 6:00 PM.

From Zadar: Island-Hopping Boat Tour with Drinks

6. From Zadar: Island-Hopping Boat Tour with Drinks

Navigate among the stunning islands of the Adriatic coast on a scenic boat trip departing from Zadar. Explore some of the most beautiful islands in the area and enjoy time to go swimming, snorkeling, or shopping for souvenirs. Relax as you travel with unlimited wine, beer, and soft drink. This is a group tour that is suitable for almost everyone, families, friends, couples or singles. It doesn't matter whether you are young or old, you can still have a great time with the new friends you will meet. If you are a person who has great difficulties with movement, this tour will probably not suit you. You decide how you will spend your time, you can spend it very actively, swimming, snorkeling, walking or running while exploring the island are just some of the possibilities. But you can also spend your time relaxing on the boat, buying souvenirs, sunbathing on the beach, taking a nap under a pine tree in the woods or just drinking coffee in the first cafe you see. One small note in the price of the tour is included an unlimited amount of cold drinks that you can drink during the tour on the boat, such as white wine, beer, soft drink , water. Also keep in mind that this is an open speedboat and that in case of strong wind and high waves, sea spray is possible also.

Zadar: Lojena Beach, Kornati Islands and Telascica Boat Trip

7. Zadar: Lojena Beach, Kornati Islands and Telascica Boat Trip

Discover some of the most stunning islands in the Kornati archipelago and enjoy a visit to Telascica Nature Park on a full-day boat tour from Zadar that includes breakfast, lunchbox, and swim stops. Cruise past peaceful bays, rugged cliffs, and rocky meadows while listening to your guide's commentary. Meet the boat crew in the city harbor in the morning. Depart from Zadar and stop at the ports of Drazenica and Preko (Ugljan island). Soak in panoramic views of Mrtovac, Levernaka, and Mana islands on the way to Kornati. Savor a welcome drink and a sandwich for breakfast. Sail around the Kornati cliffs while your guide shares its history with you. Upon arrival in Kornati, enjoy 50 minutes of free time to explore the island of Levrnaka. Take a swim in the crystal blue sea of the sandy cove of Lojena. If you love hiking, trek to the top of the island and admire the unique view of the Kornati Islands and islets. Then, get back to the boat to sail onward to Telascica. Tuck into your onboard lunch grilled fish with salad or vegetarian pasta made in tomato sauce, accompanied by wine. As the boat drops anchor at Telascica port, get ready to make the most of your 2 hours in the bay. Once in Telascica Nature Park, you can walk to the 150-meter-high lookout for stunning views of the Adriatic and the Kornati islands, swim in Lake Mir or the open sea, or simply chill by the catering facilities to sip on cold drinks. Finally, settle back in for the 3-hour return trip to Zadar, admiring the coastline along the way. If needed, the boat will make stops at the ports of Drazenica and Preko.

Plitvice Lakes: National Park Official Entry Ticket

8. Plitvice Lakes: National Park Official Entry Ticket

Immerse yourself in the vast beauty of Croatia's largest national park, nestled between the Mala Kapela and Lička Plješivica mountain ranges. Book your ticket to Plitvice Lakes National Park and hike through lush forests to gaze at stunning tufa formations and cascading lakes. Choose from 7 routes and 4 hiking trails to explore this pristine landscape year-round. Witness the magic of 16 named lakes and countless smaller ones, flowing one into another. Discover the Upper Lakes, offering gentle shores, or marvel at the Lower Lakes, boasting steep cliffs and impressive waterfalls, like Sastavci. Join nature enthusiasts who've cherished this park since receiving its national park status in 1949.

Zadar: Krka Waterfalls, Food & Wine Tasting, & Old Town Tour

9. Zadar: Krka Waterfalls, Food & Wine Tasting, & Old Town Tour

Embark on an adventure to explore the beautiful Krka Waterfalls National Park on a day tour from Zadar. Explore the Skradinski Buk area, home to 7 waterfalls and a diverse range of flora and fauna, taste local wine, and discover Zadar's Old Town. Start early in the morning from the Zadar city center and hop on board an air-conditioned bus. As you drive, get useful tips and insights from your guide. Choose between a 45-minute walking tour with your guide or exploring the park on your own for 2 hours. Head to the pier for a boat ride down the Krka River canyon to reach the town of Skradin, inside the national park. Enjoy an hour to relax, take a swim in the Krka River, eat lunch, grab a coffee, go to the Skradin Oldtimer Museum, or just enjoy the surrounding landscapes. Continue to the winery, where a local sommelier will greet you. Visit a small village and sample fine Dalmatian wine, olive oil, and cheese. Next, explore the waterfalls and walking trails of Krka National Park. Visit the historic stone workshops and watermills that line the river. After returning to Zadar, explore the Old Town area with an optional and guided walking tour that you can take any day during your stay at 6:00 PM.

From Zadar: Kornati National Park and Telascica Boat Trip

10. From Zadar: Kornati National Park and Telascica Boat Trip

Visit the jewel of the Adriatic Sea on a full-day tour to Kornati National Park, departing from Zadar. Leave in the morning and make your way to the park via boat. Enjoy breakfast as you travel to the 109 islands that make up the park.  During the tour, you will stop for 3 hours to go swimming. Then relax as you are taken on a tour around the park, checking up the dramatic karst-limestone formations that tower around you. In the middle of the day, you will also be treated to lunch. Just sit back and enjoy the view. Afterward, enjoy a visit to Telascica Nature Park and make a stop on its beach.

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Frequently asked questions about Zadar

What top attractions are a must-see in Zadar?

The must-see attractions in Zadar are:

What are the best day trips and excursions from Zadar?

The best day trips and excursions from Zadar are:

Plitvice Lakes National Park

Insider Tips: Planning a trip to Zadar

Martina and Jürgen, the authors of PlacesofJuma, share their travel experiences from around the globe. With a passion for photography, they are constantly in search of the most stunning destinations and places.

What should I do on my first trip to Zadar?

There are numerous fantastic things to do in Zadar. On your first trip, exploring the Old Town should be at the top of your list. Here, you can experience the city's rich cultural heritage, including well-preserved Roman architecture, the impressive Forum, Roman gates, and the St. Donatus Church. Stroll through the narrow streets and take a sightseeing break at charming squares such as the Five Wells Square and the Petar Zoranić Square. A highlight in Zadar is the Sea Organ, a unique installation on the waterfront that generates soothing sounds from the waves.

What are some hidden gems to see in Zadar?

The Monastery of Saint Francis Assisi (Samostan sv. Frane) dates back to the 13th century and is considered the oldest Gothic church in Dalmatia. It's slightly off the beaten path, making it a true hidden gem. Inside the monastery, you'll find an impressive collection of sacred artworks, including paintings, sculptures, and religious artifacts. Of particular note is the Gothic Chapel of Saint Francis, which captivates with its breathtaking frescoes. This monastery provides a peaceful and historical experience, offering insight into the spiritual history of Zadar and is definitely worth a visit.

How much time should I spend in Zadar?

A day is more than enough to visit the main attractions in the center of Zadar, including the Old Town and the Sea Organ. However, if you want to enjoy the region's beaches and take additional trips, then planning for a week is advisable. Near Zadar, you'll find beautiful beaches like Zaton Beach, Borik Beach, and Nin Beach. Moreover, there are day trips available to places such as Krka Waterfalls, the Kornati Islands, Dugi Otok Island, Ugljan Island, or Šibenik.

What food is Zadar known for?

The culinary scene in Zadar is phenomenal. One must-try is peka, a traditional dish prepared with either octopus or meat and potatoes. During cooking, the ingredients are slow-cooked in a cast-iron pot under a bell, resulting in a unique flavor combination. Another specialty is cevapcici, handcrafted minced meat rolls, typically grilled and served with fresh bread, onions, and ajvar sauce. These dishes are beloved in the region and offer a delightful gastronomic experience that you shouldn't miss when visiting Zadar.

What is the best way to get around in Zadar?

Zadar's historic center is car-free and perfect for exploring on foot. The narrow streets, nearly all the historical sights, and culinary highlights are easily reached. You can stroll to significant places such as the Church of St. Donatus, the Roman Forum, and the Sea Organ. The compact size of the historic center makes it easy to explore all the main attractions. If you plan to cover greater distances or embark on day trips, public buses and taxis are available. Of course, there are also many guided tours offered to explore the region's highlights.

What are the best months to visit in Zadar?

The best months to visit Zadar are June and September. In June, pleasant temperatures and a lively atmosphere make it ideal for sightseeing and exploring the old town without being overcrowded. Additionally, the June Sunset Sports Media Festival takes place, combining sports and media art. In September, temperatures remain warm and comfortable, making it suitable for beach days and outdoor activities. This month hosts the Zadar Craft Beer Festival for beer enthusiasts and the exciting Zadar Outdoor Festival.

What are the best neighborhoods to visit in Zadar?

The best neighborhoods to visit in Zadar are the city center and the adjacent district of Kolovare. The city center of Zadar, particularly the historic Old Town, is a must for all visitors. Here, you can explore significant attractions such as Roman archaeological sites, the impressive Church of St. Donatus, and the unique Sea Organ along the picturesque waterfront. However, visiting the Kolovare district is also recommended, as it features lovely city beaches where you can fully enjoy the sun and the sea during the summer months.

What are the best neighborhoods for food?

In the city center of Zadar, you'll discover the best restaurants in town, offering a wide range of culinary delights. Here, the selection spans from international to local cuisine, from fast food to fine dining, all at surprisingly moderate prices for a city of such beauty and historical significance. Particularly charming are the taverns tucked away in hidden courtyards and picturesque alleyways. In these small oases, you'll experience the authentic Mediterranean ambiance and savor local delicacies.

What are the best neighborhoods for shopping?

The best shopping opportunities in Zadar are located in the city center, especially along Kalelarga Street. This charming, historic street is lined with shops, many of which house local designers and smaller boutiques. Here, you can discover unique fashion, jewelry, and souvenirs while enjoying the historical ambiance. Outside of the city center, shopping centers like Supernova and City Galleria provide additional shopping options. These modern shopping centers offer a wide range of stores, including international brands and restaurants, catering to various shopping preferences.

What neighborhood should I stay in when I visit Zadar?

An excellent place to stay in Zadar is the neighborhood of Kolovare. This area is particularly popular because it is situated in close proximity to the city center while also being right by the sea. Visitors can easily walk to Zadar's Old Town within minutes and explore all the major attractions. Additionally, Kolovare boasts wonderful beaches, perfect for swimming and relaxation, making it an ideal choice for combining sightseeing with beach time. Furthermore, accommodations in Kolovare tend to be more budget-friendly compared to those in the city center.

What are 4 top travel tips for someone visiting Zadar?

• Spend at least one night in Zadar to witness the breathtaking sunset along the famous Riva promenade.

• The Zadar region is the perfect gateway for excursions to the nearby islands, with Ugljan and Dugi Otok being particularly interesting destinations due to their natural beauty and charm.

• The surroundings of Zadar offer an ideal setting for a beach vacation. Take advantage of the opportunity to explore the various beaches and coves in the region.

• Zadar is by far one of the best coastal cities in Croatia for dining. The city center is home to excellent and reasonably priced restaurants. Sample the local cuisine and experience the city's culinary diversity.

What should people avoid doing in Zadar?

In Zadar, visitors should observe a certain dress code. Although it is not officially prohibited, it is advisable not to wear swimwear when not at the beach, even if it's just for a short time. This gesture of respect towards the locals and their culture is highly appreciated and contributes to a pleasant holiday experience in Zadar.

What are your top 5 favorite GetYourGuide experiences in Zadar?

Zadar: Kornati and Telašćica Full-Day Boat Trip with Lunch

Zadar historical guided tour

From Zadar: Island-Hopping Boat Tour with Drinks

Eco Tuk Tuk guided tour of Zadar

Explore Zadar: Laid-Back Fun Bike Tour

Other Sightseeing Options in Zadar

Want to discover all there is to do in Zadar? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Zadar

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 5,005 reviews

Definitely it's a beautiful place to visit. Beautiful scenery, a place worth visiting if you are in Croatia. The waterfalls and the lakes are stunning, while the passages are easy to walk through, you just need a good pair of sneakers, and comfortable clothes. The visiting queue was very good, we could roam around without any problems while having ample time to take photographs. Staff at the information booth were very nice and helpful, they also suggested a very good restaurant to have a decent and genuine meal after the tour. You will find it just across the road! I highly recommend both the waterfall tour as well as the restaurant for some typical Croatian food :)

The hike was beautiful, the place is wonderful. We went in February so not high season but it was still a spectacle. The boat always works. There were fewer people. We left with a rented car from Zagreb and then on the way back we stopped in Rastoke. I highly recommend.

Magnificent place. This is by far one of the best national parks around the world. The route C is the best one to do, just bear in mind that you’ll need approximately 5 hours or more depending on your speed (photo stops included within that approximate).

the experience itself is great, it stops you in interesting places. minus would be the sun beating on your head.

Great the guide Nimak was awesome and he was very friendly and made the trip incredibly amazing