Sights and Sounds of Zadar, Croatia

In Croatia, En-Route, Europe, Our Journeys, Trip-Types, World Travel by Janis2 Comments

With centuries of footsteps

Reflecting by the Sea, Zadar, Croatia

Our 2nd destination on our Croatian road trip was to Zadar, and I’m so pleased we chose it.

Not only is the Old Town so full of ancient history, but it also blends in so well with the modern installations of the Sea Organ and Greeting to the Sun.

We have some lasting memories of watching the sunset across the Adriatic on our first night & then the following day watching yachts sail along the blue waters of the Dalmatian coast, all while listening to the sounds of the Sea Organ – does life get any better???

Cold beers by the sea, Zadar, Croatia

Ready for our full day in Zadar, we wake up to thunderstorms and downpours.  This was certainly not in the plan…So, after a bit of a delayed start we head out, luckily our apartment was just 5 minutes from the Old Town.  So across the footbridge over the marina, it wasn’t long, and we had passed through the old city gates.

The Sea Gate, Zadar, Croatia

A helpful guide

If you've yet to discover the delights of Croatia you're in for a treat. While planning our road trip, I used the DK Eyewitness books.  I find them extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into discovering more.

We used a previous version of this book to plan our north to south Croatian road trip, now you can grab the revised copy.


What is quite striking about Zadar (and as time will tell, other parts of Croatia) is its strong Venetian influence. I knew that areas of Croatia and particularly Zadar had Venetian rule, but I suppose I just didn’t expect to see it so evident.

The quaint Old Town, Zadar, Croatia

The high square towers stand so elegantly in the squares, you’ll be forgiven for drifting back to St. Mark’s Square.

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However, prior to the Venetians were the Roman’s and once again nothing speaks to you more about the Romans than a Forum and a city with a symmetrical street plan.

St Mary's Church and the Forum, Zadar, Croatia

Throughout the lanes and squares of Zadar, the streets are paved with large oblong flagstones, which over the centuries have become polished and worn, “what stories these lanes could tell”?

Historical Zadar, Croatia
Towards the Sea Gate, Zadar, Croatia
The lanes, Zadar, Croatia

Ancient Walls

With the sun now breaking through we head along the port side of the city, as a large section of the 16th/17th-century city walls remain, along with its Arsenal.

The City Walls, Zadar, Croatia

Unlike on the Adriatic Sea side very little can be seen, but in search of this, we are back to the Greeting to the Sun & the Sea Organ, which we’ll be heading back to later when the sun has gone down.

City Walls next to the sea, Zadar, Croatia


Strolling through the centre of Zadar, we are then greeted with the eye-catching cylindrical church of St Donatus. Standing quite prominent overlooking the Roman Forum this unusual Byzantine church was originally built in the 9th century.

St Donatus, Zadar, Croatia

Although the church has ceased to be a place of worship since 1798, for the last fifty years’ musical performances have been staged here.

Inside St Donatus, Zadar, Croatia
Looking up Inside St Donatus, Zadar, Croatia
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Why not?

Start creating your own adventure and discover the delights of Croatia for yourself, Easyjet & British Airways are just a couple of options.

You may even want to combine it into a road trip like us, SIXT car hire cover all budgets and allow you to pick up and drop off at different destinations.

Tranquil marina

Our trail now leads us along towards the Land Gate, another ancient entrance to the city at the southern tip of the peninsula.

The Land Gate, Zadar, Croatia

Stepping outside the city we take a look back at the wonderful architectural gate.

What took me by surprise was the quaint little marina, filled with shoals of tiny fish glistening in the crystal-clear waters.

The quiet harbour, Zadar, Croatia
Looking down on the harbour, Zadar, Croatia

Five Wells & a Pit Stop

Exploring the Old Town, Zadar, Croatia

Back within the city walls, we head up to Five Wells, where there are of course five ancient wells, along with the Captain's Tower

This leads down into a pleasant square where we spotted Konoba Skoblar, a traditional Croatian restaurant.

The Five Wells & Captain's Tower, Zadar, Croatia

Time to refuel and the Cuttlefish risotto cried out to Gary, and the fish skewer to me. All washed down with a carafe of inexpensive local white wine.

Cuttlefish Risotto, Zadar, Croatia
Fish Skewer, Zadar, Croatia

Perfect in size

After lunch, we continue our amble back towards People's Square. As the name would indicate is quite a focal point in the town for people to meet at.

Peoples Square, Zadar, Croatia

As with most ancient cities when you first step within the walls they often feel like a bit of a maze and the Old Town of Zadar was no different.

However, after spending a few hours wandering you soon become familiar and we found old Zadar is perfectly petite.

An Ice Cream treat, Zadar, Croatia

Did you know?

If you fancy a pastry late at night, we noticed bakers open until at least 11pm – very strange.

Back to the Riva

After a brief rest at the apartment we head back into the old town, aiming for the Sea Organ, it is so enchanting and who knows when we will be back again.

By the sea at dusk, Zadar, Croatia

However, once at the People's Square we become slightly distracted and head back to 5 wells, and the Land Gate. The marina looks pretty at night, and the city walls are lit, so we scoot around and walk the entire length of the Riva to the Sea Organ.

Greeting to the Sun, Zadar, Croatia

As always it attracts people that listen to its intriguing sound, crowds also gather around The Greeting to the Sun. It's nice to sit back and watch, it's also amazing, as your eyes adjust to the light how clear the night skies are, with the plough visible.

Entranced by the Sea Organ, Zadar, Croatia

It’s time to seek out our evening meal, and we're drawn to the bustling lanes we strolled along last night, and we choose 4 Kantuna which looked popular and smelt great as you walked passed.

Gary opted for a Pag Island cheese starter & then a truffle pizza; our research didn’t identify that truffle was so popular here, nor so reasonable. I went for the pork medallions, again washed down with a Croatian red.

Where we stayed

Our accommodation for the two nights we were in Zadar was at “Apartment Mahagony Deluxe”.
Its location for us was fantastic, just out of the old town & a 5-minute walk to the pedestrian bridge.

Sunset from the apartment, Zadar, Croatia

The apartment was very well equipped, I really couldn't fault it at all, it also had parking in a secure underground carpark.

Tribute to the Sailors, Zadar, Croatia

Personally, if I were staying for longer in the region, I would use this location as a base for exploring, as not only have you got Zadar on your doorstep, you also have the option of self-catering.

Would you like a little more?

We have created a little YouTube video of Zadar
Why not subscribe to our channel and get the latest clips as we post them?

Have You?

Explored Zadar, what did you love about it?

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Inspired to visit Zadar?

It's a great place to explore - give yourself a day or two. It's also a great base to explore the region by day and enjoy the city by night.

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Sights and Sounds of Zadar, Croatia

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  1. I haven’t been to Croatia, but Zadar looks like a really interesting city. Love the harbor and historical sites!

    1. This was our first time to Croatia and we highly recommend it. There is so much history throughout the country, particularly the Venetian influence.Touring down the Adriatic coast was fantastic, so many little bays and inlets with crystal clear waters.Zadar was great; great food, great location and an excellent base to visit the lakes at Plitvice & Krka, Šibenik or just go Island hopping. We’ve a feeling we’ll be back one day.If you get the chance to go, you must jump at it.Happy TravelsJanis & Gary

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