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Is it Worth Visiting Zadar, Croatia? A Complete 2023 Travel Guide

  • Post last modified:January 24, 2024
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Is it worth visiting Zadar, Croatia? There are so many incredible places to see in the country, so it's definitely important to know which ones are worth adding to your travel itinerary, or which ones you can skip.

In summer 2022 we did a road trip around the Balkans for three months, which two of those weeks were spending exploring all of the best spots in Croatia.

In this guide we're going to share everything you need to know about visiting Zadar, from how to get there, how to navigate the city, and the best things to do in Zadar. That way, you can decide if it is worth visiting Zadar, Croatia for you!

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Where is Zadar, Croatia?

Zadar is located in the northern part of the Dalmatian coast between Split and Rijeka. Croatia is a country that is sits on the Adriatic coast, in the Balkan region of Eastern Europe.

Where is Zadar in Croatia

Zadar is on the north of the Dalmation coast.

Is it Worth Visiting Zadar, Croatia? How to Get There

Now that you know where Zadar, Croatia is located, let's look at all of the different ways to get there.

Where Do You Fly Into For Zadar, Croatia?

Zadar actually does have its own airport, which is just 12 km or a 15-20 minute drive away from the city center.

Cities that fly direct to Zadar include Brussels, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Dublin, Eindhoven, Frankfurt, Gdansk, Gothenburg, Hamburg, Helsiniki, Karlsruhe, Krakow, London, Luxembourg, Memmingen, Milan, Nuremberg, Osijek, Poznan, Prague, Pula, Rijeka,  Stuttgart, Vaxjo, Vienna, Warsaw, Wroclaw, and Zagreb.

Most flights don't go every day, and some of them only go once a week. We suggest checking the calendar on Skyscanner, so that you can see which dates your city flies there. If you're city doesn't fly direct, we still suggest checking the calendar to see what the cheapest dates to get to Zadar from your city are.

Flight Tip: Using Skyscanner you can put from "your city" to "Croatia". This way you can see which is the cheapest airport in the area to fly to. Also, you can check the calendar to see which are the cheapest dates for each airport!

Search for a flight to or near Zadar:

If you don't have luck finding decent flights right to Zadar, you can also check one of the nearby airports. Split is the next closest airport, which is a little under two hours away, and the next closest airport is Rijeka, which is about 3 hours away in car.

How to Get from Split to Zadar

There are two different options for getting to Zadar from Split. You can either get a bus from Split to Zadar, which is a 3 hour ride, or you can rent a car from the Split Airport

We personally think having a car in Croatia is amazing because there are so many stunning places to discover off the beaten path, and it's a much more efficient way to experience the country.

How to Get from Rijeka to Zadar

Just like from Split, the two options for getting to Zadar from Rijeka are either to take a bus from Rijeka to Zadar, or to rent a car from the Rijeka airport and drive. The bus is 4-4 1/2 hours, and the drive in a car is 3 hours.

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Entry Requirements for Croatia

Before visiting anywhere new, it's important to know if there are any restrictions or requirements before entering the country. Here are the entry requirements for Croatia.

Visa Entry Requirements for Croatia

Last year when we visited Croatia, we has just expired our 90 days in Europe. As Croatia wasn't part of the Schengen Zone, we were in fact able to visit for up to 90 days. However, as of January 2023, Croatia is now part of the Schengen Zone, meaning they are included in the 90/180 rule.

What Does the 90/180 Rule Mean?

The 90/180 rule states that there is a limit of 90 days within a 180-day period that tourists can visit the Schengen Zone, without needing a visa (this applies to those nationalities that don't require a visa in general to enter Europe).

For example, If you spend 30 days in Spain, 30 days in France, and then 20 days in Slovenia, you would then only have 10 days left within that 180-day period to visit Croatia, or any other country within the Shengen Zone.

Covid Entry Requirements for Croatia

As of last year, all restrictions in Croatia due to Covid-19 have been lifted.

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Local Adjustments for Visiting Zadar, Croatia

Whenever visiting a new destination, there are certain local things to adjust to such as the language, currency used, or the tipping culture. Here are some of those things to keep in mind while visiting Zadar, Croatia.

What Language Does Zadar Speak?

The language spoken in Zadar, Croatia is Croatian. It is a Slavic language, but they use the Roman alphabet.

Do They Speak English in Zadar?

We found that almost everyone in Zadar spoke English. Most restaurants had their menus in English, and some with other languages as well. Hotel staff, tour companies, and other businesses in the hospitality field operate in English as its primary language.

What is the Best Currency to Use in Croatia?

While Croatia used to have its own currency, they now have have switched to the Euro as of January this year.

What Plug Adapter Do I Need for Croatia?

Croatia uses the same plugs as the rest of Europe which are for types C & F, which have two round prongs. Croatia operates on 230V supply voltage and 60Hz.

Can You Drink Tap Water in Zadar?

Croatia's water is very suitable for drinking, so you can safely consume the tap water in Zadar. We suggest bringing a reusable water bottle so that you can fill up while exploring.

What is Typical Tipping in Croatia?

Like many other European countries, the tipping culture in Croatia is around 10%. If you feel that you have received good service, you can leave a little bit more, up to 15%.

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Is it Worth Visiting Zadar, Croatia? Things to Do in Zadar

Now that you know almost everything you need to know about the basics of visiting, it's time to see- is it worth visiting Zadar, Croatia? Well, here are the best things to do in Zadar and around it.

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Is it worth visiting Zadar, Croatia?
is it worth visiting Zadar, Croatia?
Is it worth visiting Zadar, Croatia?

Explore the Historic Center

The historic center of Zadar lies within the old city walls of town. Here you'll find well-preserved buildings that date back to the 9th century BC! You'll truly feel like you've stepped back in time wandering the pedestrian-only streets, admiring the stunning ancient architecture. Here are a few of the top things to see within the historic center:

  • The Roman Forum: remains of what was once the center of public life in Zadar
  • Crvka Sv. Donata: cylindrical Catholic Church on the north eastern part of the Roman Forum
  • Cathedral of St. Anastasia: the largest church in Dalmatia, which is on route to be an UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Narodni Trg: the main square of Zadar, known as "the peoples square"
  • Five Wells Square: public square characterized by it's five 16th-century wells
Is it worth visiting Zadar Croatia? Things to do
Is it worth visiting Zadar Croatia? Things to do
Is it worth visiting Zadar Croatia? Things to do
Is it worth visiting Zadar Croatia? Things to do

Most of the best things to do in Zadar, Croatia are in the historic center.

Want to explore the best of the historic center? Here are some tours that you can take:

Climb the Anastasia Bell Tower

Want to get some of the best views of Zadar? Well, not only is the Cathedral of  Anastasia worth visiting, but you can actually climb its 180 steps all the way to the top! It is open from Monday-Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm, and is closed on Sundays.

Is it worth visiting Zadar, Croatia
Is it worth visiting Zadar Croatia? Things to do
Is it worth visiting Zadar Croatia? Things to do

You can get amazing views of Zadar from Anastasia Bell Tower.

Listen to the Sea Organ

The Sea Organ is one of the top highlights of Zadar, and is definitely something you need to witness. This architectural piece was created along the shore of Zadar to create music with movement of the tides. 

While it merely looks like a set of steps, you can sit and enjoy every movement of the the water as it creates soothing sounds for Zadar's visitors to enjoy.

Sea Organ, is Zadar Croatia worth visiting?
Is it worth visiting Zadar Croatia? Things to do

The Sea Organ is an architectural masterpiece of Zadar.

Catch a Stunning Sunset

Did you know that Zadar is known to have some of the most beautiful sunsets in the world? Each evening tourists and locals alike crowd the seaside to experience the sky filling with colors! We definitely suggest saving yourself this window of time to experience the magical sunsets that Zadar has to offer.

sunset in Zadar

Don't miss out on Zadar's stunning sunsets!

Experience the Greeting to the Sun

Just steps away from the Sea Organ, you'll also find another incredible work of art done that is one of the best things to see in Zadar, Croatia. 

The Greeting to the Sun is a large 22-meter round circle, covered with 300 multi-glass plates. The piece was made as a dedication to the sun, and uses solar panels underneath to create a magical light show. Head here after the sun sets and you'll see everyone flocking the mesmerizing piece of art as it constantly changes colors and designs.  

Greeting to the sun, is it worth visiting Zadar, Croatia?
Greeting to the sun, is it worth visiting Zadar, Croatia?
Greeting to the sun, is it worth visiting Zadar, Croatia?

Browse the Farmer's Market

Right as you enter the city walls, you'll find a large market that sets up in the morning, full of local vendors. You can find fresh fruits and veggies, local olive olives, cheeses, and more! Browse around, or support the local by purchasing some of their fresh products.

market in Zadar, things to do in Zadar, Croatia

Right when you enter the city walls you will find a local farmer's market.

Browse the Kiosks

Looking for souvenirs? Well, right outside the main square are tons of stalls of souvenirs, and local crafts for you to check out and bring home with you.

kiosks in Zadar

There are tons of kiosks to go shopping at in Zadar.

Take a Boat Trip Through the Kornati Islands

One of the best things to do in Zadar, Croatia is to take a boat trip! There are various tours that you can take, which take you for a full-day tour to explore a group of islands off the coast of Zadar. The archipelago consists of 140 islands, and the boats make several stops. Many of them include meals, snorkeling, and other great amenities!

boat tour, things to do in Zadar, Croatia

Here are a few of the boat tours to the Kornati Islands that you can choose from:

Go Kayaking

Another fun activity in Zadar to do is to join a kayak tour! There are various ones that you can take, exploring the beautiful waters and surrounding islands of Zadar, as well as kayaking trips that take you to nearby canyons.

Relax at Korovare Beach

While the center of Zadar is located on the water, it doesn't have beaches right inside the historic center. However, just a little south of the historic center, you can walk 20-25 minutes and visit Korovare beach, the perfect place for relaxing and soaking up the sun.

Enjoy the Nightlife

If you're still wondering- is it worth visiting Zadar, Croatia? Then, maybe this may sway your opinion! The nightlife in Zadar is super fun, and definitely makes Zadar worth a night or two. Our top club that we recommend is Ledana, which is a favorite amongst the locals. It has both indoor and outdoor areas, and the bartenders we had were fantastic. There are also a few other bars and clubs nearby if you'd like to bar hop a bit.

it is worth visiting Zadar? nightlife in Zadar, Croatia
it is worth visiting Zadar? nightlife in Zadar, Croatia
it is worth visiting Zadar? nightlife in Zadar, Croatia
it is worth visiting Zadar? nightlife in Zadar, Croatia

Take a Trip to Krka Waterfalls

One of the best things to do in Zadar is to take a day trip to Krka Waterfalls, which is a little under an hour away from the city. The fabulous set of waterfalls can be admired by the walking paths that go around the falls, and there is also a museum, souvenir shops, and a restaurant on site.

krka waterfalls, things to do in Zadar, Croatia

Take a Day Trip to Plitvice Lakes

One of the most beautiful places in Croatia can be done as a day trip from Zadar. The incredible Plitvice Lakes are a set of lakes, waterfalls, and pools that make up an entire park. With walking trails, you could easily spend several hours exploring the different areas of Plitvice Lakes Park. Tours usually leave Zadar early in the morning, and are a full-day experience.

Plitvice Lakes in Croatia waterfalls
Plitvice Lakes in Croatia
Plitvice Lakes, things to do in Zagreb
Plitvice Lakes, things to do in Zadar, Croatia

One of the most fun things to do in Paraty is to visit a Cachacaria.

Here are a few tours that you can take from Zadar to Plitvice Lakes for a day trip:

Local Food & Drink of Zadar

The cuisine of Croatia is fantastic, and is similar to many Mediterranean countries. Some of the key characteristics of the plates that you'll find include local olive oils, fresh fish, and homemade pastas. 

Another thing that is very prominent in the country of Croatia is truffle! So if you're you're a truffle-lover, then don't miss out on the many dishes where they incorporate this typically expensive ingredient, for not so expensive prices.

squid ink risotto

Our Favorite Restaurant in Zadar

One of the restaurants that we particularly recommend in Zadar is a restaurant that we found and loved, called Harbor Cookhouse and Club. It is outside the historic city center, located along the harbor, and sits right along the water. The restaurant is shaped like a boat, and has a stunning interior decor, as well as a great ambience both inside and out. The food is extremely delicious, and they also have great service.

Harbor of Zadar
places to eat in Zadar
Harbor of Zadar, is it worth visiting Zadar Croatia

Harbor Cookhouse has exquisite cuisine and great views.

Getting Around Zadar, Croatia

The city center of Zadar is actually quite small, and is easily explorable by foot. We stayed a bit outside the center, and used our car to get from the outskirts to the city center. While the historic center is pedestrian only, you can park right outside the old city walls.

Old town of Zadar
old town of Zadar
streets of Zadar

Does Zadar Have Public Transport?

Zadar has a bus system to get around outside the center, and it has a total of 16 different buses and 11 lines.

Is it Worth Renting a Car in Zadar?

We honestly think that having a car is the best way to exploring all that Croatia has to offer! If you are only visiting the city of Zadar, you won't need a car. However, if you'd like to visiting some of the surrounding areas, then having a car is a great way to be able to see things on your own schedule, and you can easily rent a car from the Zadar airport

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Where to Stay in Zadar, Croatia

If you are planning in advance, we definitely suggest booking a place to stay right in the old town. This is the heart of the city, and where all of the top sites in Zadar are located. When we visited, there wasn't any availability because we were searching last minute. So we stayed outside the city, closer to the port. We also found that this was a good plan B.

If you check on the map below, it is the tip of the small peninsula beneath where it says Zadar:

Is Zadar, Croatia Safe?

Croatia is considered to be one of the safest countries in Europe! Zadar has a very low crime rate, and we always felt extremely safe while we were there.

Is Zadar Safe to Walk at Night?

Zadar is super safe to walk around both day and night. Even solo female travelers can be comfortable when visiting Zadar to walk the streets when it's dark out.

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Is it Worth Visiting Zadar, Croatia? Other Things to Know 

Now that you know the best things to do in Zadar, how to get around, and more, here are a few other tings to keep in mind while visiting.

What is the Climate of Zadar?

Did you know Croatia is actually one of the sunniest countries in Europe? Zadar experiences plenty of warm and sunny days, even through October, or starting as early as April. Winters are mild and wet, while the summers are hot and humid.

What is the Best Time to Visit Zadar, Croatia?

We personally think that the best time to visit Zadar is during the shoulder months. From the mid-end of September through mid October, or from late April to mid May are when you'll find the most pleasant temperatures. Is it worth visiting Zadar, Croatia in the summer still? Absolutely! There will be just more crowds and a bit of more intense temperatures.

How Many Days in Zadar is Enough?

You could honestly see the old city within just a few hours, making it a great day trip! However, it is definitely worth staying in Zadar for a full two days, so that you can also do one of the boat trips.

is it worth visiting Zadar, Croatia?