General information with things to do in Zadar, summer festivals & airport transfer
Zadar Croatia is a beautiful city in northern Dalmatian coastline. It covers an area of over nine square miles and has a population of 15,000. The city has a rich cultural history having been occupied and influenced by several empires – the Byzantine empire, the Roman empire, the Austrian empire and by the nearby Venetians. As a result of being attacked by the empires, the city has been plundered several times and has been rebuilt several times. This colorful history of conquest has given the city a rich cultural history and added unique architectural elements to their buildings. Surrounded by roman walls that reach out to the Adriatic, Zadar has a relaxed quiet atmosphere making it a perfect holiday destination.
Video of general information before you visit
Zadar Self Guided Walking Routes
- Zadar Western Tour. Visit the roman ruins, Zadar Sea Organ and Greetings to the Sun. This self guided walking tour will take you to the various attractions on the western part of Zadar with the help of a map and attractions guide. The tour will take you from 2 hours to 6 hours depending on how much time you want to spend at the attractions and whether you stop for a snack or a meal along the way.
- Zadar Eastern Tour. Visit the sites of eastern part of Zadar using this walking tour map and attractions guide. The tour will take you a minimum of 2 hours.
4 Fun things to explore in Zadar
1 Attend a concert at St Donatus Church
Although no longer used as a place of worship, St. Donatus, the largest Byzantine building in Croatia, has exceptional acoustics and is the main venue for medieval musical festivals that start in July. Billed as Musical Evenings at St Donats, other venues are used also. They are St, Anasasia’s Cathedral, the Great hall of Zadar University and the Roman Forum. This musical journey through history is a major Zadar attraction.
2. Museum of Ancient Glass
A visit to the Museum of Glass is a fascinating experience. Located in the magnificent Cosmacendi Palace which was built in the 18th century, the museum has a huge collection of Roman glassware recovered from archeological digs in the area. There are unique and extraordinary goblets, cups, vials and jars which were used for religious ceremonies, holding oils, creams or medicine. This was truly an interesting and surprising experience and left one wondering how they made such small and intricate artisan works. This mystery is solved by watching glass-blowing demonstrations, showing how such delicate and elegant items were created. By the way, an added bonus was the great views of the Jazine Harbour from the palace grounds.
3. The Museum of Illusion
An entertaining and interesting place to visit, the Museum of Illusions has become one of the most popular tourist attractions. Great for families, as it has a wide range of games and puzzles to challenge, confuse and provide fun experiences for children and adults alike. Among other things, there is a room full of mirrors that distort people and objects, a vortex tunnel of illusions providing a consuming visual sensory experience and perhaps the most popular exhibit, an Alice-in-Wonderland style chair which makes anyone who sits on it look much smaller than they really are. The large number of exhibits, as well as fun and attractive deceptions in the Museum of Illusions, teach visitors something about the mind, perception, human brain and science behind the illusions so they can better understand why the eyes see things that the brain does not understand. Overall the museum is great fun and is open daily from 9am to midnight.
4. Island hopping – Charter a boat with or without a skipper
There are many beautiful islands off the Dalmatian coast that can easily be reached from Zadar. Kornati National Park alone has 150 islands but perhaps the most interesting island is Dugi Otok which is 124 square kilometers and has several villages. Residents on the island are farmers or fisherman.
Kornati Island Video
The real beauty of Dugi Otok is its rugged landscape and beautiful beaches. Of these Sakarun Bay is the most spectacular and must see if you visit the island.
Spend the day visiting some of the country’s 1,000-plus islands and go ashore to explore remote seaside villages.
This is the main city beach and it is a mix of sand, pebbles and paving. It is a pleasant 10 min walk from Old Town. It has many facilities, toilets, changing rooms and showers and there are shops and restaurants nearby. It can get very hot in July and August but there is plenty of shaded green areas above the beach. Sports equipment for various sports can also be rented from the beach.
All the markets in Croatia are worth a visit and Zadar is no exception. Local vendors sell a wide variety of fresh fish, produce, herbs, and baking items and much more in the town square every day. It is worth going early as it is popular with the locals and tourists alike for good quality fresh food.
Zadar Summer Events
Full Moon Festival
On the night of the full moon in July, the promenade in Zadar is lit up with torch and candlelight while public lighting in the town waterfront is shut down.
Boats are turned into floating markets that sell tuna, sardines, clams, mussels and other varieties of fish. It is a wonderful, entertaining night for food music and folklore. Dancing and singing goes on through the night until dawn, This is another must-see in Croatia.
Wifi – Croatia SIM Card
Many of the hotels, restaurants, café, pubs and the main bus station offer free wifi. I usually get the server to input the password as it tends to be in Croatian. Free wifi is also available at the airport. For those who want wifi as you travel throughout Zadar, and Croatia, purchase a Croatia SIM card from one of the major telecom providers for your old smartphone. They have special rates and packages specifically for tourists, you will require an unlocked smart phone. The providers will need to see your passport to confirm your identity. Have the sales agent insert the SIM and ensure it works before leaving the store. I found the “after sales” service to be somewhat lacking! The three major providers are:
- Hrvatski Telecom (www.hrvatskitelekom.hr/visiting-croatia);
Tele 2 (www.tele2.hr/welcome-to-croatia); and
Zračna luka Zadar (Zadar Airportcode ZAD) is located at Zemunik Donji, about 8km from the city center. Dedicated public buses run from Zadar Airport (Station name = Zemunik Donji) to the the main bus station (Autobusni kolodvor) and then onto Old Town bus station.
Liburnija operates airport buses from the airport to the Central bus station, train station and Old town from Zadar airport terminal. You will need to ensure you get off at the right station. The airport bus is parked on the right side when exiting the arrivals terminal. Bus schedule and bookings can be made online.
You can also rent a car at Zadar airport. The rental agencies are located just outside the terminal. It is advisable to prebook. There are multiple car rental companies. Zadar old town is pedestrian friendly and does not allow vehicle traffic, so you should ensure that your accommodations can have parking for your car.
Taxis are also readily available at the airport and may charge additional for luggage. They are obliged to have their taxi-meter on and you won’t fare well if you try to bargain. Pick a registered taxi with a yellow sign on top of the car and ensure it’s a metered taxi. Make sure you understand the pricing BEFORE getting into the taxi. You should confirm total cost including luggage (not per person or luggage extra)
Zadar Taxi include, can be pre-booked online:
- Zadar Tourist Board – list of taxi companies with contact information
Uber in Zadar
- Uber is available in Zadar (and other Croatian cities) via the Uber app.
Zadar City Transportation
The public form of transportation within Zadar is with a local bus company Liburnja. Liburnija operates 22 city buses and 12 routes to cover the city of Zadar, the airport, Old Town and suburban areas. Tickets can be purchased from the bus driver, or at a Tisak or Kiosk to be used for 50 min after validation. You will need to validate the tickets at the machine located behind the bus driver.
Zadar main bus station is Zadar Autobusni kolodvor located 10 min from the center. When using the city bus keep in mind that the Old Town Zadar bus station is called Poluotok (Centar). Bus lines 2 and 4 run from the main bus station to Zadar center (Poluotok).
Zadar Inter City Transport
Buses going from Zadar to other parts of Croatia can be booked online at buscroatia.com and getbybus.com. Buses will depart from the main bus station Autobusni Kolodvor.
Tourist Information Center
Jurja Barakovića 5, T (+385-23) 31 61 66 , www.zadar.travel email:[email protected]
- Zadar Airport Transfer – Public Transport route and information from the airport to Zadar
- Split Airport Transfer – Public transport information from Split airport to main bust station in downtown Split
- Zagreb Airport Transfer – Directions to take public transportation from Zagreb Airport to downtown Zagreb
- Book in advance a Shared Airport Transport to and from Dubrovnik Airport to Dubrovnik Town
- Dubrovnik Game of Thrones and Old Town Self Guided Tour – Follow the Map and Guide to visit the film locations for Game of Thrones, beaches and churches. The self guided tour will take you a full day if you also visit the beaches. Use the map and attractions guide to visit the attractions of Old Town Dubrovnik and the locations of the Games of Thrones Scenes. The map has picture of the sites and how they looked for the film scenes. The walking tour will take you ½ a day. If you visit Lokrum island and spend time at the beach/monastery/fort on the island, this will take you another ½ day to full day. Lokrum Island is the location of the City of Qarth in GoT and is a 10 min water taxi ride from the Dubrovnik Port
- Dubrovnik Day Trips. Spend a day at each of the villages of Ston and Cavtat a short distance from Dubrovnik. Cavtat is a charming village that was invaded by the Slavs. The inhabitants fled and were the original settlers of Dubrovnik. Visit the historical beaches and spend time on the beach or hike the Ronald Brown Pathway. Ston is a small village on a hill surrounded by a 7 km wall that is second in size to the Great Wall of China. It is famous for its defensive walls, its salt “mines” and its oyster bays. The oysters from Ston are well renowned
- Upper Town, Old Town Zagreb – 15 must see attractions of Old Town Zagreb. Walk the attractions of Upper Town Zagreb, the self-guided walking tour will take you to the various attractions in ½ a day. You may want to explore some of these attractions in greater depth such as the Museum of Broken Relationships or climb the Lotrščak Tower. In that case the self guided tour will take more than half a day
- Zagreb Lower Town, Lenuci Horseshoe – Visit the 7 Squares and Botanical gardens in the shape of a horseshoe, including the under ground 31,000 sq meter shopping mall. A ½ day tour of the U-shaped system of 7 parks and Zagreb botanical gardens. The Lenuci horseshoe in Lower Town Zagreb is a short walking distance from Zagreb’s main Ban Jelačić Square and facing the main train station Glavni Kolodvor. The Square include pavilions, theater, museums, state archives and an underground mall amongst its many historical buildings dotted throughout the horseshoe
- Walking tour Zagreb Lower town and Grič Tunnels – A 2 hour tour of the tunnels under Zagreb old town; they were built as shelter during the war and are now used by the locals to cross Old Town or to go between upper town and lower town. Not only are they a short cut, they are cool in the summer and a welcome relief from the searing sun. Explore the old world war tunnels and visit the sights of lower town
- Unique and Fun things to do in Zagreb – Explore activities and places to visit such as Jarun Lake, the Antiques Fair or discover current events in Zagreb
- Old Town Split and Marjan Hill – Explore the Old Town Square, then head over to Marjan Hill. This self guided tour can take a whole day as the walking portion of the tour will guide you to attractions in the Old Town and then on to Marjan Hill. This part of the tour will take ½ a day. The tour will end at the beach where you can spend the rest of the day, take the local bus back or walk along the promenade back to Old Town
- Split, Salona ancient Roman Ruins – On the outskirts of Split, don’t miss the roman ruins of Salona, the birthplace of Emperor Diocletian. Step outside of the Old Town of Split and visit the nearby city of Solin (which is the ancient city of Salona, Diocletian’s birthplace). Then continue onto the town of Trogir. This self guided tour has instructions for local buses to take you on a route for a full day trip from Split to Salona (stop in Salona, then continue onto Trojir. Then catch the local bus back to Split
- Trogir, UNESCO World Heritage Site – This attraction is often overlooked. It is a charming, authentic village, a heritage city where the Old Town is on an Island. It is an easy bus ride from Split to Trogir, with a stopover in Salona (Solin)
- Split, Diocletian’s Palace – Not to be missed, the10 must see attractions in the palace to stop and take pictures. The Palace tour is a ½ day self-guided tour through the palace that will end at the market which you can explore
- Zadar Western Half – The old town is located on an island; explore the attractions on the westerns side of the island in this ½ day self guided walking tour. Attractions include popular attractions such as the Sea Organ, Greetings to the Sun and the Roman Forum / Ruins
- Zadar Eastern Half – Take a ½ day to visit the churches, parks and other attractions on the eastern side of Zadar Island. Visit the fish markets and green markets for fresh food and explore the cobblestone alleyways for a touch of ambiance and potential souvenir shopping
- Zadar islands – The Zadar Archipelago has around a 100 islands off its coast, many of them uninhabited. Visit all or any of the 9 popular islands in this map and use the attractions guide to the islands. You can rent a boat rent a boat with or without a captain, get a water taxi, take the ferry/ to visit the islands and swim in the Adriatic or anchor at hidden beach/cove
- Island Visit
- Croatia Islands – Rent or hire a boat to visit the 9 popular islands off the mainland. Visit 1 or 2 or all 9 islands for a fabulous day out to sea
- Hvar Island
- Hvar old town attractions and Španjola fortress (Fortica) – Use the self guided tour map and attractions to visit the popular sites in Hvar Old Town. The tour will take ½ a day to the major attractions in Hvar Town, including climbing to the Spanjola fortress that has been protecting Hvar for hundreds of years. However it could be longer if you want to spend time visiting the museums or spending an afternoon enjoying the magnificent views from the Fortress
- Hvar Island driving tour – Take the local bus, rent a car / scooter for the day to visit the numerous attractions on the island. This can take two days as there is a lot to see and do. It includes: wine tasting, visiting a cave monastery high on the hills, quaint fishing villages, popular beaches, hidden coves and harbours A great tour that will take you across the island
- Hvar Islands and Lavendar Fields Tour – You can rent a boat (with or without a captain) and visit the islands off Hvar Island. The Pakleni Islands are an archipelago of 20 islands off the coat of Hvar. They are known for beautiful beaches, charming village towns and secluded coves. You can take the bus to visit the abandoned villages of Velo Grabjle and Malo Grabjle,. It is a short bus ride or scooter/car trip from Hvar Town. Explore the fields of lavender and Olive Grove farms
- Getting around Croatia – Information on Croatian buses and ferries