Sunset on the Zadar Promenade

10 Must-See Places to put Zadar on your Radar

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Updated June 2019 – Second trip to Zadar

Zadar is the oldest inhabited city of Croatia, with a history of Roman and Venetian rule. It is situated on the Adriatic Sea in northern Dalmatia and is a gateway to the islands of the Zadar Archipelago.

Zadar is a must-see travel destination of Croatia.

Zadar can often be overlooked when planning an itinerary of Croatia, with travellers opting to visit Dubrovnik or Split. But if like us, you are wanting to escape the large tourist crowds, then you’ll want to put Zadar on your radar.

You’ll want to spend at least three days exploring the old city, walking around the splendid architecture and learning more about Zadar’s history.

And to view its magical sunsets every evening.

Have you Considered a Road Trip of Croatia?

Zadar was our second stop on our road trip travelling from Trieste in Italy down the Croatian coast.

What can we say but Wow, the drive is spectacular.

It has to be one of our best travel experiences, so we can highly recommend you Hire yourself a Car and drive the Croatian coast.

We had already visited the capital of Croatia Zagreb on an earlier road trip from Germany to Italy, so we were excited to arrive in Zadar.

If you are wanting to experience what to see in Croatia, and need some help planning your trip, check out our guide for the

Best Places to Visit on a Road Trip in Croatia  


Some Background of Zadar

Situated centrally on the Adriatic Coast, Zadar is Croatia’s 5th largest city and the oldest continually inhabited city in the country.

The city has come under the rule of the Romans, the Venetians and the Byzantine Empire.

The old town showcases Roman ruins, Venetian gates, medieval churches and pedestrian-only streets. A walk along the Piers for sea views and some of the best sunsets you will see anywhere in the world.

And with on average 120 days of sunshine each year, Zadar offers some of the best things to do and must-see sights in Croatia.



10 Must See Sights that will put Zadar on your Radar

1. Land Gate entrance to Zadar

Looking at the stonework of Land Gate, Zadar
Take a walk into the old city through Land Gate

Land Gate is the main entrance into the old city of Zadar, and one of four Venetian gates that provide access to the old town.

This gate dates back to 1543 and is the most decorative of the four gates. It allows a central passage for wheeled vehicles and two smaller passages for pedestrians.

The other three gates are the Sea Gate, the Bridge Gate and St Rocco Gate.


2. Five Wells Square (Trg 5 Bunara)

Three stone wells in Zadar
Five Wells Square – built to provide water in the advent of an attack

The five wells located in this square were built by the Venetians to withstand a siege by the Turkish in the 16th century.

The wells are no longer operational, however, it is a great place to sample some of the nearby cafes.

And you can easily access the Queen Jelena Madije Park, the oldest park in Zadar, offering lots of shade trees and stunning views.


3. Take a walk on Zadar Promenade

Looking at the pier with waves rolling in
Pier Zalazak Sunca, Zadar for Sunsets and Boats to the Islands

No trip to Zadar is complete without a walk along the lovely promenade Paseo Maritimo which extends the entire length of the Old Town, about 1 km.

We loved this the pier with its great views back to the old town and across the water to the islands.

Along the walk, you will find plenty of market stalls on your way to the pier Zalazak Sunca. The best place to view the sunsets of Zadar each evening.

And if you want to know when the sunset will occur, then click this link Zadar Sunsets.

Pink and purple sunset sky
Sunsets of Zadar. Not to be missed

4. Listen to the Sea Organ (Morske Orgulje)

Sea washing up on steps
Sea Organ, Zadar
The Sea Organ is a gathering place to listen to the music of the sea and to watch the beautiful sunsets. The organ has 35 inbuilt pipes which push air up through the pipes.

Click for a link to our YouTube channel for Maura’s description and sounds of the Sea Organ.

Just along from the Sea Organ is The Greeting to the Sun (Pozdrav Suncu).

The 22-meter diameter circle consists of three hundred multi-layered glass plates. It is spectacular at night, with the multicoloured lights shining in varying patterns and colours.

Bright neon lights in a circle
he Greeting of the Sun, Zadar


5. Green Square (Zeleni Trg)

Roman ruins on green grass with church in background
Roman ruins in Green Square and Church and Monastery of Saint Mary

Green Square was the site of the Roman Forum where construction began in the 1st century AD.

We loved this square as everyone can wander amongst Roman and Byzantine monuments.

We even parked our car adjacent to this area, parking the car near some random roman columns.

6. The Church of St Donatus (Crkva Sv. Donata)

Looking down onto Saint Donatus Church
Saint Donatus from Cathedral Tower



The Church of St Donatus is the most famous monumental building in Croatia and is the symbol of Zadar.

Donatus of Zadar began construction of the church in the 9th century on top the ruins of a Roman Forum.

It’s why some of the Roman Forum can still be seen within the building, now used for musical performances, due to its extraordinary acoustic features.


7. Tower of Saint Anastasia (Tower of Sv.Stosija)

View of Tower of Saint Anastasia, Zadar
Tower of Saint Anastasia, Zadar, next to St Donatus

The Tower of Saint Anastasia provides the best views over Zadar

You’ll need to climb up the 180 steps to reach the viewing platform at 42m, but the views are worth your effort.

Just spectacular.

Looking down Siroka ul.-Kalelarga from the tower
Looking down Siroka ul.-Kalelarga, Zadar



8. The Cathedral of St. Anastasia (Sv. Stosija)

Looking across the square to Cathedral of St. Anastasia
The Cathedral of St. Anastasia

The Cathedral St. Anastasia is the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Zadar.

It is the seat of the Archdiocese of Zadar, and the largest church in all of Dalmatia.

The original church built on the site was in the 3rd century. However, the cathedral you see today was constructed in the Romanesque style of the 12th and 13th century after damage by the Venetians and Crusaders in 1202.

Zardarski Barkajoli (Boat-ride men) of Zadar

A boat ride across the water
Zardarski Barkajoli (Boat-ride men) of Zadar
Sign for Boat ride
Sign for Boat Ride Men of Zadar

If you are looking for a fun thing to do, why not take a boat ride from the old town to the marina of the new city.

The boat ride is an 800-year-old ‘tradition’ and only takes 2 minutes at a cost of 5 kune. Such fun.

Other Places of Interest in Zadar

People’s Square has been the main public centre for centuries, the clock tower is from the 19th century.

Ulika Elizabeth Kotromanic is a vibrant street and the main thoroughfare. Lots of shops, cafes and restaurants line the pedestrian area.

The University of Zadar can trace its lineage to 1396, making it the oldest tertiary institution in Croatia, and one of the oldest in Europe.

Archaeological Museum founded in 1832 can be found at the Forum Square.

Museum of Ancient Glass has one of the best collections of ancient glass in Europe and is held in the 19th century Cosmacendi Palace.

Where to Stay in Zadar

When choosing accommodation for your stay, we have a few favourite sites to get you a discount.

Always a favourite of ours is for you to receive a 10% discount when you click here

But for us, we love the lower prices of where after your 10th-night booked, your next night is discounted by your average stay rate. Click here on to start your discounts.

When we are staying longer and need the use of a kitchen, we use Airbnb. If you are new to Airbnb, then click here on Airbnb to get a discount on your first booking.

We can highly recommend the spacious Airbnb apartment hosted by Luca in Zadar.

Click here for a discount Airbnb.

Staying at an Airbnb in the old town is the best way to explore, as you have all the must-see sights at your door.


Where to Eat in Zadar

Zadar was occupied by the Italians after WWII so Pizza is always a favourite and can be found on most menus.

We chose some local Croatian food at the restaurant 2Ribara, one of the oldest restaurants in Zadar. The food was good, reasonably priced and the staff pleasant.

Siroka Ulica Kalelarga is the street to find delicious pastries and Burek (a pastry filled with meat or cheese). Burek’s are always good for breakfast, with a coffee from one of the many cafes.

The first coffee shop in Zadar opened in 1730.


What to Wear

September is a good time to visit Zadar, but bring a jacket and scarf for the sunsets, as the wind can be brisk.

For the summer months, all you need is shorts and t-shirts as it is hot.

Shoes, make sure you wear rubber-soled shoes, as the polished limestone pavements of Zadar can be dangerous for walking in wet weather.


Day Trips from Zadar

When staying three days in Zadar means you can spend time visiting nearby National Parks and towns like Sibenik. To help with your planning here is a guide

Five Day Trips from Zadar

National Parks and Nature Parks surround Zadar and make for great day trips. Two places of interest would be the Paklenica National Park which is great for hikers and climbers. The other would be Cerovac Caves in the Velebit Nature Park with one of the most famous caves in Croatia.

Zadar Archipelago has about 300 islands in the archipelago including the Kornati Islands. Boat excursions are available to book from the pier Zalazak Sunca and from the pier near the Sea Gate. 

Are you planning to visit Zadar?

If you need more information on Zadar, then click on this link Zadar Tourist Board.

Are you planning to visit Croatia?

For a road trip or arriving on a flight to Dubrovnik, Split or Zadar, here is a guide to help you with your planning.

Best Places to Visit in Croatia

If you are planning to visit Split make sure to check out Things to do in Split.




  1. TravelKiwis says:

    Hi Sylvia – the water was still warm in late September for us and a few locals. So refreshing to swim from the pier or on one of the island tours.

  2. Lea Buchanan says:

    I’d love to visit and this post has so much great info for when we do. I can appreciate the time put into sharing this information for fellow travellers. Really an incredible destination.

    • TravelKiwis says:

      Thanks Lea – each day there was always more interesting must see and things to do. Zadar is a great travel destination.

  3. Larissa says:

    I’m in love with all your pictures. I’ve heard Croatia is a beautiful country to visit, and your post just strengthened that argument. I would love to visit one day. The Green Square looks absolutely stunning, and I could see myself spending some time there. That sunset picture is amazing as well, and I’m so intrigued by The Greeting to the Sun. I need to visit here someday!!

    • TravelKiwis says:

      Thanks Larissa – Zadar is one of those travel destinations which has so much to offer. And the sunsets, were amazing.

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