Zadar (Croatia)

Everyone goes to Dubrovnik…or Split. It seems that fewer travellers find this coastal spot, the gateway for the Kornati Islands (and Diklo). Zadar is a beautiful city, gentle pastels mixed with bolder shades. The streets are made of burnished marble, so smooth that you could almost ice skate across the cobblestones.

It has a rich history dating from Roman times – you can see the Roman influence and the urban character. The town was fortified with city walls and gates, which exist to this day. The town is proud of its forum, basilica and temple.

What’s more, the old town of Zadar is the perfect size being small and easily walkable. And it’s low-key. We felt relaxed when walking around this town -not overwhelmed with things to see, nor with tourist hoards.  Zadar is the perfect place for wandering.

A highlight of Zadar is its waterfront, as it sits on the Adriatic Sea, something that can truly be enjoyed. There is no better sound than one of lapping waves, chatty gulls and children enjoying the water. That is, unless you go near the Sea Organ. While hard to see, you’ll know you’ve reached it once you hear ‘organ music’ appearing to be coming straight out of the water. The marble steps leading toward the sea are tubular tunnels helping the waves create music. Next to the Sea Organ is the Sun Salutation, that blue disc is the Sun Salutation, a solar-powered light display that lights up at night, putting on a wonderful light show.

The food is good in Zadar and we went to and loved our visit to Restaurant Bruschetta. The food was just delicious, nicely presented and surprisingly well priced for this classy establishment.

Zadar changes as the sun goes down. The colours are richer and the light is more beautiful. The city is much quieter and also very safe walking around in at night. Renting an apartment in the old city allows us to walking those smooth marble streets and along the seafront and sitting in cafes, watching the passing procession of people.

The town’s beaches are not the best beaches you’ll find however, a swim to cool off in the Adriatic is worth the effort of walking to nearby swimming areas. There are some excellent swimming spots on the nearby islands, an easy day trip from Zadar by boat – we spent a wonderful afternoon at Dobropoljana enjoying a long lunch (feast) and swim in the warm and inviting waters of the Adriatic.

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