You haven’t heard of Zadar? Tsk, tsk… all the better for me to wow you with! For one, this cute AF town has plenty of the goods and is all too willing to share them with you. Get yourself away from those busy Croatian hubs and into the relaxed vibes of Zadar. With spectacular views of the Adriatic, plenty of cafes and wine bars and a myriad of nearby islands to explore and party at, it’s undoubtedly going to strike a chord on your European adventure!
A sight all on its own! The locals, in particular the local artists, have appreciated its beauty for centuries and one such artist, Nikola Basic has created some new interactive features on the waterfront. If you ever wondered what music the sea would play, wonder no more! The sea organ plays a range of tones using the strength and pattern of the waves. Sit yourself down on these steps to listen to the ethereal, low tones and soak up some sun while you’re at it. Right next to this is the Greeting to the Sun, a solar powered glass floor that mesmerises onlookers with a colourful light show. Best experienced as the sun goes down and the night comes out to play!
The Relaxed Culture
If you’ve visited the Sea Organ then you already know what I’m going to talk about next… Zadar has a rather fabulous promenade called the Western Embankment. If you want to people watch, view ruins and churches or just have a stroll along the water, this might be your thing. Pick up some local fresh food at the local market or get off your feet in one of the many of the cafes along the way. A great escape from the midday heat is the Garden Lounge Bar, perched atop the city walls with unrivalled views of the harbour and fancy cocktails.
While you’re on the lookout from your perch above the city wall you might start to notice a few things: there’s an unusual amount of winged lions, for one. This is thanks to the Venetians that occupied Zadar for a few centuries. One of those most impressive reminders of their time here is the Land Gate, the ornate main entrance to the city. Another is Five Wells Square whose cistern used to provide water to the residents when the Ottomans came knocking. You can still see the wells from the 16th century! The Romans also left their mark on the city and wandering through the ruins of the Roman Forum built by Emperor Augustus is an incredibly intimate view of temples, columns and walls built 2000 years ago.
For something a little more refreshing, get thee to the islands! Take a day trip out to some of the jaw dropping surrounds for snorkeling, swimming and hiking or just to revel in the crystal blue waters. Ugljan or ‘Green Island’ can be reached in 25 minutes by ferry and is so named because of it’s covering of pine trees, olive groves, figs tree and vineyards. There are a tonne of sandy beaches and hidden coves to stake out your spot for the day and even an old Venetian fortress to explore. Alternatively you could take a sailing tour of the Kornati National Park which has 89 islands (!) or visit the whitest sandy beach in Croatia, Sakarun on the island of Dugi Otok.
Now that you’re well rested and relaxed, it’s time to crank up the volume. This region of Croatia plays host to a bevy of music and dance festivals such as Love International, Soundwave and Deflected. You’re going to have to jump on a boat to Pag Island to participate in wild 24 hour parties and open air nightclubs at Zrce Beach. Pool parties, DJ sets, beachfront views and festivals such as Hideout and Fresh Island are sure to get you cutting shapes on the d-floor!