After leaving London, we arrived in Zadar,Croatia late in the evening and settled into our Airbnb for the night until we could venture out and explore the next morning. We had two days to see what Zadar has to offer and it exceeded expectations, the only issue was the temperature that had dropped from the mid 20’s the week before we arrived down to the blustery teens and single digits. We have high hopes though for the rest of Croatia as the locals tell us it isn’t normal for this time of year and should be in the mid 20’s.
Zadar is a beautiful city situated about half way down along Croatia’s Adriatic coastline in the region of central Dalmatia. It is about 3 hours by car from the countries capital city of Zagreb to the north and a little over 6 hours drive to the famed city of Dubrovnik (known as a set location for the series ‘Game of Thrones’) at it’s most southern point. Our plan over the next month is to follow the coastline making our way to Dubrovnik where we have a flight booked to return to Rome mid May.
Our Airbnb was only about a 25-minute walk to the old center but conveniently a bus stop was right at our front door that dropped us off at the bridge to the old city. The picture taking started right as we crossed the waterfront promenade and gawked at the yachts moored along the pier on our way to the old city entrance. After crossing the bridge, you seem to have walked through a time machine that takes you back as far as the 9th century BC, surrounded by an ancient wall, the remains of Roman pillars still standing and streets covered with smooth paving stones laid by the Ancients. The town feels somewhat similar to many of the centers we had seen throughout Italy with Renaissance churches and Venetian or Baroque influenced architecture but with its own unique ambiance.
We wandered the old city visiting some of the archaeological sites, ancient churches and Roman remains while stopping frequently to enjoy its café culture and a few pints here and there. The town is made for wandering and we had a lovely stroll along the walled promenade which leads to the back of the old town, gazing at the lapping waters of the Adriatic Sea and the island of Uglijan beckoning across the bay. Continuing along the waterfront we eventually made our way to the Sea Organ, an architectural installation that makes music through tubes powered by the turbulence of the seas waves laid underneath a terrace of marble steps on the promenade. It’s one of Zadar’s top attractions and although a bit touristy it is interesting and hypnotic to listen to natures music playing 24/7, a brilliant commission for Zadar’s tourism as it draws a lot of people. Right next to it is another installation called the Sun Salutation, a 22m-wide circular set of solar/photo-voltaic panels that absorb the sun turning it into a trippy, colored light show at night but not much to see in the daytime.
We had two days which we felt were sufficient to tour the old center at a leisurely pace but if you had less could do it all in a day. With more time, there are plenty of beautiful beaches to visit, lots of scenic tours and island hoping available. Activities and water sports abound so you could easily spend more time here exploring, enjoying the scenery and its Mediterranean climate.
We have an additional night here in Zadar and will be using it for a day trip to the stunning Plitvice Lakes National Park, a must see side trip when in this area so stay tuned for our next post! We heard it snowed heavily in the mountains over the past few days, abnormal for this time of year but we are hoping it will warm up for our visit.
Below is a video of our few days in Zadar which includes all the pics in our library.