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Zadar holidays 2019 / 2020

Set on Croatia’s sun-kissed coast, and overlooking the deep blue waters of the Adriatic Sea, the city of Zadar is steeped in history, making for a cultured and relaxed holiday. The centre boasts remains of Roman architecture and towering white-stone churches, and a short walk through cobbled streets leads to stretches of beachfront glistening with pristine sand. With a quaint café-culture and teeming with family-run seafood restaurants, you may be tempted to remain in the town centre, but those seeking more adventurous Zadar holidays can visit the nearby national parks for a range of outdoor activities. Zadar offers a wide selection of accommodation, suited for both those craving a taste of luxury, and those travelling on a tighter budget. Zadar’s old town boasts stately hotels set in white-stone Venetian buildings, where the city’s historical splendour is at your doorstep. Along the harbour and overlooking the aquamarine Adriatic waters are a range of affordable, boutique hotels offering both rooms and apartments. Toward the south of Zadar, in the city’s more urbanised district, there are sleek modern all inclusive hotels, with enormous swimming pools and easy access to the area’s lively bars and bustling shopping scene.

Top attractions

Top attractions

Start of your holidays in Zadar with a visit to the famous Church of St. Donatus, the most recognisable symbol of Zadar, and one of the best preserved pre-Roman buildings in the world. It’s no longer used for religious ceremonies, and instead houses a museum, which is also worth visiting. On special occasions it’s used as a classical music venue. The atmospheric old town of Zadar is an attraction in itself. Located on the peninsula, there are a large number of old churches, small alleyways and beautiful architectural styles from different periods to be seen here. The well-preserved remains of the old Roman Forum are also worth a visit. It’s common to see locals sit down and relax by the ruins on a warm summer's day.

The Sea Organ, or Morskje Orgulje, built in 2005 and designed by local architect Nikola Basic, has become one of Zadar's famous attractions. Located on Zadar's seafront, this organ works with the motion of the ocean waves to create a fascinating musical soundscape and is as popular with locals as it is with tourists. Occasionally it is accompanied by a light show, creating a truly awesome spectacle.

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Eating out

Eating out

Zadar is home to all kinds of different local and international restaurants in all price ranges. Cheap eats were the norm here not too long ago, and are still abundant, however an increasingly up-market scene is starting to dominate Zadar, especially in the most popular locations. Kornat, Fosa, Pet Bunara and Hotel Baston's Kastel are the most popular high-end restaurants in town, and offer exceptional service and unique culinary creations. Treat yourself to a local cherry cake dessert, made using the local Maraschino liqueur.

Be sure to try many of the local specialities on offer, such as Pag cheese and the extremely flavoursome home-cured prsut, produced in nearby villages. Many locals attribute the unique flavours to the Bura wind, which is ideal for curing ham as well as making Pag cheese salty.

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Families

Families

Zadar features several family-friendly resort hotels and camping sites, making it ideal for family holidays. The Zaton campsite is widely considered to be amongst the best in Europe, with more than 1,000 pitches with electricity and water. It’s surrounded by the refreshing scent of the lush Mediterranean greenery. There are multiple swimming pools for adults, as well as a designated children's swimming pool. Kids will also love the kids entertainment clubs, mini driving school, mini disco, and all sorts of climbing structures. Adults can spend their day lying on the private beach area knowing the little ones are in safe hands. Several tennis courses and other sports facilities are also available, including golf, beach volleyball, and basketball.

The Solaris Aqua Park near Zadar is a wonderful option for a sunny day. This incredible water park offers an abundance of water slides, diving boards and other water-based activities for the whole family to enjoy.

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Action & Adventure

Action & Adventure

Those looking for some adventure will find plenty of options in Zadar. You can rent a speedboat and spend your day exploring Zadar's coastline and the Mediterranean Sea, as well as stopping at countless small islands located not far off the coast and offering stunning displays of natural beauty.

Countless watersports are available at the beach including water-skiing, wake boarding, and kite surfing. Many schools offer classes for all ages and skill levels, making this a great place to learn something new. Jet skis are also available for hire and provide you with the ultimate adrenaline kick.

The nearby Paklenica National Park is a perfect place to go hiking, and get a glimpse of Croatia's stunning flora and fauna.

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Beaches

Beaches

Soft golden sands and the crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean make Zadar the perfect destination for your beach getaway. It’s quite common to see people bathing and enjoying the fabulous weather all along the coast, but there are three main beach areas.

Kovolare is located conveniently close to the city centre, and is less built up for tourism, which makes it a favourite with the locals. Bornik is a huge hotel complex, which, besides a magnificent beach, offers numerous action-packed activities such as parasailing and water slides, to name just a couple. Finally, Vitrenjak is a family-friendly beach located near Zadar's sailing club. Here you can also find a lovely open-air café offering cool refreshments and delicious snacks.

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Nightlife

Nightlife

Croatians love to go out and party, and the locals in Zadar are no exception. Zadar is home to a vibrant nightlife scene, which includes all kinds of live music venues, cocktail and lounge bars, as well as nightclubs and discos.

The beach cocktail bar, Mango, is a popular first stop. Whether you're looking to relax with a couple of drinks, flirt or party this venue offers everything. Check out their programme on the web to see whether a live music night or a DJ set is on. Then get ready to taste your way through their drinks menu, which offers over 300 different kinds of alcohol.

The Garden is a UK-owned outdoor lounge bar featuring quality live music as well as famous DJs for most of the high season. A vast panoramic terrace with private cabanas surrounds the lush green central garden making this venue one of the most popular in the city. All things considered, drinks are reasonably priced.

For a slightly more upmarket scene, check out what's going on at Arsenal. This renovated 18th-century warehouse is unparalleled in size, ambience and sheer variety of events, and worth a visit if you're not looking for a wild night.

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Couples

Couples

Given its rich and exciting history and culture, Zadar is the perfect place to explore with your special someone. Spend your days meandering through the small alleyways of Zadar's old town, visiting the ancient churches and absorbing the unique atmosphere. Countless bars and restaurants perfectly fit into this scene with a rustic and authentically Mediterranean feel to them.

Enjoy a romantic candlelit dinner, before heading out and experiencing Zadar's vibrant nightlife scene. Modern cocktail bars and lounge bars are perfect places to enjoy some cocktails, or even a bottle of local wine.

The large stretch of beach is perfect for a beach picnic, as well as romantic strolls by the seaside.

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Culture

Culture

Zadar is an ancient town, steeped in history and rich in cultural heritage. It was the capital of Dalmatia for many years and still preserves an old network of charming and narrow city streets as well as an ancient Roman forum dating back to the 1st century AD. The famous Church of St. Donatus, built in the 9th century AD is an ideal place to start learning about local history and culture, since many guides offer tours that take you through here and many other culturally significant landmarks throughout the city.

The archaeological museum of Zadar is also worth a visit. Covering time periods between the Stone Age and the Middle Ages, this museum is a testimony to Zadar's rich history.

Zadar is an epicentre of Croatian national heritage. The first Croatian novel, as well as the country's first newspaper, were published here, and it’s home to Croatia's oldest university, opened in 1396. Be sure to visit the exhibition of sacred art, as well as the St. Donatus musical evenings to get acquainted with local Zadar culture.

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