Day 1 in Zadar

Welcome to Croatia! Upon arrival, you will go through customs and immigration. Should you opt to purchase a transfer to your hotel; a representative will be waiting for you as you exit immigration. Make your way to Zadar and arrive at your hotel. Check in and do not give in to jet lag! There is so much for you to see and do!

Take the first day to see the sights around Green Square in Zadar`s Old Town, where the core of the Roman city of Iadera was located nearly 2,000 years ago. On the square there are remnants of the Roman Forum, which was the largest of its kind in modern-day Croatia (300 feet by 150 feet). Learn more about the history of Zadar, which stretches all the way back to the Neolithic era, at the Zadar Archaeological Museum.

Afterwards, tour two of the most historic buildings in Zadar. The first is the Church of St. Donatus, built just after the rule of Charlemagne, in the ninth century CE. The church is the oldest building still standing in the Old Town, and is loosely modeled on Charlemagne`s court chapel in Aachen (present-day Germany). Next door, you will find the Romanesque-Gothic Zadar Cathedral, dedicated to St. Anastasia, dating from the fourteenth century.

If you have time before sunset, make your way to the Sea Organ and hear the ambient music which plays from the steps, the result of wave action interacting with tubes stored under the concrete. Next to the Sea Organ is the Greeting to the Sun, a circle consisting of 300 solar panels, designed by the same architect, and meant to be a `light show` complement to the Sea Organ`s `sound experience`. It is particularly popular with tourists at sunset, so stake out your spot on the solar panels just before the sun sets! Return to your accommodations at the end of the evening.

Day 2 in Zadar

Wake up early and be one of the first tourists of the day to visit the Church of Our Lady of Health, which is home to a beautiful reproduction of the painting of Our Lady of the Fortress. Then walk to the Monastery of St. Francis Assisi, the oldest Gothic religious building in all of Dalmatia. (It precedes Zadar Cathedral by a century.) Walk down the Waterfront (Riva) until you reach Green Square, and turn toward St. Mary`s Church. This is a landmark not to be missed, as it is home to the permanent collection of the city`s most precious sacred metals -- the Gold and Silver of Zadar.

Then take a walk east to the Church of St. Chrysogonus, the twelfth-century religious building that was once a Benedictine abbey. It is adjacent to Sea Gate, one of only two entrances into what was once the walled fortress of Zara. Zadar`s Venetian defensive system, built between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, stayed intact well into the nineteenth century. As you can see, many of the remnants still exist today, and the defensive system is included on Croatia`s list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

A couple of blocks away from Sea Gate, Zadar`s city market has sold fresh foods and local handicrafts since the Middle Ages. Stop there and see if you can find anything delicious to snack on. From there, walk to the Museum of Ancient Glass and view the glass artifacts which go all the way back to antiquity. End your day`s sightseeing in the Old Town by visiting People`s Square, where the Church of St. Lawrence, Zadar City Hall, and the Venetian-era City Loggia and City Guard are located.

With the rest of the time you have left in the day, leave the peninsula by crossing the City Bridge, a footbridge on that connects the eastern side of the peninsula with the mainland. From there, you can catch a taxi to Puntamika Beach and Borik Beach, where you can sun yourself while drinking a tropical beverage. If you are looking to charter a yacht, consider visiting nearby D-Marin Borik. In the evening, if you like, head back to People`s Square to people-watch. Otherwise, return to your accommodations at the end of the evening.

Day 3 in Zadar

Start the morning by browsing all of the shops along Kalelarga, long considered the main street of Zadar. Past the southern end of the street, you will come upon the Church of St. Simeon, where St. Simeon`s Chest is stored, a mea culpa gift from Queen Elizabeth of Bosnia in the 14th century, given after she was found to have stolen one of the fingers from St. Simeon`s mummified body!

Close by, the largest square on the southern portion of the peninsula is called Five Wells Square. It is so named due to the five wells on the square that provided water to Venetian Zara until the nineteenth century. On the square, you will see the Captain`s Tower, built to keep watch against intruders such as the Ottomans. The edge of the `old Venetian fortress` of Zara is a park, Queen Jelena Madijevka Park, which opened in 1829 as the first public park in Croatia. The area between Queen Jelena Madijevka Park and Vladimir Nazor Park was once a moat; only the western part of that moat, Foša, exists today, in the form of a harbor next to Land Gate, the more ornate of the two entrances into the Venetian-era fortress city. At the western edge of Foša, you will find the campus of the oldest university in Croatia, the University of Zadar.

Spend the rest of the day sunning yourself at the most popular beach in Zadar, Kolovare Beach, which is located a couple of miles south of the Old Town. A smaller, more secluded beach, Karma Beach, is located just to the east. If you want to island-hop while you are here, feel free to alter the beach portion of your itinerary as you see fit, and take a ferry to one of the outlying islands. You can take a ferry from the Travel Port of Zadar, located about two miles south of Karma Beach, or from the Jadrolinija port on the eastern side of the Old Town peninsula. Return to your accommodations at the end of the day.

Additional Days in Zadar

If you have more days in Zadar, definitely explore the islands sitting west of the Old Town in the Adriatic Sea. The islands closest to Zadar are Ugljan, and to the south, Pašman. Ugljan, two-and-a-half miles off the coast, is the most heavily-populated of the islands next to Zadar, with about 6,000 residents, but it is still pristine and quiet in many parts. The island is known for its fig and olive production as well as the 17th-century Califfi Castle. The largest settlement on the island is Preko. Then, to the south, Ugljan is connected by bridge to Pašman, 13 miles south of Zadar. The island is known for its many rugged hills, all less than 1,000 feet in elevation. The hills offer great views of the islands nearby, in particular the Kornati Islands National Park to the west.

If you have even more time, go further out and explore Dugi, 11 miles off the coast of Zadar. The largest city on Dugi Island is Sali, on the southeastern end. Sali is a good jumping-off point to explore Telascica Nature Park, and then there is a main road which stretches north and west to Veli Rat and iconic Sakarun Beach.

Your Last Day in Zadar

Depart your hotel and head to the airport for your return home. We recommend that you purchase a private transfer; if so, a representative will meet you at the hotel in time to take you to the airport for your flight out. We hope you enjoyed the sights of beautiful Zadar!