I had Croatia in my travel goals for years. A friend with Croatian heritage had once showed me pictures of his family vacation. I was floored. Crystal clear blue waters and lush greenery marked the landscape. He mentioned that it was also “dirt cheap”. I am glad to report that Croatia is just as beautiful as I expected and as affordable as my friend mentioned. Most of the time I felt that I was robbing restaurants, museums, and stores because their pricing was so freakin’ affordable. Croatia became a part of the EU this year, and I am sure that will affect some of its affordability. That being said, get yourself over there quickly. Odio fare questo per la Francia, but Croatia may have the best swimming water in the world. It also has some amazing Roman ruins, gorgeous churches, and amazing produce. The wine….there’s a little work to be done there (no matter how many Pošips I tried I was unable to find one I loved), but I am sure with a little more time they will get it right. With these Zadar Travel Tips you’ll have an amazing time and you’ll be yearning to go back.
Zadar Travel Tips
During my short time in Croatia, I noticed just how varied the country is. The north is green and tall, an area where wine is made and fruit grows abundantly. The country is dotted by Baroque castles erected by the Hapsburgs. Then, there is the Dalmatian coast where the sun is king and olive trees give way to some of the most delicious olive oil I have ever tasted. This area is more similar to Italy, and rightly so, since Italy (Venice in particular) was a constant presence in Croatia’s past.
Croatia has seen its share of heartache. It enjoyed a time of peace after the Hapsburgs beat the Turks, but that only lasted until the First World War. Croatia and its people suffered a lot, but right now they are undergoing a renaissance.
I started my Croatia adventure in Zadar because there was a direct flight there from Brussels. My true objective was to make it to Dubrovnik (I have an unhealthy obsession with A Song of Ice and Fire – I tend to spew crack pot theories on a daily basis) and the Salona in Split. I was thrilled to have started off in Zadar and slightly disappointed in Dubrovnik (why would you EVER let huge cruise ships into such a gorgeous small city – WHY???) but that is a conversation for another post.
Zadar sits on the Adriatic sea. This automatically gave the city points. I am a water baby and Zadar’s waters are warm, calm, and super clean. Antonio e avevo affittato unAirbnboff the square from the Roman forum. Daily, we’d join locals off the pier for a dip in Zadar’s clear, cool waters. When we got hungry, we’d hit up a Konoba (tiny restaurants that are meant to cater to the fishing crowd) to grab some food (nothing was amazing, but the food served its purpose and the ingredients were top notch), and then we’d wander Zadar’s marble streets so I could check out the churches and ruins. Groups of men would fill the streets with music, wedding parties lasted for hours, church bells competed with each other for the attention of the city’s residents. I really cannot describe the charm of this tiny little city, but I can tell you, I could easily have spent more time there.
WHAT SHOULD YOU SEE?
The Roman Forum: If you’re at the forum you can see quite a lot of attractions, but perhaps the best part of being here is the unadulterated access to see Roman ruins. I ask you to be gentle. They are quite old and touching them will only harm them for future generations. The forum was founded by the first Emperor Augustus, the site was the location for a temple dedicated to Jupiter, Juno and Minerva. There’s a “Pillar of Shame“ where people were chained and pilloried for punishment. One still sees remains of a colonnade that I assume corresponded with the Roman shopping area. Like I said, although there are no signs or regulations about you touching the ruins, I ask you not to. Enjoy them and ascertain that future generations are able to do so. This spot looks lovely at night and it is surrounded by St. Donatus’ church, St. Anastasia’s Bell Tower, St. Mary’s Church, and the Zadar Archeological Museum.
Saint Donatus Church: As you know, I have a thing for churches and I think this is one of my favorites so far. Saint Donatus is a pre-Romanesque church which has a typical circular Byzantine floor plan. The church is from the 9th Century when it was called the Church of the Holy Trinity. It was renamed 600 years later in honor bishop Donatus who erected the church. The church is no longer in service as a place of worship, but you can visit and enjoy its beauty. The church also sits next to (and on top of) the old Roman forum. Really makes you think about the change of the religious and political scene in Croatia. if you happen to be in Zadar in July/August, you’ll probably get to enjoy the International Festival of Medieval Renaissance Music which is held in St. Donatus because of the awesome acoustics. When we visited the church, it was empty – I loved the experience. Admission $3.50 (20 HRK)
Cathedral of St. Anastasia: Questa cattedrale romanica (random piece of knowledge for you – A cathedral is a Christian church which contains the cathedra – the seat of a bishop) hails from the 12th Century. It contains the relics of the martyr St. Anastasia, who perished at Diocletian’s hands. If you’re feeling active (or want to work on those buns of steel) head up its bell tower – it’s kinda cool because it is unattached and the views of the city are spectacular from there. It’s free to get in, so enjoy St. Anastasia’s rose windows and arches.
Church of Saint Chrysogonus: Questa è la chiesa romanica è stata nominata per il santo patrono di Zara. The bell tower and the church were originally part of a Benedictine abbey from the middle ages that no longer stands. It has some really cool warrior saints in Contrapposto and some incredible frescoes.
St. Mary’s Church: This Benedictine church was founded by a noblewoman of Zadar. It has a gorgeous baroque interior and Romanesque style frescoes. The convent that is nextdoor has an awesome collection of religious art. It also has a cloister, just ask the nuns to see it. They take care of the grounds and are proud to show the church’s treasures.
Spiridon Brusina: There’s a gorgeous bronze sculpture of a man looking into a seashell. Even if you know nothing about the man, you will figure out he was revered and that he loved nature. Spiridon Brusina era uno zoologo croato, (animal biologist), faunist (studied the distribution of animals), paleontologo (study of fossils), E malacologo (he studied mollusks). E 'stato il fondatore del Museo croato National Zoological. It is said if you rub his nose, he’ll bring you good luck. That’s why it is so shiny.
Church of St Mary “de Pusterla” Stomorica: Forse una delle strutture più interessanti della città. This is an Early Christian church from the 11th Century. When looked at from above, its circular apses make it look like a key. I didn’t get too much history on this one, but I’ll keep looking.
The Venetian Land Gate: Zadar was once Venetian land, to be more exact – a city fortress. This gate is a sign of Venice’s foothold over the city. This entrance to the old city, situato nel porto Fosa è pieno di simbolismo. E 'stato costruito come un arco di trionfo dell'architetto veneziano Michele Sanmicheli in 1543. The larger entrance in the middle was for vehicles, and the two smaller ones were for pedestrian traffic. The skulls above warned enemies of the danger that lurked should they attack the city. Interestingly enough, the Venetian architect allowed the image of Zadar’s patron, St. Chrysogonus (depicted as an equestrian figure) to remain in the composition. However, he is dwarfed by the attribute of St. Mark – a winged lion – who is the symbol of Venice who asserted their power via this imagery.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
Visit the Archaeological Museum in Zadar : Quando si tratta di musei, this one is tiny. But it is also quiet, calm and has a damn good collection. There are pieces from pre-history, Roman artifacts. It is a lovely museum and it will cost $5USD for an adult to get in. They even had dragonglass, you know, solo nel caso in bianco Walkers si presentò. It is located at Trg opatice Čike, 23000, Zadar, Croatia +385 23 250 542
Listen to the song of the Sea Organ: This is one of the coolest public spaces I’ve ever seen. It is just as amazing during the day and at night. It’s located near the port. It is made up of a set of stairs that run about 80 yards along the water. There are 35 pipes that make up the organ which sings a song, much like that of a whale, as the tide ebbs and flows as the sea pushes air out of the organ. E 'stato creato dall'architetto Nikola Bašić con la collaborazione del professor Vladimir idraulico ANDROCEC e Goran Ježina, an organ maker. Free
Greet the Sun: Non molto lontano dal Organo marino è un altro impianto dall'architetto Nikola Bašić. This one has a completely different feel. Instead of tranquil and pensive, it demands attention, action and movement. Il suoFebbre del sabato sera-like installation is made of 300 glass plates that are on the same level as the ground and shaped in a circle. Below them are solar modules that shine and sparkle in rhythm with the Sea Organ. I was told it works off the energy of the sun, which also lights the waterfront. The names carved around the installation are Croatian saints like Saint Anastasia and Saint Donatus. Next to their names you will see the date for their feast days.
Go to the Farmer’s Market: Croatian produce is some of the best. I am in love with their olive oil and if you can get a hand on Croatian figs, consider yourself lucky. You’ll want to pick the ones that have the most flies on them (I’m serious – these are the ripest and sweetest). I have a special spot in my heart for the market, my first full convo in Croatian was there with the egg seller. I managed to ask for 6 eggs, be understood, and understand how much cash I had to dispense. BTW – those eggs…delicious. Whatever little old lady you choose to purchase them from will most likely put them in a tiny plastic bag, so do yourself a favor and bring something sturdy to put them in. Make sure to bring plenty of cash.
Go Swimming: Join the locals on the quay off the Roman Forum. Bring some food and leap into the crystal clear waters of the Dalmatian ocean. They are incredibly clean, and the pier stops the waves from the incoming ships. This quickly became one of my favorite spots. Just be careful climbing back up. The rocks are sharp and you can easily cut your foot like I did.
WHERE TO EAT?
I didn’t love anywhere I ate in Zadar. This would be my one drawback to this great city. My suggestion, check out the market and cook for yourself. The produce and meats sold there are incredibly fresh and inexpensive – they really don’t need much to turn them into an amazing meal. But, if one day you’re feeling a little too lazy to cook, these spots should do the trick:
Bruschetta: Questo è a pochi minuti di distanza dalla piazza romana e la chiesa di San. Donatus. Grab a seat outside and people watch while you enjoy the scent of the Dalmatian coast. Bruschetta non poteva essere in una posizione migliore. È possibile scegliere un posto proprio accanto alle rovine a forma di chiave adiacente al ristorante e si affacciano sulla costa dalmata. La vista è splendida. Piatti in questo ristorante a semplice, but nice. Stick to seafood dishes and appetizer which will cost you around $15 USD.
Il pranzo era tranquillo, con forse 5 tavoli prese. Ci siamo seduti vicino alle rovine e ordinato un bottiglia di prosseco (180 Kuna / $ 31 USD). Perché il vino italiano? Perché penso vini croati hanno una lunga strada da percorrere. La maggior parte dei bianchi che ho assaggiato non avevano acidità. Erano flaccido e senza complicazioni, così dopo un po ', Ho rinunciato e tornai a scelte di menu sicure.
Abbiamo iniziato a condividere Bruschetta (19 Kuna / $ 3.25 USD). Ho pensato che se il ristorante è stato nominato per il piatto, sarebbe una buona scelta. La bruschetta era gustoso. Il pane era molto simile al pane sandwich cubano si può ottenere in North Bergen, NJ (questa è una cosa molto buona). Leggero, croccante fuori e un po 'alla griglia. Abbiamo ottenuto la tua bruschetta di base, i pomodori erano incredibilmente dolce, i pinoli aggiunto qualche grande struttura. I’d easily order this again.
ho ordinato mussels (90 Kuna / $ 15 USD), I simply refused to order anything but seafood…I was on the coast. Le mie cozze erano gustosi, non tanto quanto quelli che avevo a T Kapiteinje a Bruxelles, ma hanno reso la mia lingua e pancia felice. Solo 2 sono stati chiusi. La salsa era aromatica, ricco. Erano un po 'leggero troppo salato, ma questo è stato mai così leggera.
Antonio ha avuto la filetto di pollo al tartufo, le verdure, e patate (88 perché, $15 USD). Il pollo era perfettamente cotto e la salsa che è venuto con il piatto era divino. Potremmo rilevare alcuna “tartufi” ma c'erano tonnellate di deliziosi funghi sul piatto (probabilmente una cosa traduzione sul menu). Ho continuato a rubare le patate dal suo piatto.
Mihovila Pavlinovića 12 in the Old Town of Zadar, Croatia
Pro Tip: In Croazia fanno pagare una Couvert (copertina) per il pane. Se non si desidera essere addebitato per esso, just let your server know as soon as you sit down that you do not want bread.
Kornat: Questo ristorante è stato più elaborato rispetto maggior parte dei posti che abbiamo cenato in città. Its specialty is seafood and it has a pretty decent wine list. Dishes will cost you around $30 USD.
Sono stato contento di trovare Kornat. Questo è stato il miglior pasto che ho avuto a Zara, e un piacere dopo i tanti pasti deludenti ho avuto in città. Mentre Kornat ha un menu molto simile alla maggior parte dei ristoranti della zona, lo fanno proprio.
Siamo entrati in un pomeriggio tranquillo. C'erano altre tre tavoli al ristorante tutti felicemente mangiare. C'erano due server a portata di mano. Il nostro ci ha accolti in croato e poi ha rotto in a Inglese (ci sono un sacco di lingua inglese a Zara, so if you don’t speak Croatian – questo non dovrebbe essere un problema durante la vostra visita).
Abbiamo ordinato una bottiglia di Freixenet Cava per 150 perché ($26 USD), a prezzo equo per questa bottiglia in un ristorante. Quando il nostro server arrivati con esso, ha proceduto a dirci un po 'la cantina e il vino (rinfrescante – questo non è accaduto in tutti i ristoranti che abbiamo visitato). Potrei dire che lui 1) conosceva il suo vino 2) era eccitato dal vino.
Avevamo visto recensioni per il ristorante che si lamentava dei suoi alti prezzi e piccole porzioni. I’m not a quantity over quality person, così ho pensato che le porzioni sarebbe più piccola, ma deliziosa.
Ci hanno iniziato con un bouche amouse: tonno pate. E 'stato un bel morso e molto gustoso. Niente da essere entusiasti, ma un bel tocco.
Per il mio pasto, Ho ordinato il Coda di rospo filetto in salsa di tartufo con gnocchi fatti in casa (150 perché, $26 USD). Ero stato in altri ristoranti nella città che pubblicizzato tartufo, ma che cosa hanno significato era funghi (potrebbe essere una cosa di traduzione). Non a Kornat. Here, tartufi destinati tartufi. Bellissima, pezzi pungente di tartufo nero. La salsa era delicato e sono stato contento di aver consentito per il coperto. Questo significava un sacco di pane per me per assorbire il sugo. Il pesce era leggermente più cotto per la mia preferenza, ma i sapori erano semplicemente perfette. I could easily overlook the fish’s temperature. La star dello spettacolo; gli gnocchi. Erano vellutato, dato sufficiente resistenza sul primo morso. Questo è gnocchi come dovrebbe essere.
Antonio ha ottenuto il costolette di vitello alla griglia con verdure colorate (120 perché, $20 USD). Si innamorò. Essi erano cotti alla perfezione, succoso, tenera e saporita. Mangiò molto più di quello che normalmente fa in un ristorante.
Abbiamo apprezzato molto il pasto e ritornerei il nostro prossimo viaggio. Credo che le lamentele che sono venuti in circa il dimensionamento erano completamente infondate. Le nostre porzioni erano enormi inaspettatamente. Penso anche che le critiche di prezzo sono disponibili in quanto il resto dei ristoranti della zona sono molto economici. Che quei recensori dimenticano di menzionare è che si ottiene quello che si paga.
Io dico saltare i posti più economici e check-out Kornat, lascerete felice, pieno (e può prendere la vostra casa gli avanzi).
Kornat si trova a: Liburnska Obala 6, Zadar, Croazia, vicino al porto Trajektna luka Zadar
Bistro Gourmet Kalerga: Lovely food at super affordable prices, this is probably one of the best places to eat in the city. Si trova vicino Narodni Trg (People’s Square) and it is attached to the Art Hotel. Dishes cost around $20 USDSiroka Ulica 1, Zadar, Croatia
Pet Bunara: Situato vicino alla Piazza Cinque Pozzi, this restaurant has been around for 30 years (they must be doing something right). Lo spazio è confortevole e il menu si concentra suslow food. Dishes will cost you around $30 USD – expensive for the area, but well worth it. Stratico by “Pet Bunara” Square, Zadar, Croatia
HOW TO GET THERE?
BY AIR: Si può volare in aeroporto di Zara, we flew in from Brussels. It’s small, and it has some awesome coffee. The food is not so good at the airport, so make sure to bring something to snack on while you wait. The airport is small, so it is relatively easy to manage. There are taxis you can take there into town. There’s also a bus you can take, check the schedule here.
WHERE TO STAY?
Airbnb: We had no idea of what Zadar would be like, so we were going in blind on this one. We arrived at night at this lovely apartment where we were greeted by the owner’s mom. She spoke no English, but had an ice cold bottle of Croatian beer (Croatian beer is kick ass delicious) ready for this thirsty traveler. As mentioned, l'appartamento si trova proprio nella piazza principale della chiesa di San Donato (Anastasia), across the plaza to the Archeological museum, and across the street from the ocean. I could not have asked for a better location or better guests. The apartment had a full kitchen, an elevator, and WIFI. It was not fancy, but I would stay there again in seconds. MEDIACOST PER NIGHT $100 USD
Need more Zadar Travel Tips? Have specific questions? Just leave a comment and I’ll get back to you asap.