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things to do in zadar

Looking for ideas of things to do in Zadar? We've got you covered. Here is a list of 16 activities to do and enjoy during your stay in Zadar, Croatia.

Stroll through the Old Town

Strolling through Zadar's Old Town is an absolute must for any visitor. This vibrant maze of narrow, cobblestone streets is like a living museum where history unfolds around every corner. On the streets of this stunning city, you'll encounter architectural gems like the Roman Forum and the St. Donatus' Church. Lively squares like People's Square buzz with cafes and locals going about their day. Other must-see places are the city center, Land Gate, Sea Gate, Scenic Lighthouse and Bell Tower.

For the best experience, take your stroll in the late afternoon. The crowds start to thin, the golden light bathes the stone in a warm glow, and the Adriatic Sea shimmers in the distance - the perfect setting to soak up the unique atmosphere of this captivating town.

You can also sign up for a walking tour to learn more about all these amazing historic sites.

St Donatus and Romanian forum in Zadar

Take a Bike Trip

One of the best things to do in Zadar is to rent a bike and use it to explore the surrounding area around the city. Cruise along the scenic Zadar waterfront, taking in the sights and enjoying the refreshing sea breeze. Explore the charming marinas, spot playful dolphins offshore, or delve into the lively fish market. Bike paths also lead you to historical sites like the impressive ruins of the Roman Forum or the unique Sea Organ that transforms the ocean's waves into melodies.

Renting a bike for your entire stay is a smart and affordable choice. Zadar's compact size and mostly flat terrain make cycling a breeze, allowing you to zip between attractions, beaches, and restaurants quickly and conveniently, maximizing your exploration time. So, ditch the taxis and buses, and experience Zadar like a local – on two wheels!

Enjoy the Beautiful Beaches

Zadar boasts beaches that rival those on its beautiful islands, offering relaxation and a taste of the Adriatic's allure. The beaches here are known for their mix of pebbles and sand, providing both comfort and a touch of the wild.

Kolovare Beach, right near the Old Town, is a favorite for its shade-providing pines and easy access. Venture further out to Borik Beach for clear water, vibrant beach bars, and family-friendly amenities.

Don't hesitate to hop on a bike or rent an electric scooter to zip between spots – it's a fun and efficient way to explore Zadar's coastline and find your perfect slice of paradise.

Riding a bike around Zadar city walls.

Rent a Boat

Another thing many tourists like to do when going to Zadar is to rent a boat. This allows you to navigate to secluded islands, untouched by mass tourism, where you can enjoy quiet coves and crystal-clear waters all by yourself. Drop anchor for a swim in secluded bays, or try your hand at fishing in tranquil spots. A boat ride offers a unique chance to tailor your own secluded experience, all while taking in the breathtaking scenery from a whole new perspective. Please note that a valid boating license is required to rent a boat in Zadar, Croatia.

If you don't have a license and can't rent a boat, there's always the option of going on boat tours.

Rent a boat in Zadar

Learn How to Surf

Croatia might not be the first place that comes to mind for surfing, but Zadar offers a surprisingly fun introduction to the sport! If you're looking for a unique way to experience the Adriatic Sea and get active, sign up for surf lessons.

The beaches near Nin, a short drive from Zadar, offer ideal conditions for beginners with their shallow, sandy lagoons and gentle waves. Lessons typically cost around €20-€30 per hour and will go over the basics like paddling, standing up, and maintaining balance. Most people can catch their first small waves within a single lesson.

Go Scuba Diving

Croatia might not be the first place that comes to mind for surfing, but Zadar offers a surprisingly fun introduction to the sport! If you're looking for a unique way to experience the Adriatic Sea and get active, sign up for surf lessons.

Enjoy Zadar's Nightlife

Don't let the day's adventures end with the sunset! Zadar's nightlife offers a unique blend of relaxed vibes and hidden gems in its lively bar scene, perfect for unwinding after a day of exploration. Unlike other party destinations, Zadar's scene is more about socializing and enjoying good company. The warm summer nights come alive with locals and tourists alike spilling out onto terraces and plazas, sipping Croatian wine or handcrafted cocktails.

If you're looking for something livelier, head to vibrant nightclubs like Ledana, known for themed parties and energetic performances, or pulsating Svarog Bar with its R&B beats. Zadar's nightlife caters to diverse preferences, so put on your dancing shoes or grab a seat at a charming bar, and let the rhythm of the Adriatic wash over you.

Take a Half Day Trip

Embrace the freedom of two wheels and explore the beauty beyond Zadar's city walls with a half-day bike or e-scooter trip! These eco-friendly options allow you to escape the crowds and discover hidden gems at your own pace. Cycle along the scenic Zadar waterfront, taking in the sights and enjoying the refreshing sea breeze. Explore charming marinas like Diklo, a popular spot for yachters, or pedal further to Nin, a historic town known for its salt pans and charming Old Town. For a touch of adventure, head to the ruins of the Nin Fortress, offering panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

You can also take a half-day trip to Bibinje. This small town on the Dalmatian coast is completely different than old Zadar. So, if you are looking for a more traditional vibe, you should definitely go to Bibinje.


If you're an adrenaline junkie seeking a thrilling way to experience Croatia's natural beauty, canyoning near Zadar is a must-do! This adventurous activity involves exploring the rugged beauty of river canyons by scrambling, rappelling down waterfalls, jumping into crystal-clear pools, and swimming through narrow passages. The Zrmanja River, known for its stunning canyon, is the prime spot for canyoning near Zadar. Canyoning tours typically cost around €50-€80 and are led by experienced guides who provide safety instructions and necessary equipment. While no prior experience is required, a decent level of fitness and a spirit of adventure are a must!

Go to the Aquapark

Sometimes, even the calm sea can't beat the thrill of a good aquapark! Zadar's Aquapark Dalmacija (located in nearby Biograd na Moru) is a great option for families and anyone seeking a splash-tastic day out.

From adrenaline-pumping slides to relaxing pools and kid-friendly zones, the park caters to all ages. Take on the thrilling Black Hole slide, float down the lazy river, or let the little ones loose in the dedicated children's area.

Ticket prices vary by season and age, but you can generally expect to pay around €20-€30 for adults. To avoid the biggest crowds and ensure you get a good spot, plan to arrive early in the day, especially during peak season.

Cliff Jumping

If you crave a heart-pounding challenge and breathtaking views, diving into the crystal-clear Adriatic Sea is an unforgettable experience. For beginners, Dugi Otok Island near Zadar offers idyllic spots like the Dragon Eye cliffs. These cliffs boast various jump heights, allowing you to gradually conquer your fears and relish the stunning scenery. More seasoned thrill-seekers can head to Mana Island in the Kornati Islands for even higher cliffs and an unmatched adrenaline rush.

However, cliff diving comes with inherent risks. Always prioritize safety by jumping only from designated areas and never diving headfirst into unknown waters.

Prices for guided cliff jumping tours vary depending on location and inclusions but typically range from €30-€50. So, take the plunge, feel the rush, and create memories that will last a lifetime!

Island Hopping

Embark on an island-hopping adventure and discover the jewels of the Adriatic scattered around Zadar. Croatia's diverse islands offer a unique blend of natural beauty, historical gems, and charming villages to explore. Must-visit spots include Dugi Otok, with its dramatic cliffs and stunning Sakarun Beach, or the Kornati Islands National Park, a pristine archipelago known for its crystal-clear waters.

Island hopping tours are readily available, costing upwards of €40-€50 depending on the itinerary and inclusions. Make sure not to miss local experiences like relaxing on secluded beaches, sampling fresh seafood at charming taverns, and uncovering hidden coves while swimming or kayaking. Island hopping is a chance to explore a different side of Croatia and create a truly unforgettable trip!

Besides boar tours, you can also buy a ferry ticket to one of the islands close to Zadar, like Ugljan and Pašma. The ride takes only 20 minutes from Gaženica Ferry port, and there are multiple ferries crossing each day. If you are traveling with your family, this is a much more manageable excursion than island hopping throughout the entire archipelago.

Go Paddleboarding

Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) offers a fun and accessible way to experience Zadar's coastline from a whole new perspective. Whether you're a seasoned paddler or a curious beginner, the calm waters around Zadar are perfect for exploring. Glide across pristine bays, discover hidden coves, and enjoy stunning views of the city and surrounding islands.

Kolovare and Borik beaches are great spots thanks to their sheltered waters and easy access. Paddleboard rentals typically cost around €20 per day and most people can master the basics of balance and paddling within a short lesson or two. Get ready for a relaxing yet invigorating way to enjoy the sparkling Adriatic!

Take a ride with the Barkajol

If you want to experience Zadar's living history, you need to take a ride on a barkajol (pronounced bark-ah-yol). These small, traditional wooden boats, piloted by skilled boatmen called barkajoli, have been navigating the narrow channel between Zadar's mainland and Old Town for centuries.

A barkajol ride is a unique experience that connects you to the city's rich heritage. As a bonus, the barkajoli might even share some local stories as they ferry you across.

The short journey, usually just a couple of minutes, offers stunning views of the city skyline and a chance to appreciate the skill of these agile boatmen. For a mere few Euro, it's a charming and affordable way to add a touch of authenticity to your Zadar adventure.

Such a ride costs only around 5 euro and you must pay in cash.

See the Sunset Near the Sea Organ and Sun Salutation

End your day in Zadar with a unique experience - the sunset near the Sea Organ. This architectural marvel is more than just a pretty sight; it's an interactive art installation that transforms the sea's energy into a symphony of calming sounds. As the sun dips towards the horizon, casting an orange glow across the water, the Sea Organ comes alive. The rhythm of the waves translates into a captivating melody, creating a truly unique and unforgettable sensory experience. Imagine sitting on the white marble steps, the sun warming your skin as the rhythmic sounds of the sea wash over you. It's a perfect way to unwind after a day of exploration and soak in the magic of Zadar.

Here, you also have the Sun Salutation installation, which is a joy to watch. As you hear the music from the sea, you can also admire the millions of colors emitting from the sun energy collected during the day on the Sun Salutation installation.

Attend the Full Moon Festival

Experience the magic of Zadar under the glow of the full moon by attending the annual Full Moon Festival (sometimes called the Night of the Full Moon). This lively event transforms the city's waterfront into a vibrant celebration of local traditions, music, and delicious food. The streets come alive as boats turn into floating markets offering fresh seafood, local delicacies, and drinks.

Rustic pop-up taverns serve traditional Croatian fare, and live music fills the air. Witness local folklore performances, savor the aroma of grilled treats, and soak in the unique atmosphere of Zadar illuminated by candles and torches. The festival typically takes place in July or August, coinciding with the full moon. The best part? It's a free event, allowing you to immerse yourself fully in this enchanting cultural experience!

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Alexandru Manea

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