10 fun things to do in Zadar, Croatia: A romantic getaway

By |2019-01-08T20:09:32+00:00September 29th, 2015|Croatia, Destination, Europe, The Balkans, Urban|16 Comments

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Alfred Hitchcock once claimed that the sunsets in Zadar are the most beautiful in the world. As a true, devoted sunset fan, how could I resist finding out for sure?

I have always been fascinated by sunsets – the warm, happy glow to mark the end of the day. It’s such a peaceful transition from day to night and the perfect time for reflection. To capture the sunset by the sea only adds to the magic and brilliance.

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Alfred Hitchcock once claimed that the sunsets in Zadar are the most beautiful in the world. I agree with him that they are in fact gorgeous! Do you?

THINGS TO DO IN ZADAR, CROATIA

You might have heard of Zadar, but if you haven’t then let me introduce you to this charming and romantic little place. Zadar is a small town by the Dalmatian coast in Croatia. With only 75,000 inhabitants, it has that charming, homely atmosphere that only smaller towns have.

It’s old. Ancient actually, as it dates back to the 4th century BC, and Roman life is still visible all around town.

It took me exactly 0.0 seconds to like Zadar, because it’s intimate and has several romantic spots and a sphinx from Egypt that supposedly grants love wishes. My only regret is that Thomas couldn’t be there with me. It’s the perfect destination for a romantic getaway.

ZADAR OLD TOWN

1. ST DONATUS’ CHURCH

Church of St. Donatus

Church of St. Donatus

2. ST ANASTACIA’S CATHEDRAL AND BELL TOWER

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The bell tower next to St. Anastasia Cathedral

The bell tower next to St. Anastasia Cathedral

3. CHURCH AND MONASTERY OF ST. MARY

Church and monastery of St. Mary

Church and monastery of St. Mary

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4. ST. SIMEON CHURCH

St. Simeon Church

St. Simeon Church

5. FIVE WELLS SQUARE

Five wells square

Five wells square

Entrance to the old town

Entrance to the old town

People's square

People’s square

HISTORIC ZADAR

6. ROMAN FORUM

7. ZADAR CITY WALLS AND GATES

Zadar, Croatia

THE PROMENADE

“Dobar Dan”, I hear an elderly man beckon behind me.

“Ciao”, answers another. The Italian influence is still felt in Croatia, and even more so in Istria further north.

I spent a few hours walking around the old town before I found a nice spot at the promenade to enjoy some prosciutto and wine and just watch the world go by. The promenade seems to be the place to sit and hang out, either to swim or to lounge on the steps descending to water level.

8. STROLL DOWN THE PROMENADE

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Zadar, Croatia

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9. ZADAR SEA ORGAN 

After a few hours and a lovely dinner, I headed to the most famous sunset spot in Zadar: the sea organ.

Now, the sea organ is without doubt the most brilliant and innovative waterfront creation I’ve ever seen. It’s an art installation by Nikola Bašić. You can’t actually see it, but underneath the steps are a series of musically tuned pipes and blow holes that create music when air is forced through by the waves. The windy melodies are similar to a pan flute, but deeper in timbre. It is an incredibly impressive and wondrous thing. The tunes are calming and almost tranquil, and when the sun sets dozens people sit there on the steps in silence, listening to the music, watching the sky change in multiple colors.

With music in the background from Zadar’s Sea Organ and the uninterrupted views over the Adriatic Sea, it is definitely a sunset that is hard to beat. I can honestly not think of a more romantic place to watch the sun go down.

The sea organ, Zadar

One of the Sea Organ pipes

The sun salutation before sunset

The sun salutation before sunset

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Croatia

Beautiful sunset, Croatia

Beautiful sunset, Croatia

Beautiful sunset, Croatia

Beautiful sunset, Croatia

Beautiful sunset, Croatia

10. ZADAR SUN SALUTATION

Right next to the Sea Organ is the Sun Salutation, created by the same artist. The Sun Salutation is a 22 metre diameter solar panel formed from 300 multi-layered glass panels. Underneath these glass conduction plates, there are a series of solar cells that store energy during the day, and after sunset they produce a changing wave of beautiful colours. It’s like a giant disco floor.

The sun salutation, Croatia

The sun salutation, Croatia

Zadar, Croatia

Locals telling stories in Croatian

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As I watched the colours shift from sapphire blue to emerald-green, I thought to myself that yes, Mr. Hitchcock was right… this was indeed a special place to watch the sunset. It wasn’t just the sunset alone because I have seen prettier in the Philippines and Thailand. It was the lulling sounds of the waves through the sea organ and the shifting mesmerizing lights of the sun salutation that did it for me and made this a unique experience.

These moments are what I love most about traveling, and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to experience this.

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Where have you seen the best sunset?

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16 Comments

  1. Isabel September 30, 2015 at 1:25 pm - Reply

    Well both sunrises and sunsets look amazing!! What a pretty place!

    • Miriam September 30, 2015 at 1:46 pm - Reply

      I absolutely agree. Although I’m not a morning person, I find myself getting up early to watch the sunrises whenever I travel. Especially in Slovenia where they are so beautiful.

  2. Bailey September 30, 2015 at 5:36 pm - Reply

    Man I’m so bummed that we cut Zadar out of our honeymoon last year! It looks like a really neat place to relax and just enjoy yourself (and it’s way less busy than Dubrovnik). Great pics and great idea for our return trip to Croatia!

    • Miriam October 1, 2015 at 1:04 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Bailey! It’s definitely less crowded than Dubrovnik and much more intimate and personal. Maybe a second honeymoon is in order? 🙂

  3. Agness September 30, 2015 at 8:00 pm - Reply

    I love romantic sunsets, especially when I travel with my boyfriend! Never heard of Zadar! It’s so beautiful. In some way it reminds me of Crete – white + blue = love!

    • Miriam October 1, 2015 at 1:13 pm - Reply

      Those are the best! I was so sad that Thomas couldn’t be there with me, but he will next time! Ryanair has crazy cheap tickets from Denmark to Zadar – maybe you can find some good ones from Netherlands, too.

  4. Britt October 1, 2015 at 12:44 am - Reply

    I can’t wait to get to Croatia!

    The best sunset I’ve ever seen was in Ko Lanta, Thailand.

    Soooooo beautiful!

    • Miriam October 1, 2015 at 1:15 pm - Reply

      Ah yes, Koh Lanta! I’ve seen some amazing sunsets there, too. It’s such a lovely island.

  5. Sanura October 1, 2015 at 5:26 am - Reply

    The photos included in this post are amazing, especially the ones of the sun setting. I was unfamiliar with Zadar until I read your post, but I’m so glad I know about it now. I can only hope I get to experience these sunsets and hear the sea organ myself one day. Great post!

    • Miriam October 1, 2015 at 1:21 pm - Reply

      Thanks for commenting, Sanura. Zadar is such a little town and I hadn’t heard of it myself until recently. If you find yourself in Croatia someday, I highly recommend stopping by for a few days. It really is charming.

  6. Jon Dunn October 1, 2015 at 11:06 am - Reply

    Superb report and pix! I never tire of hearing / reading about Zadar and like you, I was pretty blown away with the place. Sunset, sea organ and some of the finest gelato (sladoled) in the entire world – what more could a guy want to chill out of an evening? 😉
    Let’s hope mass tourism doesn’t catch up (and overtake!) Zadar like it has done to Dubrovnik and Kotor (Montenegro) is not too far behind!
    So much to do locally, too. Numerous islands, served by ferry from Zadar, Paklenica national park, The Zrmanja River & Gorge for rafting, etc.
    Wonderful place – with it’s own airport, too 🙂

    • Miriam October 1, 2015 at 1:25 pm - Reply

      I absolutely agree, Jon! 🙂

      I don’t think tourism will take over the same way as in Montenegro. Did you go to Budva? I passed through a couple of times and it looked so ruined compared to Kotor. Hopefully, Zadar will survive – here’s to hoping!

  7. Pati October 2, 2015 at 11:12 pm - Reply

    WOw! Zadar looks amazing!!! And those sunsets are simply gorgeous! I have never been to Zadar and actually never thought of visiting it in the near future, you certainly made me want to get to know it! BTW – I found you via Twitter :))))

    • Miriam October 3, 2015 at 12:23 pm - Reply

      Welcome, Pati! It’s great to have you visiting my blog 🙂 If you’re ever in Croatia or the Balkan area, I highly recommend paying Zadar a visit. It’s such a romantic and cosy town with knock-out sunsets. Absolutely worth a trip.

  8. Milly December 12, 2016 at 10:39 pm - Reply

    Miriam, we will traveling top Croatia next year and will spend one day in Zadar. Where exactly is the promenade ?

    • Miriam December 13, 2016 at 9:43 am - Reply

      Hi Milly, it’s almost impossible to miss, but you can always ask someone. Zadar is a small town so it only takes 5-10 minutes to walk there from the center.

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