Zadar travel guide will help you get the best out of your day in Zadar, Croatia; find what's hidden to the other's eyes and experience the richness of this city to the fullest
This vibrant city has a long list of historical landmarks to see and activities you can enjoy. So many you wish you could stay here for a few days at least. But, as I always say, cruising is great because it gives you an opportunity to see what you like and decide which places you want to come back to.
Here in our little Zadar Travel Guide, you can learn about the most famous attractions, the ones you can actually fit into your short and intense cruisers' day. You can read about Zadar Museums in a separate article here and learn some great ideas on spending your time here in Zadar Travel Guide: Top 10 Things to Do
1) St. Donatus Chruch – this imposing structure is one of the symbols of this city. It was built in the 9th century by a bishop Donatus, right in the middle of the Roman Forum. You can actually still see the remains of the Roman columns and their capitels built into the church's foundation. It's circular shape was inspired by the Charlemagne's court chapel in Aachen. Now it is used as a museum and classical music concerts.
2) Roman Forum – maybe not as big or impressive as the one in Rome, this is still quite a unique place where you can easily visualize what life used to be like 2000 years ago. This is where people would come to sell and buy, worship their gods or bring them sacrifice, listen to public speeches, take care of their business in the government offices or simply exchange gossip. It was commissioned by the first Roman Emperor, Augustus, in the first century BC.
3) Zadar Museums – they are a great place for all history buffs but also just anyone who would love to admire the rich history of this place or simply have some fun. The Archaeological Museum, The Museum of Antique Glass, The Gold and Silver of Zadar exhibition inside the Church of St Mary and the Museum of Illusions can keep you busy all day if you like, plan to visit at least one. Read more in our article Zadar Museums.
4) The Cathedral of St Anastasia – People came to this spot, just west of the Roman forum, to worship Christianitiy as early as the 4th century when a basilica was erected here. The church you see today was mainly constructed in the 12th and the 13th century in the typical Romanesque style.You will recognise it for the ornate lace-like stone facade and the big bell tower you can actually climb to enjoy the views.
5) St Mary's church - this lovely church is situated on the east side of the Forum, just opposite the St. Donatus church. It belongs to the benedictine monastery. The nuns who live there also keep the permanent exhibion called The Gold and Silver of Zadar – it is a stunning collection of sacral objects dating from the 8th to the 18th ct. A must see! Read more about it in our article on Zadar Museums.
St Simeon's Church is located on the way to the
5 Wells Square about 5 minutes walk from St Donatus. As opposed to all the
other churches in Zadar that have stone facades, this 3 nave early- Christian
basilica's facade is painted in earthy terracota tones. It is a shelter to one
of the most important relics of Zadar, the famous casket of St Simeon which is
7) Sv Lovro Church (St Laurel's) is one of the best kept secrets in Zadar. When passing through the Narodni Trg (People's square) you would never suspect that in the back of one of it's cafes (Lovre cafe) there is one of the oldest and most charming churches around. Of course, the church dating back to the 11th century is not in service any more, it now serves as the cafe's atrium where the concerts, promotion and different events are held. Make sure to check it out.
8) Stomorica Church - close to Zadar Sea Promenade, behind Hotel Zagreb, you can find the remains of another unusual 11th century church. What's fascinating about is the shape of it's foundations: it is a 6-leaved clover shape which symbolizes St. Peter's keys!
9) Zadar Land Gate is a bit off the tourist's track but not more than 2-3 minutes walk from it, either. What's also great about finding this gate is that you will also discover the really charming harbour of Fosa right outside the city wall. This gate was built by the Venetians in the 16th century. It is quite impressive and monumental, in the form of a triumphal arch with the winged lion of St. Mark's and the city's coat of arms decorating it. It was once the main entrance into the city, undoubtedly speaking of it's power to those visiting for the first time.
10) 5 Wells Square – An unusual name for an unusual square, named after exactly what it says: 5 wells lined up in a row, once part of the 16th century water cistern. This tranquil place makes some great photo opportunities and is a great place to take the whole atmosphere in. It is just between the oldest public park in Croatia and an imposing Captain's tower. Zadar travel guide insider's tip: at the back of the square, in the narrow passageway, there's a little staircase that takes you right to no.9 on this list, Zadar Land Gate.