Marvellous Zadar is a modern city with a rich history. Everywhere you look there are the remains of Illyrians, Romans, Byzantines, Venetians, Napoleon, Habsburgs and all those that, in Zadar’s 3000 years of brave existence, tried to conquer it. With numerous things to do, see and experience in Zadar, springtime is perfect for you to visit it - the weather is warm and sunny enough so you can enjoy exploring and enjoying the sights before the main summer season and the onslaught of tourists.
Ideal spring break
Perfectly located in an immediate proximity to four national parks - Plitvice lakes, Paklenica canyon, Kornati islands and Krka river, as well as 3 nature parks - Telašćica bay, Velebit mountain and Vrana lake, the city of Zadar is definitely worth visiting. You see? Zadar has it all - crystal blue sea with Zadar islands sprinkled all along the coast, breathtaking bays looking up to the majestic mountain, harsh canyons, perky rivers and lakes with fairytale-like waterfalls. Be careful though, you might fall in love as I did!
The first sight of Zadar Old town that I got was from the 152 meters long pedestrian bridge that connects it to the modern part of the city. Right in front of me, a main entrance to the old town emerged. The area within the city walls is mostly pedestrian, full of cafes, delis, restaurants, jeweller's stores, fancy boutiques and souvenir shops. And historical monuments at every corner!
There are numerous things to see in Zadar, including unique vestiges of Roman, Byzantine or Venetian architecture like the Venetian tower, the draw-wells of Five wells square, the columns of the Roman forum that dates back to 1BC, and the impressive walls and city gates that form, what used to be, the largest city-fortress in the Republic of Venice.
You have to take a stroll down Kalelarga - the main street, towards the remains of the main square dating from the Roman Iadera, with episcopal complex and Roman forum. The church of St. Donatus and the archbishop’s palace, as well as an exhibition of Church Art – the Gold and Silver of Zadar is among the top 10 things to do in Zadar. Across the road, and a patch of green park, you will get to the seafront. This is where you’ll find the two main Croatia tourist attractions - Greeting to the Sun and Zadar Sea organ.
Run, Forrest, run!
Zadar offers an opportunity for outdoor activities throughout the spring (and beyond!). One-of-a-kind spectacle held the sixth year in a row in Zadar city centre called “Zadar Night Run” will be held on 18 April 2020 at 9 PM and is one of the most attractive road races in the region. “Feel the positive energy that only Zadar Night Run has.” Come and inbreathe the city vibes!
We are not done running though. Because, if you love running, I have another ideal reason for you to visit Zadar, do a good deed all the while enjoying Zadar archipelago vista! For the seventh time, the Wings for Life World Run - a running competition that collects funds for the non-profit foundation Wings for Life, is returning to Zadar. On May 3rd 2020, around 9.000 runners will start running from Zadar peninsula, along the Croatian coast towards the city of Šibenik. “There’s no time to beat, no set distance, no finish line to aim for! It’s just you vs the Catcher Car, a moving finish line that chases each participant on the course.”
Mid-May is a time for the Zadar Outdoor Festival! It’s a well-known fact that the Zadar area represents one of the most attractive places on the Mediterranean coast. The Zadar region distinguishes itself by an extraordinary geographic diversity making it the place for all kinds of outdoor activities 24/7/365. For two days from May 10th to May 11th 2020, sea, land, and mountains of the Zadar region will convert into the natural racing trails that will challenge the athletes from all over the globe.
The Zadar sea canal will host competitions in sailing regatta, swimming marathon and a kayak race. On the mainland, there will be running, trekking and cycling trails. But no matter whether you choose running off into the dusk, getting lost while trekking through the boundless slants of Velebit mountain, or cycling along the coast, the adventure and positive vibes will thrive.
Illusions and Zadar excursions
One of the top Tripadvisor recommendations for what to do in Zadar is the Museum of Illusion. And if you are travelling with children, this place will impress them. The extraordinary museum’s advertisement says: “The Museum of Illusion in Zadar brings you a space suitable both for social and entertaining tours into the world of illusions which has delighted all generations.” Exhibits include the Vortex tunnel, optical Illusions, hologram, anti-gravity, infinity and rotating room. Full of new experiences, this is one of Zadar tourism focal points, where fun with friends and family is a guarantee.
One of my favourite things to do in Zadar is a visit to the tiny town of Nin and the Salt Museum. This tour includes a walk along the salt pools where you get to know all about salt crystallization and manual harvesting. At Nin, the salt is not produced by a machine, or harvested by a man. The salt here is natural and ecological, produced by the sun, sea and wind.
Fancy a nightcap with a history?
Zadar has a vivid nightlife, with plenty of outdoor and venue concerts held all year round. But all of your wine lovers have to be here at the end of March for the 4th Zadar Wine Festival. On Friday, the 27th and Saturday 28th March 2020 the best winemakers, caterers, hoteliers and epicureans will gather in Zadar Arsenal - a unique heritage monument built in the 16th century, enjoying the best of what Croatian wine regions have to offer. The city of Zadar, together with its hinterland and islands, formed a significant market for the presentation of the best Croatian and world wines. Therefore, Zadar Wine Festival is the perfect opportunity to present wines and enjoy them all the while making interesting new acquaintances.
Photo: Best known Zadar liqueur - Maraschino
And for those of you that, just like me, want to breathe in the salty Mediterranean area and enjoy quiet, fuss-free evening, you have to try Maraschino. Prepared according to the traditional recipe that is over five centuries old. This unique liqueur, recognizable by its distinctive sweet taste and aromatic scent, is made by distilling macerated ripe fruits and the Dalmatian Marasca cherry leaf. Maraschino, a holder of the Croatian Creation label, is best served well chilled with an added cherry and good company - preferably in Almayer’s Corte Vino & More orangery.
In the late 19th century, Zadar harbour often hosted English ships that transported large quantities of Maraschino liqueur to the queen Victoria’s court, and in 1887 king George V personally visited the production plants. World celebrities such as Honore de Balzac, Napoleon, Hitchcock, Baudelaire, Casanova and others, enjoyed its specific and particular aroma. It is reported that a large number of cases with Zadar Maraschino were found inside unlucky Titanic.
This is us
In the middle of it all, in the immediate proximity to the city centre and all that is going on, there is Almayer Art & Heritage Hotel. After a long day exploring the city and area, or simply enjoying all that the region has to offer, we are a logical choice! Our experienced and fun staff will surely give you the best advice where to go (or not to go), where to run (or who to run from), serve you the best a-la-minute breakfast and set you on your way towards the new adventure.