This week, after far too many days, weeks and months spent NOT exploring, we’re off on an adventure! For the next few days, we’ll be basking in the sun, exploring the land and staring out at the sea in Croatia.
Our first stop is Zadar, a city located on the northern Dalmatian coast. Although the city covers just 25 sq. km, it is home to nearly 76,000, making it the fifth largest city in Croatia. It’s also the oldest continuously inhabited city in Croatia, dating back to the late-Stone Age, and just last year it was voted European Best Destination.
Let’s take a look at what’s in store for our time in Zadar.
Top Ten Things I’m Excited to See, Do and Eat:
✔️The Sea Organ is a man-made organ which sits right at the edge of the Adriatic. It uses the motion of the waves and a system of 35 pipes to create a musical soundscape. Accompanied by a light display, this ethereal attraction will definitely be one of the first spots we visit in town.
Greeting to the Sun
✔️Just a few steps away from the Sea Organ is the Greeting to the Sun (or Monument to the Sun), a monument of a 22-meter diameter circle which is comprised of 300 multi-layered glass plates, representing the sun. Throughout the day, the photo-voltage solar modules, which are installed underneath the glass, absorb the sun’s energy. As the sun sets, the monument comes alive, producing a light show that certainly can’t be missed.
✔️Paseo Maritimo is a paved walkway that stretched along the waterfront around the city. What better way to take in Zadar and the beautiful Adriatic than by taking a stroll (or bike ride) along the Paseo?!
Plitvice Lakes National Park
✔️Considered to be one of the most beautiful natural sights in Europe, Plitvice Lakes National Parks is a system of 16 interlinking and cascading lakes.
Although it’s located two hours north of Zadar, I’ve added it to my bucket list because we’ll be taking a day trip up to experience the turquoise lakes and waterfalls, wander the forest on the wooden walkways, and hopefully, see an animal or two.
Eat Pag Cheese
✔️Pag cheese is a local speciality, originating on the island of Pag just off the coast of Zadar. It’s a hard cheese made from of sheep’s milk, and it’s said to be one of the most famous artisan cheeses in Croatia. This cheese lover certainly isn’t going to miss an opportunity to give this salty, aromatic beauty a taste.
✔️The Roman Forum in Zadar is said to be one of the best preserved Roman Forums in existence. It’s a popular destination for Zadarians (I have no clue if this is what they’re called, but I like it!) to sit, take a stroll and enjoy the ruins on nice summer days. And, if it’s good enough for the Zadarians, it’s definitely good enough for me!
✔️I feel like this is a given whenever I travel to a seaside destination, but I plan on eating as much fresh fish, shellfish and the likes until I just can’t take it anymore and need to snack on a pizza — which is also said to be amazing in Zadar.
Explore Old Town
✔️The atmospheric old town of Zadar is located on a small peninsula, easily navigated on food. It is rich with history and tradition, reminding you around each turn that Zadar is one of the oldest inhabited towns in Croatia, and I plan on exploring as much of it as I can.
City Walls and Gates
✔️Zadar was once the largest city-fortress in the entire Republic of Venice, and many of the former fortifications are still standing. Today, they are used as parks and allow visitors and tourists to walk throughout them.
Although I have a well-documented fear of heights, I’d love to put that aside and take a stroll along the walls and see the impressive gates that are dotted throughout the city.
Sample Croatian wine
✔️Because no Croatian vacation would be complete without sipping on a local wine (or two)!
Have I missed anything? What would you recommend I add to my list?
Check out the guide that helped me plan our trip to Croatia
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Updated: June 11, 2017.