View out to see over the rooftops of Zadar at sunset/sunrise

How to Spend One Day in Zadar, Croatia

Zadar, the northernmost major city on Croatia’s Adriatic coastline, is an underrated gem. With its rich history, charming Old Town, and breathtaking waterfront views, it doesn’t quite make sense that it isn’t nearly as visited as the more popular cities of Split and Dubrovnik. Even if you can only spend one day in Zadar, it makes an excellent stop on a trip to Croatia.

Keep reading to find out exactly how you should spend that day. This one day itinerary covers all the major attractions in the city, as well as considering popular activities depending on the time of year you visit. Whether you’re interested in the city’s history or prefer outdoor adventures, we’ve planned the perfect day in Zadar.

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Morning in Zadar’s Old Town

Start your day bright and early in Zadar’s Old Town. Begin your morning by visiting the main attractions, all of which can easily be reached on foot. The Zadar Old Town is very walkable, although the ground is uneven in certain places, so wear comfortable, sturdy shoes.

Landmarks include the impressive Cathedral of St. Anastasia, which boasts stunning architecture and a rich history. The cathedral itself is free to enter, but it costs 15 kuna (around 2 euros) to climb the Bell Tower. From there, you’ll get stunning views over the city and the Adriatic.

You should enjoy the atmosphere of Zadar by visiting the main square, People’s Square, as well as the smaller Five Wells Square. Also make sure to visit the Roman Forum, a well-preserved archaeological site right in front of the Church of St. Donatus.

A the edge of the Old Town, furthest from the entrance, are two of the city’s most iconic modern attractions: the Sea Organ and the Greeting to the Sun. The Sea organ is an architectural masterpiece built into the waterfront that harnesses the power of the waves to create beautiful melodies.

Just a few feet away, you’ll find the Greeting to the Sun, an awe-inspiring installation that comes to life at sunset. Watch as the circular monument, consisting of three hundred multi-layered glass plates built into the pavement, illuminates the waterfront, creating a mesmerising display.

Walking tours in Zadar

If you’d like a bit more structure to your exploration of Zadar’s Old Town, you can book a walking tour. Experienced local guides will take you to the best spots in the city, providing historical information and inside knowledge. There are options on Viator and Get Your Guide, and you can also book other activities.

Both platforms are also great for booking day trips from Zadar and boat excursions to nearby islands. If you have more than one day in Zadar, you should definitely take the opportunity to explore the surrounding area. You can find out more by reading Top Ten Day Trips from Zadar.


After seeing some of the landmarks in the Old Town, you should head to the bustling Zadar Market (also known as Market Zadar). Here you’ll find an array of fresh produce, local delicacies, and handmade crafts.

As well as shopping for souvenirs, you can buy lunch here if you’re on a budget. Things like fresh fruit, cheese and olives will make a great picnic. Don’t miss the opportunity to taste some of the region’s specialties as well, such as Pag cheese and Maraschino liqueur.

There are also many bakeries in the Old Town, so you can get fresh bread, a variety of sweet and savoury pastries, and things like pizza slices or pasta salad. The Zadar Old Town is also home to a number of renowned ice cream parlours, although you might to wait until later for a sweet treat.

A great option is to join a food tour to learn more about the culinary traditions of Zadar. It will also provide the opportunity to discover hidden gems that only the locals know about. Food tours typically take you to a number of stops, where you can try traditional Croatian dishes and local delicacies. Popular dishes in Zadar include stews, roasted meat and vegetables and fresh seafood.


Assuming you’re visiting Zadar between May and September, then after lunch, make your way to Kolovare, Zadar’s most popular beach. With its crystal-clear waters and stunning views, this mixture of pebble, sand and concrete areas offers the perfect opportunity to relax and soak up the sun. Settle down on a sun lounger or spread out a towel and take a refreshing dip in the Adriatic Sea.

If you opted to buy ingredients for a picnic lunch, the beach is the perfect place to eat. There are also plenty of facilities along the waterfront stretch, including beach bars and places to buy extra snacks.

As well as sunbathing and swimming, you can engage in more adventurous activities on Kolovare Beach. Rent a kayak or paddleboard to see the coastline from a different perspective, or some snorkelling equipment to explore beneath the the surface.

There’s are also options for half day boat trips, which will be better if it’s too cold for the beach. Popular half-day boat trips from Zadar go to the nearby Ošljak, Ugljan, and Galevac islands.

If you prefer to spend the afternoon on dry land when visiting outside of peak season, you could visit some of Zadar’s museums. Archaeological Museum Zadar, the Museum of Ancient Glass, the Zadar National Museum, the Duke’s Palace and the Permanent Exhibition of Religious Art are all worth seeing.

For more ideas on how to spend your afternoon in Zadar, check out our article Top Things To Do in Zadar, Croatia.


After spending the afternoon outdoors (or indoors, depending on the time of year) you’ll surely be hungry. However, you should return to the Greeting of the Sun for sunset, so you get the full effect of the installation. If you’re visiting Zadar during winter, you’ll need to head there earlier as the sun sets as early as 4pm. During summer when the sun sets as late as 9pm, you can probably eat first.

For dinner, you should go to one of Zadar’s waterfront restaurants. With its stunning views and romantic ambiance, dining along the waterfront is an experience not to be missed. Indulge in fresh seafood dishes, such as grilled fish and seafood risotto, or sample traditional Croatian cuisine with a modern twist. Don’t forget to pair your meal with a glass of local wine to complement the flavours of the region.

Is One Day in Zadar Worth It?

Given that the majority of the city’s main attractions are located in the Old Town, one day in Zadar is definitely enough time to get a feel of the city. While more time would be beneficial, one day is enough to see Zadar’s landmarks and spend some time on the beach or in the museums, depending on your interests. As for whether one day in Zadar is worth it- you’ll have to go and see for yourself!

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