View from above of buildings on the coast of Zadar

How to Spend Three Days in Zadar

Zadar, a city located on the northern end of Croatia’s Adriatic Coast, is a brilliant destination for a short break. With a charming Old Town, all the trappings of a modern city, plus access to multiple islands, beaches, and mountains, it offers a diverse range of activities. With three days in Zadar being the ideal amount of time to spend here, keep reading to find out exactly how!

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Best time of year to spend three days in Zadar

The best time of year to spend three days in Zadar is during the warmer months of May to September. This is because one of the best things about Zadar is its outdoor offerings. No one wants to be on the beach or swim in the sea in December!

Peak tourist season in Croatia is from June to August, so things like food, accommodation and activities will be more expensive. If possible, aim to visit Zadar in May or September. This is when the weather is still nice, but prices are slightly lower and you’ll avoid the tourist crowds.

The Roman Forum stones on the grass in front of a large church in Zadar
The Zadar Roman Forum

Day One

For your first day in Zadar, you should explore the Old Town. It’s full of iconic landmarks such as the Zadar Cathedral, the Sea Organ and the Roman Forum. It’s easily walkable, and there are a number of walking tours to choose from. Viator and Get Your Guide offer a number of guided tour options, and you can also use these platforms to book other activities and day trips (which will be relevant later on).

After spending the morning seeing the Old Town, you should check out some museums to learn more about Zadar’s history and culture. The Archaeological Museum, the Ancient Glass Museum and the Zadar National Museum are all good options.

In terms of dining, you have a few options to choose from. There are number of great bars and restaurants offering waterfront views and fresh seafood- both traditional Croatian dishes and Mediterranean inspired cuisine are popular in Zadar. Prices generally aren’t as much as in more touristy cities like Split and Dubrovnik, but can still be expensive. Budget fifteen to twenty euros per head for a meal at a mid-range restaurant.

If you’re on a budget, there are a number of cafes and bakeries around the Old Town. However, a great option is to visit the Zadar Market (also in the Old Town). Here, you can pick up fresh, locally produced goods for excellent prices and have a picnic. Look out for local cheese, olives, fruit and maraschino cherry liqueur. Shopping for picnic ingredients is also important for days two and three in Zadar!

You can find more information on how to spend your first day in Zadar by reading Top Things To Do in Zadar, Croatia and How to Spend One Day in Zadar, Croatia.

Day Two

For your second day in Zadar, you should take a boat trip and explore the coast and the surrounding islands. You’ll likely be tired after a day exploring the city, so relaxing on a boat will be great way to unwind. Nearby boat trip destinations include Dugi Otok and the Telašćica Nature Park, Pag and the Kornati National Park.

Popular activities on boat trips include swimming, snorkelling, kayaking and paddle boarding, and make a number of stops in scenic locations. Your tour provider should provide all necessary water sports equipment, but double check when booking. You’ll probably also get time on the islands themselves, so you go hiking or enjoy the beaches.

Depending on your chosen boat trip, you’ll either be provided with food or just a few light refreshments. In this case, bringing a picnic is best. Dugi Otok and Pag both have good facilities where you can buy food, but it’s best to check with your tour provider to make sure you’ll have time to stop for a meal.

Waterfalls and lakes amidst the greenery of Plitvice Lakes National Park
Plitvice Lakes

Day Three

For your third day in Zadar, you’ll be back on land. After spending day two enjoying the coast and nearby islands, you should be inspired to have another adventure!

Zadar is surrounded by mountains, including the famous Velebit mountain range. It’s home to Paklenica National Park, a favourite amongst rock climbers, as well as Northern Velebit National Park. Both offer excellent hiking trails, with stunning views of the Adriatic and plenty of wildlife. You can also take a kayaking or rafting tour of the Zrmanja River, which originates in the mountains and flows out to sea.

If you’re interested in hiking and wildlife, Plitvice and Krka National Parks are also a favourite amongst visitors to Croatia. They’re located about an equal distance from Zadar, and both offer famous cascading waterfalls, lakes and hiking trails. There are many guided tour options on Viator and Get Your Guide, and both are easily reachable independently. Be warned, though- Plitvice and Krka are the most popular national parks in the country, and get very crowded during summer. Make sure to book tickets and tours in advance to avoid disappointment.

Plitvice Lakes and Krka National Parks both have restaurants and cafes, but they’ll be more expensive than in Zadar. You can bring picnics to both parks and save money for ice cream and souvenirs if you’re on a budget. If you want to spend a day in the Velebit mountains, it’s best to bring your own refreshments.

You can find plenty of useful information on how to spend your third day in Zadar in the following articles:


Three days in Zadar is the perfect amount of time to experience and appreciate everything the city and it’s surroundings have to offer. It really provides visitors with the best of Croatia, from the mountains to the sea, along with all the history and convenience of city.

Hopefully if you’ve gotten this far then you’re convinced, although feel free to scroll back up through the article and read some of the other articles we’ve recommended!

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