Croatia’s Zadar: An Old Town Walking Tour

Photo by Lukes_photos

The intersection of innovation and ancient history

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Zadar blends ancient history and culture with innovation, creating a dynamic, vibrant town while staying true to its time-honored roots. No wonder it was voted Best European Destination for 2016.

In the easily-accessible Old Town that juts out into the Adriatic, visit Roman ruins and museums during the day. At night cocktail-hop to sample Zadar’s thriving bar and restaurant scene, surrounded on three sides by the stunning turquoise waters.

Before starting, pick up a city map from your place of accommodation or the Zadar Tourist Office at Mihovila Klaica 1 on People’s Square.

Croatia’s Zadar: The starting point

Starting at Land Gate at little Fosa Harbour, head through the gate and make your way right into Five Wells Square (taking its name from the five wells that supplied the city with water until 1838) and take another right at Smiljanica. Duck into Saint Simeon’s Church to view the golden masterpiece of St Simeon’s sarcophagus. The medieval coffin is covered inside and out with gold-plated silver reliefs.

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From St. Simeon’s it’s up the ramp to the Museum of Ancient Glass. Walk back the way you came or along the ancient city walls and down the stairs 500m further along the peninsular. When you get to end of the walls, take a break at Garden; a bar with views of Jazine Harbour, complete with day beds and good cocktails (you need a break).

From here, it’s down Petranovica. Take a left onto Bjankinija and find the center of the Old Town quarters and St Anastasia’s Cathedral and bell tower, St Donatus Church and the Roman Forum.

Lunch on your Old Town walking tour

Enjoy a fresh supply of fish and Mediterranean influences. Recommended places include Fosa (Kralja Dmitra Zvonimira 2), Pet Bunara (Stratico) and Kornat (Liburska Obala 6).

For liquid fortification head to La Bodega (Siroka 3) or Ledana (Perivoj kraljice Jelene Madijevke), and try Zadar’s famous sour cherry brandy Maraschino.

After lunch, peek into the Archaeological Museum or Museum of Religious Art, both in the main square across from the Roman Forum. If you want to skip the museums for something more active, head back through Land Gate for some of Zadar’s best swimming spots.

On route to the famous Sea Organ on the Riva (waterfront promenade), stop in at the Franciscan Monastery. Next door to the organ is that other famous innovation, the Sun Salutation.

A sunset to die for!

Whatever you choose to do in Zadar, you must watch a sunset and the Sea Organ and Sun Salutation are the perfect places from which to do it.

Ponder on the words of Alfred Hitchcock who came to the city in 1964 and remarked; “Zadar has the most beautiful sunset in the world, more beautiful than the one in Key West, in Florida, applauded at every evening.”


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