Croatia’s Capital of Cool, Zadar is a dazzling mesh of influences and creativity. Romans founded the city before the Venetians, Austrians, French and Italians all had their say, leaving a wealth of architectural interest. Glorious turquoise-water beaches and heavenly waterfalls also lie within easy reach of this energetic city of festivals and outdoor fun.
See the old town, with its robust city walls, boasting decorative stone gateways and marble streets. The church of St Donatus, was built from stones pillaged from the Roman forum, while Zadar Cathedral - Dalmatia's biggest - stands among the many architectural treats of this city, which was once an impenetrable stronghold of Venice’s republic. Head for the ‘pillar of shame’ with its chains to humiliate the criminals of a bygone time - or succumb to the tempting treats of shopping in the market. The sparkling Adriatic’s waters calls you, and Kolovare Beach is a mere ten-minute stroll from the old town. A day trip to Kornat National Park - which incorporates the Zadar Archipelago's immaculate scattering of beach-fringed islands - or to the divine waterfalls of Plitvice Lakes National Park, will introduce you to more of Croatia’s thrilling natural beauty.
The sea truly does sing here in Zadar, thanks to a unique waterfront artwork, which encapsulates the city’s playful spirit. Designed to make music when the waves wash over it, the ebb and flow of the Adriatic, plays the Sea Organ instrument like a maestro. Not far away, the Monument to the Sun is a 22-metre-wide disc, which gathers the sun’s rays during the sunny days, and releases the solar energy in the form of a magical light show after dark. Sit and admire the artwork coming to life, as one of the city’s famous sunsets plays out before you.