Skip the crowds of Dubrovnik and visit Zadar in Northern Croatia. While Dubrovnik has become overrun with cruise ships and tourists, Zadar retains Adriatic waterfront charm without the crazy crowds.
Named the European best destination for 2016, Zadar is much more soulful than Dubrovnik. Wandering the small side streets you can find historically Mediterranean charm throughout without navigating through cruise ship tour groups which is at once relaxing and welcoming. The calming waters surrounding old town Zadar are nice as well.
Be sure to visit the monument of the sun in the evening. This installation is a solar powered disc at the north end of the old town waterfront that is interactive to movement on its surface. The lights respond to your movements in colored patterns.
Right next to the monument to the sun, is the Sea Organ. The art installation has underwater pipes that sound like an organ being played when the waves fill with water and expel the water back out. As in most water areas in old town Zadar, the sea organ also serves as an entry jump off into the Adriatic Sea for only the most adventurous of swimmers. They have to take care as the rocks can be slippery and the sea slapping the rock wall rough.
The same Adriatic Sea offers a bounty of excellent seafood at various restaurants.
Drinks with a view awaits at the Garden Lounge. White chairs and daybeds look over harbour views of the boats. At night it gets quite busy and parties can last into the early morning.
A second lounge area is Ladena up in the green gardens. Music goes nonstop until late into the morning.
If you check the town’s information desk they can give you a schedule of various music and festivals which are listed to play in Zadar throughout the year, most especially during the summertime. While visiting this week the 7th annual Zadar folklife festival had performances on a stage just outside of the Airbnb. The beautiful colored costumes and traditional music was enchanting.
Zadar county’s inland green attractions include the beautiful Plitvice Lake Park for dramatic hiking and nature views. A plethora of waterfalls are available to view depending on which hiking path you undertake.
The shortest route was still almost a two hour hike so make sure you plan the time accordingly. Make note if you have any physical challenges,this hiking will not be for you. There is no wheel chair access and the ground is quite uneven. The only transportation in and out of the park is by your own two feet!
As you can see, even on a shady day, the colors of the water and waterfalls are quite stunning.
Zadar has a lot to offer. Throughout the county you can choose from culture, sea, beaches and nature. Do consider traveling to this wonderful travel destination soon.