Stopping in Zadar on the way home was an obvious choice – mostly because our ferry from Dugi otok island brought us to Zadar port anyway and also because it´s been ages since I was there. The city was honoured with a great title this year – Europe´s best destination 2016. Another reason we were not about to miss it ;).
We had no exact plan of what we wanted to see, so we basically just wandered around the old town and stumbled on some amazing things along the way. First things first – getting into the city centre. It´s pretty easy and there are signs everywhere. The only tricky part was finding a parking space – there were many but they were all full. Once we finally found one we COULD ONLY PAY WITH COINS! That was a mean surprise as I´m sure nobody carries so many Kuna coins around. There were many surprised tourists standing in the line behind us. We threw in all we had and that gave us almost 4 hours. Off we were, direction old town!
Soon we found ourselves standing in front of this beautiful church – CATHEDRAL OF ST. ANASTASIA, which is the LARGEST CHURCH in all of Dalmatia! A part of it was built as early as 4th century, looked pretty impressive :).
Zadar is an important HISTORICAL CENTRE, well known for being the OLDEST CONTINUOUSLY INHABITET CITY IN CROATIA and famous for its Roman ruins which we admired just a little further down the street. Really amazing how we could just walk around them, without them being protected by glass or at least a fence ;).
Things just got better and better! The ROMAN FORUM RUINS were amazing! The whole site is really big and again – one can just walk around freely. The round church of St. Donatus is the largest pre-romanesque building in the country.
We did take the time and walk up the many stairs to reach the TOP OF THE TOWER – the views were spectacular. The newer parts of the city at the back, the old town´s red roofs under us and the sea on the other side – oh yes and the ruins of course. A must do once you are there!
There is also a nice ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM on site (we just took a quick look inside as we did not have so much time – remember the parking coins ;)).
This might just look like a normal city beach promenade at first sight, but its just so much more. The famous “SEA ORGAN” is an UNIQUE ARCHITECTURAL OBJECT which is a MUSICAL INSTRUMENT at the same time. Sounds confusing? It goes like this: there are tubes made on purpose underneath the marble stairs and as the waves push the water into those tubes there is music coming out of the little holes you see on the picture. It has something really nice to it and the sound was unlike anything I´ve ever heard. You can also swim here, or just relax and enjoy the sun on the stairs.
Unfortunately we could not stay until the evening when it gets dark – must be really nice to enjoy the LIGHT SHOW on the floor, just next to the Sea Organ. So if you are there for more days this is the place to go to for the sunset!
The sun was really strong and we were getting hungry – the choice in the old town is big and we had a nice SEAFOOD LUNCH in a lush courtyard, hidden from the busy streets. Then it was slowly time to get back to the car.
All in all – A GREAT STOP FOR A DAY and even better if you sleep over to enjoy it´s night vibes. Also pretty convenient to reach from the main highway if you are headed south and you want to make a stop along the way. I´m sure we´ll be back ;).