Have One Day in Zadar? How to Get the Most of it?

Airview of Zadar (Photo from visit-croatia.hr)
Airview of Zadar (Photo from visit-croatia.hr)

You’ve anchored your boat in the Marina Zadar.

Want to know where to travel from here?

Zadar is a city known for, amongst other treasures, its alluring coast, rich history, and unique architecture.

What to do in Zadar for a day (or more)?

One day in Zadar might not be enough to see everything, but it does give you a glimpse into Dalmatian culture and lifestyle.

Try our unique local delicacies.

Drink a chilled glass of locally produced wine or craft beer brewed in the city.

Use this opportunity to visit sights that only exist here in Zadar, Croatia.

Where to Eat in Zadar?

People in Croatia are quite the foodies. You’ll find many restaurants sprinkled across the city — most of them within the historic centre (Old Town peninsula).

One of the restaurants in the historic center of Zadar (Photo from inyourpocket.com)
One of the restaurants in the historic center of Zadar (Photo from inyourpocket.com)

A couple of restaurants that’ll keep you well-fed and happy are:

  • Marko Polo — as one of the oldest restaurants in Zadar, this rustic and homey spot offers the best of traditional Dalmatian cuisine (grilled fish, shrimp, and more)
  • Mamma Mia — from pizza to seafood, the restaurant offers versatile light Mediterranean meal options perfect for summer
  • Rafaelo — best value when you have many mouths to feed (speciality: barbeque)
  • Foša — you’ll find this Michelin-star restaurant right by the sea, reserve your seat and eat authentic local cuisine in the heart of Zadar
  • Kaštel — also a Michelin-star restaurant in Zadar, serves the best of Mediterranean cuisine and culture elegantly placed on your plate
  • Hedonist — placed in the historical peninsula, the restaurant offers upscale fast food and versatile options for vegans, vegetarians, and meat eaters (burgers, pasta, fish, salads, fries..)
  • Botanist — the first and only fully vegan and plant-based restaurant in Zadar where you can eat gourmet vegan cuisine that won’t leave you hungry
  • Papica — popular fast food option if you’re up for burgers, fries, sandwiches or tortillas
  • Harbor — waterfront restaurant serving seasonal local cuisine
Traditional Dalmatian cuisine being prepared on board
Traditional Dalmatian cuisine being prepared on board

Has that left you hungry for more? Croatia is known for its desserts. Don’t miss them while in Zadar.

Satisfying Your Sweet Tooth in Zadar

The restaurants mentioned above have dessert options. However, if you’re craving something sweet while in Zadar, try these places:

  • Donat (not the church) is Zadar's top ice cream place.
  • Danica is a restaurant placed on the main street in the historical centre where you can get ice cream, coffee, cakes, people watch, and more
  • Slatka tajna is a Croatian pancake house you’ll only find in Zadar
  • Art Cafee is a cosy cake shop where you can eat a piece of freshly baked cake (or two) and pair it with a great cup of coffee
Ice cream in Zadar (Photo from intagram@croatiafulloflife)
Ice cream in Zadar (Photo from intagram@croatiafulloflife)

Bonus treat: If you come by during Christmas time, don’t miss out on fritule, a traditional Dalmatian dessert that resembles circular, mini doughnuts.

What to Drink in Zadar?

Zadar is known for:

  • Local wine grown along the Dalmatian coast
  • Rakija — the liqueur so strong there's a persistent myth that it cures everything
  • Beer — beer and ale born and brewed in Zadar as well as in different parts of the country can be found on the menu of any coffee bar in Zadar
  • Maraschino — sweet cherry-based liqueur originating in Zadar
  • Coffee — which is more than a drink in Zadar, it’s a lifestyle

Start a relaxing and slow day in Zadar with a great cup of coffee or begin an unforgettable story with rakija.

Socializing with local food and wine (Photo from zadar.hr)
Socializing with local food and wine (Photo from zadar.hr)

Cody McClain Brown sums up Dalmatia best:

“There is the endless coffee drinking, there are dangers of mysterious drafts that lurk behind every open window, there are mothers-in-law, ubiquitous pillars of society and the absolute importance of wearing slippers, but there is also the meaning of friendship and life being lived in a slower, more connected way.”

What to See in Zadar?

Unique sights you’ll see on the Old Town peninsula in Zadar are:

  • St. Donatus Church
  • Forum Roman ruins
  • Sea organ
  • Greeting to the Sun (AKA Sun Salutation)

A swift walking tour will take you to most of these sights that are clustered in the historical centre of Zadar. You can check them all off from your list in less than an hour. For example, the Sea organ is right below the Greeting to the Sun on the Zadar Promenade.

Zadar old town center (Photo from placesofjuma.com)
Zadar old town center (Photo from placesofjuma.com)
What to Do in Zadar?

After sightseeing around Zadar, try some of these fun activities:

  • Visit a Zadar museum — Museum of glass, Archaeological Museum Zadar, Museum of Ancient Glass, Duke’s Palace, National Museum
  • Discover festivals — if you’re here in summer, you’ll have an opportunity to participate in wine, craft beer, music, or street food festivals (Yes, most of them are about food.)
  • Find your way out of the Escape room — Croatian history-themed mysteries await you
  • Participate in the nightlife — dance the night away in one of the clubs and bars in Zadar

If you’re looking for Zadar budget travel tips:

  • Go to the beach — try the Riva (stretching on the Old Town promenade), Kolovare Beach (near the Old Town peninsula) and Borik Beach
  • Watch a sunset in Zadar — Alfred Hitchcock once said ” Zadar has the most beautiful sunset in the world, more beautiful than the one in Key West in Florida, applauded every evening. ” Zadar will always have that.
People enjoying Zadar's beautiful sunset
People enjoying Zadar's beautiful sunset

Want to explore the Dalmatian coast even further?

Day Trips From Zadar via our Inflatable Rubber Boat

Rent an inflatable rubber boat from Bruneko for the day to discover more picturesque hidden gems, starting from Marina Zadar, Croatia.

Don’t have a skipper’s licence?

No problem. We can provide you with a skipper.

Uncover secluded beaches, national parks or relax on one of the 300 islands scattered in the Zadar archipelago.

Exploring with Bruneko's rubber boat Hydrotherapy
Exploring with Bruneko's rubber boat "Hydrotherapy"
Start Your Perfect Day in Zadar

This guide has all the insider tips on the top things to do while you visit Zadar.

Now you know how to have a good time and how to spend a perfect day (or two) here just like a local would.

From the best places to get food and desserts to what to drink while you’re here, this is the ultimate itinerary list of the top things to see, and experience in Zadar.

A single day here can be an experience of a lifetime.

Dive into Dalmatian culture through the local cuisine, sights and museums.

When you’re out of things to do in Zadar, rent a rubber boat for the day and take it for a spin to discover even more spellbinding gems hiding on the Croatian coast.