Zadar, Croatia

Wednesday, January 18, 2017


Zadar is another beautiful ancient city on the Dalmatian Coast, about two hours north of Split. We love traveling in Dalmatia as a family during Winter and Spring. Many restaurants and hotels are closed and towns and cities are quiet, except for the normal everyday life of the people who call it home. And that's exactly what we love getting to experience, without any of the crazy crowds. It's also much warmer than Zagreb in the wintertime and such a treat!

If you love history (and coffee!) come to Zadar. It's like walking through a living museum. Here are the 10 things we enjoyed the most about it:


1. Walk and explore the small old city. It's pedestrian-only and doesn't take long. You will find beautiful churches, cafes everywhere and history dating back to the 4th century BC. On Saturday mornings, everyone is out slowly walking the main cobblestone street and leisurely sipping coffee in a cafe.



2. Visit the Zadar Cathedral, originally built in the 4th and 5th centuries and later finished in the 12th and 13th. There are multiple services on Sunday morning and each one seemed to be packed. The bells also played and played for what sounded like the entire morning - it was beautiful!


3. Walk along the harbor at sunset. Alfred Hitchcock famously said that the most beautiful sunsets in the world are in Zadar!


4. End your sunset walk at the Sea Organ. Sit and listen as the waves go in and out over the underground pipes, creating lovely and unique music. Our kids also loved running on the Solar Panel Light Show once it got dark.


5. The Zadar Market! It was only about a quarter full since this is wintertime, but we still took home dried figs, lemons, aged cheese from Pag Island, fresh parsley and crunchy pears. Gracie was so thrilled to be there! Ha!


6. Roman Forum. It's the largest on this side of the Adriatic, built between the 1st and 3rd centuries by Emperor Augustus. It's still very much at the center of the old city. The best part about it is there's no entrance, no part of the ruins that are off-limits, it's just a normal extension of the town with an outdoor cafe and little kids running through it.


7. Explore the many churches, narrow streets and ancient city walls with the mark of the lion.  One of John Shea's favorite things to do in any part of Croatia is go into churches, especially the Cathedral, and immediately sit down in a pew to take it all in for a few minutes. It is so very precious.

8. Eat at Restaurant Kaštel. Every meal we had here was amazing! Our favorites were the homemade pastas with fresh seafood, stuffed chicken, lamb from nearby Pag Island and the incredible wines made within a twenty minute radius.

9. We stayed at Hotel Bastion (out of season) and couldn't recommend it more! It's one of two hotels actually in the old city and made it so easy for us to explore by foot multiple times a day. My husband planned this trip and could not have picked a better spot.


10. Pick an outdoor cafe, in the Roman Forum, outside the Cathedral (this is where we chose!) or anywhere in the city and enjoy a cup of coffee with the rest of the town, as many times as you can during the day. Just relax and take your time. This is the number one thing to do in Zadar! :)


16 comments:

  1. i am seriously in awe of this kind of history!!! i mean, the cathedral... that old and still in use! that is incredible. walking through history is definitely something i crave... i love when you share these experiences!!! and such amazing photos your babers will look back on one day!

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    1. Me too, I'm going to miss it so much when it's time to move!! And not to mention all the glorious church bells!

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  2. I had never really thought much about Croatia before, but since following along your move there, it has moved to the top of our travel list! My kids are about the same ages as yours- do you think a week or 10 day trip with little ones would be worth it? Or too much?

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    1. Hi Julia! I think that would be a perfect amount of time... our kids had a hard time adjusting to the time change when we flew here from the States so anything less than that amount of time would make it tough, I think! The one good advice I have is to pick one or two places and stick with those on your trip so you're not spending too much time traveling after traveling so far :) That always helps us!

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  3. Great pics as always my dear. Love especially seeing your growing bump!!
    xoxoxoxxo -- lanneybear

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  4. Your pictures are so beautiful, as always!

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  5. So that is where the sea organ is! I've been wanting to see that! You make me drool with envy with these travels!!

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    1. Yes and it was awesome!! I told Cam that before going to Zadar I thought a sea organ would be overrated, but it was actually really fun to sit and listen to!

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  6. Oh you are a vision my friend! Thanks for sharing pics of Croatia. Gabe's favorite place:) Hope to visit one day. And my, your kids. They couldn't be cuter.

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    1. Thank you my friend. I didn't know it was Gabe's favorite! I hope you get to come one day, too. We love this country. It's going to be hard to leave when it's time.

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  7. Your kids and their backpacks! ❤️

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    1. Ha! They love them and take them on every trip!!

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    2. I was just going to say the same! They look so adorable with them on! What an amazing childhood they're having :-)

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    3. Thank you so much, Nancy!!!

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