You’ll find Zadar port in the beautiful Meditteranean country of Croatia; a country we are aching to visit According to Wikipedia, Zadar is the oldest inhabited Croatian city which explains its vast amount of culture and history on offer. Zadar is located in Dalmatia which is the coastal region of Croatia. With it welcoming an average of over 450,000 tourists a year it is clearly a popular place for holidaymakers. All you need to do is google it and you can see why! Stunning coastal towns, beautiful beaches and plenty of roman history – there’s something for everyone!
The cruise port for Zadar has close proximity to the airport and the country uses the Croatian Kuna as its currency – worth bearing in mind if you are used to cruising to countries using the Euro. Previously, before the newer Gazenica port was built, most ships had to dock on the smaller peninsula. The new Gazenica port is 5km southeast of the town making it easy and relatively quick to reach where you want to be. Transfers between the port and the historic centre take around 15 minutes, with shuttles costing about €15 for a return trip. It is best to take a shuttle or a pricer taxi as its quite a walk from the port to the city and you don’t want to waste too much time getting there when you only have limited time to explore! Once you are in the old town of Zadar you can happily explore the town on foot.
Exploring the Old Town
If you chose to stay local to Zadar and explore the Old Town then there’s plenty to keep you occupied. The town has a weekly market which is the perfect opportunity to mingle with locals and see what Croatian delights are on offer. The town also has a lovely promenade to explore and plenty of places to stop and grab a drink and a bite to eat al fresco.
If museum and history are your thing then there’s plenty of museums on offer in Zadar. The National Museum of Zadar is a great place to head to for an insight into Croatian life, it’s natural history and collections of fine art. There are various parts to the museum and frequently changing exhibitions. Ticket prices vary depending on which parts of the museum you want to visit so we recommend researching ahead of time and planning your visit.
If travelling with children or those with inquisitive minds then be sure to check out the Museum of Illusions. This quirky museum is full of optical illusions and displays to trick your mind! From looking at their website it seems there is ample opportunity to get some cool Instagram shots here too if that’s your thing! The museum is open every day and costs 70kn (£8.20) for adults and 50kn (£5.80) for children, which seems a pretty reasonable price for something a bit different.
For those interested in glasswork then the Museum of Ancient Glass is likely to be a place of interest. The museum is located in the 19th century Cosmacendi Palace and has amazing views over the Jazine Harbour. The museum is home to rare glass collections dating back to the Roman era. Admission costs 30kn (£3.50).
The Cathedral of Sant’Anastasia (Zadar Cathedral) can also be found in the old town and dates back to 1177. It has been submitted to the UNESCO Tentative List of World Heritage Sites and looks simply stunning. It’s also the largest church in all of Dalmatia and has a very tall bell tower offering views across the beautiful town below.
Something super unique to see in Zadar is the famous Sea Organ. Located on the peninsula’s north tip these pretty marble steps lead down to the waterfront and create a wonderful sound. The reason behind the sounds is a set of 35 musical tubes that the sea pushes against causing whooshing whistling sounds to create random musical melodies. Pretty unique I would say!
Excursions and Heading Further Afield
If you fancy taking a cruise excursion or heading on an adventure further afield that Zadar’s oldtown then there is plenty of choices. As well as offering tours around the main sights of Zadar many cruises will offer excursions to the Krka National Park, Paklenica National Park and trips to the towns of Sibenik and Trogir.
Krka National Park is one of Croatia’s natural beauties – an amazing park named after the Krka River and consisting of incredible waterfalls and loads of leafy green vegetation. The park includes the magnificent looking Skradinski Buk falls and is super photogenic. The park is roughly a 45-minute journey from the port by coach transfer and excursions cost around £55 from a cruise line or £48 from tour companies such as Get Your Guide.
The equally beautiful Paklenica National Park is also offered as an excursion offered by most cruise lines visiting Zadar. The park is about 45-minutes from the port and visitors will be greeted with ravines, canyons and mountains when they arrive. The park is suitable and well know for hiking and some cruise tours will include a guided hike as part of the excursion. MSC Cruises offers an excursion to the park with a guided hike for £73 per person which includes transfers and packed lunch.
The towns of Sibenik and Trogir offer a stunning insight into some wonderful cultural and historic Croatian gems. Trogir is actually a UNESCO World Heritage Site and so is well worth the visit! Tours to visit these unique towns start at about £50 from most of the big cruise lines.
If walking tours are your thing then you can book one through Get Your Guide for £12 per person. This 90-minute tour around the old town of Zadar includes a sample of Maraschino liqueur and a taste of Pag cheese – yum! Local walking tours are often a great way to see the main sights, learn from an enthusiastic local and stretch your legs to burn off those cruise buffet calories!
We love the sound of cruising to Zadar and have wanted to visit Croatia for a few years now! I think if we were to dock here we would choose to visit the Krka National Park – it just looks amazing!
Have you ever visited Zadar? If so, let us know what you got up to in the comments section below!