After two nights in glitzy Hvar and a heavenly day in the Pakleni islands, it was time to head further north to explore more of Croatia’s stunning coastline. Zadar was the next stop, to be used as a base for exploring the spectacular Kornati national park.

Located on the northern Dalmatian coast, Zadar is an ancient Roman stronghold that has not yet been overrun by tourists like some of Croatia’s other coastal destinations, such as Dubrovnik. With a rich architectural legacy, visiting Zadar is like peeling back the layers of time. Shining white stone paves the straight, narrow streets of the old town, initially laid by the Romans. And with one of the most impressive sunsets in the world, as asserted by Alfred Hitchcock n 1964, what’s not to like?

The sunset of Zadar is the world’s most beautiful and incomparably better than in Key West, Florida.

What not to miss on your visit:

Sea Organ

An incredible combination of art, music and science, relaxing on the steps of the Sea Organ (the world’s first musical pipe organ played by the sea) shouldn’t be missed. This seventy-metre-long natural musical instrument is built on the water’s edge and the power of the waves and wind create a wonderfully calming melody in the organ’s pipes. It’s a lovely way to end the day.

Sun Salutation

The Sun Salutation, located directly next to the Sea Organ and created by the same architect is a delightful installation that harnesses the sun’s energy as well as the rhythm of the waves to produce a spectacular light show every evening, lasting from sunset to sunrise. Croatia’s sunny climate ensures that the solar power gathered here each day is also enough to power the entire harbour-front lighting system.

City Walls

Strolling the length of Zadar’s old city walls provides an excellent insight into the city’s rich history. With sections of the wall dating from ancient, medieval as well as renaissance periods, you really do get a sense of the historical importance of this city.

Church of St. Donat

The spherical-construction of the Church of St. Donat makes it an unmissable site on any visit to Zadar. Built in the 9th century, the church was constructed on the grounds of the old Roman forum, the remains of which can still be seen at this location.

Cathedral of St. Anastasia

As the largest church in the Dalmatian region, a visit to this 12th century cathedral is non-negotiable. Although badly bombed in WWII, it has been reconstructed and is as impressive as ever. Don’t miss a trip up to the top of the bell tower for stunning views over Zadar.

What other recommendations do you have for beautiful Zadar?