This town seems to have been drawn on paper, it’s that beautiful. This is owned mainly to the old architecture and many cultural establishments that define Zadar as Croatia’s cultural center. For sailing enthusiasts the main appeal is the beautiful location of the city on the peninsula and the close vicinity with other yacht charter Croatia hot spots such as Rijeka or Split.
Since the Croatian Adriatic coast is fast becoming the new Riviera of the Mediterranean, then Zadar is definitely one of those destinations you should visit. Located on the northern Dalmatian coast, between Rijeka and Split, Zadar has been the capital of the region for centuries which emphasizes its importance throught the history of the country.
Not only is it an important center, but Zadar is also considered among the most visually pleasing towns on this side of the Adriatic, mainly thanks to its old architecture and its numerous old churches, some from the Romanesque period. Also a bonus for the groups looking to come here is the fact that Zadar is the main cultural center of the whole country. Travel & Arrival
When it comes to arriving in Zadar, the tourist is spoiled for options. Of course, the first option would be flying here, and despite the fact that the city has its own airport, many of people traveling here find it easy to connect with a flight from Zagreb, simply because that airport links with more cities and has a daily evening flight to Zadar. The Zadar airport has more flights in the summer, mainly to Germany and England.
Land travel includes trains, cars and buses, all of which are concentrated in the city center. The railway system connects with Knin, Zagreb and Split, while the bus service is more popular and connects with Zagreb, Rijeka, Pula, Sibenik, Split and Dubrovnik. Both the train and the bus station are located downtown, which will come in handy for the arrivals.
Such a great port couldn’t have been left out of the ferry service, especially in the summer, when visitors arrive daily from all over the Mediterranean. Apart from the links between Dubrovnik and Rijeka, there is also a daily ferry to Ancona in Italy. Avant & Apres Sail
The peninsula on which the city itself is located is very beautiful and has lots of old buildings and narrow cobble streets that seem to blend in perfectly with the natural background. If it weren’t for the cars and other aspects of modern life, you could get the feeling that time stood still here. The first thing that will catch your eye is the relative high number of churches located in the old town, 34, al with a rich history and definitely worth visiting in between your trips.
Among some of the other interesting sites we include the remains of the Roman Forum, the Saint Anastasia Cathedral, the University of Zadar (the first in the country), the Archaeological Museum and the very odd but amazing Sea Organ on the Riva. As you can see, the city welcomes the devotees with a wide assortment of activities and attractions, so that you can be sure you’ll never go bored.
When it comes to shopping, not only the guests travel here, but also some of the other Croatians, due to the city’s popularity as a thriving commercial center. There are lots of shopping centers which offer the best deals, but there are also some nice street shops which sell local crafts such as the handmade laces from Pag, woven textiles from Dubrovnik and the traditional Croatian sheepskin sleepers.
Not only are the restaurants here in Zadar reasonably priced, but they’re also very relaxed, which means you won’t have to get dressed up just to go out for dinner. There are exotic foods and seafoods which are a testament to the Dalmatian cuisine which blends eastern cuisine with the Mediterranean style (garlic and olive oil). For example, one of the most demanded dishes by the hoards of gourmands is the ispod peka, roasted octopus under glowing ash from an iron bell. Zadar is also known as a fine wine region, which is why the local restaurants serve a wide range of local brands.
The nightlife in Zadar is as varied as the colorful crowds that land here. There is something for everyone, no matter how fancy or unpretentious they are. The outdoor cafes in the historic will eat up most of your time, but also some of the very happening night clubs that are full of university students. Events & Actions
It’s hard to think you’ll grow bored in Zadar, but should that ever occur, then just head into town and watch how the locals do it, at one of the many cafes. The paved seafront is very beautiful at sunset, which is hailed as one of the best in Europe, especially with the unique sounds of the Sea Organ. Of course, there’s always swimming and sunbathing on the beautiful beaches and clear waters, or sailing to the Kornati islands.
The event calendar here is absolutely packed full so that a comprehensive list would be impossible to fit in an article. But here are some of the most famous and most appreciated, and not just by regulars: the Zadar Thratrical Summer (from June to August), the Musical Evenings in St. Donatus (July - August), the Full Moon Nights in July which is a celebration of traditional, fisher’s and culinary traditions of the region.
One-Week Sailing Itinerary from Zadar, Croatia: Exploring Kornati Islands and Beyond
Day 1: Zadar to Veli Rat (Dugi Otok)
Begin your yacht charter adventure on Saturday evening from the vibrant port of Zadar. Set sail towards Veli Rat on Dugi Otok, located about 20 nautical miles away. As you cruise along the beautiful Croatian coastline, marvel at the mesmerizing sunset reflecting on the Adriatic Sea. Upon arrival in Veli Rat, find a comfortable spot in the marina or anchor in the nearby bay, and enjoy a delightful dinner at a local seaside restaurant.
Day 2: Veli Rat to Sali (Dugi Otok)
Wave goodbye to Veli Rat and head towards Sali, situated approximately 20 nautical miles away. En route, drop anchor at the enchanting Sakarun Beach for a refreshing swim in its crystal-clear waters and bask in the sun on its pristine white sands. Continue to Sali, moor your yacht charter in the picturesque harbor, and explore the town's charming streets, mingling with friendly locals.
Day 3: Sali to Žut Island (Kornati Islands)
Set sail from Sali and embark on a 20-nautical-mile journey to the serene Žut Island, part of the captivating Kornati archipelago. Along the way, make a pit stop at the idyllic Telascica Bay, situated on Dugi Otok, for a swim among the vibrant marine life and a leisurely lunch in a quaint waterfront tavern. Upon arrival at Žut, find a peaceful anchorage in one of its many secluded bays, and unwind in the pristine surroundings.
Day 4: Žut Island to Kornat Island
Leave Žut behind and navigate towards Kornat Island, the largest island in the Kornati archipelago, about 15 nautical miles away. En route, stop at the charming island of Levrnaka for a swim in its turquoise waters and some sunbathing on its secluded beach. Once you reach Kornat Island, secure your yacht charter in the pristine Vrulje Bay, and explore the island's rugged landscapes and hidden coves.
Day 5: Kornat Island to Šipnate Bay (Pašman Island)
Depart from Kornat Island and set sail for the inviting Šipnate Bay on Pašman Island, located approximately 25 nautical miles away. Along the way, take a break at the picturesque Zut Marina, where you can enjoy a leisurely lunch and soak in the beautiful surroundings. Continue to Šipnate Bay, find a perfect anchorage spot, and immerse yourself in the bay's crystal-clear waters and stunning vistas.
Day 6: Šipnate Bay to Ugljan Island
Leave Šipnate Bay behind and sail towards the charming Ugljan Island, situated about 15 nautical miles away. On the way, drop anchor at the quaint Kali Village, where you can take a leisurely stroll, admire the traditional architecture, and taste delicious local cuisine. Upon arrival at Ugljan Island, secure your yacht charter in the cozy Preko Marina, and explore the island's scenic beauty and vibrant atmosphere.
Day 7: Ugljan Island to Zadar
On the final day of your yacht charter adventure, set sail from Ugljan Island and make your way back to Zadar, a journey of approximately 10 nautical miles. Before returning to your starting point, take the time to explore the serene Ošljak Island, where you can enjoy a last swim or sunbathing session in the idyllic surroundings of one of its picturesque bays.
Arrive back in Zadar on Friday evening, ready to return your yacht charter to the base. As you disembark, bid farewell to your yacht and crew, taking with you unforgettable memories of your Kornati Islands sailing adventure.
|Day||From||To||Distance (Nautical Miles)|
|1||Zadar||Veli Rat (Dugi Otok)||20|
|2||Veli Rat||Sali (Dugi Otok)||20|
|3||Sali||Žut Island (Kornati Islands)||20|
|4||Žut Island||Kornat Island||15|
|5||Kornat Island||Šipnate Bay (Pašman Island)||25|
|6||Šipnate Bay||Ugljan Island||15|
What are the top sailing destinations around Zadar?
Sailing from here offers a plethora of options. You can venture towards the stunning Kornati National Park, which comprises over 140 islands. The beautiful Dalmatian islands of Ugljan, Pašman, Dugi Otok, and Silba are all within reach. Don't forget to explore the breathtaking Telascica Nature Park on Dugi Otok.
What are some must-visit anchor bays around Zadar?
You'll find numerous bays for safe anchoring. Saharun Bay on Dugi Otok is famous for its turquoise waters, while the bays at Kornati National Park and Telascica Nature Park offer protected moorings amidst stunning landscapes. Closer to Zadar, Jazine Bay provides shelter in the heart of the city.
Can you recommend any marinas nearby?
Marina Zadar, located in the city, offers excellent facilities. Other marinas within sailing distance include Marina Dalmacija in Sukosan, Marina Borik in the western part of Zadar, and Marina Preko on Ugljan Island.
What can I explore while on a sailing cruise?
Zadar is a city rich in history, with Roman ruins and medieval churches to discover. Don't miss the unique Sea Organ and the Sun Salutation, two architectural marvels that create music and light displays. Zadar also offers excellent dining and nightlife. Within a day's sail, you can visit beautiful beaches and charming villages on nearby islands.
What water activities can I engage with as a sailor?
The waters around Zadar offer excellent opportunities for snorkelling and diving, with plenty of underwater caves and shipwrecks to explore. Sailing, windsurfing, and sea kayaking are popular activities. Fishing is also enjoyable, either on your own or as part of an organized excursion.
What are some of the gastronomic specialties that I can try during my sailing vacation?
Zadar's cuisine reflects its coastal location, with plenty of fresh seafood like grilled fish, shellfish, and black risotto with cuttlefish. Try the Dalmatian ham, Pag cheese, and Maraschino, a traditional liqueur made from local cherries. For dessert, you can't go wrong with a fritule, a kind of mini doughnut.
Are there any local events or festivals that coincide with the sailing season?
In summer, Zadar hosts numerous festivals and events. The Full Moon Festival in July transforms the waterfront into a big party, while the Zadar Summer Theatre Festival showcases local and international performances. There's also the Musical Evenings in St. Donatus church, offering classical music concerts.
What local traditions should I be aware of?
In Zadar, as in the rest of Croatia, politeness is appreciated. A simple greeting in Croatian ('Dobar dan') goes a long way. It's customary to bring a small gift if invited to someone's home. When visiting religious sites, dress modestly. Always respect local rules, especially in protected nature areas.