Cruise Port Atlas | Zadar, Croatia Day Trips | Attractions

Zadar, Croatia Day Trips | Attractions

With limited time in port, planning is the best way to make the most of your time. Should you strike out on your own? Should you hire a local guide? Or should you book a shore excursion offered by the cruise line or an international tour company? Below we have listed the attractions and activities that many other cruisers have enjoyed. This information should help you plan.

The advantage to cruise line tours is that they are timed for your visit and give you flexibility to change your mind after your trip begins. The advantage of using a large international firm is that tours are often less expensive than cruise sponsored tours. The advantage to using a local tour company or guide is that prices can be significantly lower or you may be able to get a customized trip just to see the attractions that interest you most.

Cruise lines that visit Zadar: Voyages to Antiquity, Azamara Club Cruises, Oceania, Paul Gauguin, Regent Seven Seas, Silversea, Celebrity, Cunard, Norwegian

Key Attractions: Zadar Old Town, St. Donatus Church, St. Anastasia's Cathedral, St. Mary's Church, Archaeological Museum, Roman Forum, Museum of Ancient Glass, Five Wells Square, Sea Organ, Historic Sibenik, St. James Cathedral, Fortresses of Sibenik, Nin, Church of the Holy Cross, Coronation Church of St. Nicholas, Plitvice Lakes National Park, Krka National Park, Visovac Monastery, Serbian Orthodox Monastery, Modric Cave, Paklenica National Park, Kolovare Beach, Kukljica Beaches, Zaton Beach, Rucica Beach

Zadar Attractions

Cruise Terminal to Old Town Attractions - 0.1 - 1.0 KM, 1 to 15 minutes walk
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Fortunately for cruisers, ships dock at the northwest corner of the old city at the end of the 1 kilometer long peninsula that contains the most historic sights of the city. For most people, the city is walkable. Closest to the ship is the Sea Organ, a modern architectural construction built into the concrete step of the promenade and produces harmonious music through the action of waves and wind. The historic focus of the city is a square that is about a 6 minute walk from the cruise ship. Here you will find the Roman Forum which is the largest of its kind in Dalmatia. St. Donatus Church, from the 9th century, is a rounded pre-Romanesque building with a large dome. Next door is the city's cathedral, St. Anastasia's, a stunning 12th century Romanesque building with a large bell tower and beautiful rosette windows. Across the square are the Archaeological Museums and the Benedictine Monastery with St. Mary's Church, which contains the Gold and Silver of Zadar, a collection of religious art. St. Simeon's Church and the orthodox St. Elias Church are among the many historic churches in the old city. The Museum of Ancient Glass is a very popular new attraction that offers Roman glass objects. Near where the peninsula connects with the mainland, there is Five Wells Square, with its lovely garden, a tower that offers great views of the city, and remains of the Venetian defensive ditch with the 5 wells for which it is named. The city is famous for its gates, especially the Sea Gate (near where the ship docks) and the Land Gate, near Five Wells Square. The 18th century Arsenal has been converted to a tourist and entertainment complex with nice restaurants, a market, and tourist information. Along the southwest-facing coast of the old city is the Riva, the city's promenade park that inspired Alfred Hitchcock to say that Zadar has the world's most beautiful sunsets.

              

   

Photo of St. Donatus Church by Maciej Piekielnik, Photo of Land Gate by Maestralno

Historic Sibenik

Zadar to Sibenik - 89 KM, 1 hour 5 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

The historic center of Sibenik was originally settled by Croats, near where the Krka River enters the Adriatic, around the turn of the first millennium AD. It was dominated by Venetians, Byzantines, and later Austrians and Hungarians through most of its history. The beautiful historic center features the Cathedral of St. James, designated an UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Cathedral was built beginning in the early 15th century in Renaissance style and entirely of stone. It earned the UNESCO appellation not only for its beauty but because of the advanced engineering for its period. The town has 4 fortresses, three which sit above the city and one that guards the harbor at the beginning of the channel through which boats approach the port.

                 

   

Photo of Sibenik by Tieum512, Photo of St. James Cathedral by Rialfver

Nin, Croatia's Oldest Capital

Zadar to Nin - 17 KM, 21 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Nin was the first capital of the Croatian state and the center of the Croatian Roman Catholic Bishopric. This small settlement is centered on a small island in a lagoon that is reached by two stone bridges. One of its major attractions is the 9th century Church of the Holy Cross, known as the world's smallest Cathedral. The other is the coronation Church of St. Nicholas. This small historic and rustic town has been named a European Destination of Excellence.

              

   

Photo of Nin stone bridge by Silverije, Photo of Holy Cross Church by Donar Reiskoffer

Plitvice Lakes National Park

Zadar to Plitvice Park - 149 KM, 1 hour 55 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

From the Istrian Peninsula to northern Dalmatia, the whole area of western Croatia has a geology known as karst. This means that water flows over limestone and dolomite rocks, dissolving some of the rocks and creating stunning landscapes that include dramatic waterfalls, caves, and colorful lakes. For this reason, Croatia's National Parks in this part of the country are world renowned. And none is more renowned the Plitvice, which has long been on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The park has 16 jewel colored lakes interconnected with waterfalls that result from the travertine limestone geology of the area. One of the truly special things about this park is the transportation system that features electric trains and boats. There are also several caves within the park. In spring, the entire park blooms with stunning colors; in the summer, the greens of the flora are rich and dense, contrasting with the grays and blues of the water. No matter the time of year you visit, Plitvice Lakes National Park will provide a memorable experience.

           

   

Photo of Turquoise Lakes by Roybb95, Photo of Lake Walkway by Henning Schroeder

Krka National Park and other natural attractions

Zadar to Krka National Park - 79 KM, 1 hour 5 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Krka National Park is a karst canyon not far from Sibenik on the Krka River. It features seven waterfalls of varying sizes and the massive lake-like section of the river which contains beautiful and rustic historic sites in a dramatic setting. The most famous attraction is the Krka Franciscan Monastery on the island of Visovac, one of Croatia's most photographed spots. It includes a church, a gallery, and a botanical garden. To the north is the Serbian Orthodox Monastery of the Archangel Michael, originally built in the late Middle Ages, though the present buildings are primarily from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Other natural attractions that are a bit closer to Zadar are the karst Modric Cave (not far from Nin) and the Paklenica National Park, which offers two massive canyons with trails and rock climbing infrastructure.

              

   

Photo of Krka falls by Version13, Photo of Visovac Monastery by J budissin

Zadar area beaches

Cruise Terminal to Kolovare Beach - 2.5 KM, 5 minutes
Cruise Terminal to Zaton Beach - 17 KM, 23 minutes
Zadar to Kukljica Beaches (Ugljan Island) - 13 KM, 1 hour 20 minutes by ferry
Zadar to Rucica Beach (Pag Island) - 88 KM, 1 hour 40 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

A short distance from the old city is the beach area at Kolovare. It’s the most popular in the city and offers restaurants and bars on a gravel and concrete beach that is very well maintained and receives a Blue Flag rating despite its urban setting. To the north near Nin is the beach at Zaton, also a Blue Flag beach that offers lots of activities for children and has sand and pebbles on the shore. For the more adventurous who want to find a more remote beach, there are several on the island of Ugljan, near the town of Kukljica, and accessible by ferry. In addition, the beaches on the dry, rugged Pag Island attract an adventurous crowd. Rucica beach, near Metajna, has a moon-like landscape and offers extreme sports and rock-climbing.

              

   

Interests Key:

Art Architecture Beach Children Wild Animals Local Cuisine Flora Gardens-Parks Geology

Diving UNESCO Views Wine Dance Music Shopping History Hiking

Walking & Wheelchair Accessibility:

No Walking Easy Walking Normal Walking Difficult Walking Accessible Limited Not Accessible