If you were to ask me why I think you need to go to Zadar, I'd say to see the sunrise! Now you'd probably look at me weirdly and say ''Go all the way to Zadar to get up at 5.30 for the sunrise?" and I would nod with a photo presentation ready to go. Now don't get me wrong, there is plenty more to see and do in Zadar, but the city has the best sunrise I have ever seen, and I got to enjoy it without a person in sight.
Zadar is a small seaside town along the dalmatian coast in Croatia, it's not as well known as some of the other towns like Split or Dubrovnik, but it is one of the prettiest. Zadar is a three and a half hour bus ride from the Capital City Zagreb. I used Flixbus to get there which was relatively easy, they dropped us off at the main bus station and I walked roughly 25 minutes to the center. If you're wondering whether you can travel to Zadar solo, my answer is absolutely, I felt completely safe the entire time I was there.
What to do?
I absolutely love being by the sea, so of course I had to visit the beach in Zadar. I spent both my days there, arriving early enough, before the crowds and leaving around lunch time, when it was really crowded, which allowed me to utilise the second half of the day in the center of the city. The recommended beach is Kolovare and is one of the most well known. It's about a 20 minute walk from the center. It is a pebbled beach, which i'm still trying to get used to, when I'm used to sand. Now the pro of a pebbled beach is, you don't have sand stuck everywhere, but my god do pebbles hurt when you're trying to enter the water and trying to keep your balance is quite the mission, I'd definitely recommend having those beach shoes. However the beach was beautiful, with clear waters, a bit chilly for my liking (but then again I like water above 25 degrees) but still nice to swim in, once everything goes numb. haha
Walk through the Old Town
Now I am a sucker for Old Towns, it's one of the many reasons Dubrovnik is my favourite city in the world. I could aimlessly walk around Zadar for hours, getting lost in alleyways, and discovering boutique stores. There are countless ice cream stores spread throughout the city, so you can enjoy ice cream while you roam around, quickly though, because it gets quite hot during the summer, and you'll have ice cream all over yourself, making people wonder if you were ever taught how to eat properly.
Visit St Donat Cathedral
You won't be able to miss St. Donat Cathedral, the round, pre-Romanesque Cathedral. This is found in the center of Zadar. Entrance for adults is 20Kn. Now it's a beautiful Cathedral however rather plain on the inside, with the Cathedral being empty. However if you're a fan of architecture then I would definitely recommend it. The space is now used for musical performances.
A must see..or hear in this case. The Sea Organ is located on the edge of Zadar. Under the stairs that descend to the sea is an organ, and as the water flows in, the organ plays different notes, which escape through holes along the pathway. There are 35 pipes located in the organ of different lengths. On these pipes are whistles, which play 7 chords of 5 tones, so the sound it produces is never the same. It can be heard at any time of the day. My favourite time to listen to it was at night as the sun was setting, however it does get rather busy. It's the perfect location to sit down and relax for the evening.
The Sun Saluation goes by two other names; Greeting to the Sun & Momentum of the Sun. It's a circular glass plate, right next to the sea organ. As the sun begins to set, the lights are turned on. During the day the photo-voltage solar modules absorbs the sun energy and at night it's activated, with different colours being distributed around the circle. It's known that a symbolic communication with nature is made, with the aim to communicate with light, just like the Sea Organs does with sound. It gets unbelievably busy at night, with tourists trying to take selfies with the lights. If you're wondering as a solo traveler whether it's ok to visit at night, and/or after sunset, it is. I was a bit worried before heading to the lights. However it's completely fine, obviously have your wits about you, but it's safe.
Watch the sunrise and sunset.
I'm going to call it, Zadar has the most beautiful sunrise in the world. The sunset is also beautiful, but the sunrise is second to none. My alarm clock was set for 5.30, to allow me time to get up (in case I snoozed again), and ready for the sunrise at around 6.00am. I watched the sunrise from the Sea Organ, and there wasn't a person in sight, no tourist's you had to fight to walk past, it was great! The colours of the sunrise were incredible, with pastel pink, blues and yellows, meeting the sea and it was breathtaking. I mean the photo's speak for themselves.
Climb St. Anastasia Cathedral Tower
Just around the corner from St Donat is the entrance to the St. Anastasia Cathedral Tower, which offers views of Zadar. You will have to climb some stairs to reach the top, but once you reach it you're exposed to the beautiful city that Zadar is. The tower offers 360 views of the city. The view is beautiful from up there, however the barrier is a bit high and makes it a bit difficult to take photos.
Chill at The Garden Lounge
So you've been busy swimming at the beach, walking around Zadar, and now you need a drink and to relax. Look no further. The Garden Lounge is the perfect place to do so. The spacious outdoor area, offers comfortable lounges to relax on while the waiter brings you a drink. It's the perfect place for a mojito, while overlooking the water. It does get rather busy at night, however during the day it's quiet as you can see from my photos. So I'd recommend going around the early afternoon.
So who's convinced they should get up for the sunrise!?!
J E S S I C A x