Welcome to Zadar Region
Zadar region is located on the central part of the Adriatic coast (Northern Dalmatia). Mediterranean climate with warm summer months and mild winters makes it ideal for anyone looking to spend their summer holiday at sea but would like to avoid high temperatures as well as for travellers visiting off season. Zadar is the oldest continuously inhabited city in Croatia and serves as the economic and cultural centre of the region. It attracts visitors throughout the year with its Roman ruins, Romanesque churches, art installations, clear blue sea, sports activities, nightlife and more while the rest of the region is more popular during summer time.
Getting to Zadar region is easy with an airport just 10 kilometres away from Zadar city centre, and the A1 motorway that connects the region to the rest of Croatia. Some of the islands have bridge connections to mainland while others can be reached by ferry, fast boat or catamaran.
At a Glance
Zadar region is probably best known for its nightlife, or to be more precise for the party beach Zrće on island Pag, even though technically Zrće isn’t a part of Zadar region because the island is split between two counties Zadar county and Lika-Senj county with Zrće belonging to the latter. Putting technicalities aside, Zrće is a popular destination for party goers from all over Europe. Some even call it Little Ibiza or The New Ibiza because of its phenomenal after beach parties, great music, excellent atmosphere and delicious cocktails. Clubs Aquarius, Kalypso, Cocomo and Papaya are only open during summer season but are more active than most places are during the whole year. Fresh Island Festival and Hideout festival are the most popular events taking place every summer, featuring guest performances from world’s top DJs, packed with people and beaming energy.
Local cuisine consists of dishes typical for coastal Croatia. Lamb, seafood and fish are prepared with extra virgin olive oil, sessional vegetables and locally grown herbs and spices. An absolute delicacy of the region are sheep cheeses made on Pag island. Paški sir (Pag Island’s Cheese) is produced from a unique breed of small sheep “Paška Ovca” which feed on salty grasses scattered throughout Pag island’s rocky land and produce intensely salty milk in small quantities. This hard, aged cheese matured for at least 4 months has a distinct savoury and aromatic herbal taste which locals usually pair with olive oil drizzled on top and a glass of fine red wine. It also goes well with cured meat or even shredded over salads. Make sure you try some while in the region.
Families travelling with small children will appreciate the region’s mild Mediterranean climate. Summer months are warm but not too hot, perfect for spending your days at the beach. Coastal towns such as Nin, Biograd na Moru and Zaton as well as smaller towns on islands Ugljan, Pašman, Dugi Otok and Iz aren’t as crowded as some of the larger towns in the region and have beautiful child friendly beaches with easy access to the sea as well as plenty of shade. On the other hand, if you and your family enjoy spending your holiday surrounded by other families and like to see more and do more then you should opt for places like Novalja on island Pag, with the famous beach Zrće close by. Zrće offers a variety of activities that the whole family can enjoy such as paddle boat rental, water slide, children’s amusement park, beach volleyball, jet ski, parasailing and more.
During warmer months, typically from May to October, sports enthusiasts can go diving, windsurfing and sailing on the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic. Islands Pašman, Pag, Ugljan and Dugi Otok are wonderful for cycling and trekking and if you want even more adventure and excitement then you should try rock climbing in Paklenica Nature Park or rafting on river Zrmanja in Velebit Nature Park. Paklenica Nature Park has 590 routes ranging from single pitch sport routes to big wall rock climbing routes up to 350m long. Both absolute beginners and experienced climbers can find a route suited for their needs. Velebit mountain is the ideal place for wild river sports as it has both calm and rapid waters, canyons and waterfalls as well as unspoilt nature and gorgeous scenery.
Natural beauty is one of this region’s most important features. National parks Paklenica and North Velebit, and nature parks Telašćica, Vrana Lake and Velebit are prime examples of remarkable landscapes, geological and geomorphological phenomena, intact nature, and diverse flora and fauna. Cerovačke Caves, located in the southern part of the Velebit Nature Park, are among the most famous and most significant speleological objects in Croatia. The complex consists of 3 caves with a total of 4 km of explored channels with the first 700 meters of two being open for public. Vrana Lake is the biggest freshwater lake in Croatia. The surrounding nature park is a rare wetland full of biodiversity and has a special ornithological reserve with 110 bird species.
Islands in Zadar region come in all different shapes and sizes with one standing out. Island Galešnjak, known as The Island of Love, is shaped like a heart. Can you think of anything more romantic than that? Take your significant other to Lover’s island by renting a boat in Zadar or on island Pašman and spend the whole day on the beach surrounded only by crystal blue sea, trees, rocks and plants. Galešnjak island is privately owned, uninhabited and has no manmade structures. Everyone is welcome to visit the island but if you wish to stay overnight and set up camp you need permission from the owners. Lover’s Island isn’t the only romantic place in the region. Nin, a small town on the coast has been named as one of the most romantic destinations in Europe by European Best Destinations in 2015. Inspired by the title, Nin town’s tourist board organised Romantic Night Festival and has continued to do so every year in August. During the festival, visitors can leave their impressions on the memory wall near the Lower town gates, buy roses for their partners, sit on the kissing benches or kissing points and take photos, greet and have photos taken with historical figures that come alive on the streets and many other things. Restaurants also take part in the event with decorations in the theme of love and lovely surprises planned for their guests.