Croatian is the official language.
English, German and Italian are widely understood.
Passports & Visas
Croatia is part of the EU, therefore visas are not required for UK and EU citizens.
Zadar The characterful streets of Zadar’s old town are lined with impressive Roman ruins, medieval churches, busy cafes and interesting museums all of which are set on a small peninsula that dips out of the mainland to form a little slice of vibrant Italian-like antiquity in the eastern Adriatic. Think busy stoney pedestrian streets, ancient architecture and red bricked roofs that are squashed closely together to form clusters of easily explorable back alleys.
Outside of the old town though there are plenty of other good reasons for visiting Zadar – from taking daytime boat trips to nearby islands such as the rugged island of Dugi Otok, plenty of beaches – well appointed ones close to the city centre and white sand pine fringed beaches just a short way out of town (go north to Sakarun for one of the better ones), and as the area is less built up than the south of the Dalmatian coast – there’s much more natural beauty to take in. The nearby islands of Kornati National Park are of particular interest, as the islands can often seem deserted, leaving you to swim and explore in rural sandy coves and admire rustic beaches that have a halo of green grass encircling them – lending them an almost jurassic appeal. Walkers should opt for Paklenica National Park where there are an abundance of karst peaks and caves to explore.
Back in the city one simply cannot miss the strange attractions of light and sound that Zadar offers – the Sea Organ and the Sun Salutation. The Sea Organ is a strange little architectural attraction which is quite simply an organ that is played by the tides of the sea. It’s hard to imagine but is quite beautiful to hear. Those who prefer their stimulation to come in the form of visual rather than auditory should turn to the Sea Organ’s sister – the Sun Salutation, which is a 22m wide circle of pavement, filled with 300 pieces of multilayered glass that sit and collect the sun’s energy throughout the day, and then working in tandem with the wave energy that also powers the organ – it produces a somewhat psychedelic light show throughout the night – meant to simulate the movement of the solar system. Intriguingly, the machinery on show here also collects enough energy to power the entire harbour-front lighting system.
A little further north in middle Dalmatia is the gorgeous little town of Sibenik – a hilly Italian Riviera-like place full of Mediterranean architecture, lengths of inviting island beaches, a thoroughly charming maze of an old town that clings to the side of the hill and a wonderful small town atmosphere that is a world away from its northern neighbour Split. From Sibenik one can easily explore several off shore islands including Zlarin and Prvic, as well as the enchanting waterfalls of Krka National Park. If you’re looking for nightlife then it also delivers, not on the same level as larger cities in Croatia, but satisfying nonetheless – especially as the (now defunct) Terraneo Rock Festival has ensured Sibenik a lasting place in the cool books amongst live music aficionados. Architecture lovers should head high up to the top of the city to explore the decaying fortresses that tell of Sibernik’s beginnings as a Croatian fortress, and later as a Venetian stronghold as they bought the Ottomans.
Zadar’s best beaches can be found outside of the city. If you need a refreshing dip while in town you don’t need to travel far though, a nice city beach can be found in front of hotel Kolovare. Zadar’s popular suburbs Diklo and Borik offer a large choice of natural rocky beaches and man-made pebble beaches. The towns of Nin and Zaton are the best places to be for those who prefer sandy beaches.
Sibenik also has a city beach but the best beaches can be found in the surrounding towns and in the small hidden bays in between the coastal towns. The beaches are naturally rocky but plenty of man-made pebble beaches can be found in the area as well. For sandy beaches, visit holiday resort Solaris.
Popular Sightseeing Attractions
Well known for its delicious cheese and lamb meat, this island may not look the way you expect a Dalmatian island to look. The island resembles a moon landscape, which makes it truly unique. Visit Pag Town and the nearby salt fields, relax on one of the many beautiful beaches, or head on to the world famous Zrce party beach in Novalja to dance the night away.
Zrce party beach
The Zrce non-stop party beach in Novalja, on Pag island, is unlike any other Croatian beach. It is a beautiful sandy beach that is buzzing with life because the clubs are open 24/7.
Vransko Jezero nature park
The Vransko Lake near Zadar is Croatia’s largest natural lake, surrounded by walking trails and bike paths. Part of the lake is an ornithological reserve.
The smallest and lowest inhabited island of the Croatian coast. Krapanj is a quiet and authentic island, well known for its sponge diving tradition. Just a 5 minute ferry ride from the mainland, you can visit the sponge diving museum and a special gift shop selling sea sponges.
Vodice is a small Dalmatian town that offers a great atmosphere at night, thanks to its popular boulevard with many restaurants, shops and bars.
A charming little peninsula with typical Dalmatian stone houses, old cobbled streets, cosy seaside restaurants and a large pebble beach.
National Park Kornati
The Kornati archipelago is a beautiful group of uninhabited islands that can only be reached by (excursion) boat.
National Park Krka
Follow the Krka River on its way to the sea and admire the many beautiful waterfalls. Visit the Visovac island in the middle of the river, where you will find an old Franciscan monastery surrounded by beautiful gardens.
Events & Festivals
Sibenik’s International Children’s Festival (June/July)
During the two-week festival, children from around the world come to Sibenik to enjoy in games, music, workshops, art, dance, film, theatre and much more together.
Night of the Full Moon (July or August)
All lights on the Zadar Boulevard are switched off and torches and candles are lit. People gather to watch the full moon in the dark and enjoy a nice evening together.
Musical evenings in St Donat’s Church (July and August)
One of the oldest and most important international musical events in Croatia. Renowned musicians from Croatia and abroad perform at this month-long event.
The Garden Festival Tisno
The town of Tisno on Murter Island has its own music festival site at the beach, where popular music festivals take place all summer long.
Vodice’s impressive midnight fireworks display on August 4 follows an evening of live music performances on the boulevard to celebrate the Croatian Victory Day.
Sibenik’s Medieval Fair
During the fair, Sibenik goes back to medieval times with performances, markets, workshops and more.
Biograd Boat Show
The annual Biograd Boat Show is the largest boat show in Croatia.
Eating & Drinking
Try fresh sea food and fish dishes, prosciutto & cheese from Pag, meat dishes prepared under the ‘peka’ (a typical way of grilling) or traditional spit-roasted lamb at a tavern when you go inland.
Tap water is safe to drink. Croatian mineral water is widely available and of good quality.
Dalmatia offers excellent wines and homemade rakija (brandy). Try some of Dalmatia’s famous sweet liquors, such as Maraschino or Kruskovac from Maraska (made in Zadar) or Prosek from Vinoplod (made in Sibenik).
Shops are open on Sunday in Croatia.
There is a wide choice of supermarkets and plenty of daily markets offering fresh food, clothing and souvenirs.
There are several large shopping centres in Zadar and Sibenik.
Tips are usually included in the bill. If not included, a tip of 10% is appropriate.
- Zadar Airport
- Split Airport