Dalmatia - Zadar
Where Croatian culture begins.
With the intense blue of sea, the lush deep greens of pine and olive groves and the pure white of Dalmatia stone, the Zadar region’s colour palette is extraordinary and unique in the world.
It is only in this part of land that you will peek into the world’s smallest cathedral – the Church of the Holy Cross, in the city of Nin, before touring the largest Roman forum on these shores of the Adriatic. And if that were not enough, you will discover the origins of Croatia’s cultural identity in the city of Zadar, with over 3,000 years of history.
The region of Zadar tells the story of the sources of Croatian cultural heritage better than any book.
Where to go
The routes of Croatian rulers
The trail begins in the north, on the vivid white cliffs underneath the Velebit mountain, where the view of the surreallandscape of Croatia’s most indented island, Pag, stretches before you. Pag offers beautiful coves and beaches with unspoiled nature, as well as centres of modern tourism. The lace of Pag is very famous, as well as Pag cheese, and its secret ingredients, the wind “bura” and salt which give it a specific and recognisable flavour. To pass the routes of Croatian rulers means to feel a notable diversity of experiences given by thousand-year-old towns, such as the 3,000-year old Zadar, whose fortifications have been inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List. In Nin you will find the smallest cathedral in the world, and the modern and lively tourist centres such as Biograd na Moru and picturesque places of the Dalmatian hinterland, Ravni Kotari, and the islands will overwhelm you with their specific Dalmatian temperament. All those who visit the medieval fortress of St Michael on the island of Ugljan during sunset, by bike or on foot, will have the opportunity to enjoy the view of an earthly paradise made up of emerald islands, and a golden string of pearls immersed in the sun that will be remembered forever.
This deep bay is one of the most popular havens for yachtsmen in the Adriatic, providing a safe berth during the strongest storms. The rocky shores of the bay are low on the landward side while facing out to sea are imposing cliffs reaching in places the heights of 180 metres.
The defence system of Zadar and the Šibenik fortress of St Nicholas are listed on the UNESCO List of World Heritage as two of the six components of the transnational series of the cultural asset of the Venetian Works of Defence between the 16th and 17th Centuries.
Biograd na Moru, formerly a royal Croatian town, is a famous tourist and nautical destination in the very centre of the Adriatic Riviera. Surrounded by national parks...
Explore the island of Ugljan and biking trails through the picturesque villages, and many natural bays, especially those in Mulina , which offer suitable moorings for sailors or a secluded corner for naturists.
The river Zrmanja flows into the Novigrad sea, making it rich with fish and shellfish. Thanks to a fortunate combination of natural and cultural beauty, the small coves in the shadow of pine trees and beaches where you can swim, Novigrad is a real paradise for every guest.
Known as white gold, salt was a strategic product crucial to life for centuries. Salt pans in Pag cover a total area of 3.01 square kilometres and remain important even nowadays, due to the role the sea plays in modern life. Pag salt has a particularly high mineral content.
The Sea Organ has become a modern icon of the city – this is a unique architectural miracle built in the underwater part of the city quay. The same architect takes credit for the Greeting to the Sun, situated right at the top of Zadar peninsula.
Its crystal clear waters meander through some two hundred meters deep canyon. In it, the river has created numerous travertine waterfalls from which the 11 meters high waterfall Veliki Buk particularly stands out.
As the centuries-long centre of the Illyrian tribe of Liburni, and the capital of Dalmatia for millennia, Zadar is a place whose rich spiritual and material culture is best testified to by its walls and numerous sacral monuments, crowned by the symbol of the city: the 9th century Church of St. Donatus, the most monumental Croatian building of the early Middle Ages. Enjoying the protection of as many as four patron saints — Zoilus, Simon, Chrisogonus and Anastasia - Zadar takes pride not only in its abundant archaeological and monumental treasures, jealously guarded down the centuries, but also in the fact that the foundations of the oldest university in the Land were laid here in 1396. Replete with rich archives, libraries and outstanding treasuries of sacral music, Zadar is also the city in which the first Croatian novel was written, and where the first newspapers in the Croatian language were printed.