Perhaps considered one of the coolest spots in Croatia, especially for the young crowd, Zadar is certainly a must-visit for those in Croatia this year.
In terms of transport it is relatively well connected, and you may find that most connections to internal Croatia can be made from this station as a hub. However, despite its connectivity, areas such as the bus station are around 30 minutes walk from the centre or the cheaper accommodation district and so for backpackers this can be a real issue. Despite this issue it can be solved with a 10 kuna bus to the centre or any of the surrounding residential streets through which the local buses pass.
The centre has a great deal of history and sights to see with an interesting old town surrounded by a beautiful wall by the sea. There is quite a lot of tourism and so the tourist information points are very helpful along with the street corner maps, making navigation easy and along with the friendly population rather pleasant. Like other areas in Croatia it is relatively expensive compared to the surrounded Balkans in terms of amenities and services. There are a number of key landmarks which every year tens of thousands of tourists enjoy such as a set of old town well, some wonderful small churches, a main gate, an entrance arch; beautifully inscribed with roman lions and figures as well as some more modern additions such as the sea-powered wind pipes by the port just outside the old town walls and the photovoltaic circle which gives out a light show by night.
In terms of swimming although the water quality here is still blue flag standard it is slightly less clear to the observer than the surrounding coastline such as the lower Adriatic and Ionian but this is perhaps more related to the higher levels of pollution and littering that always accompany a relatively industrial city.
Accommodation is readily available but if you are hoping to stay right on the port then expect to pay a premium, and the same goes for old town. More reasonable prices can easily be found as with many of eastern European countries at the central bus station by asking around or reviewing the offers made in person by letting persons standing at the bus bays (this is often a relatively safe bet if you haven’t booked ahead with accommodation). Having said this you should prepare yourself that the lower prices for accommodation come with a separate location such as the less attractive back-streets of the city with 1960-1990 style buildings and a great deal of graffiti. However, at just under a 25 minute walk these streets make the centre easily accessible by foot or again by the 10 kuna local bus service centre. In addition to this you can see Nicholas Teslers house as it is signposted around 20 minutes from the centre.
If you are interested in nightlife then Zada is certainly the place for you. Beyond being directly connected by a single bus to the party island of Pag and Zrce beach there are a strip of nation famous clubs and bars which make Zadar today’s cool club capital of Croatia. Thousands flock from all over the country for a hard night out on the weekend and holidays. However, this said the cost of drinks are likely to set you back and if you are expecting to drink and only drink then perhaps Pag is better suited for you with a cheap island connection.
Zadar surely is one of the must-visits in Croatia, with history, nightlife, relatively cheap accommodation and a great stop off/rest hub thanks to its national connectivity.