Destination Inspiration: Zadar, Croatia

Destination Inspiration: Zadar, Croatia

Zadar, Croatia’s oldest inhabited city, is a beacon on the Adriatic Sea cool radar. Discover the very best of this dazzling destination with our pick of its time-honoured squares, bohemian beach clubs and sea-facing restaurants.


Zadar, Croatia.

Why now?

Despite ranking as Croatia’s oldest continuously inhabited city,
Zadar is a place most people would struggle to place on a map.
While jet-setters tend to head for the cliff-clinging paths of Vis
or sun-scorched sands of Split, we suggest swerving the crowds to
discover a destination bursting with history, jaw-dropping beauty
and a surprisingly flourishing creative scene.

While life here dates back to the ninth century, there is
absolutely nothing dated or dull about Zadar, whose beautifully
modern streetscape marries traditional heritage with a
free-spirited urban vibe. This is a city best explored on foot.
Start your day navigating narrow passageways and wandering
alongside the Unesco-listed fortified walls, before visiting the
crumbling ruins of the famous Roman Forum. Then, while away the
afternoon dipping in and out of charming cafés, independent
galleries and parasol-shaded bars.

Zadar Croatia

Don’t miss

Water babies should look to book onto one of the daily boat tours from Zadar to Kornati National
Park. The protected area is known to have some of the cleanest,
clearest waters in the country – on a good day, the dolphins even
come out to play. An eight-hour excursion will see you
beach-hopping, snorkelling and swimming, with most packages also
covering drinks, breakfast and lunch. History buffs, meanwhile,
shouldn’t miss a chance to tour the Museum of Ancient

Where to stay?

Bed down at the 16-key boutique Almayer Art &
Heritage Hotel
. Perfectly placed in the heart of the old town,
just a short stroll from the water’s edge, this contemporary space
promises an idyllic, design-driven stay. Dreamed up by
husband-and-wife-team Vjekoslav Bobić and Irina Bakija, the
property combines 19th-century architecture with a modern touch. A
former military hospital, the building’s structure has been
retained, while interiors have been jazzed up with the help of
talented designer Boris Ružić: think walls framed by purchasable
local artworks, marble bathrooms laced with matte-black detailing
and queen-sized beds placed directly beneath skylight windows.
We’re not usually the type to settle for a hotel’s restaurant over
feasting at a traditional eatery, but this place is an exception.
Pop downstairs to the leafy courtyard to find platters of freshly
caught seafood and an impressive wine list packed with native

Almayer Art and Heritage Hotel
Almayer Art & Heritage Hotel Deluxe Mezzanine Room

The Orangery and a Deluxe Mezzanine Room |
Almayer Art & Heritage Hotel

Where to go for dinner?

There are a few things that make a holiday memorable, and we’d
argue that watching (and capturing, time-lapse-style) the sunset is
one of them. To taste the delicious flavours of Croatia while
watching the sky turn a thousand shades of blood orange, head to
Lungo Mare
. Just a 15-minute wander from the old town, the
no-frills dining room overlooks the tranquil Maestral Bay. After
you’ve finished gawking, start off with the four-cheese gnocchi,
before savouring a plate of grilled squid – consider ordering one
of the wood-fired pizzas to share, too.

And for a drink…

Sea-facing cabanas, live DJ sets and a first-class cocktail menu
await at The Garden Lounge. Join laid-back locals for a
mid-afternoon Aperol spritz, or arrive at 7pm to kick-start your
night amid a techno-loving crowd.

Who to take with you?

With such a short flight time from London, we can think of no
better place to spend a long, lazy weekend with our bestest

Zadar Boats
Zadar Beach Club

When to go

Zadar remains off the tourist track: plan your visit between
July and September to enjoy peak sunshine season without the
swamped streets and crowded coves found elsewhere in Croatia.

Essentials to pack

A bag that will take us from airport chic to beach babe? We’ll
have three, please. This Casablanca knitted tote bag promises to be the
ultimate holiday partner – no cramming required.

How to get there

Take a direct flight from London Stansted to Croatia’s Zadar
Airport, from where the city’s old town is just a 20-minute

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