Set on a peninsula on the Dalmatian coast, the port city of Zadar is one of Croatia’s top destinations: as well as a historic walled old town with Roman and Venetian ruins and a lively nightlife and dining scene, the city offers superb ferry connections that can whisk you to surrounding islands in a flash. What’s more, if you fly here from Glasgow Airport you’ll find yourself in the city centre in only half an hour.
Roman ruins and churches
Considering its compact size, the old town has an abundance of historic treasures, such as the 12th-century Romanesque Cathedral of St. Anastasia (Croacia - Trg Svete Stošije), the austere 19th-century Byzantine Church of St Donatus (Trg Rimskog Foruma) and the remains of the Roman Forum. This is not a city resting on its laurels, though: the Sea Organ, created in 2005, is a unique art installation whereby sea waves interact with a series of pipes to make harmonious sounds.
Hip café culture
Hip bars and cafes are clustered around the old town and the city beach. Catch concerts and exhibitions at Arsenal (Trg tri Bunara), set in a vast warehouse dating from the 16th century; it also has a bar and a restaurant. The Garden (Liburnska obala 6) is a popular outdoor lounge bar with a panoramic terrace and a roster of live music and DJs playing electronic music.
Life’s a beach
When it comes to beaches, you’re spoilt for choice. The popular Kolovare Beach is in the city centre, and Nin’s Lagoon is popular with families as it boasts warm, shallow waters. An easy day trip takes you to the awe-inspiring Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia’s top tourist destination, which offers 16 lakes connected by waterfalls and threaded through with walkways and footbridges.