Lisa Rivera

In the heart of the Adriatic is a Croatian region bursting with cultural heritage, natural features and stunning climate.

The Zadar Region is a combination of Mediterranean landscapes, and historical monuments, meaning there’s plenty of activity to suit the whole family. With an unspoiled environment and postcard perfect scenery, Zadar Region is the place to unwind and have some quality family time.

Zadar region

Visitors can reach Zadar by air, land and sea. The county has an international airport, along with a highway if coming by car or bus. To reach the smaller islands in the region, it’s easy to hop on board one of the many ferries or catamarans.

For such a small region, Zadar has so much to offer the family holidaymaker. And we have some of the best holiday ideas to help you decide whether this could just be your next vacation.

Family holiday in the Zadar Region

Start the trip by taking the family to the ancient town of Jadera. This 3000-year-old town (yes, you read that correctly) is an ideal first stop to get to know more about the county. The most popular landmark is the Church of St. Donatus, which dates back to the 9th century.

Church of St. Donatus

In this town, it’s also possible to see the Roman influences, such as that from the Zadar Forum. In fact, it was Augustus, the first Roman Emperor, who founded the Forum, and there are 2 stone inscriptions that show the time construction was completed.

To see the heart of the action, take the family to The People’s Square. Here you’ll find 2 municipal buildings, the Town Loggia and the Town Guard Building. Both are in the Renaissance style and were built in 1565 and 1562 respectively. Other notable sights here include the Prince’s Palace, the Governor-General’s Palace and the citadel.

Greeting to the Sun

As well as historical attractions, the region also has modern offerings, like the Greeting to the Sun and the Sea Organ. The former represents a play of 300 multi-layered glass panels arranged in a 22m wide circle with solar modules beneath. As the sun sets, the panels light up, paving the way for a light show moving to the rhythm of the waves.

Nearby villages to explore

The Zadar Region has many intimate and charming villages, with some boasting endless coastal views. Take the village of Sukosan. This coastal village has a deep bay and sandy shore, which is perfect for a spot of swimming in the sea. For lunch, sample some of the local delicacies and fresh fish and locally sourced olive oil.

fishing village

Stop by one of the local fishing village — whether active or former. Petrcane falls into the second group, but don’t let that stop you from visiting. The village’s famous for its stunning peninsulas, sandy, clean beaches and clear waters. On top of that, Petrcane is historic too, given it’s 900-years-old!

Discovering the beauty of Nin Riviera

You can find the small town of Nin on an islet around 14km from Zadar, and can access it by one of the 2 old bridges, or through a preserved tower town gate. The bridges date back to the 16th century, and certainly reinforce the feel of a classic children’s tale.

With its Mediterranean climate and lush landscape, Nin is also famous for another au natural quality: its mud. Peloid is a mineral-rich mud that the locals use for its therapeutic properties. To add to its testament, the peloid’s been used in medical centres for more than 40 years.

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However, the main attraction for families has to be the beaches. The town has plenty to choose from; all of them sandy and clean! In the instance you want to try your hand at some water sports, the Riviera is ideal for kitesurfing, as there’s always a breeze in the air.

To explore even more of Nin, head to the nearby villages of Zaton and Vir. As well as vineyards, you’ll also stumble upon more sandy beaches, and one of the best European camps in Zaton.

See the splendour of Biograd Riviera

Take a step back in history to the time of Croatian royalty in Biograd. The royal town was once home to the Croatian kings, and so you can only imagine how exquisite this place is.

Biograd is home to architectural works of art, as well as charming vistas, surrounded by hues of green and blue. Naturally, the Riviera boasts some sandy stretches of beach, some of which you can find in the smaller islands.

Biograd harbour

These smaller beaches around the Pasman Channel are ideal for anyone that wants a little peace and quiet away from the crowds. For sailing enthusiasts, the waters around the Biograd Riviera are a dream. Not only will you pass by the Telascica National Park, but you’ll also sail into the magnificent Kornati National Park.

Immerse the family in a little local culture, by heading to the small village of Sveti Filip I Jakov. Once an area where noblemen would come to vacation, it’s home to Borelli Park, where the children can run and explore freely. What’s more, the village has nearby shallow waters, again perfect for families with young children.

Relax in Pasman Island

If your 2 biggest musts for a holiday include swimming and exploring, then you’ll love Pasman Island. Begin, by paying a visit to the island villages of Nevidane and Banj. Nevidane has a beach with untold beauty, while Banj has a bay that’s surrounded by a pine forest.

Pasman Island

Pasman Island’s also home to the last Benedictine monastery on the territory of Croatia, that sits on a 95m high Cokovac Hill. For travellers looking to add a little adrenaline and exercise into the holiday, you may be interested by the Skrape.

In short, it’s an extreme trekking race that takes place in the island. There are 3 categories to choose from, ranging in difficulty.

Whatever your fitness level, participating in this race is sure to bring you across some of the most beautiful areas of the island.