Sailing holidays in Zadar
…with catamaran, sailboat, motorboat, luxury yacht or gulet
Abundance of national parks!!! 🙂
As part of the Adriatic culture, Zadar is no exception to the specific local lifestyle in which the love for good food plays an important role in everyday life. The local people are passionate about everything in their lives, but especially about gastronomy. They will gladly inform you their cuisine is among the best you will ever try. It is therefore inevitable to dive into the inviting mixture of enchanting aromas, waken your senses and enjoy some truly amazing dishes.
Zadar is proud of its Dalmatian heritage, visible in every aspect of their culture, including the local cuisine. Based on simple principles of food preparation, Dalmatian cuisine is considered to be among the healthiest in the world. The locals can thank than their vitality to light, predominantly cooked or grilled fish meals accompanied by the fresh seasonal vegetables with small amounts of spices and with a touch of inevitable olive oil. Every such meal is concluded by the glass of quality wine from the rich local vineyards.
As a modern tourist destination, Zadar has an immensely rich gastronomic offer, managing to satisfy even the most demanding of guests. From fast food objects, patisseries and trattorias over to praised local taverns and exclusive fine dining venues; you can find them all in Zadar. The majority of restaurants are conveniently incorporated into the romantic city architecture and situated in the immediate city center. If you prefer to try something different and exotic, there are two restaurants serving dishes of the Far East; Pearl of Siam is a Thai restaurant and in the newly opened Shanghai House you can try some of the most recognizable Chinese specialties. One of the best fish restaurants are Niko and Fosa; if you’re into fine dining be sure not to miss Gourmet Kalelarga, Pet Bunara and Lungo Mare; and if you prefer to enjoy the true Dalmatian atmosphere while tasting the local specialties, visit one of the city taverns (e.g. Konoba Trata).
But, the majority of Zadar visitors are interested to try the local cuisine. We warmly recommend you explore the endless choices of fish specialties ranging from grilled fish, seafood risottos, fish stews, various delicious shrimps and clamshells. And if you are more of a “meat person”, don’t miss to taste pasticada, the traditional Dalmatian beef stew marinated in lemony vinaigrette, slowly cooked in wine and served with the homemade gnocchi.
There are several gastronomic delicacies typical for Zadar, designed through the centuries of foreign influences and local specificities of climate and available groceries. Be sure to try the cheese from the Island of Pag, one of the best cheeses in Croatia and winner of many international awards and acknowledgements. This cheese is best if accompanied by the aromatic prosciutto dried in the streams of bura, the strong local wind blowing from the mountain ridges. Encircle the exquisite tastes of the local delicacies with a glass of quality wine from the fertile vineyards of Zadar. And as a desert, try Maraschino, original sweet liqueur of Zadar made from the indigenous variety of cherry.
Zadar is a town that has antique origins with the most researched Roman forum on the eastern side of the Adriatic and late Roman church – the cathedral of St. Stošija [St. Anastasia], Sv. Krševan [St. Krsevan] and the famous Sv. Donat [St. Donatus]. With its valuable collections, libraries and archives, Zadar is proud of the fact that the foundations of the oldest Croatian university were laid here in 1396. Recently made even more famous for its Sea Organ, an architectural miracle on the Zadar riva (sea front). Alfred Hitchcock was so impressed with Zadar and its sunset that he said that from the Zadar riva ‘one can enjoy the most beautiful sunset in the world. If you go to the nearby old town of Nin, you will find the smallest cathedral in the world – Crkva svetog Kriza (Church of the Holly Cross), that is only 36 paces long.
Attractive sailing destinations:
Dugi Otok is an island located close to Zadar on the mainland, and is the largest among the islands located in this part of Dalmatia. Its name literally means ‘long island’ – for it is indeed of this description (it is 45km long) – and is known for its vineyards and orchards, Saharun beach in the north, and Telascica Nature Park that covers the south part of the island. With a population of just 1,500 people on Dugi Otok, the main villages are Bozava and Sali.
Dugi Otok is a wonderful place to stay if you’re looking to get ‘off the beaten track’! Despite Croatia’s obviously popularity, even in the summer months this island well and truly provides travellers with some peace and quiet, although there are still some wonderful things to see and do here.
It is very easy to take a swim on Dugi otok as wherever you turn you’ll have fascinating clear, blue sea attracting you with its beauty.
The hidden coves where you can find charming, untouched beaches, represent a challenge for researchers, but also to all those who want privacy and peace.
The beauty of Dugi otok, the beach Sakarun, will fascinate many with its beauty and satisfy those who want crystal-clear waters and white sand at their fingertips.
Sakarun, like many other coves on Dugi otok is a safe harbour for sailors, and thus makes Dugi otok an ideal place to find shelter from the powerful forces of sea and wind. Beaches on Sali are, for the most part, pleasantly calm, lacking the crowds of Croatia’s top beaches. You’ll find several pristine, quiet spots, like Lojisce Beach, in Telascica Nature Park.
At the other end of the island, a small beach on Veli Rat offers great views of Dugi Otok’s lighthouse. Standing 42 meters high, the lighthouse at Veli Rat is the tallest in the Adriatic. It was built in 1849, when, according to legend, 100,000 egg yolks were used to give the facade its unique yellow color. Today, the lighthouse provides accommodation for visitors seeking a romantic getaway.
Sakarun is the island’s most well known – and most crowded – beach. A sandy bottom and shallow waters make this calm cove popular among families, while a couple of beach bars cater to the younger crowd.
Ist Island is a small island whose shape resembles a butterfly. It is ideal for holidays in unspoiled nature away from the stress and bustle of cities. Car traffic is not allowed on the island so you can freely enjoy the peace of the island and fresh air.
Explore the island and take a walk through the vineyards and olive groves to the highest point of the island where you will find a small the church, a gazebo and enjoy in the panoramic view of the islands in the area. Discover sandy beaches and clear waters in quiet coves and relax in the shade of pine trees. It is interesting that during the day you can move from one side of the island to another and experience a different, perhaps more peaceful wind. Ist is a favorite destination for navigators, divers and fishermen. In addition to its beauty, its kitchen also attracts tourists. There are restaurants that serve dishes of freshly caught fish, crabs, mussels, wine and cheese.
The Island of Ist, with a town bearing the same name, is a true destination for a peaceful and quiet vacation. The waters around the island abound in fish; this being the reason it attracts many recreational fishermen, though the underwater world is no less interesting for divers.
The peaceful island of Ist and its main settlement of the same name placed in a bay with a small marina are ideal for those who prefer quiet, somewhat secluded outdoor holidays. The island has barely 250 inhabitants. There are hills, olive groves and vineyeards in its interior. Ist and the neighboring islands of Molat and Skarada, with their sandy beaches, bays and sandbanks are ideal for sports fishing, diving and nautical tourism. Anchorage is available in the Mljaka bay where guests are offered accommodation in private holiday houses.
Pasman is an island located in the Zadar archipelago, separated from the mainland by the beautiful Pasman canal which contains ten smaller islands. Pasman covers the surface of 60 km2 and has a 70km long, indented shore which is why it is considered one of the largest Croatian islands. There are eleven settlements on the island, the population of which is engaged in fishing and tourism. The sea current in this area changes every six hours, which makes the sea the cleanest in the entire Adriatic. Pasman is famous for its beautiful beaches and pine tree forests. The north side of the island is the only one populated, while the settlements are small and typically Mediterranean, ideal for a quiet and relaxing vacation. The south side of the island abounds in beautiful intact nature, beautiful coves and old fishermen houses overlooking one of the most beautiful group of islands in the Adriatic – Kornati. The population of the island of Pasman is traditionally engaged in agriculture, fishing and, more recently, tourism. Recreation enthusiasts can enjoy on the footpaths and biking trails; we also recommend the hiking-biking tour to the hill of Veli Bokolj which offers the view of neighboring islands, the Pasman canal and the Kornati.
The most important island center is Tkon, which is developing faster than any other settlement on the island because of its large harbor and quality connection to the mainland. The population calls this place “Kun”, but is also known as the “Door to Kornati”. Kraj is a beautiful place surrounded by vineyards and olive groves which stretches along two beautiful sandy beaches. It holds the gothic Franciscan monastery of St. Dujam from the 14th century with the image of the Madonna with baby Jesus from the 15th century, as well as the exponents’ museum which reveals the history of the island of Pasman.
Vrgada is a small Adriatic island, surrounded by much larger isles such as Pasman, Kornati and Murter. Being less than 2.5 km² in size, and having a scarce population of 250 inhabitants, it’s a great spot for visitors seeking peace and an easy-going vacation.
Vrgada is full of wild plantlife, which can be used for stews, spices or even medical treatments. The local beach of Janica is known for huge blocks of stone, found on the bottom of its sea, which are actually the remains of Dijana, an archaic harbor of the classical period.
Other points of interest include pusevbrus, a stone attached to one’s house which was used for sharpening the agricultural tools of villagers. The local church is a home to statue of St. Andrew, patron saint of fisherman. Interestingly, the statue was brought to Vrgada’s shores by sea waves, and nobody really knows who made it and how it ended up in Adriatic.
Another small place for an interesting holiday, Vrgada might be just the kind of island you seek to rest your nerves and experience true tranquility.
The island of Vir is located 26 km from Zadar and it is connected to mainland by a bridge which makes it easy accessible because it is not tied with ferry lines. The largest settlement on the island of Vir is located in the bay Sapavac. It was first mentioned in 1069 in the document of King Petar Kresimir called Ueru i.e. Vera, meaning pasture. Along the coast, in the bay Sapavac, you can see the remains of the fortress Kaštelina from 17th century which was built by the Venetians in order to protect themselves from Turkish attacks. Only one wall and two towers are preserved from the entire fort. The arms of the Venetian family and a winged lion that was the symbol of Venice are visible on the tower.
The island is ideal for families because it is surrounded by coves with sandy and pebble beaches and clear sea. Along the beaches you can see pine trees so you can relax in the shade. Besides swimming and diving, you can try water sports and sail, surf, ride a jet ski or simply explore the island on foot. The area is ideal for mountain biking. In summer the wind is blowing, which relieves summer heat and creates perfect conditions for surfing and windsurfing. On some beaches on Vir, especially in the bay n Sapavac ear the fort Kaštelina, you can find medicinal mud (peloid mud) which is good for the treatment of rheumatic diseases.
On the island you can taste the local cuisine in the restaurants and taverns, and nightlife can be found in bars, some of which are open until late at night. Every year Vir traditionally organizes ‘’Vir summer’’, cultural and musical event, which lasts from June to September. Among the other events Dalmatian ‘’klapa’’ singing and Days of the island of Vir are organized.
The island has great location because you can go on a trip to the countryside and visit the National Park Plitvice lakes, Krka waterfalls, or Kornati.
Murter is a small place situated on the north-western part of the eponymous island which is connected to the mainland by a mobile bridge. The town was formerly known as Veliko Selo and Srimac. It received its current name in 1715. History lovers can visit the remains of the roman buildings (remains of an ancient settlement Colentum) located at the foot of the Gradina hill, as well as the church of Our Lady in Gradina and the parish church of St. Mihovil. This town is surrounded by numerous islands and part of them create the beautiful National park – Kornati. Be sure to visit this breathtaking national park. You can cruise around the Kornati labyrinth, dive or snorkle, observe the flora and fauna, explore the amazing islands or try to live among Kornat families. Murter is rich with sandy beaches, such as Slanica, Cigrada, Podvrske and many others. During the summer, you can attend classical and fun music concerts and enjoy local church singing. This is a place which has a rich tourist offer, in which everyone can find something to their liking. Gastronomy enthusiasts can savor the delicacies of the island in the restaurants “Skalinda” and “Runje”, as well as in the tavern “Balarina”.
Although relatively small, Island Murter boasts a rich variety of picturesque coves and beaches dotted along its coast. Island Murter may actually be considered as one long beach, which transforms as you circumnavigate the island from the peaceful, isolated, private, nudist beaches to the more lively, fun-filled beaches resonating to the frantic red-hot pace of summer. Whether you choose to unwind in the peaceful isolated bays or search for a party, one thing is for sure – you have chosen your place in the sun.
Marinas and Bases
Marina Olive Island
Marina Veli Iž
Marina Veli Rat
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Nautical adventure guidebook
- Stop at the Church of St. Donatus, the symbol of Zadar, in July and August. It is the site of the St. Donatus Festival of medieval, renaissance and early baroque music.
- Art enthusiasts will enjoy August, a month dedicated to the ongoing Zadar Snova, the International Festival of Contemporary Theatre.
- The wonderful site of the Krka River merging with the sea can be viewed in the green gorge of the Krka waterfalls, where you can also bathe and cool off.
- When navigating through the numerous Kornati islands, be sure to visit the island of Dugi Otok, which is adorned by Telašćica, one of the most beautiful bays and natural parks.
- Visit the Vransko Lake, the largest lake in Croatia, which provides a wonderful experience for all bird enthusiasts and people who enjoy spending their free time in nature. For those who prefer climbing, we recommend a visit to the natural parks of Velebit and Paklenica.
- Take a ride on the panoramic train or silent electric boat and make your way through the Plitvice Lakes, which are linked with each other by waterfalls and protected by UNESCO.
- We recommend you try the liqueur made from autochthon Dalmatian Marasca cherries, known as maraschino, and for desert partake in freshly baked fritule.<