Activities and Things To Do in Zadar
Croatia's magical city of Zadar may be well known for its Roman ruins and impressive architecture, but did you also know that it is one of the most exciting adventure capitals of the country? The city is not only a vibrant epicentre of culture and history, but its beautiful natural surroundings have become a hotspot for all things action – from sea kayaking and river rafting in crystal-clear rivers to caving and even bungee jumping, Zadar is the ultimate base to see the breathtaking Croatian countryside and have some unique fun at the same time.
Kayaking and Rafting
Zrmanja is a safe and secure river in Velebit Nature Park ideal for first time kayakers or rafters looking to get a piece of the action. This untouched region is made up of clear, green waters with class II and III rapids as well as secret swimming holes and cascading waterfalls to marvel at. Travel along the steep-sided canyon either side of the river and have endless fun paddling through the twists and turns of the waters.
Trekking, Hiking and Climbing
There is nothing quite like trekking through the Dinaride mountains of Velebit. The UNESCO-protected landscapes here are best seen on foot along the well-trodden hiking trails, including the famous Premužićeva trail, that take you through the mountains and offer stunning views of the countryside and ocean from up high.
There are a number of spectacular diving locations just a few minutes from the city centre by car. One of the most world-famous spots for diving is known as the Cathedral. Located just off the island of Premuda, the Cathedral is made up of several caves that play host to wild octopus and spider crabs, which light up when the sun reflects into the deep waters.
For something thrilling and adrenaline-pumping head to Maslenica Bridge, just a 25 minute drive from Zadar. This 55-metre-high bridge is the setting for heart-stopping bungee jumps – which take you directly from the middle of the bridge and into the sea channel below. The highest bungee jump in all of Croatia, the big red bridge is a 'must-do' for those looking for an exhilarating ride.
For a full-day of fun, head to the Adventure Park Zadar close to the nearby village of Kozino and just a few km from the city centre. Located in a beautiful pine forest, visitors can take part in all kinds of activities, including paint balling, high rope courses, go-carting and off-road driving. Great for all ages, the park is perfect for a fun family day out and offers a range of packages depending on your activity preferences.
There is also an adventure park in Debeljak, a place close to Sukošan. The name of the park is Green Adventure and you can rent quads there and take a ride up the hills through the hinterland of Zadar and enjoy the beautiful view of the islands. You can try archery or paintball and they have also a small zip line and a playground for kids. It's perfect for a fun day in the nature because of it's private atmosphere and quiet location.. and it's possible to grill your own meat there :)
If you're a keen cyclist or like the idea of seeing the sights by eco-friendly bike then Zadar is the perfect place to do it. The surrounding countryside has a number of excellent cycling routes that take you through the Old Town of the city and out onto the beautiful islands. Discover nearby villages and towns by bike and enjoy the freedom of exploration out in the open. Stay active and visit some of the local beaches, including Nin and Zanton, or simply glide through the green fields and coastal pathways – it's one of the best ways to really enjoy the city and its surroundings.
Do something unusual and try your hand at caving - an activity that is off-the-beaten track for most tourists to the city. Located around 30km from the city, Modrič Cave was only discovered late in the last century and access must be made with suitable helmets and overalls carrying a carbide lamp. The dark caves are other-worldy, with mesmerising stalactites and stalagmites decorating the walls and ceiling. The vast Cerovac Caves are also an easy day trip from Zadar, the largest cave system in all of Croatia. Located in Velebit National Park, the caves are the location of cave bear remains and remnants of ancient human civilisations.
Kitesurfing and Sailing
Zadar's nearby beaches of Nin and Pasman Island are some of the most popular locations for kitesurfing and sailing in all of Croatia. The waves of the Adriatic Sea are smaller and better for those looking to try kitesurfing for the first time, and Nin's Lagoon is the perfect place to try your hand at the sport before you get onto the sea proper. For those who prefer a relaxing sailing cruise driven by professionals Zadar's marinas are also the perfect place to begin your adventure – take in the islands of Zadar and hidden coves ideal for swimming dotted along the coastline.