The beautiful, historic town of Zadar, Croatia is located on a peninsula in the Adriatic Sea. There is so much to see and do in Zadar which you can read about here. But what also makes Zadar the perfect destination is how close it is to so many other amazing locations in Croatia – all of which can be taken as day trips from Zadar.
From Zadar, it is incredibly easy to travel to amazing locations in Croatia – it’s possible to explore and hike through famous Croatian National Parks, take boat rides to tiny monastery islands, eat the freshest seafood in small Dalmatian towns and relax in your surroundings on blissful beaches.
Keep reading to find out the best day trips you can take from Zadar, Croatia including how to get there, what to see, places to eat and of course, some cool hidden gems.
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Wondering where to stay in Zadar, Croatia? Check out these accommodation options to suit every budget
Zadar To Plitvice Lakes National Park
By Kate from Our Escape Clause | Instagram
Made up of 16 interconnected lakes that are linked together by some truly stunning waterfalls, it’s hard to imagine anywhere more beautiful than Plitvice Lakes National Park–and at only a 1.5 hour drive away from Zadar, it’s one of the most perfect day trips from Zadar too!
While you won’t be able to cover the entirety of the park with a day trip from Zadar, you will be able to stroll amongst many of the waterfalls, crisscrossing the lakes on the wooden pathways built over them, while admiring the crystal-clear turquoise water.
There’s truly nothing like the experience of seeing Plitvice Lakes National Park in person, and if you’re looking for an unforgettable day trip from Zadar, you can’t go wrong with chasing these waterfalls.
With only one day to work with, we recommend starting at Entrance One, where you’ll be greeted with Plitvice’s largest waterfall almost as soon as you enter the park. From there, simply head down to the lakes and follow the path laid out for you, and you’re bound to have an absolutely fantastic day–make sure to charge your camera before you go, because you’ll no doubt be snapping hundreds of photos.
While you can certainly drive yourself (Plitvice Lakes National Park is located northeast of Zadar, and is fairly simple to reach by car), if you’d rather not make your way to Plitvice independently, plenty of reputable tours also leave from Zadar each day.
Get Tickets Here: Day Trip From Zadar To Plitvice National Park
Day Trip To Sibenik From Zadar
Located just one hour away from Zadar, Sibenik is a medieval city located right next to the seaside – perfect for a day trip from Zadar.
The main attraction in town is the St James Cathedral, a UNESCO world heritage site. It is impossible to miss it, since you can see its dome from almost any part of Sibenik. The cathedral is made entirely of stone, which becomes golden-like during sunset. Its interior is extremely dark compared to its exterior.
Once you have visited the cathedral it is time to get lost on the narrow streets of the old city and go uphill until you reach St. Michael’s fortress. The labyrinth of alleys is an attraction per se, especially if you like medieval towns.
St. Michael’s fortress will be your reward if you reach the top. The fortress offers a beautiful view over the sea and it has even an open-air stage, used only during summer. On the narrow streets, hidden inside the beautiful stone houses, you will find lots of great restaurants and cafes and delight in the views.
Get Tickets Here: Zadar Day Trip To Sibenik
Explore The Island of Ugljan From Zadar
A great day trip from Zadar is to the island Ugljan. Ugljan is the closest island from Zadar and can be reached by a short 25-minute ferry to the town of Preko. It’s a quiet island, with many local residents who live off the land farming and fishing as they have done for centuries. The ferry ride is just 18 Kuna each way (less than 2.5 euros) and runs frequently throughout the year.
Ugljan has a history dating back over 3,000 years with evidence of relics found from the Stone Age. A great way to experience part of the history is to hike up to Fort St. Michael. From Preko, the walk is 2.5km and will take around an hour. Although mostly in ruin, from the top of the fort, you have unobstructed 360-degree views out over Zadar and other islands out to sea.
If hiking isn’t your thing, renting a bike to explore the island is also an option. There are also plenty of hidden beach coves on the island. You can even enjoy white sand at Mostir and Jaz Beach. Spend the day relaxing on the beach and swimming. Next, it’s time to try the local olives, figs and wine grown on the island. Head back to Zadar anytime before 10:30 pm.
A Day Trip To Krka National Park
By Annemarie from Travel On The Brain | YouTube
During my visit to the stunning city of Zadar, my host recommended quite a few national parks with stunning waterfalls to me. I hadn’t heard of Krka National Park before then but I knew immediately that this is where I wanted to go.
Krka National Park is an amazing day trip from Zadar and it is easily accessible by bus via the town Sibenik. It’s also possible to travel there by car which takes around an hour. Another great way of exploring Krka is with a guided tour which takes away all of the stress of planning a day trip.
Once you arrive, get a ticket to the local ferry which will bring you across to the National Park. Make sure you arrive early and stand in line right away or you might have to wait for the next ferry. During the summer months, it can get very crowded.
Alternatively, you can also hike into the national park and continue on the various trails along the lake shores. There are multiple waterfalls dotted around the park and you can actually swim in many of the lakes which is strictly forbidden at Plitvice National Park.
If you have enough time you can take a boat trip to the tiny island of Visovac where you will find a renowned Monastery. You’re only allowed to walk around for half an hour and there’s no other way to reach the island other than by boat. I really enjoyed my visit to Krka National Park and I highly recommend it as one of the best day trips from Zadar!
Get Tickets Here: Krka National Park – A Day Trip From Zadar
Explore The Stunning Island Of Dugi Otok
By Sara from Mindful Travel By Sara | Instagram
Dugi Otok Island (also known as Long Island) is one of the best islands you can visit in Croatia and the perfect day trip from Zadar. The island is located near the Dalmatian coast, just 37 kilometres from Zadar, and you can get there by ferry which takes around two hours.
If you travel to Sali, the ferry departs from the old port of Zadar but if you want to go to Veli Rat, on the other side of the island, the ferry departs from the new port, outside Zadar’s walls.
Dugi Otok is the best island to disconnect from the bustle of Zadar. It is not a tourist island, and you will find gorgeous white sand beaches and turquoise water that will surprise you so much!
Once on the island, you can’t miss Telašćica Natural Park with its 2km long salty lake known to have medicinal properties, the Veli Rat lighthouse and Sakarun beach. It’s also possible to kayak on the island and scuba dive. You’ll love your day trip to Dugi Otok. It’s one of the most beautiful islands in Croatia!
Get Tickets Here: Private Hidden Islands Tour in the Zadar Archipelago
Visit The Historic town Of Trogir
By Wendy from The Nomadic Vegan | Instagram
Historic Trogir is one of the most beautiful and well-preserved medieval towns in all of Europe. But what makes it even more special is that it’s spectacularly situated on an island on the central Adriatic coast of Croatia, surrounded by 15th-century fortified walls.
Buses make the journey here in about two and a half hours, although they are not as frequent from Zadar as they are from nearby Split. Hiring a rental car is the better option, as this will give you lots more flexibility, and the drive typically takes one and a half to two hours each way.
The most enjoyable thing to do in Trogir is to just wander aimlessly through the narrow lanes and soak up the atmosphere. That being said, there are a couple of sights, in particular, that you’ll definitely want to seek out.
One is the Cathedral of St. Lovro, with its magnificent 13th-century Romanesque portal and other features from both the medieval and the Renaissance eras. The second is the Kamerlengo Fortress, where you can climb up on the walls to get a spectacular view of the Mediterranean. Thinking of staying for dinner? Konoba has a shady garden and serves up delicious meals, including options for vegans or vegetarians visiting Croatia.
Primosten – A Hidden Gem Near Zadar
By Noel from Travel Photo Discovery | Facebook
One of the most fantastic and short day trips from Zadar is a road trip to Primosten. The road trip brings you along the Dalmatian coast on the coastal expressway which is a fantastic way to enjoy the views, coastline and outlying islands of Croatia.
Primosten is an off the beaten destination in Croatia; a peninsula that almost feels like its own island. There is plenty to do here such as enjoying the fun waterfront area and exploring the small town.
Primosten is a hidden gem in Croatia, which makes it an easy place to relax without all of the tourist traps and crowds, especially during the summer months.
The seafood restaurants on the waterfront and in the parking lot area are local and have some of the most fantastic seafood and local fare for you to enjoy. While you are exploring the area, check out the little galleries and shops and bring home some wonderful souvenirs of your visit to this fantastic and authentic place on your road trip along the Dalmation coastline.
Explore the History and Beauty Of Split
Split has become a hugely popular European holiday destination in recent years and it’s easy to see why. Turquoise beaches, historic structures, cobbled stone streets, friendly locals and of course the most delicious food!
It is an easy day trip from Zadar to Split by bus or rental car which takes around 2-3 hours. There are so many amazing things to see in Split and your first stop should always be the Diocletian Palace. It is a stunning piece of architecture and one worth walking around by day or night.
After the Diocletian Palace, you should definitely head up to Marjan Hill where you will see the most epic views of Split. It is simply stunning as the sun begins to set.
If you are interested in checking out the nightlife in Croatia, then Split is definitely one of the best places to have fun. The Guide Split is one of the best websites for finding the latest events and best bars and restaurants!
You Might Also Like….
- Top Things To Do In Zadar, Croatia
- What You Must Know Before You Travel To Croatia
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Over To You….
Have you been on any of these amazing day trips from Zadar? Where would you like to explore in Croatia? I would love to hear about it in the comments!