The most recent addition to the European Union, Croatia, is the ideal place to go for a relaxing warm winter break. If you venture a few hours out of the tourist filled capital of Zagreb, you soon encounter quaint coastal villages on the outskirts of Zadar, an ancient walled city. This is the perfect place to relax on the beach and ponder life’s unanswered questions without the fear of being trodden on by a hoard of tourists. It is easy to settle down into the unrushed pace of the locals, whom you will often see undertaking their favourite activity, reading the newspaper. Within a few days you will feel like you have lived there your entire life.
The city offers picturesque views and behind its walls hides classical sights, including the Franciscan Monastery. This houses the oldest Gothic church on the Dalmatian coast, dated from the 1200s. The Cathedral of St Anastasia, is one of the first things you will notice in the city centre, located on the edge of the main square. For a concise history of the area, there is the Archaeological Museum, which boasts over 100, 000 items, dating back to the Palaeolithic time, and has a Roman model of the city. It is open most days and offers concessions for students.
Walking through the old streets of the city, you will come across small cafes, which are reasonably priced and often populated by locals, making it perfect for the student on a budget who still wants to see a bit of culture or just sit back and people watch.
One of the main selling points of Zadar is that it affordable. Even though Croatia has been an increasingly popular holiday destination, Zadar has yet to become too well known. In the main city, you’ll have no problem finding a nice meal out for under £10 – you just have to be adventurous and try some of the side streets.
When it comes to the cuisine, a must have is seafood given the city’s location of being on the Dalmatian coast. However, there are also a range of other options, including pasta, salad, risotto and the odd fast food place if you want to play it safe. The city has a host of café bars, which are open late and play a range of music from jazz to rock, so you’re bound to find something to your liking. Many of the locals will recommend the bars just outside the city walls, which are very popular, but if you go exploring, you will soon find something new in the old city.
There is a huge range of things that you can do in Zadar beyond the sights and there is no better way to end the day than listening to the sea organ and dancing the night away on the Greetings to the Sun disco floor, 20 metres from the seas edge.
Whether it is a relaxing break by the sea, or a culture filled weekend, there is something for everyone in Zadar.