Are you looking for the best day trips from Zadar? This lovely town has a perfect position in Croatia, making it a great starting point to visit some of the most fascinating Croatian national parks, islands and cities. Here is the Culture Tourist’s selection of the best day trips from Zadar you should take during your stay in that town.
Best day trips from Zadar
There are so many interesting places located around Zadar, it’s great to explore them during your trip to that town. You can visit them on organised tours, public transport or by your own or rented car. I’ll list all the best options within the paragraph about each of these day trips from Zadar.
Plitvice Lakes National Park
Plitvice Lakes is one of the first things coming to anyone’s mind when thinking of Croatia. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, look at this Culture Tourist’s Instagram reel dedicated to Plitvice Lakes. It’s the oldest and largest national park in Croatia. This beautiful national park is home to sixteen lakes connected with waterfalls and surrounded by deep forests.
Distance from Zadar: 133 kilometres (83 miles)
How to get from Zadar to Plitvice Lakes: You can easily get from Zadar to Plitvice Lakes National Park by car. You’ll need around 1 hour and 40 minutes to get there. You can visit them on a organised trip if you don’t have a car. Here is a link to the organised day trip tour from Zadar to Plitvice Lakes National Park (which includes the transport from and to Zadar and entrance tickets to the national park).
Krka National Park
Krka is another fascinating Croatian national park making a perfect day trip from Zadar. It’s home to the Krka River and numerous waterfalls created by it. You can take a shorter tour around it (approximately two hours long), exploring its waterfalls and visiting the old windmills village. Or, you can take a longer one, including a boat ride to the Visovac Monastery located on a tiny island on a river.
Distance from Zadar: 77 kilometres (48 miles)
How to get from Zadar to Krka National Park: Krka National Park is nearby Zadar, so you can quickly get there by car. There are also numerous day trips from Zadar to Krka (check out this link for some).
Nin is one of the oldest towns in Croatia and its first capital. Back in the Middle Ages, this is where the Croatian kingdom was first established. The small picturesque town is located on an island surrounded by protective walls. Nin Saltery is an unmissable spot there because it still produces salt in a traditional and ecological way. You can learn more about it in a small museum there. Don’t miss the Church of the Holy Cross from the 9th century at the Nin Old Town. With so much history and culture, it is one of the best day trips from Zadar.
Distance from Zadar: 18 kilometres (11 miles)
How to get from Zadar to Nin: Being so nearby, Nin is one of the most accessible day trips from Zadar. It will take you only around 25 minutes to get there by car. You can also use public transport to get from Zadar to Nin. However, the buses are rare, so check their schedule in advance.
Located opposite Zadar, Ugljan Island is a lovely place to visit while there. It’s one of the largest and most populated Croatian islands. On the island’s top, you can see the Saint Michael Fortress from the 13th century. It was built by Venice after conquering and destroying Zadar in 1202. A few small villages are located on an island and are worth visiting. Exploring Preko (in Croatian meaning, Across) is easiest because the ferry from Zadar will take you there. You’ll find nice restaurants, cafes and a lovely beach there. Perfect for exploring it on a day trip from Zadar.
Distance from Zadar: Around 40 minutes by boat
How to get from Zadar to Ugljan Island: Zadar is connected with the village of Preko on Ugljan Island by boat and a ferry. It’s one of the most frequent boat connections in Croatia. If you’re travelling without a car, you can get on a boat at the port outside Zadar Old Town. However, if you’re travelling by car, you should take a ferry in Gaženica Port in Zadar. You can buy your boat and ferry tickets on the Jadrolinija website online.
Kornati Islands National Park
Although one of the most famous Croatian national parks, I’m ashamed to say I only visited Kornati Islands this year. And it was on a boat day trip from Zadar! Kornati National Park consists of 89 islands and islets. The thing about it that was so fascinating to me was that the National Park is 100 % privately owned, primarily by shepherds from a nearby Murter Island. That’s why you’ll see so many dry stone wall constructions on it – it’s to prevent sheep from going to another farmers’ land. The islands are home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Croatia, so be sure to bring your swimming suit with you.
Distance from Zadar: Around 2 hours by boat
How to get from Zadar to Kornati Islands: You can visit Kornati Island by your own boat or on an organised day trip tour from Zadar. This is how I visited it this summer, and I advise you to do the same. Here is a lovely day trip from Zadar to Kornati Islands with entrance tickets and a visit to Telaščica Nature Park included.
Šibenik is one of the most beautiful Croatian towns, filled with art and history. Its Cathedral of Saint James is the most important Renaissance monument in Croatia and one of the most beautiful churches in Europe. That unique building has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2000. Šibenik Old Town has gorgeous stone houses, churches and other historic structures. The most interesting are its three fortresses, recently renovated and revived with great exhibition spaces, concerts and numerous cultural events.
Distance from Zadar: 95 kilometres (59 miles)
How to get from Zadar to Šibenik: Zadar and Šibenik are connected by highway, so it’s easy to go on a day trip from Zadar to Šibenik by car. You’ll need a bit more than one hour to get there. You’ll also find many bus connections between Zadar and Šibenik, and it will take you around an hour and a half to get there. You can buy your bus tickets at Zadar Bus Station or online at this link.
Pag Island is famous for its delicious cheese, lace, moonlike landscape and sand beaches. The island has been inhabited since Prehistory, and it’s filled with history and culture. If you’d like to explore some of it, visit the town of Pag on the island. It’s a great example of a planned Renaissance town. The Zrče Beach on Pag Island is one of Croatia’s most famous party destinations.
Distance from Zadar: 51 kilometres (32 miles)
How to get from Zadar to Pag Island: Pag Island is connected to the mainland by a bridge, so you won’t need to take a ferry to get there from Zadar. It will take you less than an hour to get there from Zadar by car. You can get from Zadar to Pag by bus, and it will take around one hour and forty minutes to get there. As with some previous day trips from Zadar, you can buy your bus tickets at the Zadar Bus Station or online.
With so many great day trips from Zadar, you can choose from islands, national parks or historic towns to enjoy during your visit to that beautiful town. Have you been to any of these places? Would you add any to this list? Let me know in the comments!