First stop after leaving Trieste was Zadar, a somewhat less popular destination on Croatia’s Dalmation Coast. We arrived with no plans (all my effort went into researching Dubrovnik, because Game of Thrones!), and got off the ship early to (unsuccessfully) try and beat the heat.
The ship put on a shuttle service to the main town, which dropped us on the edge of a promenade. The promenade turned out to be home to Zadar’s Sea Organ. The Sea Organ is an experimental project, made up of 35 pipes lying underneath the steps, and sound is created by the sea moves in an out of them. It took us ages to figure out where the eerie, but melodic sounds were coming from, but it’s a really cool feature, I’ve never seen anything like it!
We followed the promenade along into the town and spent a couple of hours exploring. Zadar is beautiful, if very quiet, and there’s history everywhere. It’s bizarre, you can walk down a street lined with familiar brand shops, and turn off and find abandoned buildings where the walls are riddled with bullet holes. A lot of the town hasn’t been regenerated since the war, but I think that makes it kind of beautiful.
We stopped in one of the many giant squares to grab a drink and sit for a minute out of the direct sunlight. By 11am we had temperatures of 36degrees, and all of us were really feeling the heat. A lot of things in Croatia are noticeably inexpensive, but the drinks are particularly cheap. We had three espresssos and four litre bottles of water in a tourist hotspot bar for little more than £5, I can’t imagine how cheap things would have been outside of the tourist zones! And despite the cheap price, the coffee was the best we had for the whole trip, at a little under 70p per shot. Crazy!
From there we headed up onto the castle wall and walked through the gardens, dodging the little brown lizards that kept darting along the path. At that point however, things got too hot for us pasty brits, so we headed back to the ship for a dip in the pool, after failing to find a beach!
Whilst Zadar was beautiful, I think we would have struggled to find anything else to do there. Despite being a fairly busy tourist destination, Zadar is a popular stop for cruise ships, there was very little to do in the city bar admiring the architecture and a little shopping! A shame, but I’m glad we went all the same!