Which Croatian region to choose?
Dalmatia is Croatia’s most visited region. This covers quite a large area, so is divided into the South, Central and Northern parts. In this article, we will focus on the latter as it is a great place to try new activities, sports and ways to relax. Diverse coasts, numerous bays, islands, lush vegetation, charming towns, olive groves and national parks… all of this is waiting for you in North Dalmatia, the ideal destination for an end-of-summer trip!
How to plan a trip to Croatia?
This all depends on your taste, preferences and needs. eSky offers you the opportunity to organise your trip the way you want it – whether you opt for ready-made travel packages or prefer to self-plan from A to Z. Whichever way suits you best, eSky has you covered.
Zadar is one of North Dalmatia’s main holiday resorts, it is well connected with other cities and has twelve public bus lines that cover the entire city. This makes it a good base for sightseeing, sunbathing and well-deserved relaxation.
History or art?
The historic old town of Zadar is an intriguing mix of Roman, Byzantine and Venetian architecture. Along its narrow streets are numerous old mediaeval churches and Roman ruins, including the famous Church of St. Donat, which was built on the former Roman Forum. The ruins themselves are also interesting; you will find the remains of the several buildings’ foundations and a Corinthian column. Nearby, there is the Pillar of Shame, so called as criminals were chained there from the Middle Ages right through to the 19th century. Our advice is to plan your visit for nighttime when the ruins are illuminated. Zadar is home to the largest Romanesque cathedral in all of Dalmatia – the Cathedral of St. Anastasia, which impresses with its decorated doors and Venetian bell tower.
Zadar is also famous for two interesting art installations. The first is the Sea Organ. This gigantic instrument is placed underwater and hidden under marble stairs at a popular tourist spot. It’s definitely worth visiting this place, sitting on the stairs and listening to the music played by the wind and the sea – especially at sunset! Speaking of sunsets, Zadar’s are world-famous, and you shouldn’t miss a round installation known as “The Greeting to the Sun”, located right next to the Sea Organ . This spectacular piece consists of 300 glass solar plates, which charge with solar energy during the day in order to illuminate the area with colourful lights after dark.
National parks or beaches?
If you’re keen to explore some Croatian nature, take a trip out of Zadar. The Plitvice Lakes National Park is accessible by bus in under two hours from Zadar. Also impressive is Krka National Park, which can be accessed via a private trip or by car in just over an hour. Do you prefer to relax on the beach? YThe historic centre of Zadar is just a 10-minute walk south from Kalovare beach, or head to the north of the city, where Borik Beach is waiting for you.
Island of Pag
If you prefer to book your flight and accommodation yourself, eSky also has plenty of excellent options for you! This is a great opportunity to visit the Croatian island of Pag, which is notable for its harsh desert landscape. The island’s rocky nature and sparse vegetation evokes a lunar landscape and, in combination with its azure-blue shimmering waters, Pag is a paradise for all travellers, whether they want to try a new sport, explore or simply relax on the beach. It can be difficult to find ready-made travel packages to Pag, so it’s best to organise the trip yourself. Search for flights to Zadar (just an hour away by car) or Split (two hours’ drive), book accommodation, buy your attraction tickets and rent a car, which we would recommend for easy access around the island.
Some people visit this island for a day or two while in Zadar. However, there is nothing to stop you from spending your entire holiday there. Located in the northern Adriatic Sea, Pag is Croatia’s fifth-largest island and is full of unique attractions. It is both a quiet place rooted in tradition and a party destination that plays host to summer festivals such as Sonus and Hideout. The festivals take place on Zrce Beach, 10 km from Navalje. There are no neighbours here who could be disturbed, meaning there’s an opportunity to party from sunset to sunrise every day of the week!
However, Pag has much more to offer than just parties. If you prefer to spend your time in a different way, go to the Pag town, rather than Navalje. In the town’s main square, you will see the 15th-century Renaissance Church of Our Lady, which is resplendent with gothic elements. It is worth visiting the Salt Museum and the salt fields to see how salt has been produced on the island for over a thousand years. You can also discover another local tradition in the Pag Lace Gallery. There you will see unique works of art and craftsmanship, learn about their history and how they are made. The town’s streets are full of restaurants and bars serving traditional Paski Sir, a sheep’s milk cheese – fitting, given that there are four times as many sheep as people on the island of Pag!
Beach or sport?
Due to the fact that most of the island is rocky and devoid of vegetation, it can be difficult to find shade in Pag. Therefore, an early autumn trip is a really good idea as the sun is kinder and the climate is more pleasant, whether you wish to relax on the beach or engage in an activity. Here you will find secluded, intimate beaches and wide, shallow coves where you can sunbathe or try a new sport, such as snorkelling or diving. Top spots for watersports include Dunboka Draga Beach, while Beretnica and Prnjica are good choices if you want to laze on a sandy beach. Trekking and hiking lovers will like Rucica Beach, which is crossed by the 6 km long “Life on Mars” trail. Interestingly, this route has been extended by a 100-metre section of Via Ferrata, leading through the steep sea shore with crashing waves. The path and the beach itself are located near the village of Metajna.