10 Destinations That You Can Visit as Day Trips From Zadar

10 Destinations That You Can Visit as Day Trips From Zadar

If you have one or more days to spare while in Zadar, I encourage you to explore some of the most amazing places that Croatia can offer to its visitors. The day trips presented in this article offer a mosaic of experiences that enrich and complete your Zadar adventure, whether you’re drawn to history, beautiful scenery, or cultural immersion.

ℹ️ Since you’re based for at least a few days in town, first read my ultimate guide to Zadar, which has all the info you need on how to get there, when it’s the best time to visit or what are the most important sights, just to make sure you don’t miss anything important.

1. The Historic Splendor of Nin

Nin, a charming town with centuries-old history, is only a short distance from Zadar, about 15 km away. Therefore, quick trip to this historic Croatian royal town is probably the easiest to do from this list.

Situated in the center of Nin is the Church of the Holy Cross, a small yet impressive structure that is deemed as the world’s smallest cathedral. With fragments of historic architecture and cobblestone streets whispering stories of its Roman origins, the town offers a fascinating window into Croatia’s rich past.

Nin’s allure extends beyond its historical significance. It is the location of the renowned Queen’s Beach, which is well-known for its healing mud and golden beaches as well as its blue waters. Guests enjoy this natural spa, rubbing in the mud rich in minerals for a restorative and revitalizing experience.

How to get from Zadar to Nin:

  • By bus (25 minute drive)

🚍🚏 To get the latest info about bus options and make reservations, check Omio.

  • By car (30 minute drive)
  • With a guided tour

1️⃣ Visit the centuries-old town of Nin and swimming and return to Zadar
2️⃣ Private Tour: Nin and Royal Vineyards from Zadar

2. Boat Tour to Kornati National Park

Set out on a day trip from Zadar to the stunning Kornati National Park, a pristine archipelago dotted throughout the Adriatic Sea with over 100 stunning islands and islets. Even though a direct trip to Kornati from Zadar requires a boat expedition, the trip is well worth it due to the park’s outstanding beauty. Discover the awe-inspiring majesty of these generally uninhabited islands, characterized by rugged cliffs, clear waters, and unspoiled habitats. Admire the impressive rock formations and secluded bays that are ideal for snorkeling or diving into the rich marine life below the surface as you navigate through the labyrinth of islands.

How to get from Zadar to Kornati National Park:

ℹ️ The only way to get to Kornati archipelago is by boat, therefore car, bus or ferry is out of the question.

1️⃣ Excursion to Kornati National Park from Zadar
2️⃣ Private Speedboat tour to National Park Kornati Islands

3. Explore or Relax on Ugljan Island

Just a short ferry ride away from Zadar, Ugljan makes an easy and hassle-free getaway option. Ugljan beckons tourists with its picturesque fishing towns, olive trees, and breathtaking coastline scenery. With its picturesque fishing towns, olive trees, and breathtaking coastline scenery, Ugljan beckons tourists. Explore Preko, the main village on the island, and its winding lanes to find old buildings and take in the relaxed vibe. or go on a quest to discover secluded coves and charming beaches that are ideal for a leisurely day by the crystal-clear waters. If you want to explore the island on a bike, consider this self-guided bike tour.

How to get from Zadar to Ugljan:

  • By ferry (25 minutes)

ℹ️ There are plenty of ferries that run everyday between Zadar and Preko (the port of Ugljan). Check the timetables here.

  • By guided boat tour

1️⃣ Fun Swim and Snorkel on Ugljan Island.
2️⃣ Private half day speedboat tour to Ugljan Island, Osljak Island, and Skoljic Island.
3️⃣ Private tour to Islands Ugljan, Ošljak and Preko from Zadar.
4️⃣ Molat & Ugljan Boat Tour- Best Zadar Islands,Half-day, Snorkeling, Sandy beaches.

4. The Hidden Gems of Dugi Island

Experience the captivating Dugi Island (Dugi Otok), a picturesque treasure in Croatia’s Zadar archipelago, on an enthralling day trip from Zadar. This island is reachable by boat or ferry from Zadar’s harbor. You can visit Božava, Sakarun beach, Brbinj or Telašćica Nature Park, although you probably won’t be able to cross the island from north to south to see everything there is. Therefore, I propose a few itineraries. If you go during the summer and want to swim in the sea, you can go directly to Sakarun beach and spend a whole day there. If you want to see as much as you can in the northern part of the island, go to Božava, then to Sakarun beach, return to Božava and then take a bus to Brbinj. If you’re more interested in getting a chance to spot dolphins playing around the coast of Telašćica Nature Park, you can start a boat tour directly from Zadar, or take a ferry to the harbor town of Sali and then take a guided tour from there.

How to get from Zadar to the northern part of the island:

  • By ferry (1 hour 20 minutes)

ℹ️ The ferries run everyday from Zadar to Božava, but their frequency depends on the season, so make sure you check the timetables before your trip.

  • By guided boat tour

1️⃣ Sakarun Beach by Speed Boat Private Tour from Zadar
2️⃣ Private Speedboat tour “Hidden Gems of Dugi otok”

How to get from Zadar to the southern part of the island:

  • By ferry

ℹ️ The ferries run from Zadar to Brbinj, but their frequency depends on the season, so make sure you check the timetables before your trip.

  • By guided boat tour

If you want to kill two birds with one stone, you can take one of these tours that combines Telašćica Nature Park with Kornati National Park:

1️⃣ Kornati – Suha Punta – Telascica from Zadar
2️⃣ From Zadar: Kornati – Telašćica – Kukljica

5. Relax on the Small Island of Molat

Set out on a charming day excursion from Zadar to the tranquil Molat Island (Otok Molat), a magical haven tucked away within the Zadar archipelago. This island gem, which is reachable from Zadar by boat or ferry, offers a peaceful refuge away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Molat welcomes guests with its pristine beauty, offering quiet coves, quiet beaches, and blue waters ideal for swimming and snorkeling. See the little villages on the island, where it looks as though time has stopped, to learn about a tranquil way of life surrounded by beautiful scenery and lush vegetation.

How to get from Zadar to Molat:

  • By ferry (1 hour)

ℹ️ Zadar is connected to Molat Island through the Brgulje port and Molat port. The ferry runs everyday, but the departure hours differ, depending on the day of the week and the season you’re visiting in, so make sure to check the timetables carefully when planning this day trip. Here are the timetables for Brgulje port, as well as for Molat port.

  • By guided boat tour

🛥️ Molat & Ugljan Boat Tour- Best Zadar Islands,Half-day, Snorkeling, Sandy beaches

6. Chase the Waterfalls at Krka National Park

Take a day trip from Zadar to the captivating Krka National Park, a natural wonderland that perfectly captures Croatia’s stunning scenery. This natural oasis, renowned for its emerald pools, lush greenery, and tumbling waterfalls, is only a short drive or bus ride from Zadar. When you first arrive, you’ll be enthralled with the park’s focal point, the stunning Skradinski Buk waterfall, where you can explore nature’s untamed beauty thanks to a network of wooden trails. Enjoy the peace and quiet of the park by relaxing on the riverbanks or by taking reviving swims in the glistening clear waters.

How to get from Zadar to Krka National Park:

  • By car (1 hour)
  • By bus (1 hour)

⚠️ Although there are 4 bus companies operating this route, Google Maps won’t give you information about any of their schedules. Go to Zadar Bus Terminal and ask on how to get to Skradin (Krka NP) to get the latest info on departure hours. Alternatively, you can get tickets from here.

7. Admire the UNESCO Sites of Šibenik

Although Šibenik is a small town, it has not one, but two UNESCO heritage sites. The first one is the Cathedral of St James – the most important architectural monument of the Renaissance in Croatia! And a little piece of information for all the Game of Thrones fans out there: the cathedral was used as a backdrop for the Iron Bank in one of the show’s episodes (S5 E9). The second UNESCO site is a new addition to the list of protected monuments – The Fortress of Saint Nicholas. This is also where the river Krka flows into the Adriatic Sea.

How to get from Zadar to Šibenik:

  • By bus (1 hour 20 minutes drive)

🚍🚏 To get the latest info about bus options and make reservations, check Omio.

  • By car (1 h)
  • With a guided tour

1️⃣ Krka Waterfalls and Sibenik Day Trip from Zadar
2️⃣ From Zadar: Krka Waterfalls and Sibenik City, Private Tour

8. Experience the Cultural Heritage of Trogir

Embark on an enriching day trip from Zadar to the captivating town of Trogir, a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its exquisite medieval architecture and rich cultural heritage. Admire the beautifully preserved Romanesque and Renaissance buildings dotting this quaint town; notable examples are the imposing Kamerlengo Fortress, which provides sweeping views of the town and surrounding areas, and the magnificent Cathedral of St. Lawrence. Because of its small size, tourists may easily see Trogir in a single day and take in its dynamic atmosphere. Trogir is fairly close to Split, so with a guided tour it’s even possible to do both cities in a day.

How to get from Zadar to Trogir:

  • By bus (2 1/2 hour drive)

🚍🚏 To get the latest info about bus options and make reservations, check Omio.

  • By car (1 1/2 hour drive)
  • With a guided tour

🚘 Hit two birds with one stone with this guided tour to Trogir and Split.

9. Discover the Marvels of Split

Split is a multifaceted city, where you can easily spend a few days, but if your schedule allows only one day, it’s doable to get a taste of it. Just like Zadar, Split is located on the Dalmatian coast.

If there’s one thing you should do in Split is head to the old town, which is a labyrinth of narrow streets brimming with charming cafes, vibrant markets, and historical landmarks. In the heart old town is the most impressive landmark of Split – the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Diocletian’s Palace.

As you explore Split, stroll along Split’s beautiful Riva promenade, lined with palm trees. Enjoy stunning views of the Adriatic Sea, feel the breeze, and immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of the city.

How to get from Zadar to Split:

  • By bus (between 2 1/2 hour and 3 hour drive)

🚍🚏 To get the latest info about bus options and make reservations, check Omio.

  • By car (1 1/2 hour drive)
  • With a guided tour

🚘 Because Split is a major destination, you might want to go alongside an experienced guide. If that’s the case, consider seeing Trogir and Split in the same day with this tour.

10. Plitvice Lakes National Park

If you have to pick only one day trip from this list and you’re a nature lover, then you should probably pick this one. A scenic drive or organized tour from Zadar transports you to this natural wonderland, renowned for its cascading waterfalls, emerald lakes, and lush forests. Admire the park’s spectacular landscapes, as wooden pathways guide you through a labyrinth of sixteen connected lakes, each more charming than the last and embellished with captivating waterfalls.

How to get from Zadar to Plitvice Lakes National Park: You can reach the park only by car or bus. Both options will take around 1 hour and a half.

  • By bus (1 hour 30 minutes)

⚠️Unfortunately, you’ll find little information online about the buses, so you’ll have to ask around at the Central bus station. The last bus from Plitvice to Zadar is pretty early in the afternoon and we were close to missing it, so make sure you’re there on time.

🚍🚏 To get the latest info about bus options and make reservations, check Omio.

  • With a guided tour

There is also the option to book a day trip with a knowledgeable guide.

1️⃣ Full-Day Tour of Plitvice Lakes National Park from Zadar
2️⃣ Plitvice Lakes National Park Tour from Zadar
3️⃣ Plitvice Lakes Day Tour from Zadar-TICKET INCLUDED Simple, Safe
4️⃣ Plitvice lakes self guided tour with booked tickets

Wrapping up…

In the tapestry of travel experiences you can have in Croatia, these ten day trips from Zadar stand as vibrant threads, each weaving its own unique story and allure. These locations provide a variety of experiences that are easily accessible from Zadar, from the historical grandeur of Nin and the cultural wonders of Split to the scenic beauty of Plitvice Lakes National Park and the peaceful serenity of neighboring islands. These day activities enhance the Zadar experience by offering layers of depth and diversity to every traveler’s adventure, whether it be through engaging with ancient history, enjoying the tranquility of nature, or indulging in beach paradises.

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