When thinking of Croatia, most travellers’ minds go straight to Split or Dubrovnik. But the historic city of Zadar is perfect for those after a more off-the-beaten-path experience. Zadar will greet you with it’s friendly locals, incredible coastlines, marvellous food and, quiet streets!

Zadar is a gorgeous port city on Croatia’s scenic Dalmatian Coast. It is home to a quaint old town; full of cobbles streets and gorgeous old buildings to marvel at.

If you venture to the city’s outskirts you’ll find lush national parks and the idyllic islands of Dugi Otok. Oh and don’t miss the sunsets! Zadar’s sunsets are etched in my mind as some of the most beautiful I’ve seen.

While most people tend to stay in the Old Town when they visit Zadar for the first time, there are plenty of other great neighborhoods for families or budget seekers. The best place to stay in Zadar completely depends on YOU and what you want to get out of your trip.

I’ve spent weeks exploring the windy old streets of Zadar (and beyond!) to uncover the best neighborhoods to stay. Lucky for you, you’ll find everything I know within this ULTIMATE guide on where to stay in Zadar.

I’ve broken down the best areas to stay depending on your travel style and budget. You’ll find the best places to stay and things to do in each. You’ll be an expert in no time  (you can thank me later, friend!)

So, let’s dive into the good stuff and find where in Zadar is best for you.

Where to Stay in Zadar

Wondering where to stay in this historic city? Take a look at the three best places in Zadar to stay in:

things to do in croatia
Old town Zadar vibes…
Photo: Chris Lininger

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Sea View Studio Apartment | The Best Airbnb in Zadar

The Old Town is the capital of cool, and this sea-view apartment is surely one of the coolest places to stay in Zadar. The two-sleeper studio is located on the fourth floor and offers amazing views of the Dalmatian Coast. Facilities include a kitchenette and a modern bathroom.

Downtown Boutique Hostel | The Best Hostel in Zadar

Stay right in the heart of the Old Town at this boutique hostel. Choose from private rooms or shared dorms. Perks include free Wi-Fi and free towels. Plus, you’ll get a free breakfast when you book a standard double room or a superior room.

If you love hostels, you should check out our list of the coolest hostels in Zadar!

Hotel Delfin | The Best Hotel in Zadar

This 3-star hotel offers family rooms just steps from the beach. A public bus stops right outside and offers easy access into the city every half an hour. Rooms have free Wi-Fi, air-con and a private bathroom. Some come with private a balcony and sea view.

Zadar Neighborhood Guide – Places to Stay in Zadar

FIRST TIME IN ZADAR
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FIRST TIME IN ZADAR

Zadar New Town

Zadar’s city center (New Town) can be found to the east of the Old Town near the main bus station. Just on the other side of Perivoj Vladimira Nazora, halfway between Old Town and Zadar’s popular beaches, it’s still close enough to the action should you seek it.

ON A BUDGET
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ON A BUDGET

City Outskirts

If you’re Backpacking Croatia on a budget, your best bet is to stay outside of the Old Town and travel in when you need to. The countryside is the best area in Zadar to stay in as it offers a quieter, more scenic alternative while hardly being more than a 15-minute drive from the center.

NIGHTLIFE
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NIGHTLIFE

Kolovare Beach

As Kolovare Beach is the main beach in Zadar, it’s no surprise that most of the buzzing bars and beachfront restaurants are located nearby. During the day, the beach is a wonderful spot for sunbathing, swimming, and sandcastle building.

COOLEST PLACE TO STAY
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COOLEST PLACE TO STAY

Old Town

Thinking about where to stay in Zadar? You simply can’t beat staying in the heart of the Old Town. Hands down the best neighborhood in Zadar to stay in, the historic Old Town is brimming with Roman ruins, Byzantine churches, coastal promenades, and quirky cafes.

FOR FAMILIES
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FOR FAMILIES

Diklo Beach

Similar to Kolovare Beach, Diklo Beach offers a quieter alternative to the north of Zadar. It offers a pebble beach and warm ocean that’s great for family vacations. Sun loungers and umbrellas are available should you need them.

Zadar is easily Croatia’s coolest city. Home to a historic town center, fascinating Roman and Venetian ruins, excellent nightlife, pretty beaches, and some of the best sunsets on the planet, you’re really in for a treat when you visit this stretch of the Dalmatian Coast.

Set on a small peninsula, there aren’t many major neighborhoods in Zadar. The most important is, of course, the Old Town. One of the best areas to stay in Zadar, this where most first-time visitors stay as it offers easy access to the medieval churches, historic sites and eclectic bars of this energetic city.

However, you can find a similar experience closer to the beach when you stay in Kolovare. Enjoy lazy beach days with bustling beach bars open late into the night. Close enough to the Old Town and its late-night clubs, it’s a great choice for nightlife seekers.

When it comes to Zadar accommodation, more budget-friendly options can be found the further you head away from the city center. The countryside offers a much more affordable location just a 15-minute drive from the center.

Go up north and you’ll discover some family-friendly beachfront suburbs. Diklo Beach is a quieter alternative for a holistic family vacation. The benefit of a bus running into the Old Town every half-hour means you can tick the sightseeing off whenever you feel like it.

5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Zadar

Let’s take a closer look at the five best neighborhoods to stay in Zadar.

#1 Zadar New Town – Where to Stay in Zadar for Your First Time

Zadar’s city center (New Town) can be found to the east of the Old Town near the main bus station. Just on the other side of Perivoj Vladimira Nazora, halfway between Old Town and Zadar’s popular beaches, it’s still close enough to the action should you seek it.

One of the benefits of staying in the city center is that you’re outside of the overly touristy Old Town (which is not without its charms!).

shutterstock-zadar-newtown

Yet, you’re able to retreat back to somewhere quieter at the end of the day. The easy access to the beaches is another reason it’s the best neighborhood to stay in Zadar.

As the city center is right in the center of the action with all of Zadar’s popular sights around you, you should expect to pay a little more to stay in this neighborhood. But, with everything so close by you can easily save on your travel costs!

IDASSA APARTMENT | The Best Airbnb in New Town

Perfect for couples who want easy access into the center, this one-bedroom apartment is just 15 minutes from the main bus station. Inside, there’s a living room with sofa bed, equipped kitchen, and free Wi-Fi. There’s also a garden with seasonal fruit and veg. Book five nights or more and receive free bicycles!

City Hostel Zadar | The Best Hostel in New Town

One of the best places in Zadar to stay, City Hostel Zadar offers private rooms and shared six or eight-bed dorms, just 500 meters from the main bus station. Facilities include a common area, bicycle hire,  and airport transfers. Bed linen, towels and Wi-Fi are included.

Hotel ZaDar | The Best Hotel in New Town

This 4-star hotel is just 200 meters from the main bus station. The rooms offer city views, flat-screen TVs, and free Wi-Fi. Some also have a patio or terrace.  Facilities include an on-site restaurant, swimming pool, spa, and bike and car hire services. A Continental breakfast is included.

Things to See and Do in New Town

  1. Go for a stroll through Perivoj Vladimira Nazora, a pretty park inside the Old Town
  2. Spend the day on one of the nearby beaches, such as Kolovare Beach
  3. Browse City Galleria, home to a shopping mall and farmer’s market
  4. Take a walk along the promenade and see the historic Imperial Fountain
  5. Tuck into a local pizza at one of the many nearby pizzerias
  6. Have a sundowner with a view at Caffe Bar Porthos
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#2 City Outskirts –  Best Area in Zadar to Stay in on a Budget

If you’re Backpacking Croatia on a budget, your best bet is to stay outside of the Old Town and travel in when you need to.

The countryside is the best area in Zadar to stay in as it offers a quieter, more scenic alternative while hardly being more than a 15-minute drive from the center.

zadar-river

Are you wondering where to stay in Zadar for one night? There are plenty of hostels and hotels available in the surrounds where you can stay cheaply and get to and from the airport without a problem.

When you stay in the countryside, you have the option to either walk, cycle or take the bus into the center – depending on far out you choose to be. Public transport is reliable and affordable.

Dandelion Boutique Hostel | The Best Hostel in City Outskirts

Wondering where to stay in Zadar on a budget? Dandelion Boutique Hostel offers affordable rooms just 15 minutes from the Old Town and 1 km from the beach. Free parking is available. Budget-conscious travelers will love that they can stock up on supplies from the supermarket across the street. Rooms come with a private bathroom and free Wi-Fi.

Apartments Luce | The Best Hotel in City Outskirts

This four-sleeper apartment in Zadar County Region offers great value for money and plenty of space for families. It consists of one bedroom, a living room with a sofa bed, BBQ facilities, a kitchen, and a garden. Perks include free Wi-Fi, free parking, and a free airport shuttle service.

Apartment Marina | The Best Airbnb in City Outskirts

Enjoy the peace and quiet of the Zadar countryside when you stay at this one-bedroom apartment sleeping four. The Old Town is just 15 minutes’ drive away. You’ll have access to a living area, an open terrace with BBQ facilities, and a garden with fruit and vegetables.

Things to See and Do in City Outskirts

  1. Cycle into the Old Town for a day of exploring
  2. Drive to Kolovare Beach for a day spent sunbathing, swimming and building sandcastles
  3. Take a walk through the nearby Musapstan Forest Park
  4. Take a day trip to explore the surrounding national and nature parks: Paklenica, Krka, Plitvice lakes, Kornati and Vrana
  5. Bungee jump off the Maslenica Bridge
  6. Go river rafting on the Zrmanja River

#3 Kolovare Beach – Best Places to Stay in Zadar for Nightlife

As Kolovare Beach is the main beach in Zadar, it’s no surprise that most of the buzzing bars and beachfront restaurants are located nearby.

During the day, the beach is a wonderful spot for sunbathing, swimming, and sandcastle building. When the sun goes down, there are plenty of vibey cafes, restaurants and beach bars for those looking to enjoy a few drinks while watching the sunset – which are some of the best in the world, we might add!

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Photo: Falco Ermert (Flickr)

Trying to decide where to stay in Zadar for nightlife? If it’s more late-night partying you’re after, you’ll be close enough to the city center and old town.

The main bus station is right nearby but taxis are affordable. There are plenty of buzzing bars and live music venues to discover, but keep in mind that the night clubs are usually only open during the summer months.

Hotel Kolovare | Best Hotel in Kolovare Beach

This 4-star hotel offers affordable luxury just steps from the beach. Two swimming pools may tempt you to stay right here. Rooms come with air-con, a balcony, private bathrooms, and free Wi-Fi. Other facilities include a restaurant, bar, free parking, and free daily breakfast.

Villa Magpie Studio Apartment | The Best AirBnB in Kolovare Beach

Choose comfort and affordability at this AirBnB just 200 meters from the beach and 500 meters from the Old Town. Sleeping two, it offers a living room with a TV, a big terrace and a garden. Stay three nights or more and get bike hire and airport transfers included! Free parking is also available.

Green Hostel | The Best Hostel in Kolovare Beach

Stay close enough to hip and happening Kolovare Beach, just 10 minutes’ walk away. There are both private rooms and shared dorms to choose from. Perks include free Wi-Fi, free city maps, a lovely garden for chilling out, and 24-hour reception for those late nights out. There is no curfew!

Things to See and Do in Kolovare Beach

  1. Hang out on the beach and work on your tan during the summer months
  2. Hit Hitch Bar, a café-cum-club with live bands and resident DJs
  3. Head to Podroom, one of Zadar’s biggest clubs, which features live acts and international DJs in the summer months
  4. People watch with a cocktail at one of the beachside cafes and bars
  5. Travel into the Old Town: The Garden Lounge Bar, Ledana Lounge & Bar, and La Bodega are just a few of the popular nighttime hotspots
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#4 Old Town – The Coolest Place to Stay in Zadar

Thinking about where to stay in Zadar? You simply can’t beat staying in the heart of the Old Town.

Hands down the best neighborhood in Zadar to stay in, the historic Old Town is brimming with Roman ruins, Byzantine churches, coastal promenades, and quirky cafes. Everything you need is within easy reach.

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Photo: aiva. (Flickr)

Hit the nearby beaches during the day and head to the trendy bars and late-night clubs when the sun goes down – the opportunities are endless!

While the Old Town is certainly the best neighborhood in Zadar to stay in (it’s the place to be – and be seen), accommodation here does come with a higher price tag. There are some affordable options though if you know where to look (and you book far enough in advance).

Sea View Studio Apartment | The Best Airbnb in Zadar Old Town

The Old Town is the capital of cool, and this sea-view apartment is easily one of the best places to stay in Zadar. The two-sleeper studio is located on the fourth floor and offers amazing views of the Dalmatian Coast. Facilities include a kitchenette and a modern bathroom.

Downtown Boutique Hostel | The Best Hostel in Zadar Old Town

Stay right in the heart of the Old Town at this boutique hostel. Guests can choose from private rooms or shared dorms with private or shared bathrooms. Perks include free Wi-Fi and free towels. Book a standard double room or a superior room and enjoy a free breakfast!

Almayer Art & Heritage Hotel and Dépendance | The Best Hotel in Zadar Old Town

Opt for affordable luxury in the heart of the Old Town. This 4-star hotel offers en-suite rooms, free Wi-Fi, a garden, and an on-site restaurant. Airport transfers can be arranged at an extra cost. Plus, a wonderful breakfast is included each day of your stay.

Things to See and Do in the Old Town

  1. Have drinks at the Garden Club, set high up on the city walls
  2. Walk to the tip of the peninsula to listen to the famous Sea Organ
  3. Admire the Byzantine St. Donatus’ Church
  4. Uncover history as you stroll the foundations of the Roman forum
  5. Join a free walking tour of Zadar – just give it a Google; there are loads!
  6. Visit St Mary’s Church which belongs to and is run by a Benedictine Monastery dating back to the 11th century. Browse the Permanent Exhibition of Religious Art which includes religious artefacts, ancient tapestries, and more
  7. Watch glass-blowing demonstrations at the Museum of Ancient Glass

#5 Diklo Beach – Where to Stay in Zadar for Families

Similar to Kolovare Beach, Diklo Beach offers a quieter alternative to the north of Zadar. It offers a pebble beach and warm ocean that’s great for family vacations. Sun loungers and umbrellas are available should you need them. Kids will love the tube and banana rides!

Due to its location 4 km away from the city center, Diklo Beach offers much more affordable Zadar accommodation. Plus, fewer crowds which is great when all you’re looking for is a beach holiday. The Old Town is easy enough to get to by car should you want a day of exploring.

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If you’re staying close by, a series of beach bars and restaurants makes it a great place to hang out even after the sun goes down. If you head even further north, you’ll find the residential neighborhood of Kozino which has some excellent family-friendly hotels and apartments.

Apartment on the Beach | The Best Airbnb in Diklo Beach

Deciding where to stay in Zadar with kids?  This convenient apartment right on the beach sleeps up to five guests. It consists of two bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen, and a balcony with sea views. Perks include free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, and a Smart TV.

Villa Triana | The Best Hostel in Diklo Beach

Ideal for families, Villa Triana offers a choice of private rooms sleeping two to four guests. Located on Diklo Beach, it’s ideal for a summer vacation. Facilities include a pool and free Wi-Fi. A host of restaurants and cafes are available nearby. A free daily breakfast is included.

Hotel Delfin | The Best Hotel in Diklo Beach

This 3-star hotel offers family rooms just a few steps from the beach. A public bus stops right outside and offers easy access into the city center every half-hour. All rooms have free Wi-Fi, air-con, a private bathroom, and many have a balcony with a sea view.

Things to See and Do in Diklo Beach

  1. Pack a picnic and spend the day relaxing on Diklo and the many nearby beaches
  2. Browse the nearby stores for souvenirs
  3. Let off some steam with a banana boat ride or tube ride
  4. Rent a jet ski and spend the day on the water
  5. Take the bus into the Old Town for a day of exploring
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FAQ about Finding a Place to Stay in Zadar

Here’s what people usually ask us about the areas of Zadar and where to stay.

What To Pack For Zadar

Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me, packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art I have perfected over many years.

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Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Zadar

Zadar is a stunning port city with so much to offer. Each neighborhood offers convenient access to different sights of the city, whether you’re wondering where to stay in Zadar with kids or where to stay in Zadar for nightlife.

However, as the city is rather small, it doesn’t really matter too much where you stay as you can get around easily by car or public transport.

If we had to choose the best neighborhood to stay in Zadar, we’d have to say the Old Town. Purely because all of the excitement of this Croatian city can be found within its walls. Buzzing bars, ancient ruins, and quirky cafes – all of it.

We hope our Zadar neighborhood guide has been helpful. If you have any questions or you have any recommendations, please leave some feedback in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!

Looking for more info on travelling to Zadar and Croatia?