« Croatia - Nine Days Itinerary

Day 3 – Zagreb to Zadar

Having finished all the sights of Old Town Zagreb, we were on our way to our first Adriatic Sea-side town – Zadar. We had checked the bus timings at the Tourist Information Center the previous day and there are buses running every hour between Zagreb and Zadar that takes approximately 4 to 4.5 hours. So before a long journey we decided to go back to Ivana Tkalčića for a quick Bijela Kava (HRK 10).

All national buses arrive and depart from Autobusni Kolodvor (Bus Station) – this is the term referred to main bus station in every city of Croatia. To reach the bus station, we took the tram #6 going to Sopot and after about a 20 minute ride, we reached at Autobusni Kolodvor.

Trams run every 10-15 minutes, but some tram routes overlap so it’s best to check the tram map and see if you can catch an earlier tram which has a different number but stopping at the destination. All trams stop either at the main square – Trg bana J. Jelačića – or at Glavni Kolodvor (train station). The signs on the trams has a number and usually three lines of text – top one is where it originated, middle one is the current tram station and last line is the destination. If you don’t see this then just ask the tram driver for the correct direction it is going in or just ask for the stop.


Zagreb Tram Map
Zagreb Tram Map (click for bigger version)

The ticket counters are very friendly and most of them speak English. All bus stations have an information window so you can check the bus timings and prices before proceeding to the ticket counters. Having reached about 45 minutes early for the 10:00 am bus, we decided to grab a quick sandwich and wait for the bus.

Sandwiches at stations
Don’t expect the food at the bus station stalls to be anything more than bread, slice of turkey and a slice of cheese. Unless you want to go to specific stalls that sell some good pizza slices or anything but a sandwich!

Our bus arrived at 9:40am and after loading the baggages, we settled in. The bus rolled out sharp at 10:00am.

Notes on buses
  • All bus services charge for each baggage which is anything between HRK 1 to HRK 7 (cash only).
  • The space in the overhead bins is not enough for a backpack too, although you can tuck in a small purse or a small backpack under the seat in front of you.
  • Some buses have toilets in them.
  • All buses make a 10-15 minute halt somewhere on the way – either at a bus station of another city or a gas station.
  • Tipping HRK 1 to 3 to the driver is encouraged, depending on the number of bags you have.

After about 2.5 hours, the bus made a 10-minute stop at a gas station close to the A1 highway. There was a cafe that served coffee, hot chocolate, sandwiches and ice-cream. A quick bite to eat or sip coffee and we were back on the highway A1 on our way to Zadar.

If you decide to drive from Zagreb to Zadar, make a stop at the Plitvice Lakes National Park for some stunning views of the waterfalls and the lakes. To reach Zadar, take the highway A1 and after taking the “Zadar” exit, follow the signs to Center (you can see the word ‘Center’ on the sign boards or just follow the sign with a circle that has a dot in it.)

We arrived at Zadar at about 2:30pm, and the bus station was buzzing with teenagers going home from school. An inquiry at the information gate of Autobusni Kolodvor Zadar, we waited for about 15 minutes for Bus #2 to the city Center. It costs HRK 8 per person and in about 20 minutes you are at the ‘Center’, which is right outside the walls of the Old Town.


The beautiful Old Town is fortified and there’s a gate right next to the bus station. We made our way inside the cobbled streets and headed to Zadar’s Tourist Information Center. Having not booked a hotel or apartment in Zadar, we stopped at the TI, right on Narodni Trg (main square) to inquire about available apartments. The lady at the counter spoke fluent English, German, Croatian, Russian and Italian as soon as we asked about a hotel or apartment, she made a quick phone call and within 5 minutes an old woman stopped by and took us to see some ‘Sobe’ she was renting. A couple of hundred feet and we were brought in to this old building with three vacant apartments rented by her – one on the ground level and two on the third floor. We took the one on the ground level for HRK 300 or about $60 a night.

Here are the contact details of the good woman who rented the apartments:

Zadar Apartment
Zadar Apartment

A very small room with not much space to move around, still had all the basic facilities like sink, double-bed, refrigerator, microwave, coffee-maker, etc. The worst part of the apartment was the bathroom – a tiny ‘room’ with no particular shower area. The whole tiny bathroom was a shower area and also had a commode! And this is the outside of the room:

Zadar Outside of Apartment
Zadar Outside of Apartment

We settled in and then headed out to the worlds-only Sea organ. On the northwestern corner of Zadar’s Riva (seaside promenade) just a few steps from the Ancona-Zadar ferry station is a remarkable piece of urban architecture. Opened in April 2005, the world’s only Sea Organ (Croatian: Morske Orgulje), designed by architect Nikola Bašić, is one of the most memorable sights in Zadar, Croatia. Within the perforated stone stairs that lead to the sea are pipes with whistles that generate sighs when the sea waves pushes air in them.

Sea Organ, Zadar, Croatia

Sounds of the Sea Organ (Morske Orgulje) in Zadar, Croatia. May 2011


The effect is unique and harmonic and if a ferry is passing by then the sounds are loudest. The sculpture is seventy meters long and has thirty-five organ pipes built under the concrete; as you move along the promenade the sounds and harmonies change.

Zadar Sea Organ
Zadar Sea Organ


We spent some time sitting by the steps of the Sea Organ and soaking in the sounds of it. Luckily for us, some ferries were docking in and out of the harbor which made some waves in an otherwise calm sea. The sounds are the loudest when a ferry passes by or if the day is windy.

A long walk on the Riva lead us to the eastern side of the town; from where we got inside and strolled the city, buying some more postcards, checking out some souvenir shops and just experience this beautiful town.

By the time we were done walking around, I was experiencing some redness in my eyes so we went to the pharmacy and they suggested going to the hospital for the doctor’s checkup, since they don’t have over-the-counter eye drops. The day was almost over and I knew that the hospital would be closed so I went back to the apartment and put some Visine in my eye to reduce the redness.

It was time for dinner and headed out to Kornat restaurant (mains starting from HRK 50, Liburnska Obala 6, Zadar 23000), right next to the bus station, facing the Adriatic Sea. This is one of the most recommended restaurant in Zadar.

After a hearty dinner, it was almost sunset time which is best seen from the Sea Organ. So a quick 7 minute walk from Kornat we reached back to the Sea Organ to experience one of the most beautiful sunset view in the world.

Sunset at Zadar's Sea Organ
Sunset at Zadar's Sea Organ

Right next to the Sea Organ is the huge “Sun Salutation” – solar panels that during the day absorbs the sun’s rays and during the night create spectacular play of light. Wait until it’s dark and you can experience this dancing light event.

Zadar's Sun Salutation
Zadar's Sun Salutation

It was a nice 20 minute walk back to the apartment through the narrow lanes of Zadar. We called it a day and looked forward to experience a new bright, sunny day in Zadar.

Total Costs

Note: All values in USD, unless otherwise mentioned, are approximate and based on the exchange rate of USD 1 = HRK 5 at the time of publishing. Each cost is for one adult.

What Cost Notes
Zagreb to Zadar Bus HRK 106 or $21 4 hours, per person
Morning coffee HRK 10 or $2 For one person
Sandwich at bus station HRK 10 or $2 For one person
Apartment in Zadar HRK 600 or $118 For 2 nights
Kornat restaurant HRK 340 or $66 For 2 people


« PREVIOUS – Day 2

Zagreb Sights

Second day in the capital city.

Day 3

Zagreb to Zadar

Travel from Zagreb to Zadar & day there.

« Nine days in Croatia

Day 4 – NEXT »


Coastal town of ‘Sea Organ’.


Travel On The Dollar