How to Get to Zadar: Travel Tips and Tricks

Embark on an exciting journey to Zadar, a gem in the heart of Croatia, with our comprehensive guide. Whether you’re traveling by car, bus, plane, ship, or even train, we’ve got you covered with practical tips and tricks.

From scenic drives and well-connected bus routes to convenient flights and picturesque sea routes, discover the best ways to reach Zadar. Navigate the Croatian landscape with ease, and prepare for an unforgettable adventure in Zadar!

By Car

Quick Tips:

  • Use a GPS or map for navigation.
  • Plan rest stops and carry cash for tolls.
  • Check road conditions and weather forecasts before traveling.
  • Always wear seatbelts and avoid drinking and driving.
  • Expect heavy traffic during summer, especially on weekends.
  • Keep vehicle documents and personal identification handy.
  • Have a contact number for roadside assistance in case of emergencies.

If you’re coming from Slovenia, Zadar is just a scenic drive away. The city is approximately 260 km from the nearest Slovenian border crossings, including Jelšane (SLO) / Rupa (CRO), Petrina (SLO) / Brod na Kupi (CRO), Obrežje (SLO) / Bregana (CRO), or Gruškovje (SLO) / Macelj (CRO).

For the quickest route, hop on the Croatian highway from the Slovenian border and exit at Zadar I. This exit is about 15 km from the vibrant heart of the city.

If you’re up for a more scenic route, consider the toll-free local roads from Zagreb or Rijeka. These routes offer a different perspective of the Croatian landscape but keep in mind that they can get busy during the peak season.

Traveling from the south? No problem! If you’re coming from Split or Dubrovnik, exit at Zadar East (Zadar II) and continue on the local road for about 15 km.

The A1 motorway and the picturesque Jadranska Magistrala coastal road (road D8) are also fantastic routes to reach Zadar.

While on the road, remember to follow Croatian traffic rules and speed limits. Make sure your vehicle is in good condition, and don’t forget your valid driving license and insurance.

A GPS or a good old-fashioned map will be your best friend for navigation. Plan rest stops along the way, carry cash for tolls, and always check road conditions and weather forecasts before setting off.

Safety first! Always wear your seatbelts and avoid drinking and driving.

Be prepared for heavy traffic during the summer, especially on weekends. Keep your vehicle documents and personal identification handy, and have a contact number for roadside assistance in case of emergencies.

By Bus

Quick Tips:

  • Check bus schedules in advance as they change monthly.
  • Purchase tickets from the driver or via the SMARTICA app.
  • Tickets are one-way and cash-only in local currency.
  • Buses from the airport stop at the main station and near Old Town.
  • The main bus station is well-connected domestically and internationally.
  • The bus station is near the railway station at Bregdetti and Ante Starcevic streets.
  • Buses are a cheaper but slower alternative to taxis and private transfers.

The main bus station in Zadar is a hub of connectivity. It links major Croatian cities and even has international connections, especially with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Germany. So, whether you’re coming from Split, Dubrovnik, Sarajevo, or Munich, Zadar is just a bus ride away!

If you’re traveling from abroad, there are regular bus services from major European cities to Zadar. The bus station is conveniently located near the railway station at the intersection of Bregdetti and Ante Starcevic streets.

If you’re landing at Zadar Airport, you’re in luck! The city center is just a short bus ride away. Buses are conveniently timed to align with flight arrivals, and the bus stop is conveniently located right outside the terminal. For just around 3.35 €, you can enjoy a comfortable 25-minute ride to the heart of Zadar.

Buses from the airport make two stops: one at the main bus station and another near the enchanting Old Town. The ticket price remains the same, no matter which stop you choose. You can purchase your ticket directly from the driver when boarding the bus.

Keep in mind that the bus schedule changes monthly, so it’s a good idea to check the schedule in advance. Tickets can only be bought one way and only in cash in the local currency (Euro).

For the most up-to-date information, check out the bus station’s website, which provides timetables for buses to and from Zadar.

While the bus may be a slower alternative to taxis and private transfers, it’s a cheaper option that offers a unique perspective of the local landscape. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride as you make your way to the beautiful city of Zadar!

By Plane

Quick Tips:

  • Check airport bus schedules in advance.
  • Tickets can be bought on the bus or via the SMARTICA app.
  • Taxis are available 24/7 at the airport.
  • Agree on taxi fare before the ride.
  • Pre-book taxis for fixed prices.
  • Tipping taxi drivers is optional.
  • Flights available from various European cities.

Flying into Zadar? Fantastic! Zadar has its own airport, conveniently located just 11 km from the city center. Flights are available from various European cities, including the UK and Ireland. If you’re already in Croatia, there are daily flights from Zagreb and Pula during the summer, with flight times of just 45 and 40 minutes respectively.

Once you land, the city center is just a short ride away. The airport offers public transport services, with the bus stop located right in front of the main airport building. A one-way bus ticket to the city center will cost you 3.30 €. The bus ride takes around 25 minutes.

The bus from the airport makes two stops: one at the main bus station in Zadar and another just outside the charming Old Town. The bus schedule changes monthly, so do check the schedule on the airport’s website in advance. The bus leaves approximately 30 minutes after the arrival of a scheduled flight.

If your accommodation isn’t near one of the two bus stops, you may need to take an additional city bus or taxi to reach your final destination. Tickets for the bus can be purchased on the bus in cash only or online through the SMARTICA app.

If you prefer a more direct route, taxis are available 24/7 at the airport. The average cost to get to Zadar city center is around 26 €, and the ride takes approximately 20 minutes. Zadar taxi prices vary among different operators as there are no set fares; the rate is calculated using a taximeter. It’s recommended to agree on the price with the taxi driver before starting the ride. Pre-booking your taxi is also a good idea so that you know the final price beforehand.

While tipping taxi drivers in Zadar is not expected, feel free to round up your bill if you were happy with the service.

Whether you choose the airport bus or a taxi, you’ll find that getting from Zadar Airport to the city center is a breeze.

By Ship

Quick Tips:

  • Check ferry schedules in advance, as they vary seasonally.
  • Zadar has international ferry connections from Ancona, Italy.
  • Local ferry routes connect Zadar with nearby islands year-round.
  • Summer services connect Zadar with Rijeka and Italian cities.
  • The ferry dock is centrally located but can be busy in summer.

Ahoy, sea travelers! Zadar is also accessible by sea, offering a unique and scenic journey. The city has international ferry connections from Ancona, Italy, with services running a few times weekly outside the main season, and more frequently during the peak season. Operated by Jadrolinija, the ferry service from Ancona is an overnight journey taking about nine hours.

For those of you in Italy during the summer, Gomo Viaggi provides a service from Cesenatico and Pesaro (near Rimini) to Zadar, running from June to August.

If you’re already in Croatia and want to explore the beautiful islands close to Zadar, Jadrolinija operates local ferry routes to and from islands including Ugljan, Dugi Otok, Rava, Silba, Olib, and Mali Losinj, throughout the year.

For a summer sea adventure, G & V Iadera runs a service connecting Zadar with Rijeka, stopping at Silba, Lopar (Rab), and Krk Town along the way. G & V Iadera and MiaTours also operate year-round catamaran routes connecting Zadar and its nearby islands.

For those coming from Pula, Kapetan Luka operates a year-round catamaran service to Zadar, stopping at Unije, Susak, Mali Losinj, Ilovik, and Silba. The frequency of this service varies depending on the season.

The ferry dock is conveniently located in the city center. However, be aware that during the summer, when cars line up to board the ferries, it can lead to traffic jams.

So, whether you’re coming from Italy or hopping over from another Croatian city, traveling to Zadar by sea is a fantastic option. Enjoy the salty sea breeze and the stunning Adriatic views as you make your way to Zadar!

By Train

Quick Tips:

  • Regular trains from Zagreb to Zadar require a transfer in Knin.
  • Summer trains from Vienna, Belgrade, Prague, and Budapest to Split stop in Knin for Zadar transfer.
  • Journey time from Zagreb to Zadar is 7.5 to 9.5 hours.
  • Zadar’s railway station is located next to the bus station.
  • Buses are generally quicker than trains to Zadar.

For those who enjoy the romance of rail travel, there are regular trains from Zagreb to Zadar, with a transfer in Knin. The journey time from Zagreb to Zadar by train is either 7 and a half or 9 and a half hours, depending on the specific train.

During the summer, there are regular rail lines from Vienna, Belgrade, Prague, and Budapest to Split. These trains stop in Knin, where you can change to the local train to Zadar.

The railway station in Zadar is conveniently located next to the bus station, making it easy for you to switch to local transport or a taxi upon arrival.

However, it’s worth noting that while the train journey offers a unique perspective of the Croatian landscape, it’s generally not recommended to travel by train to Zadar, as the bus is quicker. But if time is not a constraint and you’re up for a leisurely journey, the train could be a charming option.

Discover the Wonders of Zadar

Once you’ve navigated your way to Zadar, a treasure trove of experiences awaits you. This historic city on Croatia’s Dalmatian coast is brimming with activities to make your journey worthwhile.

Start by immersing yourself in the city’s unique attractions. Listen to the symphony of the waves at the Sea Organ or marvel at the light show of the Sun Salutation. Wander through the ancient Roman Forum, step into the Church of St. Donatus, and dive into history at the Archaeological Museum and the Museum of Ancient Glass.

If you’re planning a whirlwind day trip, we’ve got the perfect itinerary for you. From sunrise to sunset, experience the best of Zadar’s cultural sites, local cuisine, and vibrant nightlife.

Zadar is also your gateway to the wider region’s stunning landscapes and rich cultural heritage. Embark on day trips to national parks like Plitvice Lakes and Krka, sail through the Kornati Islands, or explore the historic cities of Šibenik and Trogir.

Don’t forget to soak up the sun at Zadar’s best beaches. Whether you prefer the bustling city beaches like Kolovare and Borik or the tranquil island beaches of Ugljan and Pasman, our guide to the best beaches in Zadar has you covered.

Finally, after a day of exploration, retreat to the comfort of Zadar’s top accommodations. From the luxurious Falkensteiner Hotel & Spa Iadera to the charming Almayer Art & Heritage Hotel, find your perfect stay in our guide to the best hotels in Zadar.

So, are you ready to embark on your Zadar adventure? The city is waiting to welcome you with open arms!

About the author

CroatiaWanderlust is the passion project of Dinko, Antonio, and Tomislav. They are the creators of the content on the site, using their combined skills in hospitality, marketing, and content creation to provide a unique and authentic exploration of Croatian tourism. Their work brings you closer to the enchanting beauty of their homeland. For more information about them, visit the About page on the site.

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