Why go to Zadar?
See (and hear) the magnificent Sea Organ, which is arguably Zadar's most famous attraction
Because most ships dock during colder months, you might miss the chance to take advantage of the fantastic local beaches
Spend the day touring Roman ruins and medieval cathedrals in this historical, walkable town
Zadar Cruise Port Facilities?
There's a nice walk from the sea organ along the Western Quay, which has benches facing the water, used by locals as a picnic lunch spot. You'll find souvenir shopping opportunities, restaurants with beer and food, money exchange capabilities and Internet connectivity (wired and wireless) in the center of the Old Town, about a 15-minute walk from the dock. The Tourist Office is at Mihe Klaica 5, in the center of town (tel: 023-316 166).
Good to Know?
Many Europeans vacation in Croatia, including Zadar and nearby Pag Island, for its beaches and nightlife. However, as most cruise ships visit this port outside the summer peak season of July and August and don't overnight in port, cruise travelers may not get the chance to experience these major tourist attractions.
Walking is the only way to move around the compact Old Town, where there are few cars on village streets. Most cruise passengers will confine their stay to the Old Town unless they are on a ship tour or their ships are in port for eight hours or more.
For tours outside of town, ask for planning assistance at the tourist office in the Old Town, which also has bus schedules from Zadar to other towns in Croatia. The main bus station is a short walk outside the Old Town. It's a busy place, as nearly every bus traveling up and down the Croatian coast stops at Zadar, but destinations may be out of reach for cruise passengers on short visits.
There is also a ferry port on the eastern edge of the Old Town. Ferry schedules to nearby islands vary by day and season; check Web site for schedules.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money?
The local currency in Croatia is the Kuna. (Check XE.com for the latest exchange rate.) Merchants and restaurateurs will grudgingly accept euros, but almost none will take U.S. dollars. It's best to use a credit card wherever possible for the best exchange rate, though you'll want to change a small amount of money into Kuna for attraction admissions and inexpensive purchases. If your ship is stopping in Zadar and Dubrovnik, you will need a little Kuna in both Croatian cities. I spent about $30 in the two ports, and nearly half of that was for the 70-Kuna entrance fee to walk the city walls of Dubrovnik.
There are ATM machines and exchange bureaus in the center of Zadar's Old Town, a walk of about 15 minutes from the cruise-ship dock. The tourism office in the center of town will direct you.
The official language is Croatian, though just about everybody speaks fairly fluent English.