Zadar, Croatia was somewhere that never crossed my mind to visit, mostly because I didn’t even know it existed! One search on Skyscanner and this beautiful destination popped up, it was cheap, it was sunny and beautiful, everything I needed for a long weekend of relaxation.
I went through stages where I thought about cancelling my trip, just due to time, money and overall stress trying to get this fundraising thing sorted, but ultimately I realised that I needed a break. Not just a break from work, but a break from life. So, I packed my little green Fjallraven Kanken backpack and set off to Manchester Airport!
I thank myself every day because it was a truly amazing trip!
Arriving in Zadar – Travelling from the Zadar airport to Zadar Old Town
Every time I travel solo I get super nervous about actually getting from the airport to my accommodation. I really panic about getting stranded or lost and because I was arriving gone 10 pm, I was stressing even more. It was dark, what if it wasn’t safe? What if I got mugged or attacked or lost in the Croatian wilderness?!
None of that happened you’ll be amazed to hear.
Instead, I jumped on the bus waiting patiently outside the airport and got off at the second stop on the route. The airport bus only has two stops, one at the main Zadar bus station and the other in the Old Town, which is where many tourists stay.
I won’t lie, I had another little freakout because then I had to walk in the dark to find my hostel and I thought it was miles away (it was not, I’m just terrible at judging distance from a map). Just around the corner from the bus stop and through a beautiful little arch was the main town and my hostel was literally a 3 min walk down a busy high street. Perfection.
Staying at Zadar Boutique Hostel Forum
I always book into hostels when travelling solo, mainly because it is very cheap but I also love to meet new people from around the world! I can’t say I met anyone in the hostel, it was a pretty quiet time of year, but the staff were amazingly friendly and helpful. Plus, I woke up every morning to be greeted by a paper bag filled with delicious breakfast pastries! I wonderful surprise! (especially when I woke up with a wine hangover on my final day).
I am a bit of a snob though when it comes to choosing hostels and I do tend to go for the more mid-range ones. This time, I decided to go for Zadar Boutique Hostel Forum. It was in the perfect location, had great reviews and looked clean and modern. I have to say, it was one of the best hostels I’ve ever stayed in!
They had 24 hr reception service, always willing to offer you tips on places to go, eat or relax. Plus, they were ready to help you book any excursions you had your eye on. I stayed in a 4 person room, but for my final day I was completely alone, it was like having a private room!
The ensuite shower and toilet were clean and modern, plus the room service came in every day to tidy up and make sure bins were emptied and the facilities were clean. My only regret was that I didn’t use the garden that they had. I was so busy exploring that I didn’t spend that much time in the hostel itself!
Relaxing and exploring in Zadar
The one rule I had for myself when heading to Croatia, was that I was not going to put too much stress on myself to do lots of activities or try and socialise. I only had 3 days in the town and I wanted to take some time to unplug and unwind. This flexible approach meant that I had the freedom to be spontaneous and do whatever I felt like whilst in the moment.
I had originally planned to go to the national park, but I just didn’t want to travel that far, so instead, I booked a day trip on a boat to Kornati, another one of Croatia’s national parks. It was so chilled and relaxing and it meant that I felt like I was making the most of my holiday without tiring myself out!
I did socialise, I met two lovely German guys, we chatted, we drank wine and beer and it was nice to talk to others, but I didn’t force myself to mingle and make friends, it was natural and easy.
I fell in love with Croatia
I really did.
I didn’t expect to feel so at home in Croatia, but It’s been a very long time since I’ve been that relaxed. The people were lovely, friendly and accommodating. Even the tourists, a lot of whom were German (and in my experience, German’s are always very friendly and chatty people!) were happy, smiley and always up for conversation.
Zadar is also super cheap! One meal cost me £7 or 70 Croatian Kuna, for a HUGE pizza and a delicious Fanta! A bottle of white wine cost around £11 and a morning coffee ranged from £1 to £1.50 (and it was the best coffee I’ve ever had in my life).
Overall, I would 100% go back to Zadar, I would even go as far to say that I would consider living there for a time, or even when I’m old and looking for an easier, slower pace of life. As much as I’ve loved my city breaks, this short holiday will be very hard to beat!