Everyone loves a beautiful sunset, and they don’t come much more beautiful than sunsets in Zadar. There’s really something about watching the sky turn a kaleidoscope of colours over the ancient city. 

It’s no surprise that watching the sunset is one of the best things to do in Zadar. To make the most of your chance to catch this famous sunset, here’s everything I learned – and you need to know – about the sunset in Zadar.

What’s the fuss about the sunset in Zadar?

If you’ve started doing any research about Zadar (and chances are you have, since here you are!) you’ve probably heard about the sunsets.

Beautiful! Amazing! Magnificent! The best in the world! The literature proclaims.

It’s a pretty big ask for something to live up to this kind of hype. (Just ask Kotor in Montenegro, which was really not my cup of tea)

Watching the sunset in Zadar
Watching the sunset in Zadar

I went to watch the sunset in Zadar totally expecting that it might struggle to live up to the expectations. This was especially since we visited in late September, and had been told that the best sunsets of the season happen in the height of summer.

Ah, I probably shouldn’t have worried. As I sat down, beer in hand, one of the most dramatic sunsets of my life unfolded before my eyes. The sky turned a deep shade of crimson, while the huge moon began to dip down below the horizon. 

One of the most amazing things about the sunset was the speed at which the sun went down. In my home town, sunsets are usually lazy affairs, with the sun’s movement almost imperceptible. Not so in Zadar! I could actually see it moving before me (cue hysterical snapping just in case it went down before I got “my shot”).

Once the sun had dropped below the far off mountains, a kind of hazy light remained. There was still a red glow, but above it was a deep blue. It was light enough to still see boats out on the water, and the flurry of activity as people socialised out on the promenade.

So, yeah, the sunset in Zadar is pretty darn special.

Alfred Hitchcock and the sunset in Zadar

Another thing you might have stumbled upon if you’ve done any reading up on sunsets in Zadar is the mention of Alfred Hitchcock. Apparently, he’s hands down Zadar sunsets’ biggest fan, and despite his praise being more than 50 years old – it’s still repeated frequently.

The waterfront in Zadar
The waterfront in Zadar

I mean, he did call the Zadar, Croatia sunset “the best in the world”. Better even than Key West in Florida! (Never having visited Key West in Florida, I can only assume they’re pretty nice there.)

Unfortunately, Hitchcock muttered this after watching the sunset from the seafront hotel, Hotel Zagreb, which no longer exists. So, it’s hard to replicate his exact view – but you can definitely get an idea of why he was so gobsmacked.

How to see the Zadar sunset

As the sunset turns the entire sky a kaleidoscope of colour, it’s kind of hard to miss it totally. However, you’ll want to snap up a prime location to take in the beauty of it all.

Where to see the sunset in Zadar

On land, there are a couple of popular spots to catch the famous Zadar sunset. 

Promenade

I watched the sunset from the Promenade, seemingly along with everyone else who was holidaying in Zadar at the time. Seriously, before then we’d remarked Zadar was pretty quiet… turns out the crowds had just been in hibernation waiting for the sun to start its journey down.

The promenade is a long pedestrianised zone that is also where the famous Sea Organ (one of my fave things to do in Zadar) is. This is what it looks like by day:

Zadar's Sea Organ
The sea organ – one of the best things to do in Zadar

And this is what it looks like at night:

Sunset in Zadar
Crowds watching the sunset in Zadar

I’d arrive early, maybe an hour before the sunset – especially if you want to snap up a seat at one of the bars.

Our exact location was out on the pier, where by day there are people offering boat tours. We just got some takeaway beers and sat out on the pier to watch the sunset – pretty marvellous, if I do say so myself!

Bell Tower

Unfortunately I can’t tell you I’ve done this myself. However, if you’re a true sunset enthusiast (or just less lazy then I am), apparently a pretty sweet vantage point is to climb up high for a more aerial view of the sunset and rooftops of Zadar.

Helpfully, Zadar has a fair number of churches and cathedrals. Churches and cathedrals = bell towers, and bell towers generally offer pretty amazing views.

Again, having not done it myself I can’t speak personally to the views. However, from my research – St Mary’s Bell Tower offers some pretty epic panoramas. 

If you give this a try, then I’d love to know your thoughts! Let me know what it was like down in the comments.

Aerial view of Zadar
Stock image alert! But hopefully it gives you an idea of whether the climb is worth it!

What time is the sunset?

The time of the sunset in Zadar totally depends on the season. 

We visited in September, and the sunset started around XXXpm, and it was pretty dark by XXpm.

In the height of summer, I’ve read that the sunset starts somewhere around XXpm and in winter around 4.15pm. However, I’d recommend that you check online for the Zadar sunset times – as it would be terrible to miss it!

How long does the sunset last for?

AGES.

One of the things that made the Zadar sunset so unique was how long it seemed to go on for. Although the actual sun seemed to drop at an unbelievable pace, there was a beautiful haze that stuck around for a long time. 

It didn’t go completely dark until at least an hour and a half to two hours after the sunset began.

Again, I do note that this might depend a little on the season.

Amenities nearby

I definitely recommend making an evening out of the sunset in Zadar. It’s one of the most romantic sunsets I’ve ever seen, and it’s somewhere I am pretty sure you’ll want to linger.

There are several bars near the Promenade where you can sit down and have a beer and, I believe, some light food.

Unfortunately, these were all packed to the rafters when we arrived. 

This turned out to  be a bit of serendipity though, as we got a takeaway beer from the pop up bar near the pier. This meant we could sit right out on the pier and enjoy the sunset, beer in hand – pretty noice, if you ask me!

The pop up bar along the promenade in Zadar
The pop up bar along the promenade in Zadar

What else is there to do?

If just seeing the most beautiful sunset in the world isn’t enough for you (I kid, I kid) – there’s more to do! 

Greeting to the Sun

If you’re heading down to watch the sunset from the promenade in Zadar, then chances are you’ll see the art installation – Greeting to the Sun.

This super cool installation is made up of three hundred million (!) glass sheets with LED lights beneath them. In the same way that the Sea Organ is activated by the ocean, the Greeting to the Sun is activated by the light.

The result is a slightly trippy but totally awesome light show. It’s really something that has to be seen – and you can get some amazing photos!

Greeting to the Sun
Greeting to the Sun (Shutterstock)

Sunset cruises

Watching the sunset from the land is great, but you know what’s even better? Seeing it from the sea! I love a good sunset cruise, and I can’t think of anywhere better to do it than in Zadar, Croatia. 

Whether you’re solo and fabulous, looking for a romantic date idea or wanting to cruise with your best friends, a sunset cruise in Zadar is a great idea.

Sunset Cruise in Zadar
Sunset Cruise in Zadar

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