Situated on a peninsula on the Dalmatian Coast, Zadar is an adorable old town (easily accessed by car) filled with cobblestone streets, cute eateries, and a beautiful views of the Adriatic Sea. The water is crystal clear and emerald, like everywhere else in Croatia. At night the sea will sing to you if you find yourself in the right spot (the sea organ can be heard during the day as well, but it is most soothing by night). Like the sound of whales in the distance, the sea organ plays its music through a series of tubes located beneath the marble steps that lead to the water.
Alongside this mellifluous installation is yet another, unique experience: the Greetings to the Sun. Created by use of a collection of solar panels representing our planets, and arranged to the scale of our solar system, this light display creates a visual enhancement to the pleasing sounds from the sea organ. The planets come to life with an assortment of changing colors creating various patterns, the most impressive of which is the sun. The sun sits closest to the water and dances with colors. This visual spectacle is not to be missed, and provides a lovely and relaxing form of entertainment after the sun goes down. Fortunately, the Old Town of Zadar is extremely safe by night so wandering anywhere should be of no concern.
In the heart of Zadar’s old town are the Church of St. Donatus, the Zadar Cathedral, as well as the only hostel you should consider for your stay: Boutique Hostel Forum.
Every room in Boutique Hostel Forum has a view overlooking both of these buildings, with the ocean in the background. Couldn't ask for a better view!
As if the view and location weren’t spectacular enough, Boutique Hostel Forum excels in its cleanliness, class, attention to detail, and friendliness of its staff. This “hostel” is so good it’s actually rated as a hotel, but for hostel prices. Here, families and businessmen alike coexist with your typical backpacker. Dorms are kept to a maximum of four beds, and are separated so well that you might forget you are sharing it with others.
Our room was made of two bunk beds. Each bunk could be partitioned by curtains, and contained their own reading light and outlets. Two beds will always be out of sight, as a wall divides them, thereby making a four bed dorm feel like a two bed dorm. You'll also be happy to hear that each bed is assigned a big locker for storage.
Apart from the layout of the room, everything is clean, modern, and pleasing to the eye. Plus! Someone will deliver a “To Go” breakfast to your door in the morning.
Boutique Hostel Forum also offers use of a kitchen for anyone, should you get tired of eating out (I know I do during long trips!), and a common lounge.
To this day, this is the best dorm in a hostel that I have ever stayed in — which is saying a lot considering my experiences in a vast number of hostels.
If you're uninterested in “dorm life,” Boutique Hostel Forum also has fantastic private rooms designed for comfort. Check these out:
Although Dubrovnik and Split are certainly, and understandably, the more popular destinations in Croatia, it would be a shame to miss out on the beauty and charm of Zadar. Its location makes it a convenient point from which to visit two of Croatia's stunning natural gems: Plitvce Lakes Natinal Park, and the lesser known but equally impressive Krka National Park. Be sure not to miss Zadar, and the best hostel around!
**Special thanks to Boutique Hostel Forum for kindly offering me a complimentary stay. As always, all opinions are my own.