A few weeks ago I inquired (in the Croatia forum) whether 2 days in Zadar was too much. I'm here to report that it was hardly enough. Zadar is enchanting. It seems mostly overlooked by tour groups so the old city and Roman ruins are uncrowded. But what makes it special is the relaxed atmosphere and the beauty of its location. Granted the weather was perfect: sunny days and balmy nights that make you want to walk or sit along the promenade until much too late in the evening. And Zadar has the Sea Organ, something I thought would be unbelievably cheesy but is, in fact, mesmerizing. It is a series of tuned pipes installed beneath the promenade and unseen but not unheard. The pipes are activated by the motion of the sea and make the most lovely, haunting sounds. If a boat is passing by, it is louder; in the morning when the sea is quiet, the Sea Organ merely murmurs. We found ourselves drawn to the promenade at all hours just to listen and enjoy the sea and the air and the company of others drawn for the same reasons. We did bestir ourselves for a city tour and had a most excellent guide: Sime Botica of Art & Nature Travel. He was personable, knowledgeable, and fun. You can contact him at www.art-and-nature-travel.com. Don't miss Zadar. When you get to the craziness of Dubrovnik, you'll remember Zadar fondly.
I'm glad you enjoyed Zadar. When I visited a few years ago, it was more crazy than Dubrovnik, because there was some sort of "race" event in town, and the place was mobbed. I had no clue about this and only lucked into a room in a great location at the last minute because someone else canceled.
For whatever reason, I just couldn't fall in love with the place. I was probably disappointed that clouds obscured the sunset that Hitchcock so famously bragged about so I never got to see it. In any event, it just goes to show that we all have different tastes and likes in our travel destinations!
I'm so glad you liked Zadar. My first visit was ages ago, I think in the 1980s, and I had an allergic reaction to something--probably some industrial discharge--that had me sneezing constantly until I left town the next morning. I don't remember seeing the lovely historic district or the waterfront, just sniffling and sneezing. My return trip was also brief, but I was able to spend at least a solid four hours wandering around, and I would like to go back. It's a lot more laid-back than some of the other coastal spots.