I thought my hotel was located in the old town of Zadar which is about 20 min walking distance, 1.6km, from the main bus station. After 15 minutes walking on the sidewalk with cars driving by fast from both directions, I still couldn't see a sign that looked old enough to me. It was a view you would see in any modern city: big roads with lots of cars, high-end boutique shops, tall buildings with opaque picture windows, etc. I couldn't help wonder did I choose the wrong direction again? I stopped in a photo shop to ask for the direction to my hotel and she looked at me like I was a lunatic. "You should take a bus, No. 5, and of course you could always walk if you insist, but it would take at least 30 minutes" she said. A trip in Croatia made me realized that my sense of direction was not as good as I thought it was, so I bought a ticket from her and got on the bus not knowing of which stop to get off. It was my lucky day, I got off the bus by instinct and there it was, Hotel Donat, situated on the grounds of the Falkensteiner Hotels & Resorts Borik, nestled in a large park with pine trees and a pebble beach next to the Adriatic sea.
I got only two days to come out with an itinerary and to get all my hotel bookings done before I could send my application for the Croatia visa (read here), so I picked my hotels by scanning through the prices, internet critics and their locations on the google map. I didn't pay attention to the details of my bookings so when I was told that 3 buffet meals and drinks from the pool bar were included in the room rate (euro$ 81), I was happy even after I finally realized that the hotel was 4 km away from the old town, 6 km from the main bus station. It was a beautiful sunny day and Zadar was my last chance to dip in the Adriatic ocean, I spent the whole afternoon getting suntan while drinking refreshing cool drinks from the pool bar.
The compact old town of Zadar is overshadowed by the surrounding modern architecture. Even in the old town what attracts people the most is the world famous high tech designs, the sea organ and sun salutation, and clubs/bars run by UB40's producer Nick Colgan and drummer James Brown. When St Donat's church (one of the best preserved pre-Romanesque buildings in the world) is no longer in use for religious ceremonies together with the Roman Forum next to it becomes a theme background of an outdoor cafe shop, it is the Venetian lion on the town gate that tells the fading histories of the city while cars drive through it.
Take bus No. 2 or 4 from the main bus station to the old town of Zadar. A bus ticket in one direction costs 8 kuna while a two way ticket costs 13 kuna. Two way tickets are only available for purchase at Kiosks.
Local bus routes: http://www.liburnija-zadar.hr/kolodvor/flash_gradski.php
Intercity bus routes: http://www.liburnija-zadar.hr/prijevoz/flash_hrvatska.php
Searchable timetable (Craotain only): http://www.liburnija-zadar.hr/kolodvor/raspored_linija.php