A Travel Price Comparison for Croatia Zadar vs. Rijeka for Food, Nightlife, Beaches, and Families

Should you visit Zadar or Rijeka?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Should I visit Zadar or Rijeka? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Zadar

Zadar is a laid back, relaxed, and coastal town. With stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around. Other popular activities here include scuba diving and snorkeling, beaches, and shopping.

Rijeka

Rijeka is a slow-paced, coastal, and accessible town. It's a large city, so you'll find plenty of things to do around town. And you can't forget about the nightlife, food, and shopping.

Zadar and Rijeka: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Nice resorts
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Scenic old town
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Things to Consider
  • Less attractive beach


Is there more to do in Zadar or Rijeka?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Rijeka than Zadar, as it is bigger with more sights, attractions, and activities for visitors. Rijeka is more popular for its nightlife and big city activities, while Zadar is known for its food, resorts, scuba diving & snorkeling, beaches, historical sights, and impressive beauty. Rijeka is more touristy than Zadar and is known for being a transportation hub in Croatia with a ferry and cruise ship port. It is also home to Trsat Castle. Zadar is popular for its historical sights and waterfront setting.

How is Zadar different from Rijeka?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Rijeka and Zadar. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Zadar or Rijeka?

Zadar
Rijeka

Plenty of people visit the good sights and museums in both Zadar and Rijeka.

Zadar offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. The old town is like a living museum, with city walls and a historic gate. The Church of St. Donatus, Zadar Cathedral, and the Zadar Archaeological Museum are all fascinating places to visit in town, but if you're looking for the most unique sight, make sure you check out The Sea Organ and The Sun Salutation.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Rijeka. Historical sights around town include Trsat Castle, the Petar Druzic Stairway, and Our Lady of Trsat. There are also museums such as PEEK&POKE Computer Museum and the Governor's Palace and Maritime and Historical Museum.


Is the Food Better in Zadar or Rijeka? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Zadar
Rijeka

Zadar is a well-known place for its local cuisine and restaurants. Also, Rijeka is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for its restaurants.

Dining out in Zadar is an experience not to be missed. The town is filled with outdoor cafes that serve up a healthy and delicious selection of recipes. The ingredients are fresh and local with olive oil and seafood making frequent appearances on the menus. Prices are also reasonable.

There are plenty of up and coming restaurants around Rijeka. It's known for its Mediterranean cuisine which includes more than seafood. There are local vegetable specialties in the area as well including asparagus and white truffles. Codfish stew and cuttlefish risotto are also popular.

Is Zadar or Rijeka Better for Nightlife?

Zadar
Rijeka

Rijeka is a well-known place for nightlife and partying. Also, Zadar is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for its evening party scene.

Rijeka offers plenty to do in the evening. The city center has plenty of bars and clubs. Restaurants also stay open late and are popular places to hang out for locals and tourists alike.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Zadar. The town comes to life at night when the bars and restaurants fill with people chatting and socializing. This is an easy place to enjoy the evening as almost all of the nightlife venues are within a five minute walk of each other.

Is Zadar or Rijeka Better for Resorts?

Zadar
Rijeka

Zadar is a well-known place for its resorts. However, Rijeka is not a resort destination.

Vacationers can choose from a number of terrific resorts in Zadar. If you want a beachfront resort, there are a number of nice options outside of town.

Rijeka is not a resort destination.


Is Zadar or Rijeka Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Zadar
Rijeka

Zadar is very good for snorkeling and scuba diving. However, Rijeka is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

It's worth going snorkeling or scuba diving in Zadar. This is an easy place to snorkel because the water is so clear. There are also half and full day snorkeling trips that take you to some of the best spots.

Rijeka is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Is Zadar or Rijeka Better for Beaches?

Zadar
Rijeka

Zadar is a well-known place for the beach. However, Rijeka is not a good town for its beaches.

Zadar is a very popular place to visit for its beaches. There are some nice beaches outside of town with one of the most famous being Sakarun Beach, which is part of the Zadar archipelago. There are a handful of beaches nearby that are pebbly and popular with the locals. These include Puntamika Beach and Beach Borik.

Rijeka is a good spot to see the beach. There are pebbly and gravelly beaches in the area, with the best beaches to the west of the city. You'll need to take a public bus to reach most of them.

Is Zadar or Rijeka Better for its Old Town?

Zadar
Rijeka

Zadar is a well-known place for its historic old town charm. However, Rijeka does not have a historic old town.

There is a nice variety of sights in the old town of Zadar. The small old town is filled with charm and character. It's a walled medieval town that can easily be explored in a few hours.

Rijeka does not have a historic old town.


Is the Shopping Better in Zadar or Rijeka?

Zadar
Rijeka

Both Zadar and Rijeka are good shopping destinations.

Zadar offers some nice shopping areas. There are small, boutique shops around the old town that sell designer merchandise. There are also shopping malls on the outskirts of town.

Rijeka has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. There are many shopping centers, retail stores, and souvenir shops around town.

Is Zadar or Rijeka Better for Families?

Zadar
Rijeka

Rijeka is a well-known place for its family-friendly activities. Also, Zadar is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for its kid-friendly activities.

Rijeka is a very kid-friendly town. The city has a number of outdoor activities for kids like nature parks and nearby beaches. There's also a puppet theater as well as the Astronomical Center of Rijeka.

Zadar is a family-friendly town. It's fun to explore the small medieval old town, but the kids will also appreciate getting out of town and enjoying the nearby activities. It's definitely worth visiting Pag Island or any of the other natural settings that are nearby. There are also several beaches near town. In town, make sure you hear the Sea Organ and dance at the Sun Salutation.

Is Zadar or Rijeka Better for Couples?

Zadar
Rijeka

Zadar is a well-known place for couples. Also, Rijeka is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for romance.

Zadar is a very popular place to visit for couples. This charming seaside town is fun to explore as a couple. There's a walled medieval town that is small and easy to wander around. There are also nearby beaches and great restaurants to explore. A highlight of a visit is watching the stunning sunsets by the water.

Rijeka is a nice destination for couples. It's a gateway to the Croatian islands. Many couples enjoy walking down the waterfront promenade or dining at a nice local restaurant. There are also beaches, parks, and historical sights to explore.


Is Zadar or Rijeka Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Zadar
Rijeka

Zadar is a well-known place for backpackers. Also, Rijeka is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for backpackers and budget travelers.

Zadar is a very popular town for backpackers and budget travelers. There's no shortage of hostels in town and you'll find backpackers, students, and budget travelers everywhere.

It's common for backpackers to visit Rijeka. There's no shortage of affordable hostels around town for backpackers and budget travelers.

Is Zadar or Rijeka Better for Students?

Zadar
Rijeka

Zadar is a well-known place for students. Also, Rijeka is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for its student-friendly activities.

Zadar is very popular with students. The laid back lifestyle and low cost of living make this a great place to be a student. It's a relaxed environment with many nearby places to explore.

Plenty of students visit Rijeka. It's a laid back seaside city that makes a nice semester abroad destination. As a gateway to the Croatian islands, it also offers transportation connections to other points of interest.

Is Zadar or Rijeka Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Zadar
Rijeka

Both Zadar and Rijeka offer good public transit options.

Zadar has a few public transit options. There are 11 bus lines that travel around town.

Rijeka has some public transit options. KD Autrolej buses provide transit throughout the city.


Is Zadar or Rijeka a more walkable city?

Zadar
Rijeka

Zadar is a well-known place for its ease of walking around. Also, Rijeka is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for its walkability.

Zadar is a very walkable destination. The old town is particularly walkable and can easily be explored on foot in a few hours.

Rijeka is somewhat walkable. Parts of the city are more walkable than others.

For even more information, also check out Is Zadar Worth Visiting? and Is Rijeka Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Rijeka or Zadar?

How long in Zadar or Rijeka?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Zadar or Rijeka to fill your time. In our opinion, Zadar has more to see and do, so we recommend that you spend more time in Zadar than Rijeka. However, 1-2 days is a good amount of time to spend in either destination.

Families should spend more time in Zadar than Rijeka. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Zadar, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Zadar than Rijeka. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Zadar that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Zadar than Rijeka if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Zadar.


  • How many days in Zadar or Rijeka? Ideal Length of Stay
    Zadar 1-2 
    Rijeka 1-2

One day in Zadar or Rijeka?

Many travelers enjoy the scuba diving and snorkeling and shopping when visiting the destination of Zadar. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. One day is often enough time to do most activities.

In Rijeka, many people enjoy the shopping and museums that this coastal destination offers. This town offers a variety of activities to choose from. Because of this, one day is usually enough time for a trip here.

A weekend in Zadar or Rijeka?

Zadar is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. With all of its activities, you can easily fill a weekend here. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Rijeka. For many, it makes a great getaway for a weekend. This would be the perfect place to spend a weekend, as it has just the right amount of activities. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.


Five days in Zadar or Rijeka?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Zadar. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Rijeka is a fun place to experience. Travelers enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the destination of Rijeka. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything.

A week in Zadar or Rijeka?

Travelers enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the relaxed destination of Zadar. This town offers a variety of activities to choose from. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

You'll find food and shopping around the slow-paced destination of Rijeka. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Tours for Seniors to Croatia, The Best G Adventures Tours to Croatia, The Best 3-Day Tours from Split, and The Best 3-Day Tours from Dubrovnik.


Which place is cheaper, Rijeka or Zadar?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Zadar is $95, while the average daily cost in Rijeka is $101. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Zadar and Rijeka in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Zadar $54
    Rijeka $54
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Zadar $108
    Rijeka $108
Compare Hotels in Zadar and Rijeka

Looking for a hotel in Zadar or Rijeka? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Zadar


Hotels in Rijeka


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Zadar Hotel Prices and Rijeka Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Zadar $10
    Rijeka $17

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Zadar

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Zadar:

  • Private Transfer from Zadar Airport (ZAD) to Borik Zadar: $37
  • Private Transfer from Borik Zadar to Zadar Airport (ZAD): $37
  • Private Transfer from Zadar city to Zadar Airport: $41
  • Zadar Airport to Zadar City Private Transfer: $41
  • Private Transfer from Zadar Hotels to Zadar Airport: $42
  • Private Transfer to/from Zadar Airport: $46
  • Private Transfer from Zadar Airport to Zadar : $49
  • Transfer from Zadar Airport to Zadar City: $50
  • Private Transfer from Zadar Cruise Port to Split Airport (SPU): $65
  • Private Transfer from Zadar Airport (ZAD) to Zaton: $68
  • Zadar Airport: Private Transfer to/from Petrcane: $70
  • Private Transfer from Zadar Airport (ZAD) to Zadar Port: $70

Is it cheaper to fly into Zadar or Rijeka?

Prices for flights to both Rijeka and Zadar change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Zadar $30
    Rijeka $36

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Zadar

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Zadar.

  • Small Group Cooking Class: $39
  • Private City Tour and Cooking Class: $97
  • Zadar Private City Tour and Cooking Class: $99
  • Cooking class and shellfishing with a local on the island of Preko: $206
  • Gourmet Sunset dinner on board: $220

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Zadar $20
    Rijeka $9.48

Tours and Activities in Zadar

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Zadar are as follows:

  • Zadar historical guided tour: $16
  • Old Town Walking Tour: $16
  • Zadar guided sightseeing bike tour : $16
  • Zadar Historical Guided Walking Tour: $16
  • Old Town Highlights Guided Walking Tour: $18
  • Group History Walking Tour in Zadar Old Town: $20
  • Guided City Walking Tour: $22
  • Look Around Zadar - Don't Look Up: Cinematic and Musical Sunset Walking Tour: $22
  • Early Morning Walking Tour of the Old Town: $24
  • Old Town Evening Group Guided Walking Tour: $24
  • Zadar City Tour 120min Walk: $24
  • Evening Walking Tour of the Old Town: $26

Tours and Activities in Rijeka

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Rijeka are as follows:

  • Drava Sup Exploring Adventure: $44
  • History of Military Forts Guided Tour: $65
  • Tour the underground with no experience required: $65
  • From Golden Island of Krk Tour: $93
  • Pula, Rovinj, and Panoramic Istrian Coast Tour: $122
  • Istria Highlights Tour from Rijeka or Pula: $123
  • Private Guided Walking Tour: $128
  • Private Walking Cultural Tour of Rijeka: $237
  • Ucka Mountain: Guided Hiking Tour: $452
  • Private Sunset Boat Tour: $636

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Zadar $12
    Rijeka $17

Sample the Local Flavors in Zadar

Also in Zadar, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Krka Waterfalls, Food & Wine Tasting, & Old Town Tour: $52
  • Krka Waterfalls, Food & Wine Tasting, Boat Ride & Zadar Old Town: $53
  • Craft Gin and exclusive brandies in unique distillery: $60
  • Wine Tasting with Finger Food: $65
  • Private City and Wine Tour in Zadar with Eco Tuk Tuk: $99


When comparing the travel costs between Zadar and Rijeka, we can see that Rijeka is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in Europe, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Zadar Expensive? and Is Rijeka Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Zadar or Rijeka?

Rijeka has a larger population, and is about 98% larger than the population of Zadar. When comparing the sizes of Zadar and Rijeka, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Zadar or Rijeka?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Zadar or Rijeka in the Summer?

Both Rijeka and Zadar are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities. The beaches, snorkeling, and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Zadar this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Rijeka for the beaches, the city activities, and the family-friendly experiences.

In the summer, Zadar is around the same temperature as Rijeka. Typically, the summer temperatures in Zadar in July average around 26°C (80°F), and Rijeka averages at about 24°C (75°F).

It's quite sunny in Rijeka. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Zadar. Zadar usually receives more sunshine than Rijeka during summer. Zadar gets 345 hours of sunny skies, while Rijeka receives 288 hours of full sun in the summer.

In July, Zadar usually receives less rain than Rijeka. Zadar gets 28 mm (1.1 in) of rain, while Rijeka receives 71 mm (2.8 in) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Zadar 26°C (80°F) 
    Rijeka 24°C (75°F)

Should I visit Zadar or Rijeka in the Autumn?

Both Rijeka and Zadar during the autumn are popular places to visit. Many travelers come to Zadar for the shopping scene and the natural beauty of the area. Also, many visitors come to Rijeka in the autumn for the city's sights and attractions and the shopping scene.

In October, Zadar is generally a little warmer than Rijeka. Daily temperatures in Zadar average around 18°C (64°F), and Rijeka fluctuates around 16°C (60°F).

It's quite sunny in Zadar. In the autumn, Zadar often gets more sunshine than Rijeka. Zadar gets 200 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Rijeka receives 167 hours of full sun.

Zadar usually gets less rain in October than Rijeka. Zadar gets 79 mm (3.1 in) of rain, while Rijeka receives 87 mm (3.4 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Zadar 18°C (64°F) 
    Rijeka 16°C (60°F)

Should I visit Zadar or Rijeka in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Zadar and Rijeka. Many visitors come to Zadar in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Also, most visitors come to Rijeka for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months.

Zadar is much warmer than Rijeka in the winter. The daily temperature in Zadar averages around 8°C (47°F) in January, and Rijeka fluctuates around 5°C (41°F).

Zadar usually receives more sunshine than Rijeka during winter. Zadar gets 128 hours of sunny skies, while Rijeka receives 96 hours of full sun in the winter.

In January, Zadar usually receives more rain than Rijeka. Zadar gets 83 mm (3.3 in) of rain, while Rijeka receives 71 mm (2.8 in) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Zadar 8°C (47°F) 
    Rijeka 5°C (41°F)

Should I visit Zadar or Rijeka in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Zadar as well as Rijeka. Most visitors come to Zadar for the beaches and the natural beauty during these months. Also, the spring months attract visitors to Rijeka because of the beaches and the activities around the city.

In the spring, Zadar is a little warmer than Rijeka. Typically, the spring temperatures in Zadar in April average around 15°C (59°F), and Rijeka averages at about 13°C (56°F).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Zadar this time of the year. In the spring, Zadar often gets more sunshine than Rijeka. Zadar gets 212 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Rijeka receives 177 hours of full sun.

Zadar usually gets less rain in April than Rijeka. Zadar gets 66 mm (2.6 in) of rain, while Rijeka receives 87 mm (3.4 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Zadar 15°C (59°F) 
    Rijeka 13°C (56°F)

Typical Weather for Rijeka and Zadar

Zadar Rijeka
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 8°C (47°F) 83 mm (3.3 in) 5°C (41°F) 71 mm (2.8 in)
Feb 9°C (48°F) 68 mm (2.7 in) 7°C (44°F) 62 mm (2.4 in)
Mar 11°C (52°F) 75 mm (3 in) 9°C (49°F) 77 mm (3 in)
Apr 15°C (59°F) 66 mm (2.6 in) 13°C (56°F) 87 mm (3.4 in)
May 20°C (67°F) 56 mm (2.2 in) 18°C (64°F) 81 mm (3.2 in)
Jun 23°C (74°F) 51 mm (2 in) 22°C (71°F) 102 mm (4 in)
Jul 26°C (80°F) 28 mm (1.1 in) 24°C (75°F) 71 mm (2.8 in)
Aug 26°C (79°F) 50 mm (2 in) 24°C (74°F) 101 mm (4 in)
Sep 22°C (72°F) 61 mm (2.4 in) 20°C (68°F) 102 mm (4 in)
Oct 18°C (64°F) 79 mm (3.1 in) 16°C (60°F) 87 mm (3.4 in)
Nov 13°C (56°F) 108 mm (4.3 in) 10°C (51°F) 114 mm (4.5 in)
Dec 10°C (49°F) 100 mm (3.9 in) 6°C (44°F) 92 mm (3.6 in)