The main urban centre of northern Dalmatia is Zadar, an animated jumble of Roman, Venetian and modern styles that presents as good an introduction as any to Dalmatia's mixed-up history. It's within day-trip distance of the medieval Croatian centre of Nin, and is also the main ferry port for the unassuming northern Dalmatian islands of Silba, Ugljan, Pašman and Dugi otok, where you'll find peaceful villages, laidback and fairly empty beaches, and relatively few package hotels.

The next major town south of Zadar is Šibenik, with a quiet old town and a spectacular fifteenth-century cathedral, and the most convenient base from which to visit the tumbling waterfalls of the Krka National Park. The main natural attraction in this part of Dalmatia is the Kornati archipelago, a collection of captivatingly bare and uninhabited islands accessed from the village of Murter. Further down the coast, ancient Trogir is one of the loveliest towns on the entire seaboard, an almost perfectly preserved example of a Veneto-Dalmatian town of the late Middle Ages.


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