Vodice
© Vodice Tourist Board

The 10 best things to do in Vodice

Vodice is full of great things to do, with fantastic beaches, wonderful nature and history plus plenty for young people

Written by
Marc Rowlands
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Buzzing with nightlife and beach fun, for its relatively small size Vodice punches above its weight and is packed full of great things to do. Located 60 kilometres south of Zadar and just 10 kilometres from Šibenik, with great access to the rest of Dalmatia and its national parks, it’s a popular summertime destination for both families and a younger crowd. Vodice centres around beach and bar life, with late nights on the menu. Whether you choose to spend them in some of the town’s seafront restaurants, spirited nightclubs or at some of the world-famous music festivals that take place in nearby Tisno, is up to you. Here's a rundown of the best things to do in Vodice.

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The 10 best things to do in Vodice

Hit the beach
© Vodice Tourist Board

Hit the beach

Beach life is an essential facet of summertime in Vodice and the town has one to suit any taste. Plava plaža (Blue beach), which stretches westward from the small outcrop of land immediately west of the town centre (Punta) all the way to Tribunj, is great for families with younger children. Holding a Blue Flag status for the cleanliness of its waters, this pebble beach extends into the sea at an extremely low gradient, making it perfect for even the youngest paddlers. The cafes and bars set back from the beach provide ample places to lunch or escape the sun. Heading in a southeasterly direction from the town centre is a collection of beaches most commonly known as Hangar beach. If you or your children are between the ages of 14 and 35, this is probably where you'll want to hang out. Chock full of people in that age range, it’s sometimes much more of a beach for people-watching and being seen than others in the area. The bars that fringe the beach also have a youthful vibe. If you're looking for somewhere a little quieter, follow Hangar beach until you reach Srima, with its two kilometres of spacious beach. Serviced by a resort, it offers plenty of room and peace, although the absence of shading pines means you have to be well prepared with sunblock and with a plan of escape if you get too hot.

Go wild for nature
@ Ivo Biočina

Go wild for nature

Vodice is perfectly positioned for visiting two of Croatia's spectacular areas of natural beauty. Lying 20 kilometers westward off the coast of Vodice, Kornati National Park offers a topography like nowhere else on the Adriatic. A dazzling archipelago of islands that range from the barren and almost alien-like to the lushly green areas just south of Dugi Otok, Kornati showcase thrilling vistas of countless reefs, headlands, islands and bays. Around ten kilometres inland from Vodice, you'll find the series of interconnected lakes that are the centrepiece of Krka National Park. Here, consecutive runs of waterfalls, formed over thousands of years, gush across stubborn rocks to feed the lakes in the water's descent to the sea. The area is teeming with a variety of flora and fauna, including rare bird species such as osprey, short-toed eagle, golden eagle, Bonelli's eagle, lanner falcon, peregrine falcon, the Eurasian eagle-owl, European bee-eater and griffon vulture (if birds of prey are really your thing, the Sokolarski Falconry Centre near Šibenik will teach you more than you can remember and allow you to meet some of their guests close up). Although Krka is protected, you can still find a few smaller pools where swimming is still permitted (namely, Stinice, Remetić - Pisak and downstream of the Roška waterfall).

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Party 'til the sun comes up
© Nikolina Mimić Dujmović

Party 'til the sun comes up

Because of its popularity with young people, Vodice has a vibrant nightlife that's tough to beat in any comparably small seaside town. If your afternoons by the beach slowly merge into cocktails by the bar, there are after-beach parties daily throughout summer, from 5pm - 9pm, at many of the bars along Hangar beach. Check out Hookah Bar on Blue beach, too. The town has many late-night options, both in the centre and along the beaches, which vary in vibe; some may blast dance music while others feature pop-folk enjoyed by many young Croatians. Live music is also a part of the season-long feature of Vodice street life, so don’t miss an after-dark wander. Located just 5 kilometres from Vodice, in Pirovac, Barbarella's is a 2000-capacity nightclub that’s frequently voted one of the best open-air clubs in the world. Throughout the summer, you can dance until the sun comes up to some of the most famous DJs on the planet. Though most of the club nights are tied to the music festivals happening nearby in Tisno, anyone can buy a ticket at the door for a single night out. Just two kilometres out of Vodice, Hacienda is another alfresco club. Popular with Croatians, it plays more mainstream music that’s better suited to the tastes of locals. It consequently draws a young and much less international audience than Barbarella's.

Eat local, eat well
© Pelegrini

Eat local, eat well

You're not going to run out of food options in Vodice, with quick snacks available from the bakeries, several fast food outlets and of course ice cream or pancakes you can grab to go and walk along the waterside. Among the most distinct fast food options is Sandwich Lab, in the centre, which elevates the humble butty to something most memorable (you can sip on a craft beer here too, while you eat). For a sit-down lunch, pick one of the taverns, known locally as konoba. Konoba Rustika has stellar seafood options, while Konoba Tri Piruna is known for its meats. Konoba Roki is tucked away, but worth finding for the ambience and food. Konoba Guste has a reputation for grilled meats, including steaks, though the prices are closer to what you'd expect for an evening meal. Dinner options include Karmelski Dvori, which is a kilometre and a half inland, but worth the trip for its exceptional steaks, both beef and tuna. Bistro Guloz is quite rustic and informal, but the food is near faultless, has a healthy bent and caters well to vegetarians. Arausa is a restaurant that specialises in seafood, which arrives simply but well presented. If you really want to push the boat out, a trip to the Michelin-recommended Pelegrini in Šibenik will satisfy any foodie.

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See the sea from a different perspective
© Vodice Tourist Board

See the sea from a different perspective

It's almost impossible to get bored of swimming in Vodice's waters, but if you want to check out the sea from a different perspective, there are opportunities aplenty. Kayaking is available in town, perfect for exploring beaches and the nearby islands of Logorun and Lukovnik, which face Tribunj. Perhaps even better is the kayaking trip you can take from the inhabited Prvić island, which directly faces Vodice, and has a gorgeous shoreline. Divers can check out sunken ships, reefs and even aircraft in the nearby seas, available on diving excursions offered by several places in Vodice. Note though that diving is not a year-round pursuit in Croatia. If you want to head out into the vast, blue unknown, you can take a day trip to go deep-sea fishing. The largely sedentary pastime can become a flurry of excitement in an instant if you manage to snag one of the huge tuna, wild seabass or swordfish that live in offshore waters. Boat hire is also available for a more leisurely cruise.

Immerse yourself in history
© Grad Vodice

Immerse yourself in history

From the evidence of early agricultural endeavours and Christian worship to that of the long-held defence against the invading Ottomans, Vodice has several points of interest for anyone keen on history. The small Church of St. Cross, built in 1402, is located in the middle of the tiny peninsula marking the start of the Blue beach. In the town centre, a moment's walk from the marina, the parish church of St. Cross is a few hundred years younger and impressively adorned in the Baroque style. Do go inside, as the altar and its surrounding altarpieces are impressive, featuring frescos of the Holy Family, the Heart of Jesus and saints Vinko the Martyr and Stanislav Kostka. Its close neighbour, the Čorić Tower, is hidden a little down a backstreet, but this fortified tower dating back to 1533 will catch your eye due to its distinct appearance. Unmissable in the town centre, the Monument to the Fallen Soldiers of WWII (main picture) is a classic example of Communist-era concrete memorials. For more on local history, you should take the short trip over to the island of Prvić where you can see St. Mary’s church (1461), the Baroque church of St. Rocco in Šepurine (1620), the summer mansion of local nobles, the Vrančić family, and a visitors’ centre dedicated to the family's famous son, Faust Vrančić, an inventor who died in 1617.

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Soak up a distinctly Dalmatian vibe
© Grad Vodice

Soak up a distinctly Dalmatian vibe

While much of Vodice's events calendar takes place outside of the regular tourist season, the town is especially welcoming to those who come to visit any of these. February is carnival time, with festivities throughout the month leading up to a colourful procession through the streets. One of the country's best mountain bike races takes place here in mid-April. Summertime visitors will see a great deal of entertainment on the streets in peak season, with live music playing a large part. Look out for evenings of traditional Dalmatian acapella singing, klapa, plus free classical music concerts throughout July, August and early September, as well as the annual jazz festival in late July. There are also several fishermen's evenings in the same period, that feature much savouring of locally caught seafood, as the crowds joyfully spill out onto the streets.

Pamper yourself with spa treatments
© Olympia Vodice

Pamper yourself with spa treatments

Vodice is known as a micro-centre of health and wellness tourism, with several institutions used to welcoming visitors, particularly in the field of dentistry. For a more restful and restorative experience, try Olympia Wellness & Spa, whose treatment menu includes bathing in warm waters scented with natural oils, a range of massages (including one with warm olive oil) plus sauna and jacuzzi. Hotel Punta's Spa Centre offers several wellness programmes; its facilities include an indoor swimming pool, three types of baths, beauty treatments and a fitness centre.

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Get active
© Vodice Tourist Board

Get active

Want to work off some of the calories gained in last night's three-course feast? You're not short of options. There are several places in Vodice where you can rent a bike and hop on to explore neighbouring villages along the coast and the incredible views that lie between them. Head inland for a different vista, one of untamed nature; if you do, be sure to look out for the huge Lake Vrana which lies just past Murter on the coastal road to Zadar. Vertikala, an agency located near the start of Blue beach, offers organised trips of rock climbing, trekking and Nordic walking. In summer months, you can also go parasailing and rent various jet-skis.

Take a day trip that’ll be tough to forget
© Andrej Orekhov

Take a day trip that’ll be tough to forget

If you want to be wowed by nature, put the aforementioned Kornati and Krka national parks at the top of your list. If you're more of a city type, Vodice is well-positioned for days trips to some spectacular places. 100 kilometres south, Croatia's second city, Split, is an incredible fusion of Roman history, classic Mediterranean architecture and contemporary living. Everyone should walk through its centrepiece, Diocletian's Palace, at least once. A nearer 40 kilometres south is the picturesque coastal town of Primošten, its postcard-pretty old town surrounded on all sides by the Adriatic, connected to the coast by a thin strip of land. Even closer, the city of Šibenik (pictured) has a delightful old town, ancient churches, atmospheric squares, an old fortress and the unmissable Cathedral of St James, plus a thriving bar and restaurant scene. 60 kilometres north of Vodice, Zadar is a brilliant seaside city with kilometres of buzzing promenade, narrow alleyways and impressive contemporary monuments like the Sea Organ and Greeting To The Sun.

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