For consistently high-speed wi-fi access, for those times when you just want to be around other professionals, for printers, lockers and for general modern suite working facilities, it has to be the co-working space COIN. Most if not all digital nomads will find themselves here as it’s the only co-working space in town (at the moment). It’s growing in reputation in Zadar and abroad. It also periodically hosts talks, workshops and social events such as a recent jazz evening. Because it is publically run, and especially targeted at the local community, prices are kept at reasonable rates.
Put Murvice, 16, Zadar, Croatia
Open from Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm
- Public library
For a quiet work space why not pop into the local public library. It seems well run, with toilets, wi-fi, plug points and numerous work spaces. And when you tire of the near-monastic type silence, check out the adjacent café (just walk past the giant chess board) with both interior and exterior tables. Best Moroccan mint tea I’ve had in ages.
- Coffee & Cake
This was one of the first places recommended to me by a Zadarian as a desirable place for work and coffee. It doesn’t disappoint as long as you are aware of your own work habits.
Personally, I prefer to do lighter reading and planning in cafes and those places where music plays overhead. I don’t always find that ambiance conducive to focused concentration, and headphones may not always be the solution. In addition, I do carry around my portable charger for those times when phone and iPad batteries are low and I just can’t get to a plug point.
But Coffee & Cake has plug points, delicious cakes, good drinks including coffee, tea and alcohol. And wi-fi of course. The cosy contemporary feel and look pulls it all together as a light airy hangout that’s open from 7am until 11 pm.
Ulica Brace Vranjanina, 14 Zadar, Croatia
- Zara Beach Lounge. (2022 update – sadly now closed)
Maraschino sundowners, sea waves lashing against the shore as you breathe in the fresh air from comfortable seats on the deck, macchiato also to hand. Work if you want, but you may just want to save this location for a Sunday afternoon unwind. Call it preparing for the week ahead. The only negative is that the food could be better.
Despite its popularity with tourists, Zadar isn’t yet a top destination for major business and international conferences, and the lack of big name five-star hotels perhaps reflects this. Zadar mainly relies on smaller hotels, guesthouses and private houses (see the FT special report on Croatia: ‘Boost for Croatia’s tourism as visitors seek strife-free holidays’ Oct 17th, 2016).
There are times when the calm ambiance of a luxury hotel lounge fits the working bill, despite the sometimes overpriced beverages. Four-starred Hotel Bastion somewhat fills the gap on a smaller, more boutique scale, with the added bonus of a spa and outside seating. Shout out also to Art Hotel Kalelarga and its adjoining café-restaurant. Pricey but nice. Both these hotels are in the Old Town where I spent most of my time.
- Your local hideaway down the road
You’ll find that free wi-fi is readily accessible in nearly all parts of Zadar. It did drop off in one particular café but on the whole, I’ve been able to log in online at most places I’ve stopped for a drink. This includes just down the road from my Zadar apartment.
One such place is Bistro Still down my road which, along with wi-fi availability, served up the most delicious fish and chips – succulently fresh wholesome tuna in this case, complete with tartar sauce, sea-view and more reasonable prices than some other restaurants. So, don’t necessarily dismiss that humble looking café or restaurant round your corner.
There are days when I just want to roll out of bed, go out for a jog nearby, then hide myself away to work and drink my own coffee, jazz or classical music playing (very) gently in the background, or take breaks to listen to BBC Radio 3 or 4. I can get my head down and work with nothing to distract me.
To be honest, there’s always something to distract, but that can be managed. And having a home or even just a room of one’s own with reliable wi-fi is a necessity for most working writers and other independent professionals. My current lovely space was found through Airbnb.
These are just snapshots of what’s available in Zadar, and you will find your own sweet work spot, of course.