When you put Croatia on your travel map, you are sure to face a tough task on deciding what to see. The choice of amazing places is soooo big, but whatever you choose, you will not be wrong. One of our many suggestions is Zadar, so we asked Martina from Boutique Hostel Forum to help with tips on what to do in her beautiful city.
How did you decide to open a hostel?
We had a building with a perfect location, right in the heart of the city and we saw the unique opportunity to make something amazing. In a place that previously hosted a very famous coffee house, we built a business and residential complex that housed the hotel Forum, thus keeping its tradition of the spot where people of Zadar liked to gather. The idea of a place where people meet (from all over the world) lives on with our hostel and coffee bar Forum.
What is the biggest challenge you are facing in running/managing your hostel?
Our biggest challenge is keeping the high quality of our service throughout the year and keeping our guests happy and smiling during their stay in our hostel.
What makes your hostel unique?
From the outside, the building has kept its front intact since it represents a piece of post-WWII architecture. The very serious exterior combines marvelously with a very lively interior, because when you step inside, the play starts. All rooms give you a very modern view of the antiquity since they overlook Kalelarga, Forum, St Donatus’ Church. Or, more concretely, when in Forum, do as the boutique hostel does. Be fiery, be original, be innovative, be different and make a difference. It reflects the way we are – simple but full of relevant, exciting, curious stories to tell. We say it with colors in the rooms and corridors, which remind us of the most beautiful sunset in the world and the sea. We really love our city and we like to show our appreciation by supporting the coolest events in town which you can enjoy right from the window or your room. Whether you are a backpacker, a young couple in love, a group of friends looking for a great time, or travelling with kids, regardless if you prefer solitude and privacy or you’re curious to meet new people, know that Boutique Hostel Forum will find for you just the right room with a view at just the right price in the very heart of Zadar.
What is the one thing that your guests like the most in your hostel?
We love our views. As do our guests. We love them even more, when our rooms turn out to be the best places to witness an event. Indeed, we do have the best seats for anything that happens at Forum – from the FIMBA opening ceremony, Wings for Life race to the finish line of the cycling Tour of Croatia. Our guests love that the hostel was redone in a way that it’s a place where you’ll get your own private corner (even in the dorms), but you’ll also get a chance to join in any chat or activities in the common area, breakfast room, auditorium, our lovely gazebo or sip your favourite beverage in the coffee bar Forum and just enjoy the general everyday buzz of the city. For guests who prefer a bit more privacy, the third floor is the key. The trapezoidal, hexagonal and square rooms truly are a sight for sore eyes.
What makes your destination/city a place everyone should visit?
Roman Forum is the oldest part of Zadar – it’s, in fact, the central street in the historical peninsula- Kalelarga. So, why else should you visit Zadar, a.k.a. European Best Destination 2016? As you browse your guidebooks, you’ll learn that the city has four patron saints, that one of the best views you’ll find by climbing the bell-tower, you’ll find out about the City gates and fortifications. History, legends and stories aside, you’ll read about specific Marasca cherry liqueur produced in Zadar region that used to be a favorite drink on courts around Europe. From parties to concerts in the Arsenal (16th century building) to open-air events at Five Wells Square or by the Roman Forum, the city lives, throbs, and inspires every visitor. But there’s no better music than the unique sound of the Sea Organ, and literally no better sight for sore eyes than the Greetings to the Sunlight installation. Besides the ancient sights and modern not-to-be missed attractions such as Greetings to the Sun and Sea Organ which attract more and more visitors, the city’s calendar is full of traditional events such as the Night of the Full Moon or modern ones such as the Millennium Jump, which continually strive to do even better than the year before.
What is the best time of the year to visit you?
The warmest and busiest months are obviously the summer months – July and August, with hardly any clouds and average temperatures of agreeable 25 degrees. It’s the perfect time to come for anyone who likes it warm and enjoys being a part of the exciting buzz of the city. If you prefer warm weather but also wish to visit the city when it’s a bit less crowded, June and September are an excellent idea. Generally, the weather is equally nice, only the sea might not be as warm, particularly in June.
What would you recommend to your guests as a must see/must do in your city?
We are just a few steps away from Zadar’s most important landmarks, such as St Donatus’ Church and Roman Forum in front of our hostel, that says it all. Basically, everything you won’t want to miss in Zadar is seconds or just minutes away. Watching the sunset is a must in Zadar. Lots of guests ask when exactly is the sunset hour and how to get to the perfect spot in the city to watch it and we are always there to tell them that just a few minutes away at the sun installation Greetings to the Sun they can enjoy the most beautiful sunset.