About 15km north of Zadar, the small town of NIN is one of the few places in Croatia where it’s really worth bringing a bucket and spade: whereas elsewhere in Dalmatia long sandy beaches only exist in the fertile imaginations of tourism propagandists, here they are very real – and are rarely swamped by skin-cooking sunbathers.
Nin is also an important historical centre boasting medieval churches and surviving town walls. Much of its medieval wealth came from the salt trade, and glittering saltpans can still be seen stretching east of town. The residence of the early Croatian kings and a major see of their bishops from 879, Nin fell under Venetian rule in the fifteenth century and was soon threatened by Ottoman advances, until in 1646 the Venetians evacuated the town and then shelled it from the sea, after which it slipped quietly into obscurity.
The town is built on a small island connected to the mainland by two bridges: Gornji most and Donji most (“upper bridge” and “lower bridge”). Donji most is your most likely starting point, across which lies a medieval gateway which leads through to Branimirova, the main thoroughfare, and a delightful mesh of pedestrianized streets.