Basic development potentials

The Zadar County forms the developmental vision of a social-market economy in the existing territorial framework. Polycentric and balanced development is a key element of overall development. Urban, rural and island space complement each other and create a unique space of good living, all based on the broad partnership of all our local communities. Comparative advantages such as good traffic connections, natural beauties and values ​​and central position on the Croatian Adriatic coast are the starting points for the development of the Zadar County based on EU development policy goals:

  • Smart growth through stimulating development, innovation, education and digital society,
  • Sustainable development with competitive growth,
  • Inclusive growth through combating poverty and promoting employment.

The length of the Zadar County coastline represents 22% of the total Croatian coast, with 116 islands, of which 17 are inhabited and with the fact that 11.6% of Croatian territorial sea area belongs to the Zadar County.


The Zadar County occupies a very important place in the Republic of Croatia with its geo-traffic position and plays an important role in the traffic connection between the northern and southern parts of Croatia, as well as in road, sea and air traffic. By building a highway, the Zadar County hinterland is better connected with the coastal area, while the modernization of the seaports makes it easier to connect the inhabited islands to the mainland. Railways directly enter the industrial and storage area of ​​the port of Zadar, i.e. the liquid (petroleum) and bulk storage (mainly soybean) warehouses. The Gaženica industrial-warehouse and cargo port area is optimally located in relation to the city and major traffic routes of highway, rail, sea and air traffic.

Zadar Airport is only 7 km away from the port of Gaženica directly connected by the four-lane road D424 Zadar, 17,6 km with the A1 motorway (Zadar II - Sveti Rok - Bosiljevo - Zagreb) and from Zagreb by motorway with all neighbouring European countries. Port of Gaženica is the only port on the Croatian coast from which special cargoes (platforms and wind turbine propellers) can be further delivered - thanks to the fast road descending directly into the harbour, and currently the wind power plant construction is intensified throughout the coast. By railway (Like line) the port is connected with the region, and from Zagreb with all the neighbouring European countries. Railway line Lika: Zadar - Knin - Gospić - Karlovac - Zagreb is 424 km long. The modernization of the railways is a challenge and great investment potential in this area.

The Zadar County Port Authority, whose founder is Zadar County, manages county and local ports (total 108) while the Zadar Port Authority manages the Port of Zadar.

The newly built passenger and cargo port Gaženica created conditions for simultaneous loading and unloading of passengers and cars. Fishery and ferry harbour cruise port, cargo, RO-RO and container port and Gaženica passenger port enabled simultaneous boarding and disembarkation of passengers, cars and cargo for:

  • Six ferries on local lines of 50 to 150 m,
  • Three vessels in international navigation of 150 to 200 m long,
  • Three cruisers on round trips of 250 to 400 m long,
  • as well as the possibility of accepting RO-RO ships on the same docks.

The construction of a modern passenger port aims to develop Zadar as a homeport for cruise ships. The Port Authority of Zadar chose the operator to manage the central building of the terminal for international passenger traffic, the coastal area near the operational terminal and the parking lot. The contract was awarded for a period of 20 years to Zadar International Port Operations Ltd. (founded in Zagreb in August 2017 by Global Ports Netherlands B.V. from the Netherlands or else Turkish Group and the largest port operator Global Ports Holding).

The fact is that the traffic of general cargoes has stagnated and declined for years, also globally. Thus, the direction of development is such that container transport, as safer, higher quality and more economical, but also ecologically more acceptable way of transport, replaces it.

The construction of the container terminal at the port of Gaženica is planned in accordance with the urban plan of the City of Zadar, the Urban Planning Plan for the Cargo Port and the Master Plan of the Port (2006). Container transport is therefore a logical and only possible way to develop the management of the port basin further. Close to the new business area Crno (400 ha), modern Zadar airport and highway, along with the planned projects and their implementation and integration, the container terminal will absolutely change the image of Zadar. It will open the Zadar region to investors and have an unimaginable impact on the future development of Zadar County.

In October 2019, with more than 600.000 passengers, Zadar Airport registered 14.74% more passengers than in the same month in 2018. The Zadar Airport will be able to accept long distance flight planes (e.g. B 747-400) aimed at the extended runway project that envisages a comprehensive reconstruction and extension of the 700-meter runway. Along with comprehensive development and reconstruction project of the airport, that includes the renovation of the terminal building, apron and flight control total project value is approximately around 177.000.000 EUR. By strengthening the Zadar Airport, we are strengthening the entire tourism sector. The development of Zadar Airport with a focus on the extension of runway has been included on the list of strategic projects of the Republic of Croatia. Besides the modernization of the railway and the connection with Gaženica port, the goal is to achieve intermodality of traffic. In the area of ​​Zadar County, near Gaženica port and Zadar Airport, there are completely infrastructurally equipped business zones, ready to accept investors. Near the Port of Zadar, there are following business zones:

  • BZ Lonići - Bibinje 50 ha
  • BZ Gromica - Bibinje 250 ha
  • BZ Zemunik Donji - Smoković 70 ha
  • BZ Crno 400 ha; BZ Murvica Jug 68 ha
  • BZ Poličnik - Grabi 55 ha
  • Including warehouse-cargo space of the company Kepol Terminal Ltd. for the storage and sale of chemicals and solid oil derivatives within the Gaženica industrial zone with a capacity of 60.000 m3.

Development of tourism with the emphasis on removing its fundamental weakness - seasonality needs significant support for the creation of new tourist products by using cultural and natural heritage by raising the quality of accommodation capacities and supply in general. In the Zadar County Spatial Plan, the areas for tourism development, located mostly on the western part of the County, have been identified, which is an important precondition for launching investments in this sector. Special emphasis has been placed on the development of health tourism (the area of ​​the town of Nin - Nin Mud, Biograd na Moru - Orthopaedic Hospital and Ugljan Island - Psychiatric Hospital). In addition, the construction of new high category accommodation facilities and tourist resorts located along the coast and on the islands (Zadar - Petrčane and Šepurine, island Pag - Novalja) are planned with complexes that include the construction of marinas and other accompanying tourist facilities.


The Wind Atlas of the Zadar County provides reliable, high quality and representative official data for the economic and entrepreneurial sector, which has an interest in building wind farms in this area. Given that this is a very important financial investment (about 1.3 - 1.5 million EUR per 1 MW of installed wind generator power, today's wind generator technology is 3 to 5 MW per generator). Wind atlas data are crucial in the investment decisions. Over the last few years, several other wind farms were built in the County, i.e. Benkovac, Obrovac and Gračac. The total nominal power built and put into use of wind turbines in the Zadar County is 103.2 MW, with a significant reduction of harmful CO2 emissions (about 130.000 tons per year), which also contributes significantly to the policy of the new 20-20-20 Energy Strategy. The total value of wind power investments in Zadar County is over 150 million EUR. It is important to note that, apart from constructing and putting into use wind turbines, other wind turbine projects for the total nominal power of wind turbines of up to 372 MW (projects with location and construction permits and projects that are under preparation for construction) are ongoing. The total value of these projects is estimated at about EUR 500 million.

In the area of ​​Zadar County, the potential of solar energy amounts to about 4.9 million GWh of irradiated energy of total solar radiation per year. Taking into consideration the construction of solar power plant of 1.5 to 2 million EUR per MW of installed power, we can conclude that this is a significant potential financial investment in the energy sector in the Zadar County area.

CONCLUSION: A good geostrategic position, political stability, positive investment climate, developed business zones represent comparative investment advantages of the Zadar County in comparison to other regions of Europe.