In most Croatian cities that face the sea, the Riva is usually a public "runway" where people go to see and be seen dressed in their trendiest outfits, always accessorized with an ice-cream cone. In Zadar, the Riva is a path called Petra Kresimira IV through a sort of waterfront park between Old Town and the sea, more garden walk than sidewalk. At night Zadar's beautifully landscaped Riva is a hive of activity, with a few vendors' stalls, traditional a cappella groups singing as they stroll, and folks getting exercise. By day, the Riva is a park and beach where people aren't shy about stripping down and taking a dip. The Riva also goes past Zadar's university, which overlooks the sea. Founded in 1396, it is the oldest university in the region and the oldest in Croatia. Tip: When the sea is angry, Riva traffic moves off the stone promenade and behind the grassy park area that borders it except for those who don't mind getting soaked by crashing waves.

Midway along the Riva, you'll come across The Sea Organ, a one-of-a-kind pipe organ that employs air and water movement rather than an organist. It is difficult to classify the Morske orgulje (sea organ) as anything but an art installation with its smooth, wide, white-stone steps and ever-changing audience of passersby who come to marvel at the sea's musical talent. The exhibit is a source of constantly changing sound created by the organ's 35 pipes, which have underwater whistles. Sea motion drives air and water through the whistles' openings, producing an endless string of sounds that vary according to the force and speed of the waves and that is best described as a mellow whale-cello duet. The organ was designed by architect Nikola Basic and built by experts from Zagreb and Murter Island. It was installed in spring 2005 and won the European Prize for Urban Space shortly thereafter.

Tip: The Sea Organ now has backup in the form of "Greeting to the Sun", a solar-powered sculpture that collects energy during the day and releases it in the form of dancing light beams at night.