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Only a handful of miles from Zadar, the tiny old village of Kozino (population 482) nestles on top of a long, gentle hill covered in pine forests, vineyards and olive groves. A stroll down the hill leads you past a quaint little church, whose bell-tower dominates the old village.

Emerging from behind the last row of houses a magnificent view of the sea and the islands breaks in front of you. From there a narrow, winding road takes you down a gentle slope and through the fields to the new part of Kozino, that lies stretched along the rugged coast.

Even at its busiest (the first three weeks in August), this new part of the village retains its island-like sense of remoteness, but with the old-town centre of Zadar being less than a 20 minutes drive away.

Aside from sunbathing, swimming and snorkelling, this wonderful location makes an ideal base for exploring - both its immediate surroundings as well as the numerous sights and national parks in the region.

Our rental accommodation in Kozino is approximately 2km (1.3miles) distance from Petrcane, only a 20-30min stroll on the footpath that winds through the fields and olive groves situated between the two villages.

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Just a few minutes drive from Kozino, (or preferably a pleasant afternoon stroll through the fields!), Petrcane has a perfect blend of vibrant atmosphere and rustic, old-fashioned spirit. Charming alleyways of the old village form a small maze framed with traditional Dalmatian stone houses. Stop and sneak a peak into their hidden-away courtyards decorated with fig trees and colourful oleanders, or keep on towards the old village harbour.

This turns into a lovely sea-front promenade, lined with modern, attractive villas and family houses that remain mostly hidden away behind their verdant gardens and front yards planted with fragrant pine, lemon and palm trees.

Petrcane has a post-office, several restaurants and cafe-bars, a few well-stocked food shops, and a number of stalls that sell local fruit, vegetables, souvenirs and toys. Hire a dinghy or a bicycle to explore the surroundings, take a riding lesson from the local riding school or just laze the day away on a beach.

Sitting on one of the promenade’s benches, or dining on a terrace of one of the sea-front restaurants, you can enjoy the views of the large sandy bay with the village harbour and the pine-clad peninsula that embraces and shelters it from winds. The lush green islands of the Zadar archipelago lace the horizon, providing a spectacular backdrop for the setting sun.

On a more lively side Petrcane is host to the annual Garden Festival, taking place at the beginning of July. To find out more about the Garden Festival and related music and art events in Petrcane and Zadar visit the official website of The Garden Zadar

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