The paper investigates the wintertime dynamics of the coastal northeastern Adriatic Sea and is based on numerical modelling and in situ data collected through field campaigns executed during the winter and spring of 2015. The data were collected with a variety of instruments and platforms (acoustic Doppler current profilers, conductivity-temperature-depth probes, glider, profiling float) and are accompanied by the atmosphere-ocean ALADIN/ROMS modelling system. The research focused on the dense-water formation (DWF), thermal changes, circulation, and water exchange between the coastal and open Adriatic. According to both observations and modelling results, dense waters are formed in the northeastern coastal Adriatic during cold bora outbreaks. However, the dense water formed in this coastal region has lower densities than the dense water formed in the open Adriatic due to lower salinities. Since the coastal area is deeper than the open Adriatic, the observations indicate (i) balanced inward-outward exchange at the deep connecting channels of denser waters coming from the open Adriatic DWF site and less-dense waters coming from the coastal region and (ii) outward flow of less-dense waters dominating in the intermediate and surface layers. The latter phenomenon was confirmed by the model, even if it significantly underestimates the currents and transports in the connecting channels. The median residence time of the coastal area is estimated to be approximately 20 days, indicating that the coastal area may be renewed relatively quickly by the open Adriatic waters. The data that were obtained represent a comprehensive marine dataset that can be used to calibrate atmospheric and oceanic numerical models and point to several interesting phenomena to be investigated in the future.