Šibenik is positioned off the Adriatic coast in Croatia and opens up to the Kornati Islands. The Cathedral of St. James, built in the 15th century and ornamented by 71 faces, is a significant architectural masterpiece and part of the UNESCO World Heritage List. Close by, in the Prince’s Palace, you can explore the Šibenik City Museum with exhibits covering antiquity to the current day. St. Michael’s Fortress has an outdoor amphitheater, with spectacular views of Šibenik Bay and nearby islands.
Šibenik is made up of stone stairways, stone buildings, rock cliffs, cobblestone streets, and historic arches. Built on and with rocks, Šibenik is formed by the sea, sun, sky, and stone, making it one of the most unique cities in Croatia.
Furthermore, this impressive city is the only one on the Croatian coast created by Croats— Dubrovnik and Split, by contrast, were built by other cultures.
The third-largest city in Croatia, Šibenik offers a popular and well-known destination along the Adriatic coastline. This city is dotted with historical sites, seaside views, and vibrant squares—precisely what you would expect from an ancient coastal town in Croatia.
A striking historical building in the Square in the city’s center, the City Hall of Šibenik was constructed in 1533. Its impressive veneer is composed of columns and archways. The first floor houses an incredible local eatery, the outdoor patio providing stunning views of the Cathedral of St. James. While this building was completely destroyed during an air raid in 1943, it was restored and looks just like before it was damaged.
While not precisely inside Šibenik, this National Park is close enough to be included as a highlight destination. It is located just a few kilometers from the city, about 15 minutes by car from the center. This incredible national park preserves a portion of the Krka River and the forest that occupies its banks. Many activities within the park range from scientific to recreational, cultural, and educational.
This park is known for its many waterfalls and cascades, and its star attraction is an incredibly breathtaking waterfall that can be seen from all the paths that encircle it. Visitors can explore streams, waterfalls, lakes, and much more. You can even take a lovely dip in the natural pond underneath the stunning waterfall. This is noteworthy as swimming is not allowed in Plitvice Lakes National Park, a comparable but more popular Croatian national park.
A lovely activity in Šibenik is to just walk around. The historical center is pedestrian-friendly and car-free as the streets are much too narrow for cars. This allows people to amble and stroll at their leisure. Explore the city at your own pace. The heart of the city has many different sites to wander through.
Travel over paved and cobblestone streets throughout the city, pass under gorgeous arches, stone stairways, and tunnels. Many of these locations are full of historic sites, from palaces, medieval churches, mansions, and townhouses. You might also notice that every structure is made from stone.
Šibenik has always had a vital position along the Adriatic coast. This military position made it a much-desired city by differing Mediterranean forces. Anticipating this, city rulers created mighty fortified walls and looming towers. To this day, these fortresses are incredibly well-preserved.
The city of Šibenik contains four fortresses—the Fortresses of St. John, St. Nicholas, St. Michael, and the Fortress Šubićevac—all constructed between the 15th and 17th centuries.
While tourists should visit all of them, the Fortress of St. Michael hosts a concert and theater venue. It overlooks Šibenik and the islands of the Adriatic Sea. If you can attend a performance there, you certainly should!
Šibenik has a rich historical soul, shining white against the tranquil waters of the bay. The stone maze of cobblestone streets and steep alleys is a pleasure to explore.
Can’t Miss: Wander through the streets of stone. Be sure to check out the City Hall and St James Cathedral with its sculpted faces of men, women and children. The St. James Cathedral is a gothic cathedral built in honor of St. Jacob who was Šibenik’s patron saint before he was declared the city’s patron saint. This cathedral is certainly not to be missed when visiting Šibenik due to its grand interior and exterior design as well as its walls which are adorned with golden paintings that reflect light.
Insider Tip: Take an urban hike up to the Barone Fortress for an amazing view and a museum which details how the fortress played a key role in staving off invasion by the Ottomans and what that meant for the section of Croatia south of Šibenik.
Restaurants: Šibenik is also home to Peligrini, which was voted best restaurant and best chef in Croatia for 5 years in a row. Peligrini is known for its fresh seafood dishes, and it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re looking for an authentic Croatian culinary experience.