Tucked away among a cluster of islands on the Dalmatian Coast, Šibenik feels like one of Croatia’s best-kept secrets. Its medieval heart rivals Split and Dubrovnik for camera-worthy views – with half as many tourists. Explore a tangle of white streets and go in search of ancient churches and monasteries. Or join the fashion forward locals for a spot of people watching from a Riviera café. From start to finish, Šibenik is a city break destination with boutique style.
A marvellous medieval city on the Dalmatian coast, with captivating views at every turn.
Things to do
As one of Croatia’s oldest native towns, Šibenik’s proud past is alive and well in its streets. A good place to start is St. James’s Cathedral, its white stone walls contrasted against the sea below. Walk up to St. Michael’s Fortress for glorious views over the old town, or breathe in the tranquil atmosphere in St. Laurence’s monastery garden. Other historic sites have been transformed into contemporary creative spaces. The medieval vault at St Jacob’s Cathedral, with its 14th century water wells, is now the Azimut Cultural Centre that stages exhibitions and live performances.
Summer in Šibenik is festival season, where the streets burst with energy from May to September. You could be taking part in an open-air dance off at a salsa festival. Catching international jazz musicians at a Roman amphitheatre. Or even raving to underground bass music at Minerska beach. There’s plenty for the little ones to enjoy too, with the long-standing International Children’s Festival drawing visitors from around the world.
Šibenik stands between two of Croatia’s natural treasures. Head inland, up the Krka River (which is where Nicola Tesla first generated electricity) to Krka National Park. A network of magnificent waterfalls, lagoons and wooded walkways sets the scene for a beautiful day out. You can even swim beneath the lowest waterfall. For something more secluded, sail from Šibenik marina to the Kornati Islands. These uninhabited islets have been whipped into surreal shapes by the waves and the weather, leaving colourful reefs and magical caves.
Listen out for hauntingly beautiful live Klapa music. This traditional folk singing is on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list.
Top tip from SLH