Why Sibenik? Because it is a lovely little town with huge cultural significance for Croatia. Because of its UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Because of the beautiful islands in front of it, islands which have some unique and fascinating stories to tell. Because of the incredible nature just outside of town. Find out which reason is the best for you by checking out our guide written by a local who will tell you where to go, which sights to visit, what to eat and how to generally have an incredible time in Sibenik. You won’t find a more detailed overview of the city anywhere else!
THE ULTIMATE GUIDE FOR SIBENIK TOWN
(written by a local)
First mentioned almost a thousand years ago, Šibenik is the oldest native Croatian town on the coast. A gateway to some of the country’s most beautiful spots – Šibenik offers all you need. In the last few years, the city has become immensely popular because of it’s historical monuments, beautiful beaches and domestic cuisine. Just a little over 10 kilometres away from Krka National Park – in the heart of the city are two UNESCO World heritage sites! Great weather all the way from May to September, sites seen in the mega-popular show Game of Thrones, brilliant views and amazing waterfalls – Šibenik and its surroundings are just the things you want to see during your vacation!
What’s the weather like in Šibenik?
Šibenik has a moderately warm climate, with typical features of the Mediterranean climate. Winters are mild, just a few days in the year with a temperature below zero. The summers are mostly hot with air temperature mostly above 30 degrees Celsius. The temperature of the sea in July and August is usually between 22 and 26 degrees Celsius, which is ideal for swimming. May, June, September, and October are also months with high temperatures of air and sea suitable for swimming and sunbathing. Of course, snow on Christmas happens every 10 years (if you’re lucky), and if you want to avoid the crowds, May or September are the months you want to spend here! Rain won’t spoil your vacation, as the city gets precipitation just a few days in the space of four extremely warm months.
What to see in Šibenik?
In Šibenik, a day is definitely not enough to see everything you really need to see. A lot of really amazing things are hidden in this historical city, but a „must-see“is, of course, the Cathedral of St. James and St. Nicholas Fortress – two UNESCO World heritage sites. Šibenik is also an important access point for natural wonders such as the Krka National Park and the Kornati Islands.
St. James’ Cathedral
This UNESCO World Heritage site (named in 2000) bears witness to the considerable exchanges in the field of monumental arts between Northern Italy, Dalmatia and Tuscany in the 15th and 16th centuries. The monument is built in Gothic and Renaissance style, and definitely worth your time! Constructed entirely of stone from four Croatian islands: Brač, Korčula, Krk and Rab, with the reputation of being the world’s largest church, built completely of stone, without brick or wooden supports.
The Cathedral is undoubtedly a masterpiece of its principal designer, Juraj Dalmatinac. Its most unusual feature is the frieze of 71 heads on the exterior walls at the rear of the building. The portraits – placid, annoyed, comical, proud and fearful – are depictions of ordinary 15th-century citizens.
A unique structure – with the interior shape exactly corresponding to the interior.
Are you a Game of Thrones fan? In Season 5 Episode 9 – the St. James’ Cathedral doubles as the all-powerful financial institution, the Iron Bank, where Arya Stark eavesdropped on a conversation between Lord Tyrell and Tycho Nestoris.
St. Nicholas’ Fortress
It’s no wonder why Šibenik is known for its fortresses – the city boasts four of them, and considered by many to be the most impressive is the fortress of St. Nicholas, built at sea – with only a narrow path linking it to the mainland. This monument, which dates from the 16th century, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2017.
Croatians all along the coast lived in fear of invasions from the Ottomans over centuries. Šibenik was defended by these four fortresses – and St. Nicholas guarded the narrow channel into the city from its vantage point on the tiny island of Ljuljevac.
It is one of the most valuable and best-preserved examples of defence architecture in Dalmatia. Brick material, that made the fortress – was considered to be most resistant to cannonballs, while the foundations are made of stone.
Just remember that the only way to access the fortress is via the official boat tour from Šibenik Riva – the trip starts at the pier „Krka“ and lasts for a half an hour. During the boat ride through the St. Ante channel, you will get to know the historical and natural sights of this part of Šibenik. The fee is 130 kuna per person.
St. Michael’s Fortress
A medieval fort situated on a steep hill above the old historic centre of Šibenik, St. Michael’s Fortress was named after the oldest church in the city – which was located in its walls. It was built during the Middle Ages, and – as you will see for yourself, it provides just a breathtaking view of Šibenik and its surroundings. St. Michael’s Fortress is called the most prestigious open-air stage in the Mediterranean, because shows, concerts and other evening events are held there. You can buy a single ticket, or – we suggest, get for 50 kunas a combined one for St. Michael’s and Barone Fortress, which also provides you with an awesome view of Šibenik and the sparkling blue sea.
National Park Krka
Want to see some amazing waterfalls inside an untouched natural part of the country? National Park Krka is the place to go – and just enjoy. Just a little over 10 kilometres from Šibenik, it is named after the Krka River – and the famous Skradinski Buk falls are one of Croatia’s most famous sights.
You can also visit the small island of Visovac and Roški Slap waterfall. In the entrance ticket a boat trip through the park is included, so that’s a great way of seeing much of the Park.
We haven’t told you the best part – if you want to dip in the water, you can! In some locations of the Krka National Park swimming is allowed, so be sure not to forget your swimming suit or trunks!
You can take a bus ride to the lovely village of Skradin – just 8 kilometres off Šibenik, and take a guided tour from there to the National Park. For full entry to all areas of the park, tickets cost 200 kunas for adults in July and August, and 110 kunas from April to June and September & October.
If you are coming by car, there are five official entrances, the two main are Skradin and Lozovac. If you arrive via motorway A1, you can see the signs to take the exit you need – and once you are off the highway you have different options to enter the park.
National Park Kornati
A unique cluster of 150 islands, islets and cliff spread over the central part of the Adriatic Sea – something you can’t miss while staying in Šibenik. It is called the „bluest corner of the Adriatic“, where the blue colour of the sea stands out even more in contrast with the white-greyish rocky ground which prevails on the islands. The Kornati is a „must visit“ destination for boaters on their journeys over the Adriatic, as they are the right choice for modern Robinsons.
You can take an organised tour from Šibenik – the price is around 35 to 40 euros per person and includes a boat ride, welcome drink, entrance ticket to the Kornati National Park, lunch (fish or meat, salad, bread, wine or juice), and a tour guide.
Swimming, diving and snorkelling are allowed. You can also enjoy hiking because it is easy to access the hilltop view locations. Just remember – the summer heat can be unbearable, so don’t forget to bring a hat and other sun protection products, because there isn’t a lot of shade on the islands. Other activities include recreational fishing (with a permit), wild bird and animal watching.
Bunari – Four Wells
The very centre of Šibenik, close proximity to the Cathedral of St. James, hides a plateau with an old water supply facility referred to as the Four Wells, its entrance opposite the entrance to the Cathedral, behind high stone walls. It was used until the middle of the 20th century.
After a few decades during which it was forgotten and abandoned, conservators reconstructed all four stone well crowns, renovated the floor and gave it its former appearance. The area can receive several hundred people and is ideal as a summer stage for small concerts, shows, etc.
Beaches in Šibenik
If you want to swim in the city or somewhere around, there is a variety of beach all along the riviera. A long walk or a quick car ride – and you’re there.
Banj city Beach
This is a beach situated not far from the city centre, with a view of the old Šibenik square. It’s a small-pebbled beach, sloping and a good choice for a rest with children. The sea is crystal clear, and the beach itself holds the international Blue Flag award for the cleanliness of the sea. It’s a cult beach of Šibenik Riviera, worth visiting and spending a hot afternoon.
Jadrija city Beach
Jadrija city beach is located in the nearest Šibenik suburb – and has been one of the most popular places for swimming and sunbathing for almost a hundred years. It’s has a convenient connection with public transport, it’s usually crowded in the afternoon, so hurry up to find your spot!
Solaris sandy Beach
A famous sandy beach of the Solaris Beach Resort of Šibenik – it’s located 8 kilometres from the city of Šibenik. It’s widely regarded as one of the best sandy beaches of Croatia.
Brodarica Rezalište Beach
A stone and gravel beach located at the northeastern end of the town, overlooking the opposite lying Solaris Resort. It has a very comfortable entry into the sea, and there is a separate swimming area in which particularly children can swim safely. You can also play water polo on the beach. There is a possibility of renting pedal boats, boats, canoes and kayaks. The beach has lifeguards as well as changing rooms and showers. Parking is available.
A peaceful little village before – nowadays Žaborić is the largest weekend settlement in this area. 10 kilometres south of Šibenik, it offers natural bays, sandy and pebble beaches, as well as crystal clear water! Natural shade is provided from the background dense pine forests, so rest and relax at Žaborić.
Šibenik was before considered to have had not a lot to offer when it comes to nightlife, but in the past years there have been some steps forward, so with some new clubs and alternative places – there might just be something for you – listening to music, easy dancing or hard partying.
You can pick between local music called „klape“, who sing domestic songs often in the Dalmatian dialect, as well as pop singers and electronic music.
It’s located in the old town’s centre and often has a variety of tourists because Azimut was established to promote various cultural content. Beautifully decorated, with a DJ in the night or a live band.
It’s pictured as a hang out place, with Croatian song nights and theme evenings.
Fjaka Beach bar
A lounge bar that offers a variety of cocktails for a good price. You can sit out at the sun during the day or enjoy a pitcher of beer and have a good party all through the night.
Beach Bar Shark
A beach club in the resort of Žaborić. Great offer, terrific atmosphere attracts domestic and foreign tourists. Situated at a peaceful bay, bathed in sun with crystal clear sea and a beautiful beach – it’s all you can wish for. House music, cocktails, and delicious seafood are yours to choose from.
First of all, have a nice swim, relax with a cocktail – and then enjoy the beautiful sunset from this restaurant’s wonderful terrace. Then order delicious food, there’s a variety of choice, whether you enjoy pizza, pasta or seafood. Reasonable price and very good service. Located in Žaborić.
The most famous place in Šibenik, situated near the Dalmare shopping centre neighbourhood. Domestic songs, house music during the weekend, it’s a place where you can dance until the morning. Not open in the summer.
Caffe bar Vagabundo – Brodarica
Beach Bar Vagabundo is situated on the walkway of Brodarica, just 5 kilometres off Šibenik. Relax overlooking the sea having a nice drink, and listen to live bands and a night out that can span until the early morning hours.
Aurora club (Primošten)
One of Croatia’s largest and most famous clubs, one of the finest resorts on the Croatian coast, Aurora is situated on the hills of the town of Primošten (20 kilometres from Šibenik)about 2 km from the central downtown area. It is built in the classical Mediterranean style and characteristic for its simplicity, bright colours, flat roofs, stone walls, terraces, swimming pool, gardens, palm trees and extravagant greenery.
The club is open from June to September each year, in high season every night from the middle of July till the end of August. The Club is comprised of two different levels, including 2 dance floors, 5 bars, open air dance floor, swimming pool, vip lounge, trendy Lounge room with pizzeria and steak house.
Where to eat in Šibenik
Last year’s winner of the prestigious Michelin star – as one of just five in Croatia, Restaurant Pellegrini in Šibenik is just the place you want to have a great meal. In a charming and romantic location, with friendly staff and exquisite wine, don’t miss it! Pelegrini is much more than just a restaurant today. Throughout the years they have become recognizable by numerous collaborations with small Croatian producers, on whose products they base their culinary philosophy.
Experience great homemade Italian food – Antin Gušt serves you dishes that are freshly made and authentic. It has everything you could ask for – great drinks, tasty dishes and a relaxed atmosphere. For more variety, they also serve Croatian, international and Mediterranean food for you to enjoy. Enjoy a wonderful evening in the outdoor seating area. On cooler days they have a heated terrace, which offers a comfy atmosphere and a perfect safe haven from the cold. Antin Gušt also has an air-conditioned interior, so you can cool off here, no matter the weather.
Tavern Vinko is a family-style restaurant situated at the village Konjevrate in the Šibenik countryside. Only 4 km away from National park Krka, entrance Lozovac and 15 km from the town of Šibenik in the direction of the town Drniš. What gives them the greatest pleasure is a satisfied customer, who wishes to come back to enjoy the ambience, to relive once again the experience and to taste the traditional food offered by their family-style restaurant.
Pappar grill is a spacy and modern decorated restaurant, a place where you can enjoy in great meat dishes and other specialities – of domestic origin. It’s an ideal location for various events, offering you delicious steaks, pork and lamb. It’s interior is designed in the style of pepper.
An ideal place in Šibenik where you can eat real Dalmatian food, the traditional „spiza“, such as tripe, liver, iota or grilled lamb. If you’re looking for meat, the famous „ćevapćići“ are also on the menu here, as well as the t-bone steak. Don’t miss it!
Public transport in Šibenik
Autotransport Šibenik is the city’s municipal bus service. Buses are operating from 6:00 to 22:00. important routes for visitors are the no. 3 (which runs from the city centre uphill to Šubićevac, passing the 16th-century fortress on the way), the no. 6 (to the Solaris hotel complex), and the no.5 (to Brodarica, jump-off point for the island of Krapanj).
The best place to catch these buses is the stop right beside the main market (tržnica), where there is a kiosk (Open 07:00 – 14:00, Sat 07:30 – 13:30. Closed Sun) selling tickets and a timetable detailing departures (watch out for reduced services on Sundays). Single tickets on most lines cost 15 kunas, some longer routes 25 kunas.
You can reach Autotransport Šibenik if you dial 060 368 368 (price per minute is 1,74 kunas/min from a telephone and 2,96 kunas/min from a mobile phone.
Their website is: https://www.atpsi.hr/
Tips and tricks
- We have mentioned that you can get to the national parks by bus, but if you want to have the commodity and be „your own boss“, it’s recommended to rent a car. You won’t need it in the city, but for a trip – it’s more than a good choice.
- While visiting the parks and other rocky places, please – don’t wear flip-flops. Comfy non-slip shoes are the thing you need. A lot of stone steps along the way, so don’t let it be „we told you so.“
- In the centre with no shade, on your journeys through the islands – always have a bottle of water. Newspaper stands and small shops all around the city are the places to get it.
- Prepare Croatian money. The currency is Croatian kuna (HRK) and one euro is worth usually a tiny bit less than 7.5 kunas. Keep that in mind when exchanging money because generally speaking euros are not accepted. Smaller businesses and owners of private accommodation may be open to accepting euros, though.
- Pretty much every cafe has free Wi-Fi. Ask the waiter for the password if it’s not on your bill.
How to blend in with the locals?
You know how they say it – Dalmatian people are easy-going, and they don’t like to do things in a rush. Sitting in a cafe? Wait, the service will come, just relax. And notice how it can always be better, or the other way around. Yeah, in Šibenik – locals like to complain. But for stuff like „it’s too hot“, or „it’s too cold“, so if you hear „ajme meni“ or „oh dear“ – it’s just the way it goes around here.
Šibenik is proud of its sport – one of the world’s legends Dražen Petrović is a native. Widely considered to be one of the best Europeans who ever played in the NBA, Petrović tragically died in 1993, just 29 years of age. He started in his hometown club of Šibenka, and rose to fame with winning the silver medal for Croatia at the 1992 Olympics, and playing NBA basketball with the Portland Trailblazers and New Jersey Nets. There is a basketball court in his honour next to the Šibenka basketball hall at Baldekin – and his bronze statue, showing him sitting on a bench with a basketball. You can take your picture sitting next to the Croatian legend. Here you can also visit the newly opened Caffe Bar Mozart because the world used to call Dražen Petrović “The Mozart of basketball”.
If you are not just into sightseeing, exploring or drinking coffee in the sunny centre of the city, there is a variety of activities, mostly during the summer months. A wide choice for you or your children, Šibenik and its surroundings can offer you something different. Here is our pick.
1. The International Children’s Festival
For 62 years – Šibenik has been hosting the International Children’s Festival, which involves kids in theatre, film, music, puppetry and visual arts for two weeks each June. The most interesting part is that the streets of the city become a stage! Squares and major landmarks have its participants holding workshops in subjects such as dance, graphic design, comics and video. A lot of activities are in Croatian, but there is plenty of international focus – where the common language is English. Foreign theatre companies are regularly invited each year to perform, so if you are in Šibenik with your kids, there is a chance you’ll get to see a live performance from a theatre of your own country!
2. Solaris Aquapark
If you and your young ones are looking for a relaxing day with an aqua adventure – then the Solaris Aquapark, open to all visitors in the Solaris Beach Resort, is the perfect place. Children can let loose in perfect safety over 8000 square metres. Among the attractions are slides, waterfalls, jets and sprinklers, as well as a fairytale cave. Home-made ice cream is waiting for you to relax while sitting on a shaded bench. This is the first Park of its theme in Croatia, which can hold up to a thousand people at one time! Take the lazy river, sit under the big water barrel, and enjoy the water attractions which will cool you off during the hot days.
3. Sokolarski Centar
Just a ten-minute drive from Šibenik you can find the modest village of Dubrava, which holds an attraction called the Sokolarski Centar. It’s a wonderful place, an educational site as well – set up by Emilio Menđušić, who has also tapped in the centuries-old tradition of falconry. Here – every year hundreds of injured birds of prey are treated. The sanctuary is open to the public, all the way from March to November, and usually, it welcomes groups of schoolchildren in autumn and tourists during the summer season. You can spend the day here and explore nature, or sign up for a course to learn more about ornithology and bird protection.