Šibenik is a Croatian town located on the Dalmatian coast. It is about 80 km north of Split. The town is naturally protected by a large bay and is home to one of the most pleasant harbours in the Adriatic Sea. Šibenik quickly took advantage of this geographical advantage and was even the capital of the country for a while.
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Šibenik, a tourist destination in Croatia
Although less touristic than Dubrovnik and Split, Šibenik has a strong character and ensures beautiful experiences. The atmosphere in Šibenik is young and lively. The small streets lead to beautiful squares where the contemporary-style luxury boutiques harmoniously blend in with the architecture of buildings from past centuries.
More than 40,000 people live in Šibenik, the majority of these inhabitants work in the industry and the port, which are the two main activities of the town. The Mediterranean climate (5°C in winter and 27°C in summer on average), quietly warms up the town with the sun all year long.
If your first impression of the Dalmatian city may seem disappointing with a succession of buildings, once you arrive in the old town, you will be impressed and enthralled by the beauty of the place.
The Cathedral of Saint James (Sveti Jakov Cathedral) is the must-see visit in Šibenik. It is probably the most important building in the town. It was built in 1431 and took over 100 years to complete. It was built at a transitional time between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, which had a significant influence on the architecture of the Croatian city. The cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and can also be seen from the city walls of the old town.
The building is considered to be the first Renaissance building outside Italy. Moreover, the cathedral was built with means that were unusual at that time. Indeed, the vault was built using no wooden framework or mortar. The rest of the cathedral is made of lime and marble stones from the island of Brač. A special feature of the building is the frieze with 71 sculptures depicting the emotions of children, women and men living in the city. During the Renaissance, trade with Italy was very important and the construction of the building was monitored by the Croatian Juraj Dalmatinac (George the Dalmatian) and the Italian Nikola Firentinac (Niccolò di Giovanni Fiorentino), both renowned architects and sculptors.
In addition to the Šibenik Cathedral, a wonder of the Dalmatian coast, visitors can also enjoy the churches dedicated to St. Barbara and St. Francis. Other buildings such as the town hall, various palaces, fortresses and small churches, as well as numerous squares, can be admired throughout the town.
What is worth seeing in Šibenik?
- The aforementioned St. James Cathedral is a must-see.
- Opposite the cathedral, the Dukes’ Palace (which was part of the city’s defences in the Middle Ages) and the Archaeological, Ethnographic and History Museum complete a visit of the area. The visit of this area, located on the waterfront, makes it even more enjoyable.
- The St. Nicholas Fortress, a Unesco World Heritage Site, located off the coast of the city, is an opportunity to enjoy a boat trip in Šibenik.
- A stroll through the narrow streets lined with stairs is always a pleasure.
- The Krka National Park with its waterfalls is also worth a visit, only 15 km away.
- A visit to the Kornati Islands Park, almost opposite Šibenik, is an unforgettable cruise on the Adriatic Sea.
Cultural events in Šibenik
The most popular cultural events in Šibenik are:
- the International Children’s Festival (last week of June and first week of July),
- the Organ Summer School (in the second half of August)
- the Feast of St. James (25th July), the town’s patron saint, which is joyfully celebrated.
Beaches in Šibenik
There are not many beaches in Šibenik. Lovers of sea bathing and sun bathing usually go to one of the neighbouring islands to find rocky or pebble beaches. However, beaches have been arranged and equipped around the town to offer visitors the comfort of a local beach.
Not far from Šibenik, to the south, in Žaborić, you can find a sandy beach, ideal for swimming and lazing about. Close to Šibenik, there are also many rocky and pebble beaches in Žaborić and Primošten.
How to get there
- By car: 316 km of motorway between Sibenik and Zagreb, 50 km to Split-Šibenik
- By plane: via Zadar or Split airport
- By train
- By bus
- By boat
Accommodation in Šibenik
For accommodation in Šibenik, there are hotels and holiday rentals to suit all budgets. The areas near the sea and/or in the old part of the town are usually the most popular, while newer buildings and large complexes with swimming pools are located outside these areas.