Sibenik fortress

Sibenik Croatia

Explore the most beautiful Croatian city

Sibenik Croatia: travel guide

Sibenik is small Croatian city located on the Adriatic coast, in the bay of the Krka river. It is popular tourist destination with two UNESCO protected monuments, imposing fortresses, preserved nature and beautiful beaches.
All of these beauties attract more than a million of visitors who come in Sibenik every year, mostly during summer season.

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View of Sibenik coast View of Sibenik coast


What to visit in Šibenik

Main attractions in Sibenik are unique fortification buildings, Cathedral entirely made of stone, beautiful beaches, preserved nature and many other gothic and renaissance arts of work.
Sibenik is the only city in Croatia, and one of the rare in the world, with two UNESCO protected monuments: Sibenik Cathedral and St. Nicholas Fortress.

St Anthony channel sunset St Anthony channel sunset

beach banj playground beach banj playground

St Anthony Channel St Anthony Channel

St Nicholas Fortress St Nicholas Fortress

Palace Pelegrini Palace Pelegrini

The Renaissance Church of the Holy Spirit The Renaissance Church of the Holy Spirit

Kornati Kornati (© Nikater / CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Skradinski buk waterfall Skradinski buk waterfall


What to visit first

If your time in Šibenik is limited, and you are wondering which places to visit and which not, then I recommend to spend at least one morning (or evening) in the old town. Must see attractions include The Cathedral and fortresses Barone and St. Michael. It would be a good idea to spend one day visiting Krka National Park because it is really beautiful. That is true especially for winter season when the ticket is cheap. What I would still recommend is just to walk through the old town and take a coffee on the coast.
For those more courageous, activity of a bungee jumping from the Šibenik bridge is organized during summer season.

View of St Michael fortress View of St Michael fortress


History of Šibenik

Šibenik was first mentioned in 1066 in the gift of the king of Croatia, Petar Krešimir, to the Benedictine Monastery of St. Mary in Zadar under the title SIBENIQUO. That is why it is often referred to as the Krešimir town. The monument to the king is at the entrance to the main city park located next to the city library.

Although Šibenik was mentioned for the first time in the 11th century, it is assumed that the first inhabitants arrived earlier. The first migratory waves originate from Bosnia and Dalmatia.

By the 19th century, Šibenik was considered a "dry place". The reason for this was the lack of a water network which was built late in 19th century. Despite that fact, the location was interesting because of its strategic position. The problem of water shortages was solved by the construction of water wells. The place Bunari, located near center of the city, was known as the main source of water.

The main economic activity in Šibenik during first hundred years of existence was piracy. Subsequently, important economic activities become wine and olive growing, and livestock breeding. In addition, Šibenik was known for salt production in the 15th and 16th centuries. In the town itself and the surrounding area there were several salt pans.

People in Šibenik had only a bit of a fishing experience until the 15th century, when fishing became an important economic activity. The reason was the lack of knowledge about fishing tools. This knowledge was acquired in the 15th century thanks to Venetian fishermen and technology.

Venice generally had a great influence on the development of Šibenik and its culture, since Šibenik had been under Venetian rule for nearly 4oo years, until the fall of the Venetian state in 1797.

Thanks to fishery and salt production, Šibenik's economy grew rapidly until 1649, when it slowed down due to the plague that occurred in Šibenik in that time.
After recovering from plague, Šibenik's economy was more based on industry and service activities. At the end of the 18th century, the first post office was opened, and in the late 19th century, Šibenik became one of the first cities in the world with electricity supply. In 1895 the first hydro power plant was opened on the river Krka and it was one of the first in Europe. For Šibenik it meant transformation from an agrarian to an industrial city.

In the twentieth century, Šibenik became the center of metallurgical processing industry in Croatia and whole Yugoslavia. Today, the most important activity is tourism.
The most important cultural monument in Šibenik, the cathedral, was built in the period from 1431 to 1536.

Monument to Croatian King Petar Kresimir Monument to Croatian King Petar Kresimir


Cultural and musical events in Šibenik

Most interesting events take place during the summer season. In early summer in Sibenik is held an International Children's Festival, an event that has a tradition of more than 50 years. The festival lasts about two weeks and consists of numerous events for children and young people.

Šibenik chanson festival is a musical event of a long tradition that takes place in Šibenik in the second half of month August. The festival gathers the best musicians of Dalmatian music. Usually, once a week, there are concerts of Dalmatian Klapa Music in the city center.

On the St. Michael's Fortress there is a summer stage where various musical events of domestic and foreign performers are held.

View of St Anthony Channel from St. Michael's Fortress View of St Anthony Channel from St. Michael's Fortress


Characteristics and customs of people

The city and its people have predominantly the characteristics of Mediterranean culture and tradition. This means that people are emotionally linked to sea and sea activities. Children and youth are often engaged in water sports such as snorkeling and swimming. Many people enjoy traditional maritime activities such as fishing and shellfish farming. Some of them do it professionally, yet some as a hobby. The most common shell is mussel. Their largest breeding grounds are located near the Šibenik bridge, which connects the city with northern part of Croatia.
Traditionally for Mediterranean culture, olive and grape vines are grown in the city and surrounding locations.
Each of the villages located outside of the old city have its own tradition, culture and specialty. Especially I would point out the settled islands that reflect the original Mediterranean spirit in many ways. The settled islands in the Šibenik archipelago are: Kaprije, Žirije, Prvić and Zlarin. The islands of Obonjan and Kornati are not inhabited all year long, but only during the summer season.


Nightlife in Sibenik

During summer season choice of nightclubs is far better than during winter season. Bar Petrus organizes live music events and beach parties few times a week. The bar is located on the Beach Banj. Club Azimut is another popular nightclub located in the center of the city.

If you want more nightlife options, then you should consider going to Vodice or Primosten. Vodice is one of the most popular nightlife venues in whole Dalmatia. Taxi fare from Šibenik to Vodice is approximately 10 euros. If you choose to drink alcohol, it is certainly better to go by taxi than by car because of your own safety and frequent police check-ups during the night.
For more info, read our guide to nightlife in Sibenik.

Vodice harbour Vodice harbour


Climate in Sibenik

The climate in Sibenik is moderately warm, with typical features of the Mediterranean climate. This means that the winters are mild. There are only a few days a year with air temperature below 0 celsius. 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.


Sibenik map and location


Šibenik is located on east coast of Adriatic Sea (as you can see on the map). Its attractive location is the main reason for existence of many unique places worth visiting. The pin on the map points to Croatian national theater, which is considered as the center of the city.


How to get in Sibenik

When considering means of transport, there are several options. The first and easiest one is to get in the city by car. A1 motorway leads all the way to the city.

Most apartments and hotels have parking places for their guests. Check it out before booking. Also, be aware of the fact that there are no many parking places in center of city.

If your apartment is located under 2 kilometers from center of the city, I recommend going there on foot. You will save yourself troubles of finding parking place. And if you find one, it's not cheap. Prices for parking in the center of city are in range of 1-2 euros per hour.

Other options for getting to Šibenik are bus, train, plane and ship. There are numerous bus lines from major European cities that drive directly to Šibenik or neighboring Split or Zadar. From these places, buses to Šibenik depart every few hours.

The nearest airport is Split Airport, which is less than 60 km away from Šibenik. You can take a taxi or private transfer to Šibenik from the airport, or you can rent a car. Cheaper option is to take a bus to Split, and again take a bus from Split to Šibenik.

Railway lines are worse option than bus due to poor rail infrastructure and poor rail connections between Šibenik and other cities. If you want to come by train from Zagreb to Šibenik, you will need to change trains in Perković.

Another option is to come in Šibenik by ship. Few years ago, in place called Mandalina, marina for yachts and ships of foreign and domestic guests was opened. There are cruisers with visitors from all over the world coming to the marina.

Sibenik sunset Sibenik sunset


Prices

If you go in a typical bar in the center of the city and take coffee, you are likely to pay around 1-1.5 euros for it. If you take a beer, you are likely to pay 2-3 euros. If you want to take a small pizza in a restaurant, it may cost you 3-4 euros.
However, there are also bars that may charge you more for the same drinks and food. That's why I recommend exploring more than one bar before settling for a drink. Some places outside of Šibenik have significantly higher prices. For example, beach resort Solaris have around 30% more expensive prices than the center of the city.

View of Sibenik from Barone fortress View of Sibenik from Barone fortress


Money and safety

Sibenik is considered as safe city with low crime rate. You can feel free to move anywhere you want.

Most of the people in Sibenik are hospitable and ready to help if needed. However, there are a few things to pay attention to.

Kuna (HRK) is the only way of payment in Croatia. Only a few companies and sellers have permission to sell in other currencies like euro. It would be best to convert your money in Croatian currency before arrival.

Feel free to request bill for each product or service you buy. That way you will make sure that you are paying the right price of the product.

Middle exchange rate on 2018-12-17, according to Croatian National Bank:
1 JPY = 5,761978 HRK
1 GBP = 8,232222 HRK
1 USD = 6,543505 HRK
1 EUR = 7,390889 HRK


Accommodation

Accommodation choice should depend on trip plans and preferences. The most common places to stay are private apartments.

If you predominantly want to see and enjoy cultural beauties of the city, then I recommend to look for accommodation in the center of the city or somewhere very close to the center. In that case the easiest option for enjoying sun and sea is Beach Banj.

However, if beauty of the sea and nature is more important part of choice, then places outside of the city like Zaboric, Brodarica, Vodice or Grebaštica should be considered. These places are 5-20 kilometers away from the city but have cleaner sea and more beautiful beaches.

More wealthy guests can find accommodation in one of the hotels in Šibenik and its surroundings. Hotel Jadran is located close to the city center. Hotel Panorama is located along the Šibenik Bridge, on the northern entrance to the city. New hotel Bellevue is located just near Sibenik Riva.

Large hotels are also located in places called Solaris and Mandalina. Solaris also offers accommodation in Camping Mobile Homes.

Check out places to stay on the map below. It displays accommodation options near Sibenik Cathedral, offered by famous hotel listing sites like booking.com and airbnb.com. Prices are same or less than listed on these sites.







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