Things to do in Sibenik, Croatia

If you’ve been following along with my Balkans posts, Šibenik was the third stop on my Balkans itinerary (immediately following Zadar). I’m going to be really honest from the outset and say that there aren't a ton of things to do in Šibenik … but it was my favorite place that I visited in Croatia. Big claim, I know. Šibenik had a slower pace than the other cities that I visited in Croatia- things were a bit cheaper and I found that the interactions I had with locals were a little more pleasant than in the other cities.

I’m glad I had the experience of staying in Zadar and Split, but if I were to ever go back to that area, I would definitely choose to stay in Šibenik and take day trips out to the other cities. If you’re a remote worker, a blogger, or someone who likes slow travel, Šibenik is a great place to make your home base for a while.

In my posts, I usually only post about things that I’ve actually done, but in this roundup I’ll be including some other things that can be done if you decide to make Šibenik your home base (and of course, cite my sources).

Things to do in Šibenik

Šibenik Cathedral – In keeping with my tradition of hunting down anything that UNESCO has deemed important enough to put on one of their lists, I stopped by St. James Cathedral (or Šibenik Cathedral). It was constructed between the 1430s and the 1530s and I learned that it is the most important piece of Renaissance-era architecture in all of Croatia.

Old Town wandering - The old town in Šibenik is a lot like the other “old town” districts in costal Croatia with one major exception being that it’s a lot quieter. Even in the low season when I visited, Split and Zagreb had lots of visitors wandering around. In Šibenik, it felt like I had the place largely to myself…. So much so that I was very easily able to set up my tripod and take and obscene quantity of photos of myself (are they still technically “selfies” if I took them with a camera, tripod, and timer?!).

4 fortresses- Full disclosure: I only went to three. St. Michaels fortress is the one that’s inside the city and at the lowest elevation. I stopped there first since I was wandering the Old Town anyway and the entry is within that area. Barone Fortress and St. John’s are up on the same hill and it’s easy to walk between the two. I have a quick read with a bit more detail about the fortresses (with a story about how a portion of the journey up to Barone felt identical to somewhere else I’ve been… and it made me cry a little). St. Nicholas fortress is the farthest and sits out by the water, and unfortunately, I didn’t have the time to make my way out to see it. Next time.

More reading:  Hometown Tourism: Commuting can be exploring, too

Dine along the waterfront- This was the first time I saw vegetables in like 3 days. I stopped at Olga’s(?) and had a really delicious meal with rice, grilled vegetables, fresh salad greens, and local Croatian cheese (it was crumbly like feta but a little less strong in flavor…. maybe a little more like a queso fresco). The food and wine were good and the view was really pretty. If you get there early enough, you may be able sync up with the sunset.

Take pictures – this one is a little more niche, but if you’re a blogger or photographer one big advantage to be found in Šibenik is that it is way darker than the neighboring large cities. I happened to be there on an evening with patchy clouds, so I would catch glimpses of clear, starry skies when the clouds parted for a few moments. I was too tired and unprepared to dedicate to taking some night shots, but Šibenik would be a great place to experiment.

Places easily accessible from Šibenik

Plitvice Lakes – I wrote about my day trip from Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes here, but Šibenik is also a place where you can easily get to Plitvice.

Trip to Split – Split is only about a 1.5 hour bus ride from Šibenik and depending on the types of places you like to visit, you may only need a long day trip to Split. The downtown area is very busy with visitors and the typical infrastructure that comes along with a highly visited area (kitschy shops, ice cream, restaurants that don’t really have Croatian/regional food options). Those items don’t necessarily take away from the cultural importance of a place, but they often make it expensive and less of a true cultural experience. Taking a day trip to Split will allow you to really zero-in on the cultural and historical sites without the extra “noise.”

Trip to Zadar – Zadar is also only about 1.5 hours from Šibenik, so it’s an easy day trip. I really liked my time in Zadar, but I recognize that it’s not a huge area and could definitely turned it into a day trip from Šibenik. Read more about how I spent my time in Zadar and how I spent my money in Zadar (it’s surprisingly budget-friendly if you’re paying attention).

Here are a few more resources for things to do in Šibenik (and day trips from there) - these next few little nuggets are not places I have been, but have heard wonderful things about from reading blogs or chatting with other travel friends.

  • I was bummed to have missed this, but Marissa from Little Things Travel has a great photo journal on Krka National Park! I used a handful of her other articles to scope out things to do in coastal Croatia.
  • Take a day trip to Hvar  and check out all the things recommended by Taylor's Tracks: Things to Do in Hvar (she has some other great content on Croatia!)
  • Chasing the Donkey has a great post on Things to do in Trogir (I had read this and it had been on my itinerary, but I had to give it up in order to be able to keep Montenegro on my itinerary)
  • Visit Šibenik - City Guide

  • Have you ever been to Sibenik?
  • Do you like to set up in a cheaper location and take day trips? Or try to stay in each place you visit?
  • How do you spend time in places with a slower pace of life (that aren't big cities)?
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