21 Things to Do in Šibenik: Uncovering the Magic

Šibenik is a city that effortlessly weaves history, culture, and natural beauty into a tapestry of unforgettable experiences. From the cobbled streets of the Old Town that echo tales of Venetian rule to the architectural marvel of St. James Cathedral, Šibenik beckons travelers to dive deep into its rich heritage.

Whether you’re marveling at the Renaissance and Baroque structures, exploring the fortresses that have stood guard over the city, or simply soaking in the vibrant atmosphere of the Central City Square, Šibenik promises a journey that captivates the senses. Join us as we uncover the magic of this Croatian gem, revealing its many treasures one by one.

Šibenik Old Town

  • Working Hours: Open 24/7 (individual attractions may vary)
  • Ticket Prices: Free (charges may apply for specific attractions)
  • Exploration Time: 2-3 hours.Top of Form

Dive into the rich tapestry of history that is Šibenik Old Town, a gem that has stood the test of time since its first mention in 1066. As you wander its cobbled streets, you’ll be transported back to the Venetian rule era, from 1412 to 1797, which has left an indelible mark on its architecture.

St. Michael’s Fortress: A must-visit, this is the second most sought-after attraction here. Remember, your ticket here also grants you access to the Barone fortress.

St. Francis Church and Monastery: Situated near the bustling Poljana square, it’s not just a religious site but also a museum. Don’t miss the Šibenik Prayer, a significant piece of Croatian literature.

Architectural Wonders: Marvel at the Renaissance and Baroque beauty scattered throughout. Highlights include the Pelegrini palace, now a renowned eatery, and the churches of the Holy Cross and St. Dominic.

Prince’s Palace: A stone’s throw from the cathedral, this historical structure now serves as a city museum.

Town Hall: A testament to Renaissance architecture, rebuilt post its 1943 destruction.

Four Wells: This medieval cistern from 1453 stands unique, being outside the city ramparts.

Duke’s Palace: Once the Venetian State’s seat, it graces the old town’s waterfront.

Central City Square: The heart of Šibenik, the Square of the Republic of Croatia has been a social hub for ages.

Civic Loggia: A Renaissance marvel in the city square, it once held the magistracy and detainees.

Bishop’s Palace: Adjacent to the Cathedral of St. James, it’s a blend of Gothic and Renaissance styles.

Tourist Information:

  • Restaurants and Bars: Enjoy a plethora of bars with drinks priced at 1-2 euros for coffee and 2-3 euros for beer. For a taste of the Mediterranean, the restaurants might be on the pricier side.
  • Getting to the Old Town: On foot or bike is ideal if nearby. Parking? It’s 1-2 euros/hour.
  • Exploring the Old Town: Its compact nature makes it a walker’s paradise.

Cathedral of St. James (Šibenik Cathedral)

  • Opening Hours:
  • Easter – 01.06.: Daily 08:30 – 19:30 | Holy Mass: Daily 9-19, Sundays 09:30, 11, 19
  • 01.06. – 01.09.: Daily 08:30 – 20:30 | Holy Mass: Daily 9 & 20, Sundays 09:30, 11, 20
  • 01.09. – 01.12.: Daily 08:30 – 20:30 | Holy Mass: Daily 9 & 19, Sundays 09:30, 11, 19
  • 01.12. – Easter: By appointment | Holy Mass: Daily 9 & 18, Sundays 09:30, 11, 19
  • Ticket Price: 3 €
  • Exploration Time: 1 hour.

Step into the world of architectural marvel at the Cathedral of St. James, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000. This significant monument stands as a testament to the Renaissance era in Croatia, with its construction stretching over the 15th and 16th centuries. Crafted entirely of stone, the cathedral showcases the genius of its main builders, Juraj Dalmatinac and Nikola Firentinac.

Originally envisioned in the Gothic style, it was ultimately completed in the Renaissance style, boasting an impressive dome. This dome, bearing scars from the Croatian War of Independence, now stands as a symbol of Šibenik’s resilience. A unique feature to look out for is the 71 sculpted heads on the exterior, believed to be Dalmaticus’s handiwork.

For fans of the Game of Thrones series, this cathedral might look familiar as it served as the backdrop for the Iron Bank. The best times to visit are during spring or early weekdays to sidestep the heat and crowds. As you explore, you’ll be captivated by its exquisite stonework and Gothic architecture. Don’t rush; take your time to walk around and soak in every detail of what’s often hailed as the most beautiful cathedral on the Adriatic side.

St. Michael’s Fortress

  • Working Hours: WED – MON 9 AM – 5 PM; TUE – 9 AM – 3 PM
  • Ticket Price: Adults – 10 €; Children 7-18 – 6.50 €; Family ticket (all three fortresses) – 23 €
  • Exploration Time: 1-2 hours.

Perched atop a rugged hill, St. Michael’s Fortress offers unparalleled views of the Šibenik archipelago and the medieval town below. This fortress, which once stood as the linchpin of the city’s fortification system, has witnessed the evolution of the oldest Croatian town on the Adriatic within its walls. Its historical significance is profound, with its first mention on Christmas Day of 1066, marking the stay of Croatian King Petar Krešimir IV.

The fortress’s ramparts and bastions, predominantly from the late Middle Ages and Early Modern Age, have been meticulously preserved. A significant revitalization in 2014, funded by a €1.67 million EU project, transformed it into a modern marvel with an open-air summer stage. This rejuvenation has made it the second most-visited heritage monument in Šibenik and fortification in Croatia.

Named after St. Michael’s church, the oldest in Šibenik, the fortress has been a beacon since the Iron Age. Today, it not only serves as a historical testament but also a versatile venue. With a main stage accommodating 1,077 seats and five other units for conferences, it’s a prime location for events. For a comprehensive experience, opt for the audio tour, and don’t miss the info center and bar for a refreshing break.

Juraj Dalmatinac’s Statue

  • Opening Hours: 24/7
  • Ticket Price: Free
  • Exploration Time: 10 minutes

Standing tall in Šibenik is the statue of Juraj Dalmatinac, a mastermind of the Adriatic Renaissance. Born around 1410 in Zara (present-day Zadar, Croatia), he breathed his last on 10 October 1473 in Sebenico (now Šibenik). As a Venetian sculptor and architect hailing from Dalmatia, his contributions to art and architecture are unparalleled.

His magnum opus remains the Šibenik Cathedral of St James, where he served as the chief architect from 1441 till 1473. His signature, a testament to his pride in his work, is engraved on the cathedral. Beyond Šibenik, Dalmatinac’s genius touched Dubrovnik’s fortifications and the Pelješac walls. In Italy, the Loggia dei Mercanti and portals in Ancona stand as evidence of his craftsmanship.

Dalmatinac’s style, a blend of Dalmatian medieval art and Florentine Renaissance influences, represents the golden age of Dalmatian art. Today, his legacy lives on, with his works being pivotal in Dalmatian medieval art, making him a revered figure in the Adriatic Renaissance.

Šibenik City Hall (City Loggia)

  • Working Hours: SUN – THUR: 8 AM – 11 PM; FRI – SAT: 8 AM – 1 AM
  • Ticket Price: Free
  • Exploration Time: 20 minutes.

Nestled in the heart of the city, the Šibenik City Hall stands as a beacon of Renaissance architecture. Constructed between 1533 and 1546, this edifice is a testament to the genius of architect Michele Sanmicheli. As one of Šibenik’s most distinguished cultural monuments, its grandeur is evident in its large pillars, arches, and intricate fences.

The City Hall is not just a historical marvel; it’s a hub of activity. The first floor is dedicated to meetings and conferences, making it a prime location for events. Meanwhile, the ground floor houses a restaurant, offering a taste of the Mediterranean. As you dine, take a moment to admire the 10 pillars, stone lions, and floral ornaments that adorn the building.

Though scarred by WWII, the City Hall was meticulously rebuilt, adhering to its original plans. Its location, opposite the iconic Cathedral of St. James, makes it a strategic spot for people-watching, both day and night. While it might resemble a restaurant more than a historical monument, its rich history is palpable.

Before visiting, delve into its past to truly appreciate its significance. As one of the most beautiful town halls in Croatia, it’s a must-visit. And while you’re there, lose yourself in the old town’s alleys and streets.

International Children’s Festival

  • Dates: Late June to early July (check ahead)
  • Ticket Price: Around 3 € (for theater performances)
  • Exploration Time: Varies; usually a few hours
  • Location: Trg Republike Hrvatske 1, Šibenik (in front of Town Hall and Cathedral of St James)

Unleash the child within at the International Children’s Festival in Šibenik, a vibrant celebration that transforms the city into a pulsating hub of creativity and joy. Located primarily in front of the iconic Town Hall and Cathedral of St James, this festival is a must-visit if you’re in town from late June to early July. However, it’s wise to check the exact dates for the year you plan to attend.

With a rich legacy spanning over 60 years, the festival has evolved from its humble beginnings to a grand spectacle. Today, it boasts over 130 programs that span theatre, literature, film, workshops, sports, and so much more. A unique aspect of the festival is its emphasis on intercultural dialogue, fostering a global perspective among its young attendees.

While the festival is designed to captivate children and pupils, especially through its enchanting puppet shows, it’s equally enthralling for adults. Over the years, it has burgeoned into a significant event in Šibenik’s cultural calendar, drawing visitors from far and wide.

Whether you’re a child or simply young at heart, the festival promises a few hours of unbridled fun and creativity, making it a not-to-miss experience.

Medieval Mediterranean Garden

  • Working Hours: May-Oct: 9 AM -11 PM; Nov-Apr: 9am – 4pm
  • Ticket Price: 2-3 € (Free for café guests)
  • Exploration Time: 15-30 minutes.

Discover a slice of serenity in the heart of Šibenik with the Medieval Mediterranean Garden. Opened in 2007 after a meticulous restoration, this garden is the brainchild of the acclaimed landscape architect, Dragutin Kiš. Designed to emulate a medieval monastery garden, it’s a haven for plant enthusiasts, boasting a collection of medicinal plants, herbs, fruit trees, and roses.

The garden’s layout is a sight to behold, with pathways meticulously designed in a cross, making it both unique in Croatia and rare in Europe. As you meander through, you’ll find the Gospina Spilja and St Lawrence Church waiting to be explored.

Owned by the café situated right at its entrance, the garden is not freely accessible to the public. You can either be a guest of the café or pay the designated entry fee to enjoy this peaceful retreat. There’s also a restaurant and a souvenir shop for those looking to take back memories. The garden frequently hosts educational programs for schools and individual visitors.

While the garden’s size is on the smaller side, it’s a quiet oasis offering a peaceful retreat. Do note, entry is either for café customers or those willing to pay a small fee, a setup some might find unusual.

Cave of Our Lady of Lourdes and Church of St. Lawrence

  • Working Hours: Cave open 24/7
  • Ticket Price: Free
  • Exploration Time: 15-30 minutes
  • Holy Mass: Tuesday to Sunday at 12:00.

Nestled in the heart of Šibenik at Fra Andrije Kačića Miošića 11, the Cave and Church of St. Lawrence is a testament to the city’s rich history and spiritual heritage. Completed in the 18th century, this site is part of a monastery established by the Franciscan friars from the island of Visovac. This monastery wasn’t just a place of worship; it was a beacon of learning, teaching philosophy and theology since 1669. One of its most illustrious teachers was Andrija Kaćič-Miošić, celebrated for his work “Pleasant Conversation of the Slav People.”

Adjacent to the monastery, you’ll find the Lourdes Grotto, an artificial cave graced with a statue of the Virgin Mary, echoing the famed Lourdes cave in France. The cave, styled as a chapel, is a tranquil oasis in the city center, perfect for moments of reflection. While its exterior is simple, the interior boasts large, captivating frescoes.

The church, a hidden gem within the St. Lawrence’s Monastery complex, has entrances from the south and a grander gate to the west. As you wander the romantic, narrow streets of Šibenik, this church and its dedicated grotto to Our Lady stand as delightful surprises, offering visitors a chance to light a candle and soak in its serenity.

St. Anthony’s Canal Hiking Trail

  • Working Hours: 24/7
  • Ticket Price: Free
  • Exploration Time: 2-3 hours.

Embark on a journey through the serene landscapes of the St. Anthony’s Canal Hiking Trail, a masterpiece crafted as part of an EU project by the Public Institution Nature of the Šibenik-Knin County. This trail, approximately 4.4 kilometers long, seamlessly integrates with the protected area’s natural beauty, making it perfect for family-friendly walks, sightseeing, recreational running, and cycling.

Starting from Panikovac Cove, the trail stretches to the islet of Školjić, near the iconic St Nicholas’ Fortress. As you traverse this path, be prepared to be mesmerized by panoramic views of Šibenik and the sprawling Šibenik archipelago. And for those nocturnal adventurers, the trail is illuminated by solar lamps, ensuring a safe journey.

Key attractions to look out for include the remnants of a 16th-century tower, a marine tunnel with military origins, and pristine coves perfect for a refreshing swim. A detour might lead you to an old port or a quaint cave housing a church dedicated to St. Anthony.

For an optimal experience, consider organized tours, jogging, or cycling. And if you’re up for a challenge, a steeper hike rewards with a breathtaking canal view from the hilltop. Don’t forget to pack a swimsuit for spontaneous dips and enough water for hydration. With well-maintained trails, no entrance fee, and numerous picnic spots, this trail promises a blend of relaxation and adventure, suitable for all ages.

Šibenik City Museum (former Rector’s Palace)

  • Working Hours: MON-FRI: 8 AM – 8 PM; SAT: 10 AM – 8 PM; SUN: Closed
  • Ticket Price: 5 € (Children under 12 – free)
  • Exploration Time: 1 hour.

Nestled near the iconic Cathedral, the Šibenik City Museum, housed in the former Prince’s Palace, is a treasure trove of the city’s rich history. Founded in 1925, this museum stands as a testament to Šibenik’s vibrant past. As you approach, you’ll be greeted by a 16th-century city gate nestled between the museum and the Bishop’s Palace. This gothic passage showcases the city’s coat of arms, proudly displaying its patron, St. Michael.

Dive deep into the museum’s archaeological, cultural-historical, and ethnographic departments. With a staggering 150,000 items in its collection, you’ll journey through Šibenik’s history from ancient times to the present. Each exhibit, meticulously described in English, paints a vivid picture of the city’s turbulent past.

Whether you’re a history buff or just a curious traveler, this museum caters to all. Many visitors, even those not typically inclined towards museums, have found their experience here engaging. The museum’s design is both modern and reflective of its historical roots. However, do note the lack of air conditioning.

Friendly staff, unique souvenirs in the gift shop, and its prime location just behind the cathedral make it a must-visit. And while the entrance might seem a tad hidden, the journey inside is well worth the search.

Museum of St. Francis

  • Working Hours: MON-FRI 09:00-17:00 | SAT 09:00-15:00 | SUN: By appointment only at (022) 201 481
  • Ticket Price: Adults – 2.65 € | Children over 7, students, retirees – 1.33 € | Children under 7 – Free
  • Exploration Time: 30 minutes

Nestled in the heart of Šibenik, the Museum of St. Francis stands as a testament to the rich tapestry of the city’s history. Located within the monastery of St. Francis, this museum represents the legacy of the Franciscan Conventuals monks. Dive deep into centuries of Šibenik’s past through an expansive collection of art, complemented by a modern interactive show that’s both educational and engaging.

A highlight of your visit will be the museum’s library, ranked among the top five heritage libraries in Croatia. This treasure trove boasts 10,000 volumes, including rare incunabula, codices, parchments, and the invaluable “Šibenik prayer”, a Croatian literary gem penned in Latin script circa 1375.

Opened in 2015, the museum is adjacent to a monastery with roots tracing back to the 1300s. As you explore, you’ll be treated to interactive and audiovisual sections that bring to life 700 years of monastic endeavors. The museum’s setting, at the end of Šibenik’s main waterside promenade, is picturesque, with a beautifully landscaped garden that’s free to visit.

Museum of Sacral Arts and Church of St. Barbara

  • Working Hours: Open 24/7
  • Ticket Price: Free
  • Exploration Time: 15 minutes.

Nestled close to the iconic Cathedral of St. James, the Museum of Sacral Arts and the Church of St. Barbara are a testament to Šibenik’s rich religious and artistic heritage. The museum proudly displays a 16th-century triptych of St. Barbara, flanked by St. Nicholas and St. Gregory.

Not to be missed are the Renaissance stone statues of St. Peter and St. James, originally from the Cathedral’s side wall. Dive deeper into the city’s artistic legacy with works by Oracio Fortezza, a goldsmith whose craftsmanship left an indelible mark on Šibenik.

The Church of St. Barbara, built in the 15th century, has a history as rich as its architecture. Initially dedicated to St. Benedict and later to St. Nicholas, it was desacralized in 1806, serving various purposes, including a military warehouse.

The high altar, a masterpiece from a Venetian workshop in the early 17th century, boasts a completely gilded retable. The altar’s centerpiece, an altarpiece by Angelo Mancini, portrays St. Barbara alongside St. Nicholas and St. Paul.

Positioned in the city’s heart, its beautiful exterior, clock, and bell tower are hard to miss. As you approach the Cathedral of Santiago, the ringing bells of this emblematic building might serenade you, adding to the charm of old Šibenik.

Dalmatian Ethno Village

  • Working Hours: 12 AM – 11 PM daily
  • Ticket Prices: 30 € (>120 cm height), 15 € (90-120 cm height)
  • Exploration Time: 2-3 hours.

Nestled in the core of Amadria Park, the Dalmatian Ethno Village offers a genuine dive into the Dalmatian traditions and lifestyle. As you step in, the quaint stone houses instantly whisk you away to a time long past.

Indulge in the flavors of Dalmatia with traditional delicacies like warm home-made bread baked under an iron bell, succulent home-made prosciutto and cheese, barbecue delights, and seafood specialties.

Attractions to Explore:

  • A century-old water mill.
  • Witness the making of flour and bread under the iconic iron bell.
  • Engage in weaving workshops and craft your souvenirs.
  • Discover the art of distilling traditional brandy and producing olive oil.
  • Evening programs come alive with wine tastings, ethno programs, and souvenir showcases.
  • Shop for authentic Dalmatian and Croatian items at the souvenir shop.

Often dubbed a “living museum”, here, every dish, every product, from bread to olive oil, is handcrafted using age-old techniques. The ambiance is unparalleled, especially in the evenings with the village illuminated. The “Rural Plate” is a must-try, and don’t miss out on the local Croatian wine.

However, visitors have noted a few areas for improvement, such as the need for more information on Dalmatian history, the preference for traditional paper menus, and the inclusion of Croatian music and dances.

Aquapark Dalmatia

  • Working Hours: 10 AM – 7 PM
  • Ticket Prices: 30 € (above 120 cm), 15 € (between 90 cm and 120 cm)
  • Exploration Time: 2-3 hours or more

How to Arrive:

  • By Car: From Sibenik’s center, head east on the main road. Take a turn onto the D8 state road towards Split. Keep an eye out for the Solaris sign, make a right, and continue for approximately 1.5 km to Amadria Park Šibenik. Park in the designated area for daily guests and make your way to the Aquapark.
  • By Bus: Opt for the direct bus line from Sibenik to Amadria Park Šibenik. This 15-minute journey starts from the city market.
  • Transfer Service: For a hassle-free ride to Solaris from any location, reach out to transfers.excursions@amadriapark.com.

The Park: Dive into a world of aquatic fun! The park boasts the Aqua Rain fortress, six exhilarating water slides, cascading waterfalls, refreshing pools, and the relaxing Lazy River.

Safety Measures: Those expecting, individuals with heart conditions, or those with plaster casts should refrain from the rides. Kids must be with adults, and swimming proficiency is a must for the attractions.

Services: From an Information Point, Currency Exchange, and First Aid to amenities like Showers, Toilets, Changing Rooms, and Lockers. Hungry? There’s a Snack Bar, Cafe, and offerings like Ice Creams and Waffles. For entertainment, check out the Splash bar, Games, and billiards.

Travel Croatia Listing:

  • Amenities: Swimming Pool, Wi-Fi.
  • Facilities: Beachside location, Free Parking, Markets, Playground, Reception.
  • Rules: Smoking and parties are allowed. Children are welcome, but pets aren’t.

Visitor Tips:

  • Relish good food and drinks at expected prices.
  • Ideal for kids of all age groups with free sunbeds on offer.
  • On cooler summer days, brace for chilly waters.
  • Might feel overpriced for brief visits; parking can be costly.
  • Primarily caters to children under 8, offering a local, less commercialized vibe.
  • For entry, head to the hotel entrance first. The second car park is more affordable.
  • While the park is great for youngsters and offers food options, it might be a tad pricey.
  • Beware of the occasional arrogant visitor, but overall, it’s a worthy visit.

Šibenik Aquarium Terrarium

  • Working Hours: 10 AM – 9 PM daily
  • Ticket Prices: Up to 5 years: Free; 6 to 14 years: 8 €; 15+ years: 10 €
  • Family Discounts: 2 adults + 1 kid: 25 €; 2 adults + 2 kids: 30 €; Extra kid: +6 €
  • Private Experience Tour: Up to 6 people, 45 minutes, 100 € (Extra person: 10 €)
  • Exploration Time: 30 minutes

Nestled just a stone’s throw away from the iconic St. James Cathedral, in a traditional Dalmatian stone house, lies Šibenik’s Aquarium Terrarium. This attraction offers both locals and tourists a unique glimpse into the aquatic and reptilian world. Perfect for families, it promises an educational and entertaining experience.

Exhibits:

  • Adriatic Sea: Dive into 5 tanks holding 6000 liters of water and marvel at 20 different species.
  • Fresh Water: Journey through waters from America, Asia, and Africa in a 10,000-liter tank, showcasing 20 species.
  • Reptile Terrariums: Get up close with 18 species of reptiles.

For those looking for a more intimate experience, the Private Experience Tour lets you feed and snap photos with the animals. And, as you wander through, you’ll notice most animals, be it fish or reptile, have names, making it a personal and interactive experience.

Before you leave, don’t forget to stop by the souvenir shop. It’s stocked with local crafts, all inspired by the sea and Dalmatia. While it’s not as expansive as a zoo, its unique offerings make it a must-visit, especially if you’re looking to take a break from the sun.

Fortress of St. Nicholas

  • Working Hours: 9 AM – 3 PM
  • Ticket Price: Adults 7 € | Children 7-18 5 € | Under 7 Free | Family Ticket 18 €
  • Exploration Time: 2 hours
  • Boat Departures: 10:00 AM, 11:30 AM, 1:00 PM, 2:30 PM, 4:00 PM, 5:30 PM
  • Return Times: 11:15 AM, 12:45 PM, 2:15 PM, 3:45 PM, 5:15 PM, 6:45 PM
  • Amenities: Cafe and toilets available

Embark on a journey to the Fortress of St. Nicholas, a masterpiece of Renaissance Venetian fortification architecture. Strategically positioned at the entrance to the St. Anthony Channel, this fortress was constructed in the 16th century on the islet of Ljuljevac. Its primary purpose? To halt Turkish boats from accessing the port. The genius behind its design is none other than Gian Girolamo San Micheli.

In 2017, this fortress earned its spot on the UNESCO World Heritage List. After a meticulous reconstruction, it reopened its doors to the public in July 2019. As you explore, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of Šibenik and its surroundings. Dive deep into its rich history, and don’t miss the augmented reality (AR) tour elements that bring its past to life.

For those looking to visit, boats depart regularly from the Šibenik waterfront. If you’re up for a swim, the waters around the fortress are pristine. Adventure seekers can explore hidden underground bunkers and abandoned structures. And before you leave, take a moment to relax at the on-site cafe.

Barone Fortress

  • Working Hours: 9 AM – 5 PM (Last admission 30 minutes before closing)
  • Ticket Prices: Adults: 10 € | Children 7-18: 6.50 € | Children under 7: Free | Family Ticket: 23 € (Bundle ticket for three fortresses: 11€)
  • Exploration Time: 1 hour

Perched on Vidakuša hill overlooking Šibenik, the Barone Fortress stands as a sentinel of history. Constructed swiftly in just 58 days in 1646, it’s a testament to Šibenik’s resilience during the Cretan War. This fortress, a crucial part of the Šibenik fortification system, played a pivotal role in defending the city against Ottoman invasions, notably in 1646 and 1647.

Named in honor of its stalwart defender, Baron Christoph von Degenfeld, its initial construction utilized the dry-stone technique. Over the years, it evolved, obtaining its final shape in 1659. After years of standing tall, it underwent a significant revitalization, funded by the EU, and reopened its gates in January 2016.

Today, visitors can embark on a journey through time with the fortress’s augmented reality and multimedia features. Experience 17th-century Šibenik in vivid detail, all while enjoying a breathtaking view of the Adriatic sea. For a relaxing break, the on-site cafe serves local brews, and the tranquil ambiance is occasionally punctuated by affordable concerts.

St. John’s Fortress

  • Working Hours: 9 AM – 5 PM (Last admission 30 minutes before closing)
  • Ticket Prices: Adults: 10 € | Children 7-18: 6.50 € | Under 7: Free | Family: 23 €
  • Exploration Time: 30 minutes.

Perched on a hill 120 meters above Šibenik’s old town, St. John’s Fortress stands as a testament to the city’s resilience and strategic genius. Constructed in a mere 58 days in 1646, just in time to thwart a major assault by the Ottoman army, this star-shaped structure has a rich history. Named after a church that once graced its location, the fortress was built during the tumultuous Cretan War.

Its design, credited to Antonio Leni of Genoa, played a pivotal role in repelling consecutive Ottoman sieges in 1646 and 1647. Funded by the citizens of Šibenik, the fortress underwent numerous upgrades over the years, including the reinforcement of its bastions and the addition of gunpowder magazines and water tanks. The fortress’s “tenaille” or “pliers” was a crucial defensive point.

Modern visitors can delve into its past at the educational campus discreetly nestled beneath the fortress. This space, equipped with interactive classrooms, bedrooms, and conference rooms, caters to a diverse audience, from students to artists.

Fans of the Game of Thrones series might recognize it as a filming location. After a challenging 20-minute uphill climb, you’re rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of the town, sea, and channels. While the interior attractions are limited, the vistas are the star attraction. Don’t forget to hydrate at the drinkable water tap, especially in the heat, and maybe grab a coffee at the on-site cafe.

Kayaking

Šibenik Kayaking

Website: sibenikkayaking.com

Embark on a thrilling kayaking adventure in Šibenik, paddling through the St. Anthony channel and alongside the walls of the St. Nicholas fortress, a UNESCO site. Fans of the Game of Thrones series, here’s a treat for you: the Channel of St. Anthony was the entrance to Braavos in the HBO series!

Tours Offered:

  1. Hidden Šibenik – Kayaking: EUR 35.00 | 4-5 hours | Pickup: 08:00 am at St. Peter’s bay.
  2. Kayaking Sunset Tour: EUR 35.17 | 4-5 hours | Pickup: 03:00 pm at St. Peter’s bay.
  3. Kayaking & Zipline Šibenik – Čikola Canyon: EUR 80.00 | 5-5:30 hours | Pickup: 08:00 am at St. Peter’s bay/Čikola canyon.
  4. Game of Thrones – Kayaking and walking Braavos tour: EUR 60.00 | 7 hours | Pickup: 08:00 am at St. James Cathedral.

Škver Tours

Website: skver-tours.com

Experience the magic of kayaking through the channel of St. Ante, offering a view of the entrance to the city of Braavos from Game of Thrones.

Tours Offered:

  1. Hidden Šibenik: 8:00 am start | Kayaking through St. Anthony’s channel, sightseeing near a hidden tunnel, and a visit to the St. Nicholas fortress.
  2. Sunset Tour: 05:00 pm start | Kayaking through St. Anthony’s channel, sightseeing near a hidden tunnel, and a visit to the St. Nicholas fortress.

Included: Tour guide, free snorkeling equipment, free bottle of water (0.5l), parking, VAT.
Not Included: Renting GoPro camera, food and additional drinks, personal expenses, travel insurance, tips for the guide.

Roberto de Visiani Park

  • Working hours: open 24/7
  • Ticket price: free
  • Exploration time: 15 minutes; more if you want to stay in the park and relax for a while

Nestled in the heart of Šibenik, the Roberto de Visiani Park is a verdant oasis that stands as a testament to the city’s rich botanical heritage. Often dubbed the “lungs of the city”, this park spans a generous 4,200 square meters and is a haven for those seeking respite amidst nature. Established around 1895, it underwent a significant facelift in 1995, now boasting around 70 species of Mediterranean plants.

The park pays homage to its namesake, Roberto Visiani, a distinguished botanist and professor at the University of Padua. His magnum opus, “Flora Dalmatica,” documented a staggering 2700 species, cementing his legacy in botanical history. The park’s location, bridging Poljana and the Šibenik waterfront, makes it a central attraction, especially during the Advent season when it hosts the vibrant Šibenik Christmas Fair.

Visitors can marvel at the park’s meticulous landscaping, with its pigeon fountain and abundant seating. It’s an ideal spot for families, offering shaded areas perfect for a break from the sun. While the park welcomes relaxation and leisure, please note that dogs are not permitted.

Game of Thrones Tour

Embark on a journey that intertwines the magic of Game of Thrones with the rich history of Šibenik. This tour promises a blend of fantasy and reality, taking you to iconic filming locations that brought the city of Braavos to life on screen.

Tour Highlights:

  • Dive deep into both the Game of Thrones universe and Šibenik’s history.
  • Explore the majestic Kaštel Gomilica castle, St. John’s fortress, and St. Nicholas fortress.
  • Enjoy a serene boat ride to St. Nicholas fortress (ticket included).
  • Wander through the historic Šibenik old town.
  • Travel comfortably with air-conditioned transfers.

Šibenik as Braavos: Šibenik’s old city center was meticulously transformed to mirror Braavos. Key filming spots include The Square of the Republic of Croatia, the UNESCO-recognized Cathedral of St. James, City Hall, and the Pelegrini-Tambača palace.

Notably, St. John’s fortress also served as a backdrop. Fun fact: many locals, including the city’s leadership, played extras! A unique contrast is drawn between Šibenik’s patron saint, St. Michael the dragon slayer, and Daenerys Targaryen, the iconic Mother of Dragons.

Practical Information:

  • Price: €110/person (€100 if staying in Šibenik).
  • Duration: 6 hours.
  • Availability: May 1 – Oct 1.
  • Max People: 8.
  • Min Age: 12 (Private tours available for younger children).
  • Start Time: 9am.
  • Pick-Up: Split accommodation or Šibenik at St. Jacob’s cathedral.
  • Not Included: Tips and personal expenses.
  • Recommendations: Pack sunscreen, a hat, comfy shoes, water, and snacks.
  • Cancellation Policy: 40€ fee/person for cancellations <24 hours or no-shows.

Discover More of Šibenik: A Journey Beyond the Ordinary

After exploring the wonders of Šibenik, why not delve deeper into what this enchanting city has to offer? From day trips to hidden beaches, and from luxurious stays to travel tips, Šibenik is a treasure trove waiting to be discovered.

Embark on a Day Trip to Šibenik: Uncover the hidden gems of Šibenik with a day trip that takes you through the city’s heart. Experience the blend of historical charm and modern vibrancy, as you wander through ancient streets, marvel at architectural wonders, and indulge in local culinary delights.

Venture Beyond: Day Trips from Šibenik: Šibenik is your gateway to adventure. Explore the surrounding areas with day trips that promise an array of experiences. From the breathtaking Krka National Park to the charming isles of the Adriatic, each journey is a story waiting to be told.

Bask in the Sun: Šibenik’s Best Beaches: Discover the pristine beaches of Šibenik, where the sun kisses the sparkling Adriatic Sea. Whether you seek a tranquil retreat or a lively beach atmosphere, Šibenik’s coastline offers a perfect slice of paradise for every beach lover.

Luxurious Stays in Šibenik: Elevate your Šibenik experience with a stay in one of the city’s best hotels. From historic boutique hotels to modern luxury resorts, each accommodation promises a unique blend of comfort, elegance, and exceptional service, ensuring your stay in Šibenik is as memorable as the city itself.

Navigating to Šibenik: Planning your journey to this Croatian gem? Get all the essential travel tips and options for reaching Šibenik, whether by land, sea, or air. Make your travel smooth and hassle-free, setting the stage for an unforgettable adventure in Šibenik.

Šibenik is not just a destination; it’s an experience that keeps on giving. Each of these guides offers a unique perspective on this historic city, ensuring your visit is filled with discovery, relaxation, and unforgettable moments.

About the author

Tomislav is the main contributor and creator of Croatia Wanderlust. With a deep appreciation for his homeland, he dedicates his time to sharing detailed stories and insights about Croatia's rich culture, scenic landscapes, and historical landmarks. His writings aim to provide readers with a comprehensive understanding of what makes Croatia a unique and must-visit destination. Through his articles, Tomislav hopes to inspire travel enthusiasts and curious minds alike to explore the beauty of Croatia.

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