From Zadar, we travelled south to Sibenik along the gorgeous coastal road called Jadranska Magistrala which takes you through quaint red-roofed towns. You could travel on the motorway but it would be a shame to miss all the beautiful scenery on the way.
Sibenik (pronounced shi-beh-nick) is the oldest Croatian city on the Adriatic coast and the third largest in Dalmatia. It is constructed completely out of stone. The city consists of only stone buildings and squares and is protected by stone walls.
It’s in a brilliant location as it’s between Zadar and Split and only half an hour from the Krka National Park. Most of all although it is a charming town rich in culture and history it is not as crowded with tourists.
This is another town in Croatia that was used in the filming of The Game of Thrones as the décor for Braavos.
We headed first to the centre of town to the square which is known as the Republic of Croatia. The quiet medieval square is where the city’s most important buildings are situated. You can leisurely wander around and explore this lovely old town without having to worry about traffic as it is carfree. The streets and alleys are simply too narrow for car traffic.
The big cathedral of St James is the main architectural landmark right in the centre of town and is particularly impressive. It’s a stunning and stylish building that took around one hundred years to build starting in 1431 and is a UNESCO world heritage site for its architecture. The building has been uniquely decorated along the sides with 71 human faces and 3 lion heads representing the people who lived in the city when it was built. What makes it special is that its only built with stone. No wood nails or other bonding compounds were used. A method of dry assembly of custom carved stone slabs was used to create it.
Across the square from the cathedral stands the renaissance town hall another historical highlight of the city. This building features rows of columns and a balcony. The ground floor is home to Restaurant Gradska Vijecnica which has an outside terrace which provides an extraordinary view of St James Cathedral.
From the square, we went along to the next important historic attraction in the city St. Michael’s fortress which is particularly interesting because it has a top floor concert venue. Climb the steep steps to the top and look out at the glorious views of Sibenik and the islands in the Adriatic sea. It is one of the most scenic places to attend a performance in Croatia. It is a shame there were none going on while we were there.
There are 4 fortresses in Sibenik but St Michael’s was the only one we visited.
On the way back down the steps, we discovered the Medieval Mediterranean gardens of St Lawrence Monastery. This is a cosy, colourful garden which has a restaurant attached. As it was hot and we were starting to feel a bit tired we stopped off for a nice cool drink.
This is a very serene corner of Sibernik where you can just sit and relax with your drink smelling the fragrance of the flowers and herbs and listening to the water feature. Pure peace and tranquillity. I read that the local school children look after the garden.
Once refreshed we carried on back down the stone stairs to explore the narrow cobbled streets with the countless stairways beautiful arches and houses made of grey stone and decorated by green doors and shutters before finishing off walking along the beautiful seafront for some refreshing sea breeze’s
The size of the old city centre is only about 0,35km²
Sibenik has a rich festival culture. Check here to see if there are any festivals on while you are in the area.
In June they hold the International Children’s Festival
You can fly to Zadar or Split airport and take the bus to Sibenik’s bus station.
The buses are comfortable, cheap and have airconditioning. Bus Croatia
Zadar to Sibenik – 1 h 1 min (88.2 km) via E65/E71
Split to Sibenik – 1 h 9 min (88.4 km) via E65/E71
Sibenik to Krka Nationa Park – 20 min (13.0 km) via Ul. Kralja Zvonimira
Where to Stay
Check the great deals for accommodation with trivago UK
Jet2holidays have some great package deals here
We stayed at Camping Resort Solaris which is one of the best campsites we have ever stayed on. It is very large and has lots of different accommodation at the resort from hotels, apartments, villas, tents etc. Pictures and review here.