15 Unique Things to Do in Sibenik, Croatia
Sibenik in Croatia is a true jewel on the Croatian Adriatic and one of the most interesting cities on the coast of Dalmatia. During a holiday, there are so many things to do, and you will enjoy the indescribably beautiful ambience of the medieval old town. You walk through winding stone streets and discover wonderful attractions, such as the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Sibenik Cathedral of St. James. Above the 44,000-inhabitant city, there are old fortresses which offer visitors a wonderful view over the sheltered bay. But also having a nice swim is possible in Sibenik, and so you can find some beautiful beaches for swimming and relaxing around the city. Perfect for a memorable holiday or short city tour.
In this travel guide, you will find all the important information and tips about Sibenik in Croatia. Here we show the things to do in Sibenik, the best excursions and activities and reveal stunning beaches. In addition, there are plenty of recommendations about getting there, parking and the best accommodation.
General information about Sibenik
The approximately 46,000-inhabitant city of Sibenik in Croatia is located in the Sibenik-Knin County, and is located only about 30 kilometers from Primosten and 15 kilometers from Vodice. Sibenik is especially known for its charming, car-free old town, which was built up a hill and with more than 2,800 steps, is also known as the “City of Stairs”. Among the most important attractions of Sibenik are the Cathedral of St. Jacob and the 4 Venetian fortresses, which have even been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
But also the surroundings of Sibenik is worth seeing and attracts visitors with numerous sights and destinations! Not far from the city flows the Krka River, an impressive river that is most well-known for its Krka National Park. In addition, Sibenik is considered one of the best starting points for boat trips to the wonderful islands of the Kornati National Park.
Sibenik has also become really popular as a vacation resort in summer. Thanks to the beautiful Amadria Park resort, the many fantastic hotels, apartments and campsites, more and more visitors are drawn to this wonderful region. Perfect for those who want to combine sightseeing and a beach vacation.
The Best Things to Do in Sibenik
Sibenik, as the oldest city on the Adriatic, offers a great variety of wonderful attractions and things to do. Many of the landmarks are located directly in the center, and can be easily visited via a city tour. But also in the surrounding area there is much worth seeing to discover. So that you don’t lose the overview during your vacation, we have summarized the best things to do in Sibenik at a glance:
Since 2000, the Sibenik Cathedral of St. James has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site and also the most famous attraction in Sibenik. This white masterpiece shines with hundreds of details and is beautiful both from the outside and inside. The entire cathedral was built over nearly one hundred years, from 1431 to 1535, and is completely made of stone, including limestone and marble from the island of Brac. Especially worth seeing are the numerous magnificent sculptures on the outer facade, and according to legend, architects have also immortalized themselves in some of the stone bourgeois heads.
Tip: The Sibenik Cathedral of St. James is the landmark of the historic old town, and a visit to this wonderful attraction is a must-do of every trip to Sibenik.
Main Square Trg Republice & Town Loggia
A wonderful highlight of the city and probably one of the most important attractions of Sibenik are the Republic Square, the Trg Republice, and the City Loggia. These attractions are right next to the famous Sibenik Cathedral and definitely you will be amazed by its magnificent facade and many details. The builder of the cathedral, Mr. Juraj Damatinac, is immortalized in the form of the statue on Trg Republice. The city loggia itself was built from 1533 to 1542 and was once the seat of the city government. Today you can sit in one of the cozy cafés and enjoy the delightful ambience of the old town.
Church Sveti Barbara
The church of Sveti Barbara is a hidden jewel of Sibenik. Its history already dates back to the 15th century, when the respected Sibenik nobleman Radoslav Mihetić commissioned its construction. It is hidden just behind the large cathedral and is definitely an attraction not to be missed. This Gothic church is currently no longer used as a church, but as part of the City Museum and can also be visited from the inside. The exterior facade is especially beautiful with the large clock and the statue of St. Nicholas, which is from 1430.
Explore the Old Town & the Narrow Streets
A walk through the narrow streets is one of the best things to do in Sibenik. No wonder that many of the famous Game of Thrones scenes were filmed there. Just get lost and explore the most beautiful corners and squares of the city on your own. The old town is not overly large, and so you can hardly get lost. If you like, you can go shopping in the many small boutiques and treat yourself to a delicious Croatian coffee in one of the many beautiful coffee houses. As a small highlight, you will discover the beautiful St. Mary in Cave, a small cave under the Lawrence Church & Monastery on the way up to the fortress St. Michael. Furthermore, there are many interesting galleries and museums in the old town, and even a small aquarium hides in one of the many side streets.
Tip: If you want to stay right inside the old town, then we can recommend the Heritage Hotel King Kresimir, a wonderful boutique hotel in a unique location.
Monastery of St. Lawrence & Garden
One of the best things to do in Sibenik and also a real insider tip, is the enchanting garden of the monastery of St. Lawrence. This Mediterranean oasis of peace is somewhat hidden in the middle of the old town, on the way to St. Michael’s Fortress, and is unique in its kind in Croatia. For over 100 years, this magical place was forgotten and was reopened only in 2007. During a relaxing walk through the medieval gardens of about 600 square meters, you will discover a magnificent plant world, many medicinal plants, spice plants and a charming fountain.
Tip: You should definitely visit the pretty café in the monastery garden. Here you can enjoy delicious coffee and cake while listening to soft music and enjoying the wonderful ambience.
St. Michael’s Fortress
The St. Michael’s Fortress is one of the highlights and major attractions of Sibenik’s Old Town. Built in the 11th century, it is the oldest fortress in the city. Due to the proximity to the city center, a visit can be optimally combined with a city walk. At the top of the castle is an outdoor stage, where a variety of cultural events take place during the season. Walking along the high walls is a must-do because from there are the best views of the old town.
Another important fortress in Sibenik is the Barone Fortress, the Tvrđava Barons. It is only a few minutes’ walk from the St. Johns’s Fort and is open for visits. From the top you have probably the best view of Sibenik, the deep blue sea and the fortress St. Michael. Also the St. John’s Fort (Tvrđava sv. Ivana) towers over the old town of Sibenik. It was built in the 16th century and is located about 110 meters above the city. A short walk leads from Barone Fortress to St. John Fortress. This fortress is currently being renovated, and therefore it cannot be visited until further notice.
Sibenik Viewing Platform
A real insider’s tip is a visit to the Sibenik viewing platform on the western coast. It is located right next to Banj town beach, about 800 meters from the old town and can be reached by walking along the promenade. From here you have an almost magical view of the city. In addition, this spot is a popular meeting place to admire Sibenik at sunset and at night. Many take their best vacation pictures here.
Tip: Not far away is the Apartment Ledunis. A really great accommodation with parking, perfect to combine beach and sightseeing.
Dalmatian Ethno Village
Just outside Sibenik, in Amadria Park near the Solaris Hotel, is the Dalmatian Ethno Village. As a kind of open-air museum, it shows a life of the locals more than 100 years ago. You walk through what appears to be a traditional Croatian village and get a glimpse of the regional cuisine. Various Croatian specialties are prepared in each of the neat stone houses, which you can then enjoy on site.
Tip: The entrance to the ethno-village is free of charge, but the food prices are in the higher segment. In the high season, it is definitely worth booking in advance.
St. Nicholas Fortress
The St. Nicholas Fortress, also called Tvrđava sv. Nikola, is one of the 4 famous fortresses in Sibenik and is situated directly in the sea. Built in the 16th century at the entrance to St. Anthony’s Canal Sv. Ante, it served to defend the city from the seaside. Since 2017, the Sveti Nikola fortress has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Admittedly, it is connected to the mainland by a small path and thus can be reached on foot. However, to visit the fortress from the inside, you have to take a taxi boat from Sibenik.
Canal Sveti Ante
The town of Sibenik is situated in a sheltered bay and connected to the open sea by the picturesque Canal Sv. Ante. An absolute must-do is a visit to the nature reserve and to hike the trail along the canal. During a walk, you can enjoy a magnificent view of the old town of Sibenik, the deep blue sea and the high cliffs of the nature park. If you stay in Sibenik, you should not miss this lovely tour.
Pubs, Cafés & Nightlife
In summer, the nightlife in Sibenik takes place in the cafés and bars of the Old Town. Between the narrow streets and in the many squares, there are plenty of cozy cafés and cool bars. Here, locals and tourists alike cavort and enjoy the wonderful evenings. A really stunning place and exceptional bar for having a drink is the Azimut, located right on the harbor promenade. During the day you can sit outside on the promenade and enjoy the sun, in the evening you can party inside the iconic vaulted cellar.
The Best Beaches in Sibenik
If you want to go for a swim, you will find some wonderful beaches in and around Sibenik. The most famous beaches in Sibenik are the City Beach Banj, a wonderful pebble beach with picturesque views of the old town, and the wonderful beaches of Amadria Park. Here are our tips for where to swim in Sibenik.
The Beach Banj is the city beach and at the same time most famous beach in Sibenik. It is located about one kilometer from the old town and is popular for both locals and tourists. While bathing in the crystal-clear sea you can always enjoy a wonderful ambience with the city as a backdrop. There is also a nice café for having drinks and coffee.
Beaches of Amadria Park & Solaris Hotel
The coves in the Amadria Park in Solaris are among the most beautiful beaches in Sibenik. On a length of about 4 kilometers, one can expect several beautifully designed bathing places, partly as sandy beach, partly as a pebble beach. Although the beaches belong to the huge hotel complex, non-hotel guests can also come here for a swim.
Especially beautiful is the Solaris beach, also called White Beach, located at the beautiful Amadria Park Jure Hotel. It is the main beach of Amadria Park in Solaris. Here, the sand is really bright and fine and so the beach has been chosen several times as one of the most beautiful beaches in the region.
Another top beach is the Amadria Park Ivan beach, which is just a short distance from the main beach. Again, you can enjoy a wonderful beach atmosphere and crystal-clear sea water.
In addition to the beautiful beaches, the Amadria Park near Sibenik offers a lot of entertainment options, such as the En Vogue Beach Club, the Galija Explorer pirate ship, the water park Dalmatia Aquapark, mini golf, cafés and restaurants.
Things to Do around Sibenik
Not only the old town is worth seeing, also in the surroundings of Sibenik there are numerous possibilities for day trips and activities. So you can discover many of the most beautiful sights in Dalmatia during a vacation. Here are the best excursion destinations in the vicinity:
- Kornati Islands: From Sibenik you can go on unforgettable boat trips. Recommended are excursions to the Kornati Islands and the Telascica Nature Park.
- Trogir: The UNESCO world cultural heritage Trogir is a popular destination for day trips. It is located about 46 kilometers away and offers some fascinating sights.
- Primosten: A trip from Sibenik to Primosten is a nice experience. It is only about 28 kilometers away and delights with a wonderful old town and great beaches.
- Krka Waterfalls: Only about 18 kilometers from Sibenik is Skradin, the gateway to Krka National Park with its spectacular Krka Waterfalls.
- Zadar: The old town of Zadar is a highlight near Sibenik. It is located about 90 kilometers away and delights with its famous sea organ and a wonderful old town.
- Split: Also worth a trip is the old town of Split. Here you can explore the Diocletian’s Palace and medieval Split, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Where to Stay in Sibenik
For vacation in Sibenik there is a fabulous offer of accommodation. Whether it’s a hotel on the beach, a boutique hotel in the old town, a backpacker hostel or private apartments, everyone is sure to find the perfect place to stay. Here are our recommendations for the most beautiful accommodations in Sibenik…It’s worth a look!
- Heritage Hotel in the Old Town: The Heritage Hotel King Kresimir is perfect for that special vacation in Sibenik. Here you will stay in the heart of the Old Town!
- Family Hotel on the Beach: The Amadria Park Jakov is a wonderful choice for families who want to combine beach vacation just outside the city with sightseeing.
- Apartment with Free Parking: The Apartment Ledunis offers new apartments with free parking, and the Old Town and Banj Beach are within walking distance.
- Fantastic 4-Star Hotel: The Bellevue Superior City Hotel is a beautiful 4-star hotel with a fantastic view of the Sibenik promenade.
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