Guide to the best places and activities in Sibenik


About half way between Zadar and Split, not far from the delta of the Krka river, lies Sibenik, one of the oldest autochthonous Croatian cities. Smaller than the more popular Split and Dubrovnik but just as attractive precisely because of its size, Sibenik will welcome you with its Dalmatian cordiality and Mediterranean beauty regardless of the season.

In this people-friendly town everything is delightfully enchanting, from the stone labyrinth of its narrow cobbled streets that surprise you with staircases and cafes popping out of nowhere to its beautiful history reflected in some of the most famous churches and buildings in Croatia.

There is a softness about this lovely seaside town, it is cheerful and dreamy and romantic at the same time, and a great place to visit if the whole family is coming along. It is no wonder at all that in 2018 The Guardian crowned it with the title of the best beach town in southern Europe.

In this guide we bring you the best of Sibenik and we hope it helps you explore this jewel of Dalmatia and take in its history, attractions and atmosphere.


The best historical sites in Sibenik

1.1. Cathedral of Saint Jacob

The most famous building in Sibenik and one of the most famous in the whole of Croatia, the Cathedral was built entirely out of stone and stone alone (no binding tissue!), and decorated with stone sculptures of the faces of the city’s inhabitants of the time. It is a stunning piece of architecture and the crown of the historic part of town.

1.2. Fort of St. Michael

This stone fort has been watching over the town of Sibenik since the medieval times. Once a mighty military strategic point, it is now the center of the town’s cultural scene, hosting various concerts and events, particularly during the summertime. It also acts as a guardian of Sibenik’s history with a digital reality walk down the memory lane. It’s worth mentioning that the view from the fort is quite stunning, spreading over the entire town and its seafront.

1.3. Fort of St. John

Built in 1646 in only fifty eight days, preceding an attack of the Turkish forces, this fort is the work of the people of Sibenik, erected though their own labour and funding.

1.4. Fort of St. Nicholas

Sitting at the entrance to St. Anthony’s Channel this fort is a unique specimen of the Venetian fort-building, built to expand the town’s defence system to the sea surrounding it.

1.5. Church of St. John the Baptist

A mix of architectural styles, this 15th century church is adorned with artwork of two famous artists: the Sibenik artist Ivan Pribislavic and the Italian master Nicolo Fiorentino.

1.6. Church and Monastery of St. Francis

Built in the second half of the 15th century, this church was later decorated in the Baroque style, with the four Baroque altars standing out as the stars of its interior. Perhaps more important than its architecture is the monastery’s library containing over one hundred incunabula, and the document known as Sibenska Molitva (‘The Sibenik Prayer’), one of the oldest historical and literary documents written in the Roman alphabet.


Things to do in Sibenik

2.1.  Walk through the old town down the Street of King Tomislav

The old core of Sibenik is made of dozens and dozens of cobbled labyrinthine streets with old stone houses towering over them, staircases leading up hill towards hidden corners and small cafes and restaurants hiding in unexpected nooks and crannies. Whatever street you take you’ll always be able to find your way to the St. Jacob’s Cathedral and the Riva promenade, but the direct route and also the main street leading from the Poljana square to the Cathedral is the King Tomislav’s Street.

2.2. Visit to the Falconry Center Dubrava

If you’d like to see falcons in flight and if you’d like for one to land on your arm, head out to this unique center where you’ll be able to have an eye-to-eye conversation with some truly magnificent feathery creatures.

2.3. Enjoy a wine tasting tour

Just outside of Sibenik, especially as you go down the road that follows the shore before it moves more inland, you’ll find dozens of smaller vineyards flourishing under the warm Mediterranean sun. The grapes grown here are never sour and have a certain non-intrusive sweetness to them that make both white and red wines incredibly tasty, drinkable and pleasant. If you’re looking for a way to add a gourmet experience to your day, book yourself a wine tasting tour and enjoy the Sibenik wine-making at its best.

2.4. Take the scenic route down St. Anthony’s Promenade

This promenade, almost four and a half kilometers long, is the best place for hiking, cycling and jogging in the area. But you can take a long easy stroll, too, and enjoy the beautiful scenery it will take you through, and the wonderful view of St. Nicholas Fortress.

2.5. Explore the cave in the Channel of St. Anthony

This cave seems to have been a favourite among the local hermits, since a great number of them used it as their home throughout history. One of them was even buried in it.

2.6. Have a herbal cocktail in the Monastery garden of Saint Lawrence

If you venture up a flight of stairs and then more stairs while walking in the old parts of Sibenik you will chance upon this hidden gem. Its garden blooms with 150 various Mediterranean herbs, and you’ll be able to taste some of them if you order a herbal cocktail at the garden’s cafe.

2.7. Examine the millennia old artefacts at the Sibenik City Museum 

If you take a short detour into a side street just before you reach the Cathedral, you’ll get to the museum of the town of Sibenik, located in the Rector’s Palace. The building itself is famous, and the museum houses artefacts dating back to the Neolithic and Roman times.

2.8. Take a coffee break at the City Hall

The gorgeous archway decorating the entrance to the City Hall’s building will make a wonderful place for coffee or cold drinks during your walk through the old part of town. Built in the first half of the 16th century, this Renaissance building is the backdrop to various events and concerts (such as the Medieval Fair and the ‘Klapske Veceri’ a cappella festival), the most prominent being the International Children’s Festival that’s been taking place in Sibenik since 1958.

2.9. Admire the artwork in the Church of St. Barbara

Located just behind the Cathedral, this lovely church can boast a small but important collection of artworks made in the period from the 14th to the 18th centuries.

2.10. Take the perfect Insta-shot by the Four Wells

Built in mid-fifteenth century the wells were intended to keep a constant supply of water to the city. Today, the plateau above them is often used to host cultural events and concerts.

2.11. Visit the border of Old Sibenik by the Church of Our Lady Outside the City

This lovely 18th century church is still open today and marks the outer border of the historic part of Sibenik. It’s how it got its name: in the 18th century, the location it was built on was outside of the city’s limits and it was dubbed by locals as the church “outside the city”.

The fountain in the little Luje Marune park in front of the church is home to several turtles and some fish so don’t miss to say hello to these lovely creatures, it will make for a great photo-op.


The best beaches in Sibenik

3.1. Banj beach

Located at the end of the Riva promenade, this city beach has all the amenities you might need, along with a pebbled shore and a fantastic view of the city. Just the perfect place to pop down to for a swim after your sightseeing tour.

3.2. Jadrija beach

Not your garden variety kind of a place, Jadrija has long outgrown its definition of a beach and when you visit it you’ll see why. Its variously coloured changing cabins are the center of beach social life, its symbol, and a perfect metaphor for the city of Šibenik and its people: picturesque, friendly and welcoming.

3.3. Martinska beach

If you’re looking for something a little more low-key, Martinska will make a great choice. It has all the basic amenities, lots of natural shade and no crowds. The Caribbean poet Aime Cesaire wrote his defining work “Notebook of a Return to My Native Land” here, so if you’re a writer or an artist we recommend a visit to Martinska for some additional inspiration.

3.4. St. Nicholas beach in the Channel of St. Anthony

This mildly wild beach has a great view of the St. Nicholas Fortress, so after your long and invigorating walk down the St. Anthony’s Promenade, have a stop for a swim and admire the view.


Where to eat in Sibenik

4.1. Pizzeria Zora

Aside from a really great pizza you’ll be able to try the restaurant’s home-made pasta and risotto, and you will be dining with a view of the Sibenik Riva and its boat-dotted harbour.

4.2. Tavern Marenda

Every town has its own hidden gastronomic gem, completely authentic and known only to the local population. In Sibenik, this is the Marenda tavern, located in a small narrow street, slightly off the charted tourist paths. Every meal on the menu is home-cooked and freshly made, from the fish and seafood to pasta, black risotto and lamb. Incredibly friendly and welcoming, infused with the spirit of vintage Dalmatia, dining in this wonderful unassuming tavern will be one of the most wholesome experiences of Sibenik.

4.3. Peskarija

This restaurant, located on the town’s Riva promenade offers a fantastic fish and seafood menu and ice cream fried in bread crumbs. The view from its terrace is particularly lovely during sunset, which makes it a very lovely dining spot.

4.4. Moderato Coffee & Cakes

A modern and elegant cafe with an air of the French aesthetics is a vegan-friendly place and will wow you with a large selection of super-delicious cakes, pastries and desserts.


Why Sibenik?


Sibenik blends historical sites, cultural events, beach life and Mediterranean landscape to provide you with a wholesome holiday experience in which everything is nearby and within reach. The twenty first century and all its amenities never get in the way of the city’s historic charm, so that Sibenik never falls out of its character, no matter where you go. 

But what is perhaps the best feature of this city is its charm and geniality: Sibenik offers itself to you unassumingly, with its home-like ambience and the easy-going manner of its people. It is like a well written novel that pulls you into its plot gently and when you’ve finished reading you want to go back to the start and do it all over again.


We hope this guide serves as preface to that story and that you make your own wonderful Sibenik memories and share them with us in the comment section.

We wish you safe travels and the most amazing adventures! 

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