Just a short busdrive away from Zadar and Split you’ll find yourself in Sibenik. Sibenik is a small, relatively undiscovered city in Croatia. Many cruise ships have found their way to Sibenik already, but tourists who travel over land often drive from Zadar to Split or Dubrovnik and completely forget about Sibenik.
With about 50.000 residents, Sibenik definitely isn’t a big city, but it is pretty enough to visit, and the calm, quiet and beautiful streets definitely make your Croatia experience a whole lot better.
I visited Sibenik 10 months ago. I flew to Zadar for a week and found Sibenik to be the perfect little escape from out Zadar. Sibenik definitely didn’t disappoint. For all I can say I even found it better than Zadar!
It blows my mind that a place like this doesn’t get the attention she deserves, and I think, as soon as you read my stories about it, and see the photos of Sibenik, you can’t disagree.
Today I wanted to tell you why you definitely shouldn’t skip a visit to Sibenik and I wanted to teach you a bit more about this beautiful city on the coast of Croatia!
So why do you need to take this little excursion, or extra roadtrip-stop whenever you travel through Croatia? Big cities like Zadar and Dubrovnik have, just as Sibenik, a lot of history, high city walls, ancient buildings and beautiful cathedrals. Unlike Zadar and Dubrovnik, Sibenik is still relatively undiscovered.
When walking through the town of Sibenik you can get lost, you can disappear from all the noises and you can wander around the old, steep and narrow streets and walk away from the city. In stead of a bigger citytrip like Zadar and Dubrovnik, Sibenik is a place where you can enjoy the calmness that is surrounding you and come to rest – forgetting about all the worries you once carried around in your head.
Sibenik has a beautiful atmosphere. The locals are friendly and all seem to know each other, which makes it feel very local and fun. And even though you are an outsider, they will make sure you’ll fit right in and feel right at home.
How to get there
The easiest way to travel to Sibenik is by bus from out Zadar or Split. Sibenik does’t have an airport but Zadar and Split both have one, so it’s easy enough to travel to Sibenik after landing in one of these cities. From out the busstation of Sibenik it’s just a small walk to the center of the city AND taking the bus to Sibenik is quite cheap, so quite convenient too!
Where to stay?
If you want to stay in the heart of the city, in a hotel with a story I would advice you to stay in Hotel Life Palace. Hotel Life Palace is a beautiful hotel in the middle of the old city of Sibenik built in a former ‘Palace’ of the city. The rooms are decorated as if you are really sleeping in an actual palace room and the view from out the window is just perfect. I absolutely loved how the hotel tells you stories about her past and about the past of the city – as well as all the employees who love to take you back in time with their stories. While it’s mostly renovated you can see some authentic details here and there which definitely makes it a great place to stay!
When is the best time to travel?
I traveled in the beginning of spring: the weather was perfect – not to warm, not to cold- and Sibenik was really quiet. There were almost no tourists which I kinda liked, so I definitely loved traveling in spring. I would definitely travel outside of high season (july, september, august), to avoid the massive crowds. There are a lot of cruiseships arriving in Sibenik during the summer months, so this can make the city quite busy.
What to see?
I loved Sibenik. It is a small, romantic town and her narrow, uneven, small streets make it easy for you to wander around and get lost. However, in Sibenik you’ll never really get lost: if you walk uphill you’ll always end up at the fortress, and if you walk downhill you’ll always end up at the beach. Sibenik has a couple of things you definitely need to see and do when you are visiting. So here you go!
ST. MICHAEL’S FORTRESS As I just said: when walking uphill you’ll always end up at the fortress. Sibenik has two fortresses: the St. Michael’s Fortress and the St. Nicholas Fortress. The second one is a bit further away from the old city. The St. Michael’s Fortress is situated in the middle of the old city and therefor gives you the most beautiful view of the city, of the ocean and National Park Kornati, that lays exactly in front of the coast of Sibenik! It’s a steep walk up to the fortress, but you’ll definitely adore the view you’ll get to see on top AND you’ll definitely enjoy the little streets you get to see when walking up there!
PLAZA BANJ To attract more tourists to Sibenik, and to keep the youth of the village entertained, Sibenik worked hard to build a beach. Just a little walk from off the old town of Sibenik you’ll find Plaza Banj. In summer you can take a relaxing swim here but for the rest of the year you can just enjoy the view over the ocean and the old town. Plaza Banj has some great night clubs that often organize events for locals (but of course, you can visit too!) and restaurants that all have quite a youthful ambiance, so even if you can’t swim, Plaza Banj is a great place to visit and watch the sun set!
KATEDRALA SV. JAKOVA This cathedral is the biggest of Sibenik and can’t be missed during your visit. I mean, even if you want to avoid the cathedral it can’t be done. One way or another you will eventually stumble upon the thick, high walls of the cathedral and get curious enough to enter. The details of this cathedral are amazing, the walls tell you a story and the building is one of the most important buildings of the Renaissance of Dalmatia. Need more reasons to enter?
NATIONAL PARK KRKA National Park Krka is situated close to Sibenik, and makes for the perfect day trip from out the city. Krka is compared quite a lot with the Plitvice Lakes, however, only when you visit both you get to onderstand they are completely, totally different.
National Park Krka is wild, robust, small and less crowded. Wherever you walk there is a stream of water just right by your feet and yet another beautiful waterfall to see. It’s absolutely beautiful!