Usually overshadowed by Zadar and Split, Šibenik is less busy, more relaxed and just as beautiful. Located a short drive from Krka falls, Šibenik could be a great layover stay after your day at the national park. And yes, one day in Šibenik should be enough to visit most of its cultural heritage sites, plus you’ll have some extra time to spend at the beach.
What’s the best time to visit Šibenik?
Like most of coastal Croatia – the best time to visit Šibenik is either spring or summer. The peak season starts in late June and lasts all the way to the end of August, which means bigger crowds. However, it’s the best time for hitting the beach, since the weather is mostly hot and sunny. Early June and early September are perfect for those who want to skip huge crowds and still enjoy the summer weather and the atmosphere. Winter is not that harsh, but most of the shops and restaurants close, which makes the whole city look kind of deserted. The biggest festivity in the city is Šibenik Children’s Festival in June, a great manifestation for adults and especially kids.
a Few facts about Šibenik
Šibenik is the oldest native Croatian town and a historic city in the Dalmatia region. It’s located where the Krka drains into the Adriatic Sea. The city is famous for its Cathedral of Saint James – a masterpiece of Croatian Renaissance. Besides the Cathedral, the city is home to four fortresses, all of them impressive in their appearance and with nice city views. The Kornati archipelago, located very close to Šibenik, consists of 150 islands, which makes it the densest archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea.
One Day in Šibenik Itinerary
Follow this guide and make the most of your trip even if you’re short on time. These are the top sights and things to do during your one day in Šibenik.
Visit the Cathedral of St. James
Start your morning in front of the enchanting St. James’ Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s the best time of the day to enjoy its stunning exterior without a huge crowd. This white-stone, triple-nave basilica is the most important architectural monument of the Renaissance in Croatia.
It’s famous because of the stone work of Juraj Dalmatinac who made 72 stone-carved heads on the perimeter of the church. The interior is just as impressive, with the colorful rosetta and a grandiose dome. Don’t miss the cathedral’s baptistery – another amazing piece by Juraj Dalmatinac.
Drink a coffee in front of the Town Hall
Since it’s located on the Cathedral square, you just can’t miss the Town Hall – the beautifully proportioned colonnaded loggia. Built in the style of the high Renaissance and characterized by a remarkable harmony, no wonder it’s considered one of the most beautiful town halls in Croatia. There is a nice cafe-restaurant where you can enjoy your morning coffee here with a beautiful view of the cathedral.
Stroll the Old Town and along the sea promenade
Now it’s time to stroll the picturesque medieval Old Town. Get lost in the stone alleys, shop for unique souvenirs and make sure to capture some beautiful photos along the way. If you crave some healthy and delicious breakfast, look no further than SHE bio bistro. Walk all the way to the City Library, a remarkable example of Croatian modern architecture.
Pass the park next to the library and continue your stroll along the sea promenade. After you reach the cathedral staircase, it’s time to take a rest and have some refreshments in the shade of the trees of the cafe bar Azimut. It’s worth checking its unique interior, as well.
Enjoy the lush nature of the medieval Mediterranean Garden
Only a short walk from the cathedral, you’ll find the medieval Mediterranean Garden. It is a rather small garden, but quite a beautiful setting to relax and enjoy the scent of Mediterranean plants and herbs, especially on a hot sunny day. There is a nice restaurant terrace where you can have a drink or snack/lunch. Obviously, in case the weather is dull, or if you’re visiting in autumn or winter, skip this one.
Visit at least one of the fortresses
In Šibenik, there are four fortresses, all of them offering the fusion of cultural heritage, specific urban ambiance and extraordinary adaptability to the natural environment. Three of them are located around the city, and one of them, St. Nicholas’ Fortress, on the island at the entrance of Šibenik Channel. Only St. Michael’s Fortress and Barone Fortress were recently fully restored and are now actively managed. They both offer amazing views and are fully recommended to visit, at least one of them.
St. Nicholas Fortress is also worth visiting, especially for those seeking adventure. It’s located on a remote location, and since it’s not restored it’s not officially open for sightseeing, but it can be explored on your own.
Spend the late afternoon at the beach
There are many nice beaches around Šibenik, but since you’re limited by time it’s better to pick beach Banj, the only one within a walking distance from the city. Of course, you should expect a crowd if you’re visiting during the summer months, but the later you go the less crowd there’ll be. And since the sun is strong, the best time to hit the beach is around 6PM. There is a nice snack bar Sesula on your way to the beach where you can enjoy a seafood snack, mostly fried but still very delicious.
Go for a dinner
There are many newly opened restaurants in Šibenik. And while most of them close their doors during the winter, in warmer months there is a wide range of restaurants to choose from. If you want to have some delicious dinner and not overpay for it, Konoba Nostalgija is your place. Their menu is limited and therefore always fresh and tasty. If you want to have a glass of wine and some snack or a platter, check out Vino and Ino (Wine and other). Don’t miss their lovely platter with cheese, prosciutto, olives and much more.
Where to stay in Šibenik?
Bellevue Superior City Hotel
Obala hrvatske mornarice 1, 22000 Šibenik
Enjoying a privileged seafront location only a short walk from the Old Town, the Bellevue Superior City Hotel offers stylish and comfortable stay at one of the top locations is Šibenik. Modernly furnished rooms are filled with abundant natural light and offer stunning views of the sea or the city. The hotel features an on-site spa with a swimming pool, Finnish and Turkish saunas and a fitness centre.
Obala Jerka Šižgorića 1, 22000 Šibenik
Located in the heart of the yacht marina, D-Resort Šibenik is a stylish, design-rich hotel with stunning natural surroundings. This exclusive property offers an amazing view of the Adriatic Sea and archipelago and an enchanting view of Šibenik itself. The top floor restaurant offers refined dining and 360 panoramic views. Elegantly furnished rooms provide a balcony with sea views. The hotel also features a spa area with a Turkish Hammam, two saunas and a fitness centre.
Heritage Hotel Life Palace
Trg šibenskih palih boraca 1, 22000 Šibenik
Located on a small and lively town square, Heritage Hotel Life Palace is an oasis of luxury set in a Renaissance town palace Marenci. Its superbly furnished rooms boast exclusive design enriched with selected details. The hotel includes a wellness area with a hot tub and Finnish sauna, as well as a hotel terrace. Located pretty central, the hotel is a great pick for a layover stay or a weekend getaway.
Extra tips for visiting Šibenik
– Šibenik is a great city base for visiting two stunning Croatian national parks – Krka Falls and Kornati Islands National Park.
– Even though it’s part of the EU, the euro is not accepted in Croatia, so you should change your money upon your arrival.
– Tips in the bars and restaurant are never included in the price, so it’s customary to tip 7%-12%.
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Anca is a travel writer and the founder of One Day Itinerary - the biggest collection of travel itineraries for those who are time-limited or just want to maximize their time while traveling. Although she easily becomes homesick for Croatia, she thinks travel is essential to her happiness. She has traveled to more countries than she is years old and doesn’t plan on changing that fact. In her travel guides she aims to inspire people to travel whenever they have a spare day (or two).