“A bustling seaside city, Sibenik is crammed full of beautiful historical sights and is surrounded by stunning natural scenery.”
Sibenik sits along a wide bay at the mouth of the river Krka in what is widely considered to be the most picturesque part of the eastern Adriatic coast. This terracotta-roofed city is framed by 4 giant fortresses, chunky walls, a deep, natural harbour, and a beach. Dead centre, the old quarter is a riddle of steep little lanes and passages with centuries-old churches, noblemen palaces, and traditional stone houses around each and every bend.
The city is most famous for its cathedral, a limestone-and-marble Renaissance creation with the UNESCO World Heritage stamp of approval. It’s supported by a strong cast of churches, a Franciscan monastery, and a clutch of museums. Despite its ancient body, though, this is a place that’s got youthful legs. Fine old buildings are now inhabited by stylish boutiques, and a lively bar and music scene puts a bit of fire in its belly.
By the shore
Because tourists are still few and far between here, Sibenik offers an authentic view of Dalmatian life. A great way of seeing the city on foot is to amble beside the locals along the Riva – the waterside promenade – before tackling the climb to St Anne’s fortress. Much of it lies in ruins, but it serves up fantastic views of the old town and the sea beyond.
Immediately offshore, there’s a scattering of islands with pretty coves and sandy beaches. They’re peaceful and quiet – some of them have a no-car zone – but each has a distinct personality. Prvic has a lively café culture, Zlarin is best-known for its coral, and Zirje is full of beautiful historic ruins dotted among vineyards, olive groves, and fig orchards. A regular ferry service links them to the mainland.
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