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Sibenik Things To Do – A Great One Day Itinerary

by Andy Vanr

Explore Sibenik’s well preserved Old Town, UNESCO-listed Saint James Cathedral and the four fortresses that protected the city from attack. 

Sibenik is a beautiful city on the Adriatic sea, one of Croatia’s oldest cities. Our one-day itinerary is perfect to experience all Sibenik has to offer.

Old Town Square Saint James Cathedral

A One Day Itinerary – Things To Do in Sibenik

Our Sibenik itinerary explores all of the Old Town sites in just one day.

If you have more than one day, explore beyond Old Town.  Here are more Sibenik attractions:

Sibenik Old Town Map

Sibenik Old Town

Old Town has many churches and old buildings to discover and explore. Meander through the narrow, smooth, stone streets for many great photo opportunities. 

Covered narrow stone street Sibenik
Sibenik’s atmospheric stone streets make a walking tour of the city more interesting.

Saint James Cathedral

Begin your visit to the Old Town at the enormous Sibenik Cathedral.  This impressive stone church is constructed without any bonding material between the stones.  It was built in three phases over 100 years (1431 to 1536) as funding became available.

Family taking selfie in front of St. James Cathedral Sibenik
The north entrance doorway has sculptures of Adam and Eve discretely covering their private parts. No need to hide it from the kids:)

Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the church demonstrates the transition in church architecture from the Gothic style to the Renaissance style. The cathedral shows elements of both.

On the church’s exterior, there are 71 carved heads partway up the wall. Each head is sculpted from a single block of stone.  It is believed they were Sibenik residents known by the sculptor but no one is absolutely sure. Inside the church note the stunning carved ceiling of the baptistery.

Carved heads along wall of Saint James Cathedral
Check out the unique sculptures on the facade of Saint James Cathedral
Doorway of Saint James Cathedral
Saint James Cathedral Doorway

Continue exploring Old Town. The cathedral sits on the south side of the Town Square.

Old Town Square

Relax and people watch in the town square, formally called the Square of the Republic of Croatia.  This picturesque square becomes even more beautiful when lit up at night.  With nightly entertainment and several restaurants nearby, the square is a great place to visit.

The square has always been the site of the town’s public gatherings and political events.  Under the arches on the east side of the square, legal disputes were settled, sentences passed and punishments administered.

People on left of Saint James Cathedral on Old Town Square at night.
Sibenik Old Town Square and Saint James Cathedral shine at night

The former Civic Loggia is on the north side of the square.

Sibenik Town Hall

This Renaissance building, built between 1533 and 1546, has beautiful columns and arches. It is flanked by two carved, stone staircases. Allied bombing during WWII almost totally destroyed the hall. Thankfully, it was rebuilt to look the same as it did originally. Today a restaurant occupies the ground level and cultural events take place in the upper hall.

People and tables in front of Town Hall Sibenik
Sibenik Town Hall’s terrace overlooks Old Town Square

Game of Thrones – Braavos

Sibenik was a Game of Thrones filming location.  Many scenes of the ‘Free City of Braavos’ were filmed here.  Town Square was used with the walls of Saint James Cathedral standing in as the fictional Iron Bank.  This epic setting didn’t require any additional set designs for its filming.

People in Old Town Square Sibenik
The fictional Iron Bank

St. Anna Cemetery

The cemetery is a quiet place to stroll.  Look straight up at St. Michael’s Fortress and outward to panoramic views of the Adriatic Sea.

Left Cemetary gate Right overhead view of graves and stairs
Most of the graves in St. Anna Cemetery are above-ground burial vaults.

Garden of Monastery of St. Lawrence

After being forgotten for almost a hundred years, this garden was restored and reopened to the public in 2007.

A fountain stands in the centre of the stone-walled garden surrounded by crops of medicinal and Mediterranean herbs.  This design is similar to the way the Franciscan monks would have planted it.

Pathway St. Lawrence monastery garden
Many of the plants in the Monastery Garden are medicinal and Mediterranean herbs.
Cafe St. Lawrence monastery garden

Retreat from touring the town for a rest at the cafe on the terrace. Enjoy the peaceful views of the garden and the beautiful church belfry.

Cave of Our Lady of Lourdes

Built in the 1920s, this interesting grotto is dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes.

Statue of Virgin Mary Cave of Our Lady Lourdes
The statue of the Virgin Mary in the Cave of Our Lady of Lourdes

St. Lawrence Church

This beautiful church was part of the Monastery of St. Lawrence established in Sibenik in the 17th century. The church is only open to the public for its regular services. Look through the church windows and admire the beautiful doorway constructed in the Dalmatian Baroque style of the 17th Century.

The monks fled from the Turks to the Sibenik area during the Cretan War of the 17th century. They helped the town’s population during the plague of 1649. Town leaders showed their gratitude to the monks and assisted with the establishment of their monastery within the town.

Pews and altar in St. Lawrence Church
I managed to grab a picture through the window of the interior of the St Lawrence Church.

Church of All Saints

This is a small, beautiful medieval church.  Although the church wasn’t open when I visited, there is a unique photo opportunity.  At the side is a small stairway.  Take care as there are no handrails up the stairway.  Perched on the tiny ledge, you can get a great photo of the town square below.

Left Church of All Saints Right platform and steps
Church of All Saints and its side stairway

Museum of St. Barbara Church

This former 15th-century church, just down the alley from St. James, is now a museum and art exhibition.   See the large clock made of a round stone plate on its west side.

Church of Saint Francis

Completed in 1674, the unique painted, coffered, wood-panel ceiling makes this church worth a visit. The organ was built in 1762. Outside the church there is a beautiful, quiet monastery courtyard to relax in.

Left interior Church of Saint Francis Right ceiling
Beautiful interior of Church of Saint Francis. Look up to the stunning ceiling.
Courtyard Church of Saint Francis
The courtyard is a great place for a break.

Sibenik Aquarium

The whole family will enjoy Aquarium Sibenik with 20 aquariums containing Adriatic and tropical fish and plants.

Robert Visiani’s Park

This beautiful park is filled with Mediterranean plants.  The park is named after Robert Visiani, a famous researcher of the region’s plants. Purchase food from the local vendors and relax by the fountain.  Enjoy musical entertainment on summer weekend evenings.

Fountain Rober Visiani Park Sibenik
Enjoy the fountain at the centre of Robert Visiani Park

Sibenik City Museum

The City Museum has artifacts and exhibits about Sibenik, from prehistoric to current times. In the 17th century this was the Rector’s Palace, where the representative from the Venetian Republic would watch over the city’s political affairs.

2 cannons in front of Sibenik City Museum
Learn about Sibenik’s history at the City Museum

Sibenik Marina and the Waterfront Promenade

End your day on the waterfront.  The wide promenade along the harbour is great for strolling.  It’s not overcrowded with tourists.  Admire the impressive sailboats and yachts berthed here.

Promenade Sibenik Waterfront
People watch on the beautiful Waterfront Promenade

With several restaurants along the Promenade, this is the perfect place to relax and watch the sunset.

Wine glass and sunset on Sibenik harbour

Sibenik Fortresses

To protect the city of Sibenik from Ottoman attack, a system of fortresses were built.   Three of the fortresses overlook and protect the city from the hilltops (St. Michael’s, St. John’s and Barone) and one fort (St. Nicholas) is on an island.

Tickets to all 4 fortresses, and additional information, can be found on the Fortress of Sibenik website.

St. Michael’s Fortress

The fort sits on a steep, rocky hill overlooking the mouth of the Krka River. It served for centuries as the central point of the city’s defensive system.

A visit to the fort is a must for the first-time visitor. Any lane in the city centre leads up the hillside to the fort. The view from the top of the walls of beautiful, medieval Sibenik below and the surrounding St. Anthony Channel is worth the climb.

Looking up at southwest tower St. Michael's Fortress
South Wall and Southwest tower of St. Michael’s Fortress

After years of neglect, the restored fort opened 2014 with a new 1,000-seat, outdoor, summer concert venue. There are a number of exhibits about life in the fort and the weaponry used. The fort is one of the most-visited sites in Croatia.

Left person on walkway Right amphitheatre St. Michael's Fortress
From the top seats in the St. Michael’s Fortress Amphitheatre see the show and the beautiful view of St. Anthony Channel

It is named for St. Michael’s Church known to have been located inside its walls in the 12th century. Most of the structure visible today dates back to the 15th and 16th centuries. The oldest part of the fort is the 13th century southeast square tower but it is believed there has been a fort here for much longer than that.

A gunpowder depot explosion in 1663 resulted in heavy damage to the fort, including the destruction of the church. In 1752, lightning caused another gunpowder explosion, resulting in even more damage. Stones were said to have flown all the way to the sea.

Southeast square tower St. Michael's Fortress
13th century southeast square tower
Various sizes of stone cannon balls St. Michael's Fortress
In the 15th and 16th century, stone cannon balls were individually moulded in order to fit into the barrel of the bronze cannons.

St. Nicholas Fortress

Built in the 16th century, this sea fort is at the entrance to the Channel of St. Anthony on the island of Ljuljevac. The island was the site of a Benedictine monastery called St. Nicholas.

The fort’s lower part is built of stone and the upper part of brick, to defend against artillery fire from Ottoman naval attacks. It was granted a UNESCO designation as it demonstrates the “Defence Systems of the Republic of Venice of the 16th and 17th centuries”.

To visit, take a boat from the Sibenik waterfront.

St. John’s Fortress

This star-shaped fort was built in 1646 as war broke out.  The Turks attacked this fort in 1647 and were defeated in their efforts to take over Sibenik.

This fort is the least restored of Sibenik’s four forts.  The remains of barrack blocks and World War II gun positions are still visible.

St. John's Fortress and Sibenik below
From St. Michael’s Fortress, look across Sibenik to St. John’s Fortress high on the hilltop.

Barone Fortress

This fort was built immediately after the completion of St. John’s Fortress in 1646.  The local population quickly built it in just 58 days anticipating the Ottoman army’s eventual arrival. Sibenik soldiers repelled the great attack of 1647.

Experience this history through augmented reality glasses that recreate the sounds and scenes of 17th century Sibenik.

Street vendors along Sibenik's waterfront
Check out the vendors on the Sibenik Waterfront

Beaches in Sibenik

After another day of exploring, it’s time to relax at a local beach.  Banj Beach is the closest, for those staying in Sibenik.  It is a small pleasant beach, just a 20-minute walk from downtown.  With a car, there are other great beaches outside of downtown.  Try these favourite Sibenik beaches:

BeachDistance*Known for
Banj Beach1.8 kmPopular beach.  Close to town.  Relaxed atmosphere.
En Vogue Beach Club6.9 kmBeach club with party atmosphere, music, cocktails.
Rezalište Beach5.8 kmShallow waters, family-friendly, pebble beach.
St. Nicholas Beach8.2 kmPicturesque, near Šibenik fortress.
Plaža Velika Raduča27 kmLong, pebble beach, clear waters.
White Beach6.5 kmSandy beach near Amadria Park.
Beach Jazina27 kmFamily-friendly, shallow waters
Beach Zamalin19 kmSecluded, pine trees, pebble beach
Uvala Minerska bay9 kmPicturesque park.  Crystal-clear waters.

* Driving distance from downtown bus station

Day Trip – Sibenik to Krka National Park

Krka National Park makes a great day trip from Sibenik.

Discover Krka’s amazing waterfalls and colourful green lakes. Swimming is permitted at Krka (unlike Plitvice Lakes National Park). Several buses a day stop at the park entrances at either Skradin or Lozovac. Check the Sibenik Bus Station schedules to plan a Krka National Park tour.

Waterfalls Krka National Park
Just a couple of the waterfalls in Krka National Park.

Know Before You Go

Can I fly to Sibenik?

No. Sibenik does not have an airport. The nearest airports are located in Split (to the southeast) and Zadar (to the northwest) with Split offering more flight options than Zadar.

Split to Sibenik. How far is it?

It is 58 km from Split airport to Sibenik. The bus journey takes approximately 1.5 hours.

Zadar to Sibenik. How far is it?

It is 76 km from Zadar airport to Sibenik. The bus journey takes approximately 1.5 hours.

Where is the Sibenik Bus Station?

The Sibenik bus station is conveniently located on the seafront, just east of Old Town. Sibenik lies along the main bus routes, so you’ll have no problem travelling from Sibenik to other areas of Croatia.

Can I take the ferry to islands near Sibenik?

Yes. Jadrolinija offers several service routes to Kaprije, Prvic Vodice, Zalarin and Zirje.

Andy overlooking Sibenik and St. Anthony Channel
I loved this view of beautiful Sibenik and St. Anthony Channel from St. Michael’s Fortress


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