Sibenik lies on the north Dalmatian coast, about 80km north of Split. The village centre sits deep inside a naturally protected bay where the Adriatic Sea and Krka River meet, allowing sailors to cruise in and navigate every inch of calm water surrounding this serene Dalmatian hotspot. With its excellent marina, fascinating cathedrals and bustling Old Town filled with tiny medieval alleyways and stairwells, Sibenik is characteristically Croatian.
Everything is within walking distance in this picturesque city. Visitors can walk along the ocean-side strip and stop at one of the many cafes and bars along Sibenik’s Riva, or stop for lunch in the beautiful hidden garden of St. Laurence's Medieval Monastery. They can stroll the city’s narrow pathways and discover plazas and squares filled with local taverns, fascinating architecture and century old ancient quarters. The surrounding beaches are some of the best along this stretch of coast; Solaris, Zaboric, Grebastica, Brodarica and Jadrija are just some of the pristine, secluded beach havens nearby.
Sibenik is most well known for its magnificent Saint James Cathedral, which lies just underneath the fortress walls of Old Town and has been named part of the UNESCO World Heritage List. This three-aisled basilica was built during the 15th and 16th centuries and its gothic renaissance style draws admirers from all over the world. Most interestingly, it’s known to have 72 human heads carved into its external stone walls, which are said to belong to unknown individuals, sailors, passers by, local merchants and peasants who posed as the cathedral was being built. Sibenik’s cathedral is one of the marvels of the Dalmatian Coast and is certainly not to be missed, as well as the Town Hall, the churches of St. Barbara and St. Francis, and the many squares, palaces and fortresses that are spread throughout the city.
Our top tip for the Sibenik area is a short sail down to Krka National Park, located just past Sibenik along the Krka River. Krka is bursting with breathtaking scenery, waterfalls, flora, fauna and historical and archaeological remains, and acts as the perfect place for you to drop anchor for a picnic lunch. Another must-do in the area – and something perfect for those who have rented their own sailing boat – is to cruise around the Kornati National Park, an incredible culmination of islands, islets and reefs just off the coast. Its underwater environment attracts divers from all over the world and it’s said to be one of the most magical collections of islands to sail through along the Croatian coast.
One of the first things that visitors see as they sail into Krka River is the Fortress of St. Michael. The fortress is another excellent visiting point, sitting 70m above the sea on top of the hill behind Old Town. It provides an excellent photo opportunity and great views down onto the city of Sibenik, Sibenik Bay and The Krka River.
Sibenik can be easily accessed from Split and Zadar airports, where you can then catch a bus to Sibenik from. It’s also well connected with the rest of Croatia and Central Europe by domestic and international bus and train routes. If you’re driving, take the A1 Highway from Zagreb to Split and exit at the Sibenik exit.
Although lesser known than places like Dubrovnik and Split, Sibenik and its surrounding areas will no doubt be one of the highlights of your sailing holiday in Croatia. Nestled in front of the dramatic canyons and refreshing waterfalls of Krka National Park, and only a short sail from some of the most incredible natural coastal wonders in the area, the medieval heart of Sibenik is without a doubt an excellent destination to lower your anchor and relax in before taking off along the Croatian coastline again.