Šibenik travel guide

Read our travel guide for the best things to do in Šibenik, with attractions, hotels, restaurants, bars and more...

Šibenik
© Matt Field/Time Out

After a long period of playing second fiddle to more glamorous neighbours Split and Zadar, Šibenik is swiftly turning into Dalmatia’s surprise package. Like Zadar, Šibenik suffered a hammering in the 1991-95 war and is still recovering but change is evident. The industrial suburbs, a reminder of its past and significance as a port, camouflage a delightful Old Town. Alleyways and stone steps threaten to lead nowhere but are full of surprises; historic churches and atmospheric squares are tucked around almost every corner, and the golden globe atop the unmissable Cathedral of St James pops up in the distance when least expected.

RECOMMENDED: More great travel destinations in Croatia.

20 great things to do in Šibenik
Things to do

20 great things to do in Šibenik

A classic Dalmatian destination in many ways, historic Šibenik is coming into its own after being somewhat left behind by nearby Zadar and Split. One city with two UNESCO sites, current attractions range from a falconry centre to a renovated masterpiece of Renaissance heritage, the Cathedral of St James. Fringed by a pretty if underused harbour, Šibenik makes a pleasant, undemanding change from its now tourist-swamped coastal counterparts, while still offering quality Adriatic cuisine at an improving array of restaurants. RECOMMENDED: where to eat, sleep and drink in Šibenik

Šibenik overview
Things to do

Šibenik overview

After a long period of playing second fiddle to more glamorous neighbours Split and Zadar, Šibenik is swiftly turning into central Dalmatia’s surprise package. The decision to re-locate the Garden Festival (formerly at Petrčane) to Tisno, only 20km outside Šibenik, has only added to the city’s new-found appeal. Like Zadar, Šibenik suffered a hammering in the 1991-95 war and is still recovering, but change is evident. The sprawling industrial suburbs, a reminder of its past and significance as a port, camouflage a delightful Old Town. Alleyways and stone steps threaten to lead nowhere but are full of surprises – historic churches and atmospheric squares are tucked around almost every corner, and the golden globe atop the unmissable Cathedral of St James pops up in the distance, over the rooftops, when you least expect it. The busy seafront Riva lined with bars and restaurants thrives in summer, overlooked by the ancient network of crumbling fortresses atop the city, guarding the entrance to the Krka estuary that leads to the town from the open sea. Šibenik is also a convenient base from which to explore the Krka National Park; Etnoland discovery park; the Dubrava Sokolarski Centar for falconry – and the key nightspots in Vodice and in Primošten.

Restaurants in Sibenik

The best Šibenik restaurants
Restaurants

The best Šibenik restaurants

Uzorita, Zlatna Ribica and, in particular, Pelegrini are the choice picks in an attractive and ever-improving range of local dining venues. Read on for our guide to the best Šibenik restaurants.

Pelegrini
Restaurants

Pelegrini

Hands down the nicest place to eat in central Šibenik, Pelegrini has benefitted from a recent change of culinary approach. Diners may now opt for the 400kn degustation menu that features, as an appetiser, a smoked aubergine and yoghurt dip, moving onto truffle and prosciutto pappardelle with sheeps’ cheese and fresh parsley, smoked oxtail in tempura with salsa, and braised meat with tomato salsa and carrot purée. Chocolate and coffee finish things off nicely. Each dish is accompanied by a specially chosen wine (200kn). Alternatively, there’s an à la carte choice of mains, monkfish tripe with polenta or beef fillet with baked misni cheese, and 150kn lunch option. Outside, the view could hardly be bettered, with tables on the stone steps overlooking the cathedral and a lovely terrace on the roof of the Bunari, the medieval water cistern building, complete with carved well-heads.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Barun
Restaurants

Barun

Some 4km (2.5 miles) out of town, on the road to the Solaris hotel resort, family-run Barun has long been a favourite with locals out to impress their new date/in-laws/business associates. Located in a large modern house that is also a hotel, the first-floor dining room has a fantastic view over cultivated fields and offshore islands. The interior is as classy as the view – antique chairs, smart tablecloths and plenty of greenery. Established for over 20 years, Barun has a menu best described as upmarket traditional, with Italian and French influences well to the fore. A popular choice is steak: châteaubriand for two or biftek café de paris. Eight apartments are for rent too.

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars

Bars and clubs in Sibenik

Šibenik nightlife guide
Nightlife

Šibenik nightlife guide

Bars fill on the seafront promenade Obala Prvoboraca before clubbers drive off for the main destination nightspots of Vodice or Primošten – or make for the Inside Club nearer town. The recently renovated Solaris compex, 6km away, also has beach bars that are pulling the crowds. Southeast in Vidici, there’s the Majstor & Margarita cafe, inspired by Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel, for a themed evening with a literary twist.

Where to stay in Sibenik

Šibenik hotel guide
Hotels

Šibenik hotel guide

The biggest drag on the pace of tourist development in Šibenik has been the poor hotel stock, with only one, somewhat jaded, hotel in the city centre; and a swishly renovated if somewhat isolated Solaris resort, a good six kilometres out of town.