Guide to Traveling or Moving to Sibenik, Croatia: The Oldest Town in the Country

Sibenik Croatia is one of towns along the coast, sometimes unjustly underestimated in comparison to other Dalmatian cities such as Dubrovnik, Split or Zadar. But once you visit this city, you will be fascinated by the rare beauty and numerous cultural and historical monuments.

It makes a part of Northern Dalmatia region, located halfway between Zadar and Split (88 Km). This city boasts an extraordinary location in a picturesque and wide bay at the mouth of the River Krka.

It lies on the slopes of the hills in the northern part of the bay, surrounded by four fortresses: St.Nicholas, St.John, St. Michael and Subicevac (known as Barone fortress).

Sibenik region has a rugged coastline with numerous bays and harbors, and a multitude of islands, islets and reefs. Particularly important are Kornati group of islands (Many calls Sibenik, a gate of Kornati islands). Among other islands that are settled are Prvic, Zlarin, Kaprije, Zirje, Krapanj and Murter.

Sibenik Croatia Map

Sibenik Croatia History

The claim that Sibenik is the oldest city on the eastern Adriatic coast, lies in the fact that it was founded by Croats more than 1000 years ago. It was first mentioned in 1066 in a document issued by the Croatian king Petar Kresimir IV that’s why it is sometimes mentioned as Kresimir’s town.

Unlike other cities along the Adriatic coast, which were established by Greeks, Illyrians and Romans, Sibenik was founded by Croats. It’s the oldest Croatian town on the Adriatic.

While other towns along the Croatian Adriatic coast (Pula, Zadar, Split ) were under the strong influence of Roman empire, in Sibenik were not found significant signs of Roman presence.

The city, like the rest of Dalmatia, initially resisted the Republic of Venice, but it was taken over after a three-year war in 1412. Venice rule lasted up to 1797. In this period town was threatened several times by Ottoman Empire.

Although, the Turks struggled against Venice, they never succeeded in conquering the town well protected by three fortress, St. Nicholas (16th century) and by the 17th century fortresses of St. John (Tanaja) and Subicevac (Barone).

After the fall of the Republic of Venice Sibenik become the part of Habsburg Monarchy, until 1918. After World War I, Sibenik was occupied by the Kingdom of Italy until 12 June 1921 when this town become a part of Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.

During the second World War Sibenik was was occupied by Italian Fascist and German Nazi forces. It was liberated by Communist partisans in November 1944. After World War II it became a part of the SFR Yugoslavia until Croatia declared independence in 1991. More about Sibenik history, you can read here !

Sibenik Croatia Surrounding Area

It wouldn’t be right not to point out some great places in Sibenik surrounding areas, which are considered as the very top of the Croatian tourist offer.

For an easier orientation, I’ve subdivided the area around Sibenik in two zones covering the area along the coast with nearby interior and Sibenik archipelago.

National Park Kornati Islands

‘On the last day of the Creation, God desired to crown His work, and thus created the Kornati Islands out of tears, stars and breath!’ – George Bernard Show

National park Kornati is the biggest group of islands in Croatia. It consists of more than 140 unsettled islands, isles and cliffs on the surface of 70km². This heaven islands belong entirely to Sibenik Croatia region.

Krka River National Parks

Krka National Park established in 1985, with a surface of 142 sq km is the most important National Park only 10 Km from Sibenik Croatia.

It follows the line of the Krka river, from its source in the foothills of the Dinaric mountains on its short journey through the limestone landscape to its finish in the Adriatic sea, in Sibenik bay.

The river flows through a limestone gorge with eight sets of rapids. Two waterfalls, Skradinski buk and Roski slap, are the most impressive, particularly the second one with a 46 meter fall over seventeen limestone steps.

Sibenik Croatia islands – Krapanj

The Krapanj island, certainly is not one of well-known Croatia’s islands like Hvar or Brac but it has something particular regarding its inhabitants’ activity. It’s located in the Sibenik archipelago, and the mainland is only 350 meters away.

It is an island where males were the sponge divers and females were doing all farming work and fishing. I still remember my father’s words each time we saw their boats near Hvar island collecting sea sponges: ‘They are famous sponge divers from the small sponge fishermen village near Sibenik’.

Murter island a gate to Kornati archipelago

Rarely you can find an islands having such a favorable position like this one. If you’re a fan of all kinds of sea activities, you can hardly find a better place.

Murter island belongs to Northern Dalmatian group of islands. It is 30 km north of Sibenik. The close vicinity of Kornati national park makes it the most important nautical base on the Croatian coast.

Jadrija Sibenik resort

I recommend this popular resort a favorite summer gathering place of Sibenik residents and visitors as this resort is one of the best places for windsurfing in Croatia.

During spring and autumn you will “catch” a strong bura wind and a medium Jugo wind, and in the summer maestral will create excellent conditions for windsurfing.

Due to several islands in front of Jadrija, it is safe to windsurf so all windsurf lovers can practice their sport regardless of their level of knowledge or skill. If you are new to windsurfing and would like to learn while you are on holidays than contact – ‘Mali Viganj’ the windsurfing school.

Vlajland – a mystical land of Sibenik Croatia

Vlajland is a name for Sibenik Croatia northern land, that already starts at ten minutes drive from the seashore. It’s a land off the beaten tourist tracks, sometimes unknown for the visitors.

If you are really fond of magical locations reachable only by macadam roads or goat’s path, than this land hides another new experience.

Visiting Krka National Park, beside its waterfalls and stunning nature, you can also explore some medieval fortifications and old water mills along the river Krka. There are several remains of early Croatian fortresses from the 14th century: Kamicka, Trosenja, Necvena, Bogocina and Kljucica which are one of the most important defensive buildings in Croatia.

Dalmati Ethno Village

A visit to one of Sibenik Croatia inland villages, offers its visitors the opportunity to get acquainted with Dalmatian life in the past, with customs, traditions, way of life and society in this area.

Dalmati Ethno Village is located in Pakovo Selo (village) only a 10 minute drive from National park Krka.

How to get there? From Sibenik follow the signs leading to National Park Krka (NP Krka), driving through Bilice, Lozovac and Konjevrate. Do not turn left in Lozovac where it points towards NP Krka but continue driving straight to reach Pakovo selo. After the sign Pakovo selo, turn immediately left and after 400 m on your right hand side you will see ETNOLAND Dalmati parking lot.

It is the first park of this kind, founded in 2007, which covers an area of 15.000 m² and has a capacity of 650 guests in the winter and summer restaurant. he complex consists of old Dalmatian houses, animal stalls, rugs, craft workshops, venues, restaurants and souvenirs.

Archeological site Danilo Gornje – Rider

Only 17 kilometers from Sibenik, in the village of Danilo Gornje you can visit one of the most significant archeological sites in Croatia. (Check it on the map )

A complex of Roman villas is located in Sema Torij, while remains of buildings and a fortification system dating from the prehistoric era to the middle ages on the site at Gradina have been found.


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