While Sibenik is not one of Croatia’s most popular destinations, it’s still one that has plenty to offer to travelers coming here. And today, I am going to share with you 12 amazing things to do and see in Sibenik, Croatia.
Sibenik is still a town that is rich in history, culture, and natural beauty. It is true that it does not have traces of Roman monuments, like Split’s Diocletian palace, the Roman forums in Zadar, or Pula with its amphitheater but even so, Sibenik’s old town will take your breath away.
The town’s most remarkable feature is its location at the bottom of the Saint Anthony Channel (Sveti Ante), considered one of the most beautiful parts of the Adriatic coast.
The view of the city from the sea is breathtaking and will make for a memorable entrance to this place where you will surely have a perfect vacation. So let’s make that happen by checking out the best things to do and see in Sibenik this year!
Top Things To Do In Sibenik
As soon as you arrive in Sibenik, you’ll be amazed by the plethora of things to do and see.
From wandering through the picturesque old town to exploring the stunning coastline and soaking in the sun and enjoying the beaches, there’s something for everyone here.
For your information, I remind you that Sibenik counts a total of 24 churches, 4 fortresses, 4 wells and 2851 stone steps in the old city center – the most of any town in Croatia.
With that in mind, let’s get to the actual places that you should see when visiting:
1. St. Jacob’s Cathedral
Visiting St. Jacob’s Cathedral is one of the top things to do in Sibenik. This magnificent cathedral was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2000 and is considered the most important architectural achievement of the 15th century in Croatia.
The construction of the Cathedral spanned almost a century, from the mid-15th century to the mid-16th century.
It was initially built in Gothic style, but the final part, including the dome, was completed in Renaissance style. This was one of the things that helped it become an eternal symbol of Sibenik.
If you’re a fan of the popular TV series, “Game of Thrones,” you might recognize St. Jacob’s Cathedral as the filming location for Braavos, one of the Free Cities across the Narrow Sea.
The best way to approach visiting the Cathedral – as well as some of the other main attractions in the area is by taking my recommended walking tour here. It’s just 1.5 hours long and includes a visit to this must-see attraction.
One of the most interesting features of the cathedral is the series of over 70 stone heads on the exterior, representing the citizens of Sibenik from the 15th century.
The cathedral is also more than 2,000 meters long and serves as the gateway to the open sea, as well as the entrance to the town.
2. Garden of the monastery of St. Lawrence
Only a stone’s throw away from the Sibenik cathedral, this medieval Mediterranean Garden has become one of town’s most popular attractions since opening its gates in 2007.
Nestled within the peaceful courtyard of the St. Lawrence Monastery, this lush oasis boasts over a hundred different species of herbs and medicinal plants.
Take a stroll through the garden and let your senses come alive with the fragrant smells and vibrant colors of the flora. This garden is open from 09 AM to 11 PM.
3. Sibenik city museum
If you’re a history buff, visiting Sibenik City Museum is a must-do activity during your stay in this coastal town. Founded in 1925, this museum boasts an impressive collection of around 150,000 exhibits. This is a lot for a city so small!
Located in the former Prince’s Palace, next to the cathedral, the museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the history of Sibenik and Croatia.
The displays are presented in a multimedia format, with sections dedicated to archaeology, culture, and history, as well as a recent history department.
The admission fee for adults is only 4 Euros, while children under 12 get in for free. Students also receive a discount. The museum is open from 10 AM to 12 PM and then again from 5 PM to 8 PM, so be sure to plan your visit accordingly.
Double check the info above to make sure that it is still up to date.
4. Sibenik’s defense fortresses
Sibenik is a town steeped in history and culture, and one of the best ways to explore its fascinating past is by visiting its four defensive fortresses. I have marked them down on the map below (you can click and save the map via Google Maps).
It may seem too many for a single town, but if you go deeper with the city’s turbulent history, you will understand the need to have so many built. They were very important in the defense of the city against the Turks in the late Middle Ages.
There are three on the mainland and one on the sea, at the entrance to the Sibenik bay. And I recommend visiting them all (listed below as unique attractions, as you can visit just one or some.)
5. St. Michael fortress
First in a row and the oldest fortresses here is St. Michael’s Fortress (Sveti Mihovil, the oldest of the four, dating back to the 11th century.
Restored in 2014, it now houses an open-air stage where you can enjoy musical and theatrical performances while taking in the breathtaking views of the surrounding islands and the town.
A walk to the fortress at sunset is an unforgettable experience and a truly Instagramable location.
6. Barone Fortress
Next up is the Barone Fortress, also known as Sibicevac Fort. It was also recently renovated, so it provides more eye candy.
It sits atop a hill 80 meters above sea level and offers stunning panoramic views of the town and the surrounding countryside.
The name Barone derives from Baron Degenfeld, a Venetian military commander of German origin who had a very important contribution to the defense of the city.
7. St. John Fortress
The fortress of St. John, perched 115 meters above sea level, is the third fortress on the list.
Erected in a mere 45 days in response to the Turkish threat, it played a vital role in protecting the town.
Fun fact: it was also a filming location for the popular TV series Game of Thrones, so if you want to feel like a fantasy movie star, this is the one you should not miss!
8. St. Nicholas fortress
Last but not least is the fortress of St. Nicholas, the only one of the four that is entirely surrounded by the sea.
This is considered by many as one of the main attractions in the city – and despite the fact that it’s built on an island, it’s easily accessible via a footpath that connects it to the town. So you have no excuse not to visit!
This triangular-shaped fortress, built in the middle of the 16th century, was strategically placed at the entrance to the canal of St. Ante to protect the town from sea attacks.
9. Walking trail of St. Anthony Channel
The St. Antony channel was, for a long time, a military restricted area but in 2013, the local authorities have decided to reopen this area to both Sibenik citizens and tourists.
This 4.4 km long trail connects the bay of Panikovac to the island of Skoljic, offering stunning views of the channel itself and its surroundings along the way.
It takes between 1.5 hours to 2 hours to fully walk the trail, but you will see that some go jogging on this scenic route. So if you want to burn some of the calories that you put on experiencing the amazing Croatian food, this could be one of the ways to do it.
Along the trail, you’ll find several must-see sights, including the iconic St. Nicholas Fortress that I have talked about above.
Another must-see stop is the St. Anthony Chapel Cave, a hidden gem that holds the remains of a small church dedicated to St. Anthony, nestled in between the rocks.
For those interested in military history, the Marine Tunnel is a fascinating abandoned facility that once served as a refuge for warships – and now can be explored for free along the trail.
And for panoramic views of Sibenik town, the entire channel itself or the St. Nicholas Fortress, be sure to check out the two lookout points along the trail. You’ll take some amazing photos here, I guarantee that!
10. Sibenik aquarium
If you’re looking for a fun and educational experience for the whole family in Sibenik, then this little aquarium in the center of town is the place to be.
Located only 50 meters from Cathedral of St James. Very good value for money for a family ticket, and plenty of exhibits to see.
From colorful fish to curious sea turtles, there’s plenty to see and explore here – and the kids especially will love it. Don’t expect it to be a huge place, but a cosy and really nice one.
There are over 40 species of fish here, as well as 20 reptile species, and you can visit this place from 10 AM to 9 PM.
The place is cheap overall, with family tickets available and all sorts of discounts. You can check the up to date price list on the aquarium’s official website.
11. The Four wells
Now this is something you don’t normally see on a “to do list,” right? Visiting wells may appear unremarkable at first glance, but they were actually the primary source of drinking water during the Middle Ages and a crucial lifeline during the city’s long siege by Turkish invaders.
In fact, these wells were so important that they are often compared to the Five Wells of Zadar – so you should visit them for their historical value. It’s easy to do so, as they’re all around the Cathedral in the old town area.
The Four Wells of Sibenik are no longer used for drinking water, but are kept alive as a reminder about the city’s history.
So take a moment to admire their unique architecture and imagine what life was like in medieval times. You won’t regret it!
12. Sibenik beaches – soak in the sun!
I left this activity last because I am sure that’s the main reason why you are in Sibenik: it’s amazing beaches. I have written an in-depth guide to the best beaches in Sibenik, so make sure you read that too.
The truth is that Sibenik is a perfect holiday destination for all those who love crystal clear sea and sunshine.
With its long coastline, Sibenik boasts a variety of beaches that cater to all tastes and preferences. We have the Banj Beach just minutes away from the city center, the Solaris Beach which is part of a family-friendly resort and much more.
So, no matter if you’re looking for a family-friendly beach or a secluded spot to soak in the sun, enjoy the water and relax, Sibenik has it all.
These are my recommended things to do and see while in Sibenik, Croatia. This city that usually goes under the radar has plenty of attractions to offer and, as you saw above, has a rich history.
From amazing beaches to forts, museums and an amazing cathedral, there are plenty of things to see and do here. And if there’s still something that I missed recommending, but you enjoy doing in Sibenik, let us all know by commenting below.