The most underrated Croatian city: Šibenik

Letter 105

A city steeped on the banks of the Adriatic overlooking nearby islands, featuring four fortresses, many churches, a maze of cobbles and spellbinding sunsets – and yet hardly anyone visits. Šibenik is located about halfway between Zadar and Split and only a short drive away from Skradin and the entrance to the Krka National Park (which I’ll get to in another letter). Even with this ideal position and most buses stopping off here, not many travellers chose to spend time in Šibenik. I decided to stop off here for 3 nights for a number of reasons:

  1. It is much cheaper than Split, but close enough so that I could leave early and spend the whole day in the city.
  2. It’s close to the national park and cheap and easy to get to.
  3. It’s quieter than other cities because of the lack of interest.

What I didn’t expect was to completely fall in love with the city, the people and the area. I would go as far as saying it’s my favourite place I’ve visited in Croatia so far and I would 100% go back.

First impressions have a huge impact on my feelings towards a place, and this place impressed me straight away. I arrived at the bus station at about 7pm and within 5 minutes I was checked into my room. No joke! It’s a small place and the hostel I stayed at was visible from the bus station which is right in the centre. I then headed out for food and stumbled across a takeaway place and bought the best falafal wrap ever. The lady in there was lovely and I chatted to her for a while before going to eat on my balcony overlooking the harbour. Did I mention I had an 8 bed dorm to myself? It was very quiet on the first night, and it was a welcome relief. I then headed out for a walk and to catch the sunset and it was the most stunning sunset I’ve ever seen. I already loved the city after only 2 hours.

sibenik sunset 1sibenik sunset 2sibenik sunset 4sibenik sunset 3sibenik sunset 5sibenik sunset 6

The next morning I had some housekeeping to do and got my washing done. (It may have been my favourite moment on my trip when I had a whole bag of folded clean clothes that actually smelled fresh.) In the meantime I wondered over to the supermarket for supplies and came across a buzzing fruit and veg market. That’s one thing I love about Croatia – they do markets well!

sibenik market

For the rest of the day I took it easy wondering around the town and returning to the hostel for food and rests – as it was so central to everything. I spent hours milling around the streets of Šibenik and found myself excited at every turn by the tight alleyways, stepped streets and snippets of views across the islands. I also headed up to St Michael’s Fortress which had the most amazing 360 degree views and also a bar!

sibenik town 1

I go out to explore the city and what do I find? Turtles.

sibenik town 2sibenik town 3sibenik town 4

sibenik town 5

You’ll notice stairs are a recurring theme in Šibenik

sibenik town 6

Many architectural styles and colours overlaid.

sibenik town 7sibenik town 8

sibenik town 9

Views over the old town from the fortress.

sibenik town 10sibenik town 11

sibenik town 12

A cat waiting patiently whilst people cooked sardines in the street.

sibenik town 13

Rocks and stones blending together.

I only stumbled upon the fortress but decided to go in because it looked beautiful. As you can see, the views were stunning and the ticket also allowed you entrance into another fortress higher up over the city. All for less than £4. So later on in the day, after demolishing another massive falafal wrap, I wandered up to the fortress to catch the sunset. Luck was on my side because there happened to be a brass band playing a concert there after sunset so I stayed to watch and it was amazing. Never heard or seen anything liked it and it was great to enjoy surrounded by a few tourists and locals.

sibenik sunset fortress 1sibenik sunset fortress 2sibenik sunset fortress 3sibenik sunset fortress 4sibenik sunset fortress 5

Šibenik has been the biggest and best surprise of all of the places I’ve been to. The main reason I went was for the Krka National Park but ended up finding so much more. Don’t skip Šibenik on a Croatia trip! It’s well worth a visit and I hope this letter has shown that. My last full day in the city was spent at the National Park, which I will write about in the next letter – stay tuned!

Until next time,

From Lou

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