Strolling Through Šibenik, Croatia
A bit of a diamond in the rough, Šibenik is a city that quietly invited us to stroll in a pleasantly-aimless fashion. Situated near Croatia’s stunning Dalmatian Coast and Krka National Park, we didn’t find an abundance of things to do in Šibenik, but that just added to its charm. Instead, our afternoon was filled mingling with locals and a friendly feline, and people-watching moments from the window of a cozy café. Children skipped by with a red balloon in hand, or played on the centuries-old lions that guard the town’s famous cathedral which acted as the backdrop for the action. Šibenik is the oldest Croatian town on the eastern side of the Adriatic Sea, whereas other cities along the coast were founded by the Romans, Greeks and Illyrians.
The Cathedral of St. James is Šibenik’s crown jewel, and is considered to be one of the most important Renaissance monuments in all of Croatia. Built entirely from stone, the church also possesses quirky characteristics – most notably the more than 70 faces of adults and children from centuries past. The cathedral was built between 1431 and 1535 marrying both Gothic and Renaissance elements and it demonstrates the exchange of ideas that took place between Northern Italy, Tuscany, and Croatia’s Dalmatia region in the 15th and 16th centuries. It was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2000.
The town has four fortresses including the seaside St. Nicholas Fortress (Tvrđava Sv. Nikole), as well as the Tvrđava Sv. Mihovila (St. Michael’s), Tvrđava Sv. Ivana, and Tvrđava Šubićevac. We ascended the hill to St. Michael’s Fortress, only to find that it was undergoing construction. This allowed us to mingle with a pregnant cat in the neighboring cemetery, while taking in the area’s magnificent views of the sparkling water below.
The St. James Cathedral was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2000. It is unique in that it was built entirely from stone.
Approximately 71 faces of men, women, and children adorn the cathedral.
The frieze dotted with faces from centuries past.
Children struggle to hang on to the church walls, while stone lions look on.
Church bells on Crkva Sv.Barbary pop on a blue-sky backdrop, while wedding cake-like flourishes protrude from the St. James Cathedral.
Šibenik was once was the seat of Croatian King Krešimir IV, depicted in the statue on the left, so it is also known as Krešimirov Grad (Krešimir’s city).
Swans gracefully glide on the water at sunset.
Where in the World?
- Šibenik is located about 85 km (50 miles) from Split and 50 km (30 miles) from Trogir. We took the bus from Trogir to Šibenik for a day trip and the journey lasted about one hour each way. We had hoped to visit Krka National Park at the same time, but since it was the wintertime Krka’s boat schedule was limited and we wouldn’t have been able to make it there within the park’s opening hours.
- Shawn and I have spent two winters in Split, finding accommodation in apartments that would be packed during the summer months, but are practically empty during winter. During our first 2.5 months there, we stayed at the lovely Kaleta Apartments (affiliate link), which are located within Diocletian’s Palace. Our studio apartment (called the ‘Diocletian’s Suite’) featured much character, including Roman brickwork embedded into our wall, and overhead views of Split’s Old Town streets. Owners Novica and Negri were thoughtful citizen ambassadors too. Two years later, we returned to Split, staying in the charming Varoš neighborhood, which is known for its quirky stone homes sporting hunter-green shutters and flower boxes. For those 2 months, we stayed in quaint studio apartments at the Guesthouse F (affiliate link). We especially enjoyed our tiny terrace and the kindness of our hosts, Anja and Miro. One of Guesthouse F’s apartments was originally a horseshoe maker’s workshop, which previously belonged to Anja’s grandfather. Shawn and I dubbed it the ‘horseshoe cottage’.
- Need more planning inspiration? This link contains an index of all my posts from Croatia.
Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.