Holidays to Croatia have lots to offer to tourists, and Sibenik is no exception. Sibenik, Croatia's best-kept secret, has cultural attractions to rival the better-known holiday hot-spots of Split and Dubrovnik. For a start, it's the only city in Croatia with two UNESCO heritage sites. The attractive old town is crammed with museums, art galleries, and even holds host to Croatia's best restaurant. But holidays to Sibenik aren't just about culture. The city is the gateway to the stunning Kornati Islands, where an abundance of beaches, and the idyllic Krka National Park await.
You'll love the abandoned fortress
Sibenik is the only city on the Adriatic coast built by the Croatians, and it has an authentic atmosphere even today. It was subsequently claimed by the Venetians and Byzantines, who made their own mark on the city's architecture and culture.
Sibenik's medieval old town is a vision of winding alleyways, white-stone buildings with terracotta roofs, and beautiful Renaissance architecture. The old town's most renowned building is the Cathedral of St James. This UNESCO world heritage site is a fusion of Gothic and Renaissance styles and is famed for its ornate stonework and decorative friezes.
Sibenik's second UNESCO world heritage site is the St Nicholas Fortress, built by the Venetians to guard from Turkish attacks. The triangular-shaped fortress occupies an islet at the entrance of Sibenik's natural harbour, and is connected to the mainland by a narrow causeway. This atmospheric, abandoned fortress is a great place to explore.
Wine and dine in style
There are lots of excellent restaurants in Sibenik. Croatia's top restaurant is even located here. The Michelin-starred Peligrini is the place to go for up-market Dalmatian cuisine such as lobster pasta, marinated mussels and smoked oxtail, all with exquisite wine pairings.
You'll also find plenty of restaurants serving traditional Croatian cuisine at more budget-friendly prices. These sit alongside up-market gastro pubs, Italian cafes, bakeries and ice-cream parlours.
Sibenik also boasts a rich and varied nightlife. On summer evenings, people sit in the courtyards and terraces of local bars, drinking wine and a local liquor, rakijas. You'll find chic wine bars, grungy live-music venues and beach clubs scattered across the city. One of the most renowned clubs is Azimut, renowned for its alternative music acts and cool retro décor.
Islands and waterfalls
The Kornati National Park, an archipelago of over 150 islets and islands, lies just offshore from Sibenik. Many of these islands are characterised by their limestone cliffs and arid landscapes. Here, dry-stone walls and deserted chapels are often the only signs of human habitation. From Sibenik, you can organise a boat trip around the islands, stopping to swim in the crystal-clear ocean.
Meanwhile, the stunning Krka National Park is only a 15-minute drive from Sibenik. Here you'll find a serene lagoon surrounded by 17 dramatic waterfalls. This is a popular swimming and picnicking spot for both locals and tourists.
Holidays to Sibenik are perfect for couples, groups of friends and families. With its rich history and UNESCO-designated attractions, it's the perfect spot for culture buffs. Meanwhile, nature lovers will appreciate the nearby islands, lagoons, beaches and waterfalls. You'll experience the best Croatia has to offer without being overwhelmed by tourists. Book your ticket quickly, before everyone else hears about this under-the-radar destination.