Šibenik is the oldest city on the Adriatic coastline. The ancient city of Šibenik is surrounded by fortifications and four majestic fortresses – the St Michael, St Nicholas, St John, and Šubičevač (or Barone) fortresses. The forts were built to protect the city against Turkish invasion. The Turks made it all the way to the ramparts but never conquered the city. St Nicholas' Fortress protected the city from the sea, the other three from inland attacks. Each tower is unique and offers a wonderful view of the sea and the surrounding islands.
When sailing into Šibenik, right at the entrance to the Channel of St Anthony, you will see an old Napoleonic fort on the right where you can land at the small breakwater on the northeastern side. The fort is open to the public without an entrance fee. The best time to visit is just before sunset, when the large cellars are lit by the sun. BEWARE! While sitting sideways by the low breakwater, you must look out for motorboats and ferries sailing from Šibenik. They create such large waves that they could throw you sideways onto the breakwater. Always leave a lookout by the boat, someone who is capable of sailing away quickly. Drop the fenders all the way to sea level.
The most majestic and the oldest fortress is St Michael's Fortress (formerly known as St Anne's Fortress). The fort was built sometime around the year 1000 AD. During the 11th century, it was the residence of the famous king Peter Krešimir, who founded the first Croatian city of Castrum Sebenici (today Šibenik) beneath it, and the castle and town fortificationswhich provided a safe haven for the people of the city. This protection came in handy, because the locals were pirates and the neighbouring countries did not like this. There was an escape route from the castle (rescue route) which made it possible for the locals to escape to sea if great danger loomed. In the event of an attack from the sea, the escape route allowed the locals to hide behind the castle walls. The path is an exceptional historical monument. It is 40 m long and carved into the steep rocks, with a height difference from bottom to top of 28 m.
St Nicholas' Fortress is also worth visiting. It is shaped like a keyhole and has many secret passages. The fort excels with superb acoustics and concerts are often held here in summer (a pleasant experience for the yachtsmen who listen to the music from the decks of their boats). Until recently, the fort was only accessible from the sea (yachts and recreational boats anchor at the quay under the cave), but today a lovely cycle path leads to it (the path is 4.4 km long, and leads from Dumboka bay alongside the St. Anthony strait all the way to the fort).
When sailing from Šibenik, set out further upstream along the River Krka. About 2 NM past Šibenik, before and after the bridge, you will come across mussel farms. You can buy superb mussels from the farmers there for around HRK 20/kg and they will also advise you on how to prepare them properly.
The beautiful, ancient city centre is full of small stone houses, picturesque squares, stairways, passages, and a maze of winding lanes. The most important monument in the city is the Cathedral of St
James, which is a UNESCO heritage site. The Cathedral of St James is built entirely of stone, adorned by 34 lion heads and 72 life-sized busts. During a Serbian attack in 1991–92, the cathedral was hit by an artillery shell, bursting through the roof and landing in the centre of the cathedral, but luckily not exploding. The cathedral stands on the main square, The Republic of Croatia Square (Trg Republike Hrvatske), once dubbed the "Square of Gentlemen".
The square has been the centre of Šibenik social life for centuries. The first café was built there in 1750. The most beautiful and important historical buildings are also located in the streets around the square. Here you will find the town hall, many palaces (the Rossini, Divinić, Pellegrin, and other Gothic palaces), chapels (the most beautiful being the churches of St Nicholas, St Barbara, and St Frances), monasteries, galleries, and the Sea Gate. Next to the town hall is a stairway leading through ancient courts and little squares to the old town.
Tips for restaurants in Šibenik: the Pelegrini, Marineo (Croatian and Mediterranean cuisine but expensive) and the Dalmatino konoba (Croatian and Mediterranean cuisine).
Marinas near Šibenik
Marina Mandalina—a luxury marina which is the only one in Croatia to have been awarded the highest quality rating (five golden anchors from the British Yacht Harbour Association and five anchors from the Croatian Ministry of Tourism). This marina was designed mainly for mega yachts 30–140 m in length (comprising 80% of the berths). The marina offers 429 berths, connections to water and electricity, free WiFi, modern showers and WC, technical services and a shop with yachting equipment.
Marina Solaris—a nice but usually fully occupied marina offering 246 mooring berths (depth 1–1.5 m, maximum boat length up to 12 m), connections to water and electricity, showers and WC, WiFi, technical services and a shop with yachting equipment. Other services: supermarket, ATM, laundry, children’s playground, diving centre, ice boxes, bicycle and scooter rental and a car park. The marina is situated in a nice and well sheltered bay (sheltered from all winds). The newly opened Aquapark Solaris is near the marina! This is located between the Kids Andrija, and Jakov hotels. Entry for children up to 3 years of age is free of charge, from 3–5 years HRK 40, and for children from 6 years or older HRK 100. Entry for adults is also HRK 100.
Šibenik city harbour—a port of entry, with several mooring berths by the city quay. Mooring costs HRK 20/m for boats up to 15 m in length and HRK 25/m for boats 15–19 m in length. If you are only staying until 16:00, you only pay half price. Connection to water is available. A fuel station is near the harbour.
Šibenik town harbour