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Šibenik Sailing Itineraries - Explore Croatia's Oldest Native Coastal Town

Šibenik introduction

Šibenik, a historically significant coastal city in Croatia, is situated where the river Krka flows into the Adriatic Sea. Šibenik is the third-largest city in the Croatian region of Dalmatia and serves as a transport, industrial, cultural and tourist hub of central Dalmatia. Unlike other towns on the Adriatic coast, which were founded by the ancient Romans or Greeks, Šibenik was established by Croats and is the oldest native Croatian coastal town. The first mention of the city dates back to 1066, to a Charter of the Croatian King Petar Krešimir IV, who made Šibenik the capital of his kingdom. That is why Šibenik is also referred to as "Krešimirov grad" (Krešimir's city). Šibenik is a city rich with history, cultural heritage and impressive architecture. The main church in Šibenik, the Cathedral of St. James, is on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Šibenik is also famous for its four fortresses: St. Nicholas Fortress, St. Michael's Fortress, St. John Fortress and Barone Fortress, all strategically placed across the city area. Each of them offers views of the city, sea and nearby islands and attracts thousands of tourists each year.

Getting to Šibenik

The fastest way to reach the city of Šibenik is by flying to either Zadar Airport or Split Airport, both located about 50 km away. As you land, you will find bus lines going directly from the airport to Šibenik. The city is also easily reachable by bus with regular daily departures from all major Croatian cities. Due to good highway connection, driving from the Croatian capital of Zagreb to Šibenik takes just over 3 hours. However, if you decide to drive, keep in mind that the roads can get quite crowded during the high tourist season.   

Šibenik itinerary options

Be it on land or sea, the area around the Croatian city of Šibenik offers its visitors plenty to see and do. Šibenik itself has a wonderful mix of history, culture and architecture, oozing charm on every step. Leaving the city, you will be spoilt for choice with several national parks like the Kornati islands or Krka waterfalls in close vicinity. Charming little islands, sparsely populated, will serve as an ideal destination for those seeking some isolation and privacy. 

Option 1- Šibenik archipelago & Kornati

Total sail distance: 60 NM

Things to see and do: Discover some lesser-known islands of the Šibenik area where you can get away and enjoy the summer in the privacy of some beautiful coves. Sail towards Kornati National Park and marvel in the natural beauty of the islands. Be sure to anchor at one of many restaurants along your route to experience some delicious local food.     

This route is perfect for: Groups of friends and families looking to get away and enjoy a more relaxed holiday. Sailing enthusiasts will jump at the opportunity to explore the islands along the way and the nautical paradise that is the Kornati archipelago.    

Best time of year for sailing: From mid-April until the end of September.

Day 1: Zlarin

The island of Zlarin sits just opposite the town of Šibenik. It is a small, peaceful place, free of cars. As you arrive, you will be overwhelmed by the intoxicating smells of the island's rich vegetation and the overall natural beauty. Be sure to explore the island and learn about the fascinating coral history. 

Day 2: Zmajan

Leaving Zlarin due west, you will find the small, uninhabited island of Zmajan. Here you can anchor in several well-protected coves and spend the day enjoying the crystal clear sea. As the sun sets, be sure to look up and gaze upon the beautiful night sky.   

Day 3: Kaprije

A short sail further west is the island of Kaprije, a quaint island that is only home to about 100 inhabitants. Like Zlarin, Kaprije is also car-free while the people of Kaprije mainly concentrate on olive and grape production. You can choose between docking in the cove of Kaprije or the smaller Nozdra Bay. Be sure to visit tavern Matteo on the southern end of the island where you can enjoy some delicious local cuisine. 

Day 4: Žirje

Located southwest to Kaprije, the island of Žirje is the most remote permanently inhabited island in the Šibenik archipelago. Be sure to take a walk around the island and explore the remains of the Byzantine fort and walls dating back to the 6th century.

Day 5: Kornati

Sailing around the Kornati Islands National Park is truly a magnificent experience, a memory that will stay with you. Unique, barren landscapes combined with the blue sea make a spectacular sight. Spending a night in a secluded bay will truly relax you. Keep in mind that tickets need to be purchased before entering the park area.

Day 6: Tisno

Sailing back from Kornati, make a stop on the island of Murter in the small town of Tisno. Here you can explore some of the most beautiful beaches in Croatia like the Slanica beach. Spend the evening enjoying cocktails in one of the night clubs in Tisno.

Day 7: Šibenik - Krka

Be sure to leave early for Šibenik, in time to take a 40-minute drive to visit the Krka National Park. SImilar in beauty to the more famous Plitvice National Park, Krka offers spectacular rapids and waterfalls and is the perfect destination for a nature hike. 

Option 2 - Dalmatian hotspots

Total sail distance: 100 NM

Things to see and do: Visit southern Dalmatia and enjoy some of the most popular tourist destinations on the Croatian part of the Adriatic. Explore the history of magical coastal towns of Trogir and Split and the natural beauty of islands of Brač and Hvar. 

 This route is perfect for: Groups of friends and families looking to visit the most popular spots in southern Dalmatia. Sailing enthusiasts will enjoy visiting one of the most popular sailing destinations in all of the Mediterranean.      

Best time of year for sailing: From April to the end of September.

Day 1: Rogoznica

As you leave Šibenik due south along the Croatian coast, your first stop is the small town of Rogoznica. This small town is a popular tourist destination nowadays and offers numerous beautiful beaches, well suited for everyone. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes where you can spend an enjoyable evening sampling local delicacies. 

Day 2: Trogir

Next stop on your route is the historic town of Trogir. You will find it on a small island between the Croatian mainland and the island of Čiovo. Here you will experience over 2300 years of history influenced heavily by the ancient Greeks, Romans and the Venetian Republic. Due to its impressive Venetian architecture, the historic centre of Trogir has been on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites since 1997.

Day 3: Split

Split is the second biggest Croatian city and another fascinating coastal town rich with history. The Diocletian's Palace, located in the old town, attracts thousands of tourists and is a fascinating insight into the life of ancient Romans. As you arrive, make sure to dock at the ACI Marina Split located near the town centre. Roam the ancient and narrow cobbled streets before you take a break on the Riva, a beautiful seafront filled with restaurants and cafes.

Day 4: Brač

Brač is one of the most famous and popular islands in Croatia. Spend the day sailing around the island and explore its beauty. Dock at the ACI marina Milna, located at the end of a deep and secure bay on the western coast of the island. Here you will find crystal clear sea, homemade healthy food and ideal sailing conditions. ACI Marina Milna is the proud recipient of the Blue Flag award, confirming the immaculate natural beauty.

Day 5: Hvar

The island of Hvar often referred to as "sunny" Hvar which gives you a hint of what to expect when you arrive here. Beautiful beaches, stunning sea and plenty of sunshine are an ideal combination for a summer holiday. Located on the northwestern part of the island, nestled in a well-protected bay, is the town of Stari Grad. Its name (Stari Grad - Old Town) will tell you all about the rich culture and history you'll find here, dating back to the ancient Greeks. Be sure to try local seafood and especially local wines when exploring the island. 

Day 6: Šolta

Heading back north towards Šibenik, make a stop on the island of Šolta, a small island just west of Brač. Located on the western shore, in the Maslinica bay, is the Marina Martinis Marchi, a little modern marina offering extensive amenities. Be sure to visit the 500 seat amphitheatre, built in the style of ancient Greek theatres. 

Day 7: Šibenik

Before you end your sailing holiday, stop at the St. Nicholas' Fortress, located at the entrance of Šibenik Channel, near the town of Šibenik. This impressive fort is included in the UNESCO's World Heritage Site list as a part of the Venetian Works of Defence.

Following the reconstruction work that lasted two years, the fortress was opened to visitors in July of 2019. If you have time, be sure to visit the remaining three fortresses located in the city of Šibenik.

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