After a long period of playing second fiddle to more glamorous neighbours Split and Zadar, Šibenik is swiftly turning into central Dalmatia’s surprise package. The inauguration of Terraneo, Dalmatia’s only significant rock festival, in 2011, placed Šibenik firmly on the musical map. The decision to re-locate the Garden Festival (formerly at Petrčane) to Tisno, only 20km outside Šibenik , has only added to the city’s new-found appeal.
Like Zadar, Šibenik suffered a hammering in the 1991-95 war and is still recovering, but change is evident. The sprawling industrial suburbs, a reminder of its past and significance as a port, camouflage a delightful Old Town. Alleyways and stone steps threaten to lead nowhere but are full of surprises – historic churches and atmospheric squares are tucked around almost every corner, and the golden globe atop the unmissable Cathedral of St James pops up in the distance, over the rooftops, when you least expect it. The busy seafront Riva lined with bars and restaurants thrives in summer, overlooked by the ancient network of crumbling fortresses atop the city, guarding the entrance to the Krka estuary that leads to the town from the open sea.
Šibenik is also a convenient base from which to explore the Krka National Park; Etnoland discovery park; the Dubrava Sokolarski Centar for falconry – and the key nightspots in Vodice and in Primošten.