When temperatures ease off, the Croatian coast welcomes a whole different type of guest. Spring, Autumn and Winter is the favourite time for sports enthusiasts and fitness fans to visit. And, few places on the Mediterranean have an offer complete like active Šibenik.
Outside of the peak season, the stunning nature that surrounds Šibenik is free from the bustle of visitors. Cyclists and runners speed by unobstructed. Maybe they’ll pass a couple of hikers enjoying the same trails and spectacular views?
St Anthony’s channel, St Nicholas Fortress and the cycle and walking path that reaches it via an island © Šibenik Tourist Board
In the evenings, during their rest time, active Šibenik’s guests have the city’s best hotels, restaurants and charming Old Town almost to themselves. They share the cafe, bar and restaurant terraces only with Šibenik residents, relaxing once more now the city is returned to them.
Key to Šibenik’s year-round appeal for fitness and sport fans is the city’s unique landscape. No place in Croatia has natural assets like Šibenik. It is surrounded on all sides by a remarkable and startlingly varied topography.
Firstly, between Šibenik city harbour and the open Adriatic is a long waterway – St. Anthony’s Channel. It is bordered on either side by two huge stretches of wild nature. Then, at the rear of the town, elevated up from sea level and next to Barone Fortress, the area of Šubićevac. Here, the entrance to the vast Šubićevac Forest Park, much of it an untamed, natural landscape. Thirdly, the vast Krka National Park, which lies just 10 kilometres north-east of Šibenik
Active Šibenik: St Anthony’s Channel
Sailboats and speed boats sharing St Anthony’s channel © Marc Rowlands
An epic 2000 metre long waterway, St Anthony’s Channel is both a gateway to the open sea and the entrance to the city for anyone sailing into Šibenik. It is 140 – 220 metres wide and is bordered on each side by near untouched Dalmatian nature. On one side, sheer cliffs for one wall of the channel. At the top, dense pine forests, walking, hiking and cycling trails. Also, the famous recreation site of Martinska.
Cycle paths of Šibenik © Marc Rowlands
On the opposite side of the channel, a very different layout of the land. Here, the pines are much lower and closer to the channel. Between the two, idyllic beaches – the best in Šibenik – line a pathway designated for running, walking and cycling. Those on bicycles drop down from small hills on the interior. After following the path at the side of the water, their ultimate reward is the spectacular St Nicholas’ Fortress. On both sides of St Anthony’s Channel you’ll see incredible views of Šibenik, its harbour and the side opposite.
Cycling across a section of St Anthony’s channel © Marc Rowlands
For those who prefer recreation on the water, St Anthony’s Channel is perfect to explore by kayak. It’s also one of the easiest ways to discover all of Šibenik’s best beaches. Sticking close to the pine-sheltered coast, beautiful sailboats pass you in the centre of the channel, on their way to or from the city.
Active Šibenik: Šubićevac Forest Park
View over Šibenik, with Šubićevac Forest Park at the rear of the city © Šibenik Tourist Board
To visitors, Šubićevac Forest Park is the least famous of all Šibenik’s recreational areas. A huge stretch of forestland, much loved by city residents, it rises above the city near Barone Fortress. The section of forest closest to the Šubićevac is designated as a city park. Within this part, you’ll find a children’s playground, specially designed to be accessible to all, including children with special needs.
Easily accessible section of Šubićevac Forest Park © Javna ustanova Športski objekti Šibenik
Throughout this section, designated paths for cycling and walking. Running to the southeast, a much larger area of near untouched forest. Here, a wilderness ripe for runners or hikers to explore. It’s worth seeking out the tiny Church of St Michael here.
Paths through forest wilderness © Javna ustanova Športski objekti Šibenik
Residents say the very best views of Šibenik come from Šubićevac Forest Park. Certainly, they are breathtaking.
The best views over the city? It’s a tough one to call – Šibenik has many contenders © Javna ustanova Športski objekti Šibenik
Active Šibenik: Krka National Park
Island in Krka National Park © Šibenik Tourist Board
A series of wide pools, fed by cascading waterfalls, Krka is one of Croatia’s best known and most spectacular National Parks. Famous water features like the unforgettable Skradinski Buk dominate the park’s postcard images. You’ll find it near the park’s most southerly entrance, very close to Šibenik. But, beyond this eye-catching introduction lies a further 109 square kilometers of spectacular National Park to discover. The best way to experience it is by walking, hiking or cycling.
Countless captivating viewpoints © Krka National Park
Hiking and walking trails of Krka National Park
Walking and hiking trails © Krka National Park
The park’s hiking and walking trails give you the most thrilling views of this epic landscape and its wealth of flora and fauna. At the side of the trails, educational panels detailing the plants and animals you pass.
Epic landscape © Krka National Park
There are three circular trails: Skradinski buk (1900 m), Roški Slap (1360 m) and Krka Monastery (2100 m). A walking/cycling trail also leads to Skradinski buk from the Skradin bridge (3400 m), while from Lozovac, it is possible to take a forest trail (875 m) down to the park’s longest waterfall.
Walking over waterfalls © Krka National Park
The shortest trail is 300 m long and leads to Bilušića buk, while the longest trail is Stinice-Roški slap-Oziđana pećina and covers 8.5 kilometres. In total, there are 7 spectacular waterfalls to find as the river Krka descends through the park.
Cycling routes of Krka National Park
Breathtaking views on the cycling and walking routes © Krka National Park
Bicycling through Krka National Park is a journey of endless enjoyment. If your perfect cycling route offers stunning landscapes, then this is the place for you. But, if you’re curious to learn about the park’s cultural and historical heritage, then cycling also helps you unlock these park secrets.
Cycling © Krka National Park
No less than fourteen cycling routes crisscross the park. They are divided into three types:
Road route – perfect for racing bikes and dedicated cyclists
Trekking & family route – a mixture of paved roads and gravel paths, perfect for city bikes, mountain bikes, families with children and cyclists of any age and ability.
Mountain biking route – a mixture of gravel paths and unarranged forest paths, with sharp ascents and descents, designed for mountain bike enthusiasts in good physical condition and with advanced cycling skills.
Cycling above Skradin © Krka National Park
On the northeast corner of the park, stretching across an epic canyon, one of Croatia’s most thrilling ziplines. Flying from cliffs hundreds of metres above, so vast is the canyon that you can barely see the thrillseekers at the end of the first line. And, after that, there are still another two to go!
For more information and/or booking any of these activities, visit/contact Šibenik Tourist Board here
For more on great things to do in Šibenik, be sure to check Total Croatia News’s dedicated pages here