Šibenik Through the Eyes of a Local: 5 Things Most Tourists Miss

Total Croatia News

Photo credit Sibenik Tourist Board

November 23, 2019 – Šibenik is one of Dalmatia’s most interesting and underrated towns. Now go a little deeper through the eyes of a local with 5 things most tourists miss. 

TCN recently began an internship programme with three students from the Faculty of Political Science & Journalism at the University of Zagreb. After an excellent first article from Janja Sestak, next up please give a warm welcome to Ana Samodol who decided that she wanted to write something about her native town for her first article. I sent Ana a link to my article, Sibenik: 25 Things to Know about UNESCO’s Fortress City and suggested she come up with an article on 5 things that most tourists miss that were not included in my list. 

And then Ana produced THIS! I for one did not know 90% of the article below – a great start, congratulations. 


(Photo credit Romulic & Stojcic)

Šibenik through the eyes of a local – so what are the things that most tourists miss once you have been to the famous cathedral and fortresses?

Šibenik has a lot of historical cultures and myths, but many famous people also come from Šibenik. I am sure that you have heard of Dražen Petrović, the legend of Croatian basketball, often called sport’s Mozart. But did you know that the Phoenix Suns’ basketball player, Dario Šarić is also from Šibenik? And that he and Dražen lived in the same neighborhood and played in the same sports hall.

In addition to its sports stars, Šibenk is also birthplace to some actors and directors, such as Goran Višnjić, whom you may remember from the iconic TV show ER. Director duo Ivo and Vinko Brešan, father and son, are also from Šibenik. Films such as Kako je počeo rat na mom otoku (How The War Began On My Island) and Svećenikova djeca (Priest’s Children) are even filmed in the Šibenik area. 

And now that we have mentioned a few famous sons, let’s explore the city away from the tourist crowds.  

Four Wells (Četiri bunara)

No tourist visits Šibenik without visiting its most beautiful attraction, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Cathedral of St. James. Now walk approximately 20 meters more and visit the Four Wells. Here’s the story behind the Four Wells.

A few meters from the Cathedral of St. James you can find a plateau where people took water from wells years ago. Local people built it because of periods of drought and military siege. The construction was supervised by Juraj Dalmatinac, who is famous for building the Cathedral of St. James. After some years people forgot where they got water from in the past, so it was abandoned and forgotten. But years later townspeople who love history and architecture decided to reconstruct all four wells, renovate the floor and give it its former appearance. If you are the fan of older music, like 60s and 70s, Azimut is a great place for you to go out. And guess where is it located? Under these four wells!

During the summer there is live music outside on beautiful summer nights. Check out their Facebook page.

Walking Trail in St. Anthony’s Channel (Šetnica u kanalu sv. Ante)

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(Photo credit Sibenik Tourist Board)

The Fortress of St. Nicholas is Šibenik’s second UNESCO World Heritage Site, but you can also walk and ride a bike on a walking trail in St. Anthony’s Channel. In addition to cycling, you can also take family walks, jog and sightsee. On that trail there is a beautiful panoramic view to Šibenik, the Šibenik archipelago and St. Nicholas Fortress.

In that area, you can also discover Hitler’s Eyes (Hitlerove oči), where you can see the beauty of the sea and take a walk in the tunnel. Hitler’s Eyes is the name of a bunker which the Nazis started to construct. It was built to accommodate the Schnellboot, but was never in fact used. By the end of World War II, they had only dug the rock, which later the JNA (former Yugoslavian Army) took, reconstructed it and used it for the same purpose.

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(Photo credit Sibenik Tourist Board)

While there visit the old JNA barracks, where the Kako je počeo rat na mom otoku? was shot. Anyway, walking around the area of Hitler’s Eyes and walking trail, the abandoned building used to be the JNA’s barracks. The windows are secured with metal railings and metal webbing. These days, the warehouses are ‘decorated’ with graffiti. This place is ideal for film locations, so that’s why Vinko and Ivo Brešan used that location to film their famous film. It is available to you for free.

Roberto de Visiani’s Park (Đardin)

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(Photo credit Sibenik Tourist Board)

Walking around the centre of town, don’t miss Roberto de Visiani’s Park, which locals call Đardin (from the Italian: giardino, means: garden). That park is one of the most beautiful Dalmatian parks, where culture and landscape combine. Here you can enjoy the richness and diversity of Mediterranean flora created by a man who celebrated Šibenik in the past whose name is Roberto de Visiani. He was a renowned explorer of our flora and a reformer of the oldest botanical garden in Europe, which is located in Padua. The park is located in the centre of town, between Poljana and the Šibenik waterfront. It was renovated in 1995 when the park space was mostly occupied by Mediterranean plants.

The park has three fountains and they have beautiful sculptures. During the summer it is relaxing to sit there on the benches and enjoy the summer breeze. But Đardin is also lively during the winter, especially during the Advent season. Then Đardin is decorated with Christmas decorations and also has Christmas carols. The town also organizes concerts and often has a DJ. If you want to set free your own childlike spirit or you have children of your own and you want to surprise them, nearby you have an ice rink.

St. Ana Cemetery (Groblje svete Ane)

St Michael’s Fortress is one of Croatia’s most spectacular buildings and even hosts concerts for the likes of Bryan Ferry, but the cemetery that is close to the fortress is often overlooked? A cemetery of myths and legends. The story takes place at the time of the Inquisition, when many believed in vampires and witches. They heard a rumour that a man who previously died wass actually a vampire, and that he woke during the night and killed the townspeople of Šibenik. Locals went crazy and they opened his grave. When they opened his grave they unleashed the plague. The man had died of the plague, and by opening that grave, they awoke the plague in Šibenik. That’s the legend how the plague was brought in Šibenik. 

Šibenik bridge (Šibenski most)


(Photo credit Romulic & Stojcic)

Šibenik bridge is one of the famous sights and destinations of Šibenik. It connects Šibenik with surrounding places such as Jadrija, Srima, Vodice, etc. The bridge is the most famous symbol of Middle Dalmatia, some 40 metres above the sea. The bridge also gives you an opportunity to do bungee jumping, if you are adventurous and brave enough. It is very safe, but you have to have a lot of nerves and courage to do it. Before you go jumping, you go through the brief instruction of jumping, where they check equipment, height and weight. This is necessary because of the length of the rope that is used for you to jump.

If you are less adventurous, there are other ways to feel the beauty of Šibenik bridge. If you are with your car, park it there and enjoy the panoramic view of Šibenik’s monuments. Also on the other side you can explore the panoramic view of a small place called Zaton. On the bridge, you can take pictures and enjoy the beauty of Šibenik and the Adriatic sea. There is even a hotel where you can stay by the bridge called – yes, you guessed it – Hotel Panorama. 

Take in a little more of the magic of this wonderful fortress city in the video below, and learn more in the Total Croatia Sibenik in a Page guide


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