August is the Right Time to Explore Šibenik’s Fortresses!

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I often get asked for advice on tourist destinations in Croatia – and that is the easiest one for me to answer, as my top recommendation has not changed in 5 years since my first extensive visit – Šibenik!

You can read about my fabulous day in 2017 when the whole family was stunned by the city’s magnificence and offer in Croatia’s Most Underrated Destination? Stunning Fortress Šibenik Has It All.

The Šibenik fortresses were truly an inspiration for anyone learning how to maximize quality tourism and heritage. 




In addition to being surrounded by two national parks and home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Šibenik is a Dalmatian gem for a long vacation or quick getaway. Recently, the meeting place of history, culture, music, and gastronomy has turned from a sleeping beauty into a lively city in recent years.

Thanks to its rich cultural offer, the city has greatly surpassed its former tourist image of a “sun & sea” destination and has found itself on the map of visitors looking for culture and entertainment – thanks in large part to the open stages at the revitalized St. Michael’s and Barone Fortress. The newest addition to revitalized fortification monuments is St. John’s Fortress, the largest and highest land fortress in Šibenik opened in June this year. These three are gathering places for history buffs, music connoisseurs, and those who simply love a good rhythm, as well as technology enthusiasts.




Since 2014, St. Michael’s Fortress hosts numerous concerts and dance performances at one of the most prestigious outdoor stages in the region. If you want to find out why come to one of this summer’s concerts. Past concerts of Lorde, Jack Savoretti and King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, and the upcoming Kings of Convenience are just a part of this summer’s lineup. Also, they are a great addition to the past performers’ list – Bryan Ferry, Anna Oxa, Michael Kiwanuka, Gregory Porter, Skye & Ross (from Morcheeba), Jacob Collier, Kruder&Dorfmeister, Roisin Murphy, and many, many Croatian artists.




Technology enthusiasts will enjoy the underground part of the fortress, i.e., the two cisterns from the 15th century, which, just like a time machine, take visitors to past centuries thanks to 3D mapping technology. Projections cover over 70% of the surface, which is curved in parts, which makes this undertaking the first of its kind in Croatia. By the end of the year, St. Michael’s Fortress will receive a new exhibition display and interactive content that will show the origin of an idea to place an open-air stage at the oldest Šibenik fortress. All these spots can be explored using an audio guide.




The smallest of them – Barone Fortress, has been leading its new life since 2016 as a more intimate summer stage and summer cinema under the starry sky. It is open all year round and a great place for that first-morning coffee or an evening glass of wine with one of the best views in the city. Of course, after you discover all its secrets through an augmented reality tablet that allows you to witness the angry Ottoman attacks during the greatest battles for Šibenik.




It was during this time and for this reason that the St. John’s Fortress was built. Recently renewed, the largest and highest land fortress in Šibenik opened in June this year. It consists of two parts – ‘star’, a fortified southern part of the fortress, and ‘pliers’, an outer fortification in the northern part.

The educational campus is situated below the so-called pliers, the northern part of the fortress. The campus is equipped with interactive classrooms, bedrooms, and conference rooms. The campus is intended for student groups, young experts, and artists who are coming to Šibenik for study visits or other educational purposes. This kind of space will also contribute to the development of educational tourism.

A short walk uphill is worth the while as the St. John’s Fortress is maybe the best photo spot in town! Fortress’ shop is placed in an old gun powder magazine; overlooking the west part of the town is a Tobruk-type bunker from Second World War. And yet, the fortress still has a lot of secrets to be discovered. One of them is the underground tunnel beneath the fortress (71 meters long, 2 meters high, and at places 5 meters wide) that is yet to be placed in function. The plans for the future also include implementing VR content that will offer a new, interactive, and fun experience for future visitors.




All these locations and their contents are available all year round, so it can be said that the revitalization of the fortresses also brought the revitalization of Šibenik and positioned the city as a hit destination and cultural hotspot that guarantees unforgettable experiences.




The newest addition to Šibenik’s cultural scene is the House of Arts Arsen (named in honor of the Croatian artistic genius Arsen Dedić) officially opened in June 2021. From September to June, this venue is transformed into a cinema, concert hall, dance stage, space for presentations and exhibitions, workshop area – or anything your mind sets up upon! Thanks to a specific modular floor whose height can be adjusted to any need, the space transforms easily. This August House of Arts Arsen was a gallery, as it hosts an exhibition by one of the most important Croatian painters, Vatroslav Kuliš.




The easiest way to explore all these locations is with Mastercard, whose cardholders get many benefits throughout the year thanks to Mastercard’s partnership with Fortress of Culture. This public institution that manages the fortress House of Arts Arsen made sure that like-minded partners follow its every step in creating a fortress of good music, knowledge, and a new cultural audience.

So don’t lose any more time and visit Šibenik’s fortresses and see what’s all the fuss about.




You can learn more about the incredible Šibenik fortresses on the official website.

Learn more about this fabulous city with the Total Croatia Šibenik in a Page guide. 


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