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As one of Croatia’s lesser-known gems, Šibenik is full of surprises. The red-roof city sits against the deep blue of the Dalmatian sea, and its UNESCO-protected buildings rise above to show off their glory. As you wander its maze of alleys, you’ll come across quaint squares, stairs leading to ruins and locations you'll probably recognise from Game of Thrones. It’s also a gateway to the oasis of waterfalls in Krka National Park.
Some Šibenik hostels are in classic stone buildings where a blend of exposed walls, wooden beams and contemporary décor make for a contemporary look. Consider one with an outdoor terrace with views of the sea or a Šibenik hostel with a swimming pool. You can expect a mix of shared dorms and private rooms with en-suite bathrooms and air con. Most have communal spaces where you can meet fellow travellers, cook in the kitchen area or connect to free Wi-Fi.
The old part of Šibenik is at the heart of the city. It’s packed with steep steps, cobbled paths and medieval architecture. There are lots of places to eat around here, as well as by the seafront. On the tip of the mainland you can relax on the area’s sandy beaches, Solaris and Zablaće, while at Hangar Beach in Vodice (a 20-minute drive away) you can party all day to techno music. Also by the coast is St Nicholas, a UNESCO-protected island fortress that's a 30-minute walk from Zablaće.
You'll find Šibenik’s other UNESCO World Heritage Site, St James' Cathedral, in the old town towering above the winding streets. Among the sea of white stone, there's a patch of greenery in St Laurence's garden just below the city’s monastery. There’s a little café here too with views over the town and out to sea. For day trips, you can jump on the boat to Zlarin Island with its pine-clad hills and stretches of beach.
Zadar Airport and Split Airport are both within an hour’s bus ride from the city. Šibenik bus station is a short walk from the old town and can take you to and from nearby cities including Dubrovnik, Rijeka and Zagreb. While in town, you’ll discover that most places are within walking distance, but if you want to head a bit further afield you can hop on the public bus.