UNESCO couple Jana + Matt visit Šibenik (PHOTOS)
May 17, 2021 – Jana + Matt are a traveling couple who have the challenge of becoming the first to visit the 1,121 UNESCO World Heritage sites. The UNESCO couple tells TCN about their visit to Å ibenik.
Hi, Matt and Jana here. You might have met us here a month ago, and now, a month later, we are still in Croatia! If you missed our introduction, we are on an epic expedition to become the first on the planet to visit all of the UNESCO World Heritage sites!
Our Croatian part of the expedition started on April 12th and we just celebrated our first month of road trip in this beautiful country.
We arrived in Croatia by bus from Prague in the Czech Republic. A day trip through Austria and Slovenia. It was pretty cool to see 4 countries in one day.
A lot of people have asked us what it was like to travel during a global pandemic – it was surprisingly easy. There were only about ten passengers on the bus, time was passing, and before sunset we arrived at the Zagreb bus station. We only needed to show our negative Covid-19 tests, and that was it. Croatia welcomes tourists and we have definitely felt welcome everywhere we have visited so far.
There are 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Croatia, and we plan to visit them all. Two of them are actually located in the same city – Å ibenik, so let’s start there. We absolutely loved this lovely Dalmatian town! Get comfortable guys and we’ll take you with us on this adventure, starting with our impressions of Å ibenik.
We started our day there with a guided tour of St. James Cathedral, the first UNESCO site in Å ibenik. You might be wondering what makes a cathedral so special that in 2000 it was added to the list of World Heritage sites? The cathedral was built between the 15th and 16th century, and the whole structure was built only in stone! Even the dome is built entirely of stone, which makes it a very unique construction technique. It is also a beautiful mix of Gothic and Renaissance styles. It is a magnificent building inside and out; we were particularly blown away by the baptistery, which is simply beautiful.
After the tour, we spent a good deal of our time walking around, getting lost in the charming streets and exploring hidden corners, one of our favorite things to do in any city we visit. Our guide recommended a lovely local restaurant tucked away in one of those hidden corners, grandma style food, which we love.
We also entered Civitas Sacra – a fun, fun and interactive museum explaining the history of the cathedral. Upstairs they have a restaurant with a breathtaking view of the city; you can stop for a coffee or a bite to eat and relax there.
In the evening, we hopped on a boat and went to visit our second UNESCO site in Å ibenik – St. Nicholas Fortress, one of the most important Venetian fortifications. Built in the 16th century to defend the port of Å ibenik, which at the time was the most important port on the east Adriatic coast, from the Ottomans. The unique triangular fortress, accessible only by boat, makes it an exciting visit. We loved exploring the underground catacombs and prisons and imagining what life must have been like back then.
The boat took us through St. Anthony’s Channel which was once a canyon of the Krka River, such a beautiful area full of biodiversity and the location of Braavos in Game of Thrones!
Taking the boat back gave us a breathtaking panorama of the city, it’s really beautiful to see it from the sea.
It was a little crazy to explore the empty city, empty because of the pandemic, not because it is not an exciting place, quite the contrary. We fell in love with Å ibenik, its beautiful location on the coast, its historic center, its 2 UNESCO sites and its proximity to Krka National Park, where we spent another amazing day soaking up the beauty of nature and to marvel at the waterfalls!
This city has a special energy and we hope you can feel at least a glimpse of it through our eyes. Now is the time for you to pack your bags and see it for yourself! And in the meantime, follow us on @GuideVenturous for daily updates of our Croatian adventure!
To learn more about Sibenik, see our Total Croatia page.
To learn more about traveling to Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN page.