Dalmatia – Šibenik Region
Dalmatia – Šibenik Region
From royal towns and mighty fortresses, to the most wonderful playgrounds of nature - rocky Dalmatia
If you want to enjoy the true beauty and creative art of nature in one small area and experience a wealth of centuries of cultural-historical monuments riding by bicycle, then this region is an excellent choice.
The area is a combination of the extremely rugged central Dalmatian coast in contrast with the mysterious, rocky, and incredibly water-rich hinterland. It is characterised by the traditional diversity of the islands (coral and sponge farming, wooden boat building, the inventor of the parachute, donkey races and so on) and the coastline with secluded coves, beaches and small picturesque villages, and the many fortresses and churches, in contrast with the expanse of the Dalmatian hinterland full of springs, lakes and rivers, windy plateaus and rocky mountains – Promina and the highest Croatian mountain – Dinara (1,831 m).
For the cycling and walking routes of the region there is the outdoor brand Šibenik Bike & Hike and the website www.bikeandhike.hr where around 85 routes of all kinds of terrain for all types of cycling can be found. The region has standardised cycling route markings according to which it is divided into five cycling zones, and each cycling route has unique numerical markings from 1 to 499. The zones are:
1) Šibenik, Brodarica, Grebaštica, Zlarin, Žirje, Bilice (markings 1 – 99)
2) Primošten, Rogoznica (markings 101 – 199)
3) Vodice, Tribunj, Pirovac, Tisno, Betina, Jezera, Murter, Skradin (201 – 299)
4) Drniš (301 – 399)
5) Knin (401 – 499)
The region’s main attractions are the royal city of Šibenik, a pearl of cultural heritage with a site of UNESCO world heritage – the Cathedral of St James, the most significant architectural accomplishment of the 15th and 16th centuries on Croatian soil and the Krka National Park founded in 1985 for the protection of the travertine cascades and waterfalls, canyons, lakes and islands, and the flora and fauna of the most famous karst beauty of Croatia, the River Krka.The park is best toured by bike, entering from Drniš from where it is nice to start an exploration of the little, authentic villages and local routes which connect them, through the enchanting nature and vantage points to the rivers Čikola and Krka with the possibility of a break and refreshment at the rural households alongside the marked cycling routes themselves.
Those wishing to test their endurance can confront the greatest MTB challenge of the region: The MTB climb to the top of Promina mountain (1,148 m) by the 11 km long road with the overall climb of 875 metres and a test of skill the same way back.
Skradin is an excellent destination for cyclists and nature lovers and above all an interesting corner of this region. It is a wonderful combination of history and a collision of the natural beauty of the power of the roaring waterfalls of the Krka and gentle banks of Prokljan Lake, with five campsites, one hotel and a hostel plus many family accommodation possibilities in apartments and rooms. From here it is possible to start the exploration of the little villages, along with a little healthy tasting adventure of the flavours of the region: the local figs, almonds, cheese, prosciutto and olive oil.
In Šibenik it is worth riding the circular cycling route (16.6 km) along the Channel of St Anthony next to the monumental defensive fortress of St Nicholas at the entrance of the channel with beautiful views of the sea, the Šibenik archipelago and the city of Šibenik and over Zablaće to return along the lakes of Mala and Velika Solina, one of the locations of the once famous Šibenik saltworks.
The charming, fortified, mediaeval little towns such as Tribunj and Primošten, idyllically situated on islets connected to the mainland by stone bridges also have cycling routes mainly in the hinterland, nevertheless, a ride down the trails by the sea is also attractive. Tribunj can be nicely connected to nearby Vodice all the way to Srima, and it even offers a network of 14 road and MTB routes mainly adapted for recreational cyclists. The pride of Vodice is the Orlov Krug (Eagle’s Circle) route, which since 1999 has held the World MTB XCO Cup and which is one of the most attractive and most demanding MTB trails in Croatia.
The very interesting routes from all of the coastal places of this region are the routes with views from the nearby hillsides of the hinterland which are reached through the olive groves and vineyards, along drystone walls, old ponds and stone shelters, and also nice is a trip to the archaeological site of Arauzona (Velika Mrdakovica), an important place on the Zadar-Salona Roman road, where the most valuable pieces of coloured glass dishes in the area of the former Roman Empire were found. Today the finds are preserved in the Šibenik City Museum, which is also in one defensive fortress, and they capture the attention as do its location and display.
Also on the coast is the village of Rogoznica, which also has blue and green cycling routes. The blue ones go along the sea and the green ones towards the hinterland, whilst one of them also leads to the cape of Gradina, where there is the Dragon’s Eye Lake surrounded by vertical cliffs 4-24 metres high almost right by the sea. Due to its natural features the lake is interesting for both scientists and tourists, and many interesting stories and legends have been told about it.
And in the end, this region has so many special islands: Krapanj – the island of divers and sponge farming, Zlarin – the island of coral farming, Prvić – the birthplace of the inventor of the parachute, Murter – the island with the museum of wooden shipbuilding and Žirje – the distant off-shore island with approximately 12 km of roads and two marked cycling routes and the furthest away, off-shore, autumn cycling event the ‘Đir na Žir’.
Go and catch the rhythm of magical and extraordinary diverse Dalmatia!
Bike & Hike region of Dalmatia – Šibenik
Krka National Park
Cathedral of St James under UNESCO protection
Vodice cycling routes
Pirovac cycling routes
Barone Fortress: Šibenik
Channel and promenade of St Anthony with the Fortress of St Nicholas, Šibenik
Šibenik City Museum in the Duke’s Palace (fortress from the 14th century)
Knin Museum and Knin Fortress
Betina Museum of Wooden Shipbuilding, Betina, Murter
Faust Vrančić Memorial Centre, Prvić Luka, island of Prvić