Five things to do in Šibenik

 

five things to do in sibenik

If you plan to visit Croatia you should add the town of Šibenik to your bucket list.

Its increasing popularity among tourists is understandable since this small coastal city has endure the test of time remaining as special as ever. But what makes this city so different? For one, the fact that Šibenik is the only dalmatian city built by Croats (cities such as Split or Dubrovnik were founded by different cultures). Second, its ancient monuments, fortress and cathedrals, all of them made of stone.

Still curious about Šibenik? Let´s find out then what to visit in Šibenik:

1. Cathedral of St. James

This UNESCO Heritage cathedral is the number on attraction in Šibenik. This magnificent monument was built  in the 15th and 16th centuries and can be said to be the only cathedral in Europe constructed only with stone.

Although the original dome was damaged by Serbian forces when the city was shelled in 1991, it was quickly repaired providing the cathedral with its original magnificent aspect.

The Cathedral of St. James (listed on the UNESCO World Heritage since 2000) is considered the most important Renaissance building in Croatia.

The ticket to visit this splendid building costs around 15kn (2€)

things to do in Sibenik

2. Šibenik City Hall

A strikingly building situated on the medieval Square of the city.

The City Hall of Šibenik was built between 1533 and 1546. Although it was destroyed in December 1943 during the attack of the allied forces, it was rebuilt to look exactly like it did before the war.

On the ground floor is located a nice restaurant with a wonderful terrace where to taste some croatian food.

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3. Old Town

The Old Town of Šibenik is a medieval car-free city made up of narrow streets.

The beauty of this city lies in its ancient buildings and churches, some of which are still marked by the signs of the balkan war, and the hidden hideouts the visitor can find while walking around the old town.

The cobbled streets connect all these historical buildings. Sometimes the narrow streets pass underneath an arch, other times, the visitor have to pass through a tunnel which leads to a narrower street where stands, for example, a small sanctuary. But that is the magic of a place which was built on a rocky coastal area.

five things to do in Sibenik

4. Fortress of Šibenik

Šibenik  had such a strategic position in the Adriatic Sea that the city has been always desired by all the Mediterranean powers. However, croatians anticipated that and erected a couple of fortresses which have been an underused tourist attraction. An ambitious program of restoration is already beginning to return the four fortresses of Šibenik its ancient splendor.

The four for Šibenik are:

1. St. Michel´s Fortress: The first fortress of the city was built on the 11th century under the reign of King Petar Krešimir IV, considered the founding father of the city. 

2. Barone Fortress: Built in the 17th century to protect the city from the Candia Wars.

3. St. John Fortress: Also built in the 17th century but more popular than the previous fortress since it was used as set of Game of Thrones in 2014.

4. St.Nicholas´ Fortress: The most beautiful fortress due to its privilege location. This fortress stands at the entrance of the St. Anthony Channel.

things to do in sibenik

 

5. The port of Šibenik

To have a walk outside the old town allows the visitor to enjoy different parts of the city such as the medieval mediterranean garden or Šibenik harbour.

From the ancient port of Šibenik not only the view of the city is remarkable, but it is easy to travel to other dalmatian cities such as Primosten (read more about this city here) or to navigate to the impressive Krka National Park (more information about this spectacular place here).

five things to do in sibenik

Now it is your turn; have you ever been to Šibenik? Did you like it? Which monument did you like the most? What would you recommend to visit in Šibenik? Feel free to share your experience! 

Crete in 5 days (Chapter I)

 

We needed some holidays so we decided to visit Crete; the biggest greek island located in the mediterranean sea at the same distance from the three continents (Africa, Asia and Europe).

We loved it!

Therefore we would like to share our trip experience with you and, furthermore, give you a couple of tips to visit Crete.

Rethymnon

The third most important city of Crete and our first stop. Actually it was a good idea to start our trip in Rethymnon.

This small city is as charming as its people. Walking among its ancient streets we discovered historical remains located close to modern stores and restaurants ready to welcome the tourists. Do not miss the chance to have a walk around the Venetian Fortezza.

Rimondi Fountain

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Venetian Fortezza

Chania

It is the second most important city of Crete and our second stops. Throughout history many different cultures settled in it, leaving their trace in the architecture of the city.

The prettiest part of the city is the old town, surrounded by an ancient wall. Walking among it narrow streets and contemplating its pastel-colored houses we arrived to the port, where we enjoyed a beautiful view.

But walking around the city was not our only plan. We wanted to try the greek food (tzatziki, greek salat, greek yogurt…). That is the reason why we went to some typical greek restaurants:

To Patriko

We have no words! We enjoyed real home made greek food. The food was delicious! The waitress was delightful, she also taught us some greek words! We highly recommend it!

Address: Panou Korounaiou 25, Rethymnon

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Ta chalkina

Charming place located at the end of Chania´s port. Known due to its greek music concerts this restaurant offers a selection of greek dishes. Do not forget to try its champignons! Amazing!

Address:  Akti Tompazi, Chania

(The restaurants were recommended to us by an expat friend with greek family)

After enjoying such a tasty food we would recommend you to relax and have a rest.

What do you like more, beach or mountain?

In Crete you can easily relax yourself in both of them. In the way between Chania and Rethymnon there are some known beaches where to lay down and have a rest.

In Daratsos beach, located in front of our hotel, we enjoyed one of the most beautiful sunsets that we have ever seen.

Although we were excited about going to the beach (yes, in Germany we do not have so many of them) we could not resist to get lost among the mountains of Crete. Therefore we rented a car and we travelled from Chania to Paliochora among extraordinary landscapes where we had the opportunity to make some unexpected new friends on our way.

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But that´s another story.

Have you ever been in Crete? Which are you favorite places in Chania? Share them with us!

 

* If you want to know more about Crete follow our “Secrets of Crete” section in Facebook and do not miss our next posts (Crete Part II & Part III)!! Stay stunned!

Crete in 5 days (Chapter III)

Since we came back from Crete we cannot stop thinking about its food, its people, its landscape, our new friends “the goats”, its exotics beaches…

Elafonisi

Finally we found a crystalline water beach!!.

Elafonisi is located in the south-east of the island and we really recommend you to spend one day enjoying this amazing place.

An odd thing about this beach is its sand. If you look at it you will realize that it has a rosy color (although we did our best it is difficult to appreciate it in the picture). Do not miss the chance to enjoy this unique place!

Stavromenos

 

Stavromenos is a touristic place full of apartments and semi-rocky beaches where to enjoy the view and some typical local food.

Here we enjoyed a couple of days. We were just relaxed, we swam in the mediterranean sea and we tried all the regional food and wine that our stomach could assimilate.

Where to eat?

Taverna Eleven is a nice and familiar restaurant located at the beach.

Its menu is narrower as those that you can find in other restaurants because they use local products and fresh fish of the day. We recommend you to try the local wine the serve, tasty! and to enjoy the sunset while having dinner on the terrace.

Heraklion

To finish our trip (and because our flight had some hours delay) we decided to visit Heraklion, a city built 2500 years ago and used as a port city then.

In Heraklion we could find ancient monuments like the Morosini fountain (year 1720) and the actual city hall (date from that time) in the middle of modern streets full of fashion stores.

City hall

After those 5 days we fell in love with his island. We recommend you to discover and to enjoy it! If you want more tips about Crete contact us!! We are really happy to give you some tips!

If you want to know where to sleep in Crete check our facebook, more ideas coming soon! Stay tuned!

 

See you soon Crete!

 

*Check my other posts related to this trip to find out more amazing spots: Crete in 5 days (Part I) & Crete in 5 days (Part II) (Press on the name to discover more)

Creta en 5 días (Parte II)

La idea inicial era bajar al sur visitando distintas playas por el camino. Así que ahí fuimos. Nos montamos en el coche y empezamos nuestro viaje.

Las primeras primeras paradas fueron en pequeñas playas que nos íbamos encontrando por el camino. No recordamos ni los nombres. Según las veíamos ahí que íbamos a ver si eran interesantes.

Nuestra primera gran parada fue Falasarna (playa de la que muchos de vosotros ya habréis oído hablar). Sinceramente nos decepcionó un poco. Esperábamos encontrarnos con una playa de aguas cristalinas y arena blanca pero no sabíamos que para eso aún teníamos que esperar un día más. Sin embargo, decidimos tomar un café en el chiringuito situado junto a la playa antes de continuar nuestro viaje.

Nuestra segunda parada fue en algún punto de la montaña. Conduciendo pasamos por diversos pueblos y pudimos comprar miel a pequeños productores que la vendían a pie de carretera.

A 1600 metros de altura todo era diferente. Las montañas eran verdes y estaban llenas de flores. La carretera era… Bueno, digamos que era un camino de piedras donde cabía un coche solamente y donde había que estar siempre atento por si las cabras se asomaban a saludar (Eso sí, muy educadamente, una vez que ellas querían podías continuar tu camino). El clima también era diferente. Cada 40 kilómetros las condiciones climatológicas cambiaban. Tan pronto pasábamos del sol y el calor tan característico de esta isla como llovía y conducíamos entre la niebla. ¡Un paisaje digno de disfrutar!

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Tras unas horas llegamos a nuestro destino (y última parada): Paleochora. Una pequeña ciudad situada al sureste de Creta.

Paleochora es un lugar con encanto. Situada al pie de la montaña esta ciudad cuenta con playas tranquilas, calles por las que perderse y un precioso puerto. Una característica peculiar de este lugar son sus casas de colores. No os las podéis perder!

Dónde comer?

En la calle Epar.Od se sitúan los mejores restaurantes de comida griega de la ciudad. No perdáis la oportunidad de cenar en una de sus terrazas mientras disfrutáis del anochecer.

Restaurante donde cenamos. Si os gusta el pescado no os perdáis el emperador, delicioso!!



Y tras 24 horas tumbados a la bartola en la relajante playa situada frente a nuestro hotel, llegó la hora de volver a cruzar la montaña en busca de más playas donde detenernos en nuestro camino al norte.

                                         
Esta vez si encontramos una playa paradisiaca con aguas cristalinas. Pero mejor dejamos el final de nuestro viaje para otro día.

Mientras tanto podéis seguir nuestro diario de viaje  y re-leer el primer capitulo de este post series aquí para conocer más cosas sobre la increíble Creta y su gente.
Y vosotros, habéis visitado Paleochora? Conocíais Falasarna? Qué os pareció? Contadnos vuestras impresiones!

 

Crete in 5 days (Chapter II)

Our first idea was to drive to the south part of the island stopping every time we saw an exotic beach through the window of the car. However, the charming mountains of Crete attracted us enough to make us change our plans. Driving among the cretan mountains and stopping in small villages was as nice as visiting famous beaches (or maybe better).

During our trip we stopped by different beaches that we found in our way. We do not even remember the name of them but it was a good way to check the shore of Crete.

We also followed the recommendation of our greek expat friend and we drove to Falasarna (probably you have already heard about it). However, we were a bit disappointed as we were expecting an idyllic beach with crystalline water. (At that time we did not know that we had to wait two more days to find something like that). Although Falasarna did not look as expected, the beach was good enough to have a walk and to drink a coffee in a small restaurant located close to it.

After the coffee we felt ready to continue our trip.

Driving around the mountains was an amazing experience. On our way we found small villages whose inhabitants sold their products on the road (we bought some sweet and tasty honey to one farmer. We recommend you to stop and check what they are selling,all of them are fresh products. So delicious!!).

Mountains in Crete are full with all kind of flowers and vegetation. They have also some kind of microclimate. Up there (at 1600 metres) we experienced all kind of climatological conditions: strong and light rain, sun, fog, warm wind… Furthermore we made some special friends: Goats. As they live free in the mountains we payed attention to stop the car every time they were crossing the road.

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After a couple of hours driving among narrow roads we reached our goal city: Paleochora. This small city is located between the mountain and the sea. Its main characteristic are its colorful houses close to the port.

Where to eat?

At the Epar.Od. Street you will find restaurants which serve tasty greek food. Do not miss the chance to have a nice dinner at the terrace and to enjoy the sunset. 

The restaurant where we had dinner. If you like fish we recommend you the swordfish; really tasty!!!

Our day in Paleochora came to an end after 24 hours. It was time to come back to the north of the island driving back through the dramatic mountains of Crete.

This time we finally found an idyllic beach on our way back. But let´s talk about the end of the trip another day.

 

In the meanwhile you can follow our travel journal in facebook to know more odd facts about Crete.

And you, have you ever been to Falasarna? Did you like it? Did you know anything about Paleochora? Leave your comments!

3 places you will love about Maastricht

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things”    –    Henry Miller

Coming back to a city which we have already visited is a way to rediscover it. Getting lost among its streets once again allow us to see the place in new light and to pay attention to little things that were overlooked during our first visit.

Have you ever had the feeling of rediscovering a city?

We had that feeling during our last visits to our beloved city of Maastricht. The city surprised us in different ways every time we visited it, allowing us to discover new amazing places. Here you can see 3 places you can´t miss when you visit Maastricht:

1. Selexyz Dominicanen bookstore

In the year 1294 this antique church belonged to the dominicos, during the second world war this place turned into a hospital. After it was abandoned, the town hall of Maastricht sold it to a company which built a three floors bookstore. Walking around its hallways the visitor can find tourists taking pictures, book lovers, a cafeteria (to enjoy both, a good coffee and a good book) and renowned authors signing their last novels to their fans. Those are the main reasons why this place is considered as one of the most impressive bookstores of the world.

 

2. Saint Servatius basilica

This huge basilica is formed by cute stained glasses and an impressive altar. However, I would like to recommend you to look down to the floor, so that you can appreciate the maze located in one wing of Saint Servatius basilica.

Here you can find a post that we wrote regarding the history of Saint Servatius labyrinth. We hope you enjoy it!

Maastricht

 

3. Plein 1992

This time we would like to ask you to look down again, since you can find here a commemorative monument of the Maastricht Treaty.

It is said that the treaty took place in the city of Maastricht due to its proximity to the german and the belgium border, which provides the city with an european atmosphere hardly to find in other places of europe.

Close to the monument there is a modern bridge from where the view of the city is amazing.

Maastricht

Each time we visit our Dutch neighbours means a new discovery. Therefore we love traveling to the Netherlands and spending the day walking among its antique buildings.

What about you? Have you ever surprised yourself by rediscovering a city?