The Croatian city of Šibenik is blessed with not one but two nearby natural wonders – the Kornati Islands to the west and Krka National Park to the north. The city is considered a gateway to both sites, but there's plenty to enjoy in town as well, if you dedicate the time – namely, a UNESCO-listed cathedral and a handful of fortresses dating back to the Middle Ages that once protected the city.
Šibenik's medieval centre is the city's greatest draw, a well-preserved enclave of 15th- and 16th-century buildings including the Cathedral of St James. This UNESCO World Heritage Site took more than a century to finish, which explains its mix of Gothic and Renaissance stone architecture. Look out for the external frieze, which depicts over 70 faces of 15th-century locals, and ornate interior baptistry. Šibenik Town Hall is another Renaissance-era highlight, featuring arches, columns and a building-length balcony overlooking the city's central square.
Šibenik's position on the Adriatic made it a prime target for invaders. Today, you'll still find a handful of strongholds that protected its borders. St John's Fortress – the city's highest – dates back to 1646 and sits on a hill overlooking town. St Michael's Fortress, which also sits on a hill, features an open-air stage that hosts summer concerts.
Above all, Šibenik is known for its proximity to both the Kornati Islands and Krka National Park. Escape to the latter for a nature-filled day among canyons, lakes and spectacular waterfalls linked by bridges and footpaths.