Šibenik's main monument, its Gothic-Renaissance cathedral, built of pale-gray Dalmatian stone and designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, stands on a raised piazza close to the seafront promenade. From here a network of narrow, cobbled streets leads through the medieval quarter of tightly packed, terra-cotta–roof houses, and up to the ruins of a 16th-century hilltop fortress. The city has never been a real tourist destination. Before the Croatian war for independence, it was a relatively prosperous industrial center, but when the factories closed, Šibenik sank into an economic depression. However, the cathedral more than warrants a look, and it makes a decent base for visiting the waterfalls of Krka National Park.
In a carefully restored 14th-century palazzo opposite Šibenik cathedral, with tables spreading onto the square, plus a more intimate and romantic terrace at the back, Pelegrini is now frequently cited as one of the best restaurants in Dalmatia. The menu features traditional Dalmatian cuisine with a creative twist. Look out for mussels with leeks, smoked bacon, and cider; pappardelle with truffles, prosciutto, and sheep's cheese; tuna sausage with arugula salad; and lavender ice cream. The service is impeccable and they also host occasional wine tasting.
Katedrala Sv Jakova
Šibenik's finest piece of architecture, the Katedrala Sv Jakova, was built in several distinct stages and styles between 1431 and 1536, and today it is a UNESCO world heritage site. The lower level is the work of Venetian architects who contributed the finely carved Venetian-Gothic portals, whereas the rest of the building follows plans drawn up by local architect Juraj Dalmatinac, who proposed the Renaissance cupola. Note the frieze running around the outer wall, with 74 faces carved in stone, depicting the locals from that time. The cathedral's best-loved feature, the tiny baptistery with minutely chiseled stone decorations, was designed by Dalmatinac but executed by Andrija Aleši. As you leave, take a look at the bronze statue just outside the main door: that's Dalmatinac himself, by Croatia's greatest 20th-century sculptor, Ivan Meštrović.