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Your next bucket-list break: from beautiful beaches to natural adventures, an unforgettable Croatian idyll | The Independent

Your next bucket-list break: from beautiful beaches to natural adventures, an unforgettable Croatian idyll | The Independent

Step back in time

Thanks to its strategic position right by the Adriatic, near the Krka river, the Venetians – who used to rule the region – ensured that the pretty, terracotta-roofed town of Sibenik was well protected. There are several impressive fortresses; one of them, St Nicholas, located on its own islet, even has UNESCO heritage status.

You can also visit the fortresses of St Michael, St John, and Barone, constructed at different stages through Croatia’s multi-layered history. Don’t miss Sibenik’s other UNESCO heritage site, the magnificent, stone-built Cathedral of St James. Inland is another fortress, located near Dinara, the tallest mountain in Croatia. Dating from the 9th century, it rears impressively over the historic town of Knin.

Elsewhere, you’ll find the archaeological site of Burnum, which was used as a Roman military camp, while Bribirska Glavica is known as Croatia’s ‘Troy’, a settlement which goes back to prehistoric times.

Beside the sea

With miles of beautiful coastline fronting onto the Adriatic, water babies won’t be short of opportunities. If beach time is your bag, make a beeline for the buzzy resort of Vodice; there are several lovely stretches of sand to choose from, including lively Srima, Plava plaža (also known as the ‘blue beach’ due to the colour of the water), quieter Vicevica, and popular Male Vrulje.

Prefer being underwater? There are some fascinating diving opportunities around the tiny island of Krapanj, near the village of Brodarica; once the world’s largest exporter of natural sponges, today you can dive for your own, or try apnoea diving, also known as free-diving (where you hold your breath for as long as possible).

Don’t miss the chance to sail around Bilice; a charming small town set by shimmering, emerald Lake Prukljan, where the river Krka ‘kisses the sea’, you can follow its nearby canals and waterways down past St Nicholas Fortress, along the magnificent St Anthony’s Channel, through Šibenik Bay into the Adriatic.

At one with nature

Šibenik-Knin is blessed with some spectacular scenery, just begging to be explored at length. The undeniable highlight is Krka National Park, unfurling over 42 square miles around the Krka river. It’s home to cascading waterfalls (the biggest and most impressive is Skradinski Buk) which create crystalline jade pools you can jump into, plateaus of limestone terraces, two ancient monasteries – one on its own tiny islet – and dozens of hiking…

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