Sibensko-kninska zupanija, or Sibenik-Knin County is located in the country's southern part on the Adriatic Sea shores. Sibenik-Knin is bordered by Bosnia and Herzegovina in the northeast, while to the southwest, the Adriatic Sea creates natural borders of the county. However, a number of islands belong to the Sibensko-Kninska Zupanija as well. To the southeast, the county borders Split-Dalmatia, while to the northwest lies Zadar County. In close proximity to the state border with Bosnia and Herzegovina is located Croatia's highest mountain, Dinara. The county also features several protected areas, such as Krka and Kornati National Parks. The capital city of the Sibensko-kninska zupanija is Šibenik, a historical town with origins dating back to ancient times. Thus, visitors can seek out various historical monuments from different eras, including the Barone Fortress or the Cathedral of St. James. Another historical settlement is Knin. Located in the Dalmatian hinterland, the city serves as starting point of several cycling routes to the mountain areas. Directly in the city, people can visit the Knin Fortress, which is the second largest in Croatia. Regarding local weather, Sibenik-Knin County experiences a moderate-warm climate, with the mean temperature of the year's warmest month being higher than 22°C.
The capital city of the Sibenik-Knin County is Šibenik, found in the central southern part of the territory. Šibenik is among the county's tourist destinations, offering several historical and cultural monuments. One such example is Barone Fortress, which provides visitors with the experience of extended reality, where they can dive into 17th-century Šibenik. Two other fortresses can be found in Šibenik, the largest and highest in the city, St. John's Fortress from the 17th century, which is often visited for its double city rampart ending with a Gothic gate. The other is the St. Michaels Fortress, situated on the rock, offering panoramic views of the medieval town, sea, and isles. Beyond the Cathedral of St. James and other sacral buildings, Šibenik Old Town also features palaces and houses of noblemen and commoners, portals, vaulted streets, and other sights, such as the Mediterranean Monastery Garden of St. Lawrence.
Another city serving as the namesake of the county is Knin, found in the central northern part of the territory. Some of the considerable historical and archeological sights in Knin and its vicinity include Biskupija, which is the largest medieval archaeological site in Croatia, dating back to the 6th to 11th centuries. It played a role in the formation of the first Croatian state and the acceptance of Christianity. The Burnum site, a Roman military camp, can provide a glimpse into ancient history with its preserved arches and amphitheater. Kapitul is another site with Roman and Early Croatian monuments, including a royal Benedictine monastery. Other historical sites in the region are Podgrađe and the Roman Villa Rustica in Orlić.
Dinara, which is the highest mountain range in Croatia, is found in the northeastern part of the county, near the state borders with Bosnia and Herzegovina. Along with the surrounding mountains, Dinara provides a variety of outdoor activities. The area features a number of cycling trails, with two of them starting in the city of Knin, one leading to the Brezovac Mountain Lodge and the other to the highest peak of Sinjal. Additionally, for nature lovers, Sibenik-Knin County features several protected natural areas. Beyond sea and beach recreations, people can also seek out Velebit Nature Park, which protects the "longest Croatian mountain," boasting diverse landscapes, from coastal barren areas to forests on the continental side. Velebit Nature Park is also home to rock formations, canyons, and endemic plant and animal species. The Krka National Park features the Krka River, forming waterfalls like Skradinski buk, often sought out by tourists. Other protected areas include Kornati National Park and Vrana Lake Nature Park.
The Sibenik-Knin County is situated in the central part of northern Dalmatia, encompassing a number of Croatian islands, the historically and geographically notable Adriatic coast, and the rugged Zagora region. It covers a total area of 5,670 square kilometers, with approximately 109,375 inhabitants, according to the 2011 census. The county is physically divided into two parts by canyons of the Krka and Čikola rivers as well as Lake Prukljan and the Šibenik Canal. The Krka River plays a role in integrating the northern and central Dalmatia regions. The coast is mostly indented, with numerous bays, harbors, and over 285 islands.
Sibensko-Kninska Zupanija has a diverse natural environment with a variety of habitats, plants, and animals. The region is home to two types of vegetation—endemic temperate deciduous forests and Mediterranean vegetation—represented by three ecoregions: Dinaric mixed forests, Illyrian deciduous forests, and Tyrrhenian-Adriatic forests on the islands. Along the coast, people can spot evergreen trees, namely holm oak and Aleppo, and Dalmatian black pine, while the continental part of the county features honey oak, black and white hornbeam, oaks, beech trees, and juniper at higher altitudes. The county also supports diverse fauna, including birds, lizards, marine life, and mammals such as wolves and bears. Two national parks, Krka and Kornati, are found within Sibenik-Knin County's borders. Krka National Park is known for its waterfalls, including Skradinski buk, which is the largest travertine barrier in Europe. It also features cultural and historical landmarks like the Franciscan monastery on Visovac Island. Kornati National Park comprises 125 islands, islets, and reefs, offering various landscapes and secluded coves, which are often visited for boating.
The county experiences various subtypes of moderate-warm climate. A Mediterranean climate with hot summers affects the coastal belt and islands, while the lower parts of Zagora have a humid subtropical climate. The higher parts of Zagora have a moderately warm, humid climate with cooler summers, whereas the highest parts of the Dinaric mountains have a moderately cold climate. In terms of average temperatures in the county's capital, Šibenik, the warmest month is generally August, with an average daily temperature of 29°C. Reportedly, January is the coldest month, as temperatures average high of 8°C. July tends to be the driest month in Šibenik because it generally receives 58 millimeters of rainfall on average. The most precipitation falls during November, with an average of about 137 millimeters.
Šibenik, also known as Sebenico, the capital of the Sibensko-Kninska zupanija, bears origins that can be traced back to Slav migrants, with a documented history dating back to 1066. Throughout history, Šibenik was contested between Venice and Hungary-Croatia until Venice's victory in 1412. Despite facing threats from the Turks, the city thrived under Venetian rule. Later, it became part of Napoleon's Illyrian Provinces and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Noted for its culture and learning, Šibenik is home to the UNESCO-designated Cathedral of St. Jakov and preserved historical landmarks, including the City Gates and St. Anne's Fortress.
The city of Knin bears its history as well. The region that encompasses present-day Knin, notably Spas Hill, has been inhabited since ancient times, dating back to the Stone Age. Nearby, a Roman military camp called Burnum was active during the 1st century BC. In the city, people can visit the Knin Fortress. Situated close to Croatia's tallest mountain, Dinara, and the source of the Krka River, the fortress holds considerable historical importance as the second largest in Croatia. The construction of the fortress began in the 9th century and was further developed during the 17th and 18th centuries. It reportedly reached its height of prominence during the reign of Demetrius Zvonimir, King of Croatia, from 1076, when it served as a political center of the Croatian Kingdom.
Concerning the establishment of Sibenik-Knin County as we know it today, according to the 1992 Act on the Territories of Counties, Cities, and Municipalities, Šibenik County was created by merging the former large municipalities of Šibenik and Drnis. The former large municipality of Knin was initially intended to be part of the Zadar-Knin County, but due to the Republic of Serbian Krajina's control during the Homeland War (1991-1995), that plan did not materialize. Sibenik-Knin County was established in 1997, incorporating the former municipality of Knin.
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