Omiš – the gate to the Cetina River

Spread the love
Omiš is a lovely Dalmatia town near Split, teeming with natural attractions around. It is also interesting in its own right.


About Omiš

Omiš is a small town located on the Dalmatian coast between Split and Makarska. It was founded at the mouth of the Cetina River, where it has cut through steep Omiška Dinara Mountain, overlooking the coast. The river has brought the sediment through millennia, the fine sand that is now the beach of Omiš. The river was a connection with the fertile plains of the interior. Mountains and the Cetina river still define Omiš, the town that has become a cultural and commercial center in its own right over the centuries. Omiš today is a hub for outdoor activities like rafting, canyoning, hiking, etc. Even if you stay in Omiš, the attractions abound, from narrow old streets packed with the restaurants to lazy sunbath and swimming on the beach.


Former stronghold of the pirates, now tourist hub

Did you know that the inhabitants of medieval Omiš were pirates?

In fact, the pirates of Omiš ruled the seas from Omiš to Dubrovnik back in 12th and 13th century. All ships sailing by this small town were forced to pay tribute for free passage. Pirates were lead by the famous dukes of the Kačić family and as time went by the pirates of Omiš become so powerful that Pope Honorious III organized a crusade against them in 1221, but his army was defeated. About 60 years later Venetians launched another campaign under the Pope´s order, this time with success. The dukes of the Kačić family shortly afterward left the town and the inhabitants of Omiš, once famous and unloved pirates, now started looking for new sources of income in agriculture and fishing.



The fortress of Mirabela that was built in the 13th century stands today proudly as a reminder of the glorious pirate history. The pirates used it as a lookout over the Channel of Brač. Nowadays it is attracting tourists with its accessibility and the stunning view over the entire town. You can reach it simply by a set of stairs that leads up to it directly from the entrance to the Parish Church of St Michael. The entrance ticket to the fortress costs between 20 and 30 HRK.



A short climb up to the Fortica fortress is something you should not miss. A well-marked path leads from the very center of town up to the fortress in less than an hour, and once there, you’ll be rewarded with one of the most magnificent views in Dalmatia. From the top of this 500-year-old fortress opens the view over the islands of Brač, Hvar and Šolta, the Cetina canyon and a good portion of Poljica.

Lovers of history and culture will enjoy in sightseeing as there is so much to see in Omiš: The house of a happy man (16th c.), Church of St.Peter (10th c.), The Illyrian seminary (1750.), Poljica square (early 17th c.), Caralipeo house (early 17th c.), Parish church of St.Michael (early 17th c.), The Church of the Holly Spirit (1585.), The Church of St. Rocco (16th c.), Eastern town door (16th c.) and much more.



The most significant opportunities for an active holiday in nature is provided by the stunning Cetina canyon, which from 1963, has obtained the status of the protected significant landscape.  With its 100 km, Cetina is the longest river in Dalmatia, and the waterfall Gubavica (48 m) underneath Zadvarje is one of the biggest in Croatia. The mouth of the Cetina river opens into the sea at Omiš, a fantastic setting for a town, separated by a deep ravine which, after many kilometers of being reasonably wide, closes in here to just a few meters wide.




If you prefer an active holiday with a dose of adrenaline, then Omiš is tailor-made for you.



Enjoy in the adrenaline rush in the three-hour, high-speed sliding down 2km long wires at zipline adventure and experience the amazing canyon of the Cetina river uniquely.



The town of Omiš is surrounded by three steep mountains – Omiška Dinara, Komorjak and Mosor.  They offer several well-marked trails suitable for recreational hikers. Each spring the mountains around Omiš become the place of competition of a series of hiking and trekking marathons in the Spring Trekking Cup.

Read more about hiking in Croatia



Rafting on the Cetina river is one of the favorite activity for tourists visiting Omiš. Families with kids and seniors can enjoy in easy paddling through untouched nature, and adrenaline lovers will take a different route and enjoy in adrenaline rush in wild river rapids.

Read more whitewater activities in Croatia



If you really want to experience the Cetina river in its full splendor, there’s no better choice than canyoning – an adrenaline adventure combining hiking with swimming under waterfalls and mastering river rapids of Cetina river.

Read more about canyoning



Omiš has it all – from shallow underwater plains accessible to all to deep and hidden walls and cliffs to be explored only by the most experienced divers. At a depth of only 3 meters not far from the central town beach you can find a sunken wreck of a World War II ship. More experienced divers will be amazed by the cove of Vruja, one of the best scuba diving sites in Croatia.

According to a local legend, at the very bottom of the Vruja is an ancient sunken city full of treasures and secrets waiting to be discovered.



Omiš is a tailor made for free climbing. You will find the right climbing route for yourself regardless if you are a beginner or an experienced free climber. Here you can take your first climbing steps, or you can truly push yourself to your limits.



Good wine, fish and olive oil make the basis of Mediterranean cuisine, whereas the villages of Poljica in the town’s hinterland offer famous specialties such as soparnik and Dalmatian prosciutto.

Local specialties you should definitely try are the Poljica soparnik, Dalmatian prosciutto, grilled fish and traditional Dalmatian peka (vegetables, seafood or chicken roasted under an iron lid). Soparnik is today one of the rare dishes included on the official list of Croatian Intangible Cultural Heritage! There are dozens of taverns and restaurants in the area of Omiš where you can get a taste of the delicious local cuisine.



From big sandy beaches to small, pebble coves, from long shallows ideal for kids to the deep big blue opening up before you just meters from the shore, Omiš has it all.  You just need to pick your favorite one and relax.


See more photos: