The first town to the South of Split is Omis, at the end of the Cetina Gorge, a defile furrowed out of the bone-grey karst by the Cetina River. For centuries, Omis was an impregnable pirate stronghold. Successive efforts to winkle them out in 1221. expedition, led by the pope himself, was unsuccessful. These days, the town is rather dominated by the Magistrala, which passes just South of Knezova Kacica street. Remnants of the old city walls are well preserved, and two semi-ruined Venetian fortresses lean on to the bare rocks above. The new town is situated on the Southern side, a featureless stretch of postwar buildings behind the main town beach with scratchy and uninviting sand. We recommend long shingle beaches of Duce, approximately 2 km away up the Magistrala, or a nice shingle beach in the village Nemira, 3 km to the Southeast. However, if you are willing to experience some adventure in nature, Omis is the perfect environment.
Omis is perfectly connected with the rest of Europe via Split airport (40 km to the Northwest) and a newly constructed and modern highway. Omis is connected with Split by Adriatic road and frequent bus lines. The town is only approximately 190 km far from Dubrovnik, a world-famous tourist destination. If you decide to visit Dubrovnik by car, you will need two and a half to three hours drive on a recently constructed highway. In 2014, highway Split – Dubrovnik was about to be completed, but only half of it was constructed till the end of 2013. Because of its geographical location, the city has an excellent connection with Dalmatian islands: Brac, Hvar, Korcula and Vis. The nearest ferry is in Split, and relatively near is a ferry in the city Drvenik (50 km to the Southeast).
Omis was well known in the past for the Corsairs of Almissa (Omiški gusari), whose Sagittas (ships) (Genitive case: Sagittae, translated as The Arrow) brought them fame because they were built for attack and fast retrieval into the mouth of the Cetina River, thus protecting the town from foreign invaders. At a very early date, neighbors of the Corsairs of Almissa, the highlanders of the Poljica Republic (Poljička Republika), became their friends and allies. This allowed them to disrupt the seaborne trade, without fear of a sudden attack from inland.
- Church of St Euphemia by the coast on Brzet, from the early 6th century
- Mirabella Fortress (Peovica) from the 13th century
- Starigrad Fortress (Fortica) from the 15th century
- Renaissance church of the Holy Spirit from the 15th century
- Old cemetery, the 16th century or 17th century
- Parochial church from the 17th century
- Franciscan Monastery on Skalice from the 18th century
- In the Priko neighborhood, on the right bank of the Cetina River, stands the site with the most historic significance: the pre-Romanesque Church of St. Peter (Crkva Sv. Petra) from the tenth century A.D. This single-naved edifice, with a cupola and apse, was used in the 18th century as a Glagolithic seminary for novice priests.
Mirabella – or Peovica is a Romanesque fortress, built in the XIII century above the town of Omis. Mirabella was a reliable hideout for Omis pirates, who used to retreat to the safety of the Cetina gorge. Legend says that in 1537, during the Turk’s attack, Omis defenders confused attackers with their shouting and shots that the Turks overestimated the number of defenders and fled. Mirabella can be reached by the stairs from Subic Street and passing the small Church of Holy Spirit. The trip lasts approximately 15 minutes.
Starigrad Fortress – The name “Starigrad” is a Croatian name for “old town” because it was built on the site of the antique castellum Oneum, while the new town Omis rose on the coast. The fortress is located above the town Omis in the Split-Dalmatian county, in Dalmatia, Croatia. The fortress was built in the XV century, primarily for defense against Turks. Its walls follow the line of the mountain. Had the city been taken, all the people were to retreat to the safety of Fortica; from there, they would throw down rocks, destroying the enemy forces below and the city as well. This plan was never to be implemented.
The Omis Riviera – stretches for twenty kilometers (12 miles) along coast of exceptional beauty, with many perfect pebble and sandy beaches, bays, steep cliffs and a crystal clear sea. The Omis Riviera is full of beautiful Adriatic beaches, and one of them is located in the town itself, this Omis beach is known as the Large beach. The mood is caught in an inscription on the Renaissance palace lintel in Omis: “GRATIAS AGO TIBI DOMINE QUIA FUI IN HOC MUNDO” (Thanks be to Thee, o Lord, that I have lived on this Earth).
Radmanove Mlinice and the Gubavica waterfalls are also charming places. Radmanove Mlinice, located five kilometers up to the canyon of the Cetina river, is a picnic place, famous for its bread baked under the iron lid and fresh trout, caught from the river. The Cetina River is a great place for those, who like active holidays (white water rafting, canoeing and kayaking). Recreational and adventure activities in Omis also include: free climbing, cycling, tennis, football (soccer), basketball, 9-pin bowling, bocce, paragliding, beach volleyball, windsurfing, water-skiing, sea kayaking, water polo and scuba diving.
We’ve visited Omis and Radmanove Mlinice. Even if we hadn’t planned all those activities, we have done them all in one day.
What a perfect day for people with an adventurous spirit! That day made me truly happy. Our group decided to depart earlier so we could explore a little bit of Omis city. That day weather was a bit cloudy so it wasn’t so hot, which was good. From Split to Omis group was in a positive mood so driving went smoothly. Arriving at Omis, exploring, eating, hanging out and taking pictures of the lovely, small and old city. Afterward we went to the long beach. Water was so clear and colorful and it seemed not so salty, because of the Cetina river inflow to sea.
Then a team of zip line has picked us up to the Cetina canyon which is really close, only 3 km from Omis. We’ve got all the equipment for the zip line and short training. The environment was gorgeous and so vast with untouched nature. It was so exciting and seemed like we are flying across the canyon. Zipline is 2 km long wire with 8 descendings. Described in one word – amazing adrenaline.
If you like to check how it was on the zipline take a few minutes to see our video below:
After everyone had descended we realized that we were hungry. The fascinating restaurant “Kaštil Slanica” was on our way back. We ate fish from fresh water and it was a special experience to taste the frog. The atmosphere in the restaurant was peaceful and beautiful. Near the restaurant is a place called “Radmanove Mlinice” (Radman mills) which we’ve also visited. It’s a picnic place in the shadows of tall trees where we were able to swim in the pure and clear Cetina River. There are many paths for hiking and we spent two hours over there. We’ve seen really rich flora and fauna. From various plants to lots of animals such as frogs, fish, turtles, birds, etc. We felt full of energy and exhausted after some time.
As we decided to come back to Split we realized that the sun was already setting. On the way back we’ve seen a delightful waterfall across the river bank. The day was filled with various activities which made our day. Nobody could hide their happiness from faces.
Pirates evening event – Want to see some real-life pirates in action? In that case, you should visit Omis! Omis has a rich and proud pirate tradition. Located by the mouth of the might Cetina with its numerous fortresses, it was the perfect location for pirates in times gone by. Locals are trying to preserve the memories of the city’s past. On pirate evenings, there are various events, such as leaving Pirate ships and sports games on the sea with delicacies of Omis caterers and an elaborate music program. Also, there are local young street artists, children’s games at the sea, the baby marathon, video projections and many other entertainment programs.
Open Championship of Dalmatia in the long-distance swimming is one of the major sports events, by importance the second of its kind in Croatia (the first one is the famous Pharos Marathon). The competition is held on the last Saturday of July and it hosts domestic and numerous foreign swimmers and recreational sportsmen. At the end of this event, there is a party for contestants and winners announcement. Competitors in the official competition usually swim 10,000 meters along the East coast of the Omis Riviera round-trip twice from the city port to the area of Nemira. A small recreational marathon is 2,000 meters long. You should consider applying for this marathon if you want an active holiday in Omis.
Festival of Dalmatian songs – Omis is also known for its traditional Festival of Dalmatian songs, which started in 1967. with the purpose of cherishing cultural tradition. This is the biggest festival of this sort. Dalmatian “klapa” songs are at the core of this music. “Klapa” in Dalmatian dialect means company or group, and in musical terms, it refers to a five-to-eight member ensemble. It is characterized by vocal harmony-singing, only rarely discreetly and quietly accompanied by instruments. The klapa singing has a very long tradition, with roots in Medieval church songs. Sang by fishermen and peasants, it leaves the listeners astonished by the beauty and gentleness of their voices, expressing the true heart and soul of Dalmatian people.
Omis is well connected with the rest of Europe via the Split airport (40 km to the Northwest), and the recently constructed highway. Omis is connected with Split by Adriatic road and frequent bus lines.
Regular international coach services connect Split with all neighboring countries, as well as Switzerland, France, Germany and Slovakia. Bus service between major cities (intercity lines) is frequent, as well as regional services. For more information, please visit the web pages of the nearby Split Bus Terminal. The local bus lines from Split to Omis are very frequent (every 15 minutes).
Because of its geographical location, the city is well connected to Dalmatian islands: Brac, Hvar, Korcula and Vis. The nearest ferry is in Split and relatively near is a ferry in the city Drvenik (50 km to the Southeast).
Split International Airport is located 50 kilometers to the Northwest from Omis with organized bus transfer of passengers from the airport to Split. To get to Omis from Split, you can use any of the local bus lines. For more information, please visit the pages of Split International Airport.