Are you looking for a place with extraordinary natural beauties and rich historical heritage? You are in the right place. You are in Omiš. With a location in the Omiš Riviera in Croatia, this pearl of Mediterranean has so much to offer. Amazing activities, many traditional performances and delicious food. All these things are available to you when you come to one of the most beautiful cities in Dalmatia.
The history of Omiš goes back to Stone Age. Some interesting remains were found in the area and they are the real proof of a turbulent history here. The town was surrounded with high walls and the forth was deep inside the mountains so tribes could not get there. Many visible remains are still there, so they serve to the visitors who imagine how the history shaped this beautiful city. In past, Omiš was a dangerous place for ships to pass by, as the city was ruled by Pirates.
Cradle of Croatian pirates
At the peak of their power, Omis Pirates were one of the most powerful and fearsome pirates on the whole Mediterranean Sea. Omiš Pirates ruled the Adriatic Sea for more than three centuries until in the year of 1420 the whole of Dalmatia, except Omiš, fell under the rule of the Venetian Republic, the most powerful naval force of those times. Surrounded by the enemy and left completely alone, the Pirates of Omiš managed to defend themselves for 24 years. In 1444, Omiš fell into the hands of Venetia and that year marks the end of piracy on the Adriatic Sea.
Omiš Pirates were extraordinary sailors and shipbuilders, famous for their Sagittas (the Arrow), a special type of ship constructed for fast attack and even faster retrieval into the safety of the mouth of the Cetina River one of the most beautiful rivers in Croatia. Due to its position and the bravery of its inhabitants, Omiš was practically impregnable to all invaders. Even the Turks, who conquered all of south-eastern Europe, and were stopped at the gates of Vienna, didn’t manage to defeat Omiš.
If you are in Omiš in the middle of August don’t miss Pirates Nights. This is a manifestation of reconstruction of the battle between local and Venetians that took place in the 13th century. It involves hundreds of participants dressed as pirates and Venetians in the galleys and Sagitta.
What to See (and do) in Omis
There are many squares and streets that speak the story of cultural heritage in an interesting way. When sightseeing within the city centre the Column of Shame are of particular mention to which capital the coat of arms of the Venetian governor was adhered in far off 1617, together with a so-called House of a Happy Man, whose name derives from the Latin inscription on the arch lintel which says: Thank you, my Lord, for being present in this world. At the central street of Omis, there is a market with local fruits and vegetables. Also, here you have an opportunity to buy the famous Croatian olive oil, dried lavender, homemade cheese…
The tower-fortress Mirabella is situated directly above the entrance into the Cetina river from the sea. Historical purpose of the Mirabella tower was the protection of Cetina river, which goes through the land for many-many kilometres, from the uninvited guests.
Today the Mirabella tower is the favourite place to visit in whole Omish. The rise to tower isn’t so hard, but from the observation deck opens a really nice view of the Omis town roofs, Omish beach and the nearest water area of Adriatic sea.
Go one step further and you can find yourself swimming in the gorgeous water on some of the Omiš beaches. Did you know that the longest sequence of sandy beaches on the Croatian coast can be found from Omiš towards Split? More than twenty kilometres of the Omiš Riviera cover all beach preferences whether you love coves, sandy, rocky or pebble beach.
Sand beach lovers will surely decide to visit the campsite in the centre of the town or the central town beach known among locals as The big beach, where hundreds of tourists can be found enjoying the sun and the sea every day of the summer.
All beaches in Omiš and other big beaches of the Riviera also offer a wide variety of entertainment and leisure activities such as jet-skis, boat or kayak rental or sea trampolines, and at two locations on the Riviera (camping in the centre of the town and the beach in Ruskamen) you can also try the amusing windsurfing.
Those who want a little more intimate atmosphere and true relaxation will choose one of the numerous coves in the small resorts of the Omis Riviera: Brzet, Nemiri, Stanići, Lokvi, Medić, Marušići, Pisak … Almost every millimetre of Omis coast is suitable for swimming and finding an ideal beach is just a pleasant concern for numerous tourists.
Most of the beaches can be reached by car, but some of the best coves are well hidden and are accessible only from the sea. One of them is the famous cove of Vruja – according to many, the top scuba diving location in Croatia and a place under which, as a local legend has it, an ancient sunken city is hidden!
For those who like an active vacation, many activities are available. Diving is one of them. Go and check the Cetina canyon where you can dive fifteen meters below the water while discovering an amazing diversity of sea life. When you want to change the ambience, take some time for paragliding between the Dinaric mountains. Do not worry about the wind. Some kind of wind is always present here. You can also go free climbing, cycling, rafting, canyoning…
Summer months are reserved for all kind of festivals, so it is no wonder if you hear the music on the streets and even in the churches. That could be the Festival of the Dalmatian “klapas” which keeps musical tradition in the best possible way. We can say that here in Omiš you get everything you need for a perfect holiday.
There are dozens of taverns and restaurants in the area of Omiš where you can get a taste of the diverse local cuisine.
Local specialIties you should by no means miss while on vacation in Omiš are definitely the Poljica Soparnik (Swiss chard pie), Dalmatian prosciutto (smoked ham), grilled fish and traditional Dalmatian peka (usually veal, seafood or chicken roasted under an iron lid).
Perfect place to start the exploration of Dalmatia
Ancient Roman cities of Split and Salona are just half-hour drive from Omis. Islands Brac, Hvar, Korcula, Vis are easily reachable from Omis. Šibenik, Zadar, Krka National park are also near.
You simply can not get tired here, because the natural beauties are inviting you to discover them. Cetina River, Dalmatian islands and mountain tops are part of the scenery that Omiš offers to all tourists. When you combine nature with the culture, you get an irresistible experience in this part of Croatia.