Omis (pronounced oh-mish in Croatian) is the first larger town you arrive in as you travel south along the coast from Split. In fact, it is only about 25km away from Split, so it’s an easy journey down to Omis by car or bus. As well as being a popular destination to stay in its own right, the town is an ideal place to base yourself in if you’re interested in an activity holiday – located as it is at the mouth of the Cetina River means there are plenty of sea and river adventures (and more besides) to be had. There’s even a zip line situated close by! Otherwise, you will enjoy Omis’s amenities and beaches.
Getting to Omis
Local bus number 60 runs from Split to Omis. (Note: it departs from the local bus station, not the main one by the harbour.) You can see the timetable here. It does make a lot of stops so isn’t the quickest option (it takes around 45 minutes, but this could be more in summer traffic), but it is cheap – a one-way ticket is €2.65.
Otherwise, take one of the intercity buses from Split or further afield that stop in Omis.
With evidence of a settlement in the area as far back as 2,000 years ago, a big part of Omis’s history is – pirates! (Yes, really!) In the 12th and 13th centuries, the much-feared Omis pirates ruled the waters all the way down to Dubrovnik with ships from there, Split, Kotor and even Venice attacked over the years. In 1420, almost all of the area surrounding Omis fell to the Venetian Empire; it was not until 1444 that Omis did too, having defended itself for those intervening years.
But under Venetian rule, the town prospered and much of its current appearance is owed to that time. As with much of Dalmatia, the town came under Austrian (and briefly French) in the beginning of the early 19th century, when the historic town walls were also town down. In 1918, it came to be part of Yugoslavia, and then Croatia when that country declared independence in 1991.
What to See and Do in Omis
Sightseeing in Omis
Considered the symbol of the town, this fortress was built in the 13th century. It may come as no surprise to learn that the pirates of Omis used this fortress as a lookout over the sea and a hideout. These days, you can climb up to the fortress for glorious views over the rooftops, the river and out to sea.
Fortica (or Starigrad Fortress)
Located on the mountain above Omis, it takes about an hour to walk up to this amazing 15-century fortress. As to be expected, this one was also used as a lookout tower and a refuge by the town’s inhabitants – long ago, of course – when they came under attack. From this high point – the fortress is at an elevation of 262m above sea level – there are more stunning views out over the Adriatic and across to the islands.
Radmanove Mlinice (Radman’s Mills)
These mills by the Cetina River, about 6km from Omis, were most important in the 19th century when the existing mills were renovated by the Radman family – hence the name. Today, however, the Radman Mills house a pretty restaurant serving traditional Dalmatian fare.
There are a number of historic churches located here, including the Church of St Peter (originally from the 10th century), the Church of St Michael (17th century; its bell-tower is from the 18th century) and the Church of St Rocco (16th century).
As we mentioned, where better than Omis to get a slice of adventure?! From sea and river kayaking to rafting; canyoning to windsurfing; bungee jumping to rock climbing, it’s all possible here! Contact Explorer Club who are the top-rated experts for organising activities in this region and much more besides. (They’ll even organise accommodation for you!)
The zipline above Omis is a truly unique and very special experience for all those that try it out. The series of eight wires that come to a total of 2,100 metres in length are sited at 150m above ground level see you zipping across the Cetina River canyon.
Velika Plaza is located right in the centre of town, and probably where most holidaymakers spend their days! The name means ‘big beach’ and not for nothing at 700m long. This sand beach with its shallow waters means it’s ideal for families with young kids, but there are also plenty of amenities (cafes and snack bars, water sports activities, beach rental equipment) that will attract beach-goers of all ages. Do note that as the Cetina River meets the Adriatic here, the seawater may be a few degrees colder than at other nearby points in the Adriatic.
Brzet Beach is about a 15-minute walk from Omis and the most popular pebble beach in the area. The pine trees next to the beach provide plenty of shade; this beach also offers plenty of amenities (cafes, beach rental equipment) and is also pretty shallow.
Day Trips and Excursions
As mentioned, Split is only a short distance away and is easy to reach by bus. It’s therefore ideal as a day trip from Omis, giving you the chance to take in most of the city’s main sights in one day. Or, alternatively, you can use Split as a starting point to get a bus, catamaran or ferry to other places in the region.
Krka National Park
It’s only about an hour and a half drive to Krka National Park, so we would absolutely recommend this as a day trip from Omis!
The Omis Riviera, south of the town, is a collection of small villages stretching out over a distance of 20km. Exploring the different characteristics of each – best done with your own set of wheels – would be a pleasant way to spend an afternoon.
Eating and Drinking in Omis
It’s not just Italy that’s famed for its pizza – you can some very find options in Croatia too! Pizzeria Antula is likely the best pizzeria in town with a number of traditional and more Croatian options. (Think options with shrimps or kulen salami…not on the same pizza, though!)
Restaurant Pod Odrnom is a very fine choice indeed – this family-run restaurant, first opened in 1967, offers steak and seafood dishes prepared on the grill as well as pastas and salads. There’s an excellent choice of wine too.
Another fine-dining option is the Damiiano Restaurant in the 5-star Hotel Damianii (mentioned below). Perfect for a special dinner with a wonderful sea view.
An excellent mid-range option is the Arsana Tasting House where you can try traditional Dalmatian cuisine from their ever-changing menu.
If you have a sweet tooth and want to be entertained whilst your dessert is made, head to Nina Ice. They hand make ice cream to order in front of you! Or rather, they’re rolls of frozen fresh fruit and cream. Pancakes and crepes are also on offer.
Events in Omis
You’ve got to expect pirates, right? Luckily not real pirates…but a re-enactment of a pirate battle that takes place on the 18th August each year. Two ‘pirate’ ships do battle on the Adriatic complete with cannon shots, pistol duelling and sword fights. But all make-believe, don’t worry! This event attracts thousands of spectators and there’s plenty more fun besides.
Take a peek at this video from the 2015 event:
Accommodation in Omis
There’s a good range of accommodation in town, with a selection of 4- and 3-star hotels and even a 5-star one if you want a bit of opulence! To that end, there’s the Damianii Luxury Boutique Hotel & Spa; other popular picks include the Hotel Plaza, the Hotel Plaza Duce and the Holiday Villa Sagitta.
There are also apartments, villas and campsites for you to stay in. For more details on all accommodation types, see our Accommodation in Omis page.
The tourist office is located at Fosal 1a, 21310 Omiš, tel: +385 (0)21 86 13 50.
For more information, please see the Omis Tourist Office website.