Towering gorges meet the Adriatic sea at the mouth of the River Cetina, where the small town of Omiš (pop 15,000) lies directly opposite Brac island.
A former pirate's lair, the town now offers an array of adventure activities, sandy beaches, and a small, well-preserved old town, yet it remains relatively under the radar, overlooked for more well-known destinations along the Dalmatian coast like Split, Brac island and Zadar. This gives it a relaxed, unassuming air, and while it is very much a tourist destination, you can get a sense of normality you don't often find in high-profile destinations.
The distinctive terracotta rooftops of Omis old town
Perhaps this is due to the fact that there are just a handful of hotels here, or that if you head out on an excursion into the gorge or onto one of the walking tours, you can immerse yourself in nature in a way that is not possible in bigger resorts; either way Omis is a great place to base yourself for a few days, either as part of a longer holiday in Croatia, or as a short break destination on its own (it is less than one hour from Split airport).
The nightlife is fairly relaxed and low-key, with a few small bars and restaurants in and around the old town offering fresh seafood and other Dalmatian specialities. If you are looking to party into the small hours, this isn't the place, but if you like lingering over a bottle of wine while watching the world go by from your table on the restaurant terrace then you'll love the pace of life here.
What to do there
Omiš offers plenty for adrenaline junkies and outdoor enthusiasts, from hiking trails to canyoning there is plenty to keep you busy during your stay.
Pure exhilaration and breathtaking views. 8 zip lines over a total of 2.1 km, the longest 700m – this activity takes around 3 hours from start to finish including the short transfers to/from the start and end points. Your guides will take very good care of you and you will try out a short test line before heading up to the real thing.
While you won't experience extreme rapids on the Cetina river, this is a fun excursion and a great way of seeing parts of the canyon you wouldn't normally see.
A hugely popular activity here in Omis, this is another great way to explore untouched parts of the canyon and to get your heart pumping.
Basic – walking and swimming in rapids, discovering waterfalls and natural pools of crystal clear water, and jumping from rocks into the waters of the river cetina.
Extreme – this involves all of the above plus abseiling 60m down alongside a waterfall, then another 20m section.
No previous experience required for either.
River kayaking and snorkelling
An easy paddle on open-top 2-person kayaks from the start point inside the canyon to the mouth of the river and out into the sea (around 7km), where you stop to snorkel around a small shipwreck before heading back to the beach.
Omis is a great base for hikers, with a number of well-marked trails for self-guided hikes, and some others where it is recommended you go with a guide. The rugged landscape of the canyon and surrounding mountainside as well as the nearby islands provide interesting and challenging terrain for short and long hikes in pristine natural surroundings.
Just outside Omis you will find some sheer cliff faces ideal for rock climbing, with routes for complete beginners as well as more experienced climbers. Sea cliff climbing is also available.
Omis location is perfect for exploring along the Dalmatian coast, guided tours to Split (40 mins each way) and Dubrovnik (3 hours each way) are available, as well as boat trips to the nearby islands of Brac and Hvar. Hikers can head to Krka National Park (90 mins each way) and other nice places to explore are the seaside towns of Sibenik (90 mins each way) and Trogir (1 hour each way), as well as Mostar over the border in Bosnia (just over 2 hours)
Lazing on the beach
If all this has you feeling like you need to stop and relax for a moment, you can head to the beach close to the centre of Omis. While it cannot be compared to Croatia's famous sandy beaches, it's waters are crystal clear and it's a great place to unwind after the morning's activity.
ATV/Jeep safari, horse riding, mountain biking, canoe safari
There is no shortage of activities to keep you occupied here, making it ideal for families and those looking for a more adventurous holiday. Check out our great value, bestselling short break in Omiš here: