Omis is a small town on the Croatian coast at the mouth of the Cetina River in the Split-Dalmatian region and has a very ancient history as it was inhabited well before the Romans. In the Middle Ages, Omis became a refugee town for Dalmatian pirates until the mid 15th century when it was conquered by the Serenissima, who ruled the town until 1797.
With the fall of the Venetian Republic, Omis first came under French and then Austrian rule; after the Italian occupation during World War II, the town was part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia until the birth of the independent Croatian state. Today, Omis is an increasingly successful and popular maritime destination thanks to its excellent location and wide tourist offer. In fact, over the years, the town has become a particularly popular destination during the summer season when it is possible to relax at the town beach but also organise excursions to the islands of Brac and Hvar.
Despite being located along the coast, less than 30 km from Split, Omis not only boasts beautiful beaches but is also surrounded by high mountains that shape imposing gorges and offer spectacular views. Added to this is a wonderful historical and architectural heritage, a long-standing culinary tradition and good accommodation facilities.
Omis boasts a cosy, human-scale old town centre that is characterised by a maze of narrow streets and alleys surrounded by colourful buildings; in addition to old churches and small chapels, walking through the town you can also find beautiful courtyards and old palaces. These include the ‘House of the Happy Man‘, a Renaissance building with a Latin inscription at the entrance: ‘Thank you Lord for giving me the chance to live on this Earth’. Apart from historical itineraries, the town also offers the opportunity to organise moments in contact with nature by visiting the beautiful Cetina Gorge.
According to information that has come down to us, already in the time of pirates, a fortress was built here with the task of guarding against the arrival of ships by sea. The fortress of Mirabella or Peovica, however, was later expanded and used by the Venetians for defensive purposes, so much so that it became part of the walls surrounding the town.
The complex was built on a hill at an altitude of 250 metres and can be reached on foot from the city centre via a footpath. From its beginnings, the role of the Mirabella fortress was to detect possible enemy attacks, since from up there you have a complete view not only of the city but also of the entire Brac channel. Once you reach the fortress, you can climb to the top of the tower, which consists of four floors, and from up there you can admire a truly breathtaking panorama.
Fortica Fortress is located on top of the hill known as Omis Dinara and from there you can also have a view of the entire town, the canyon of the Cetina River and the islands of Brac, Hvar and Šolta. This is why first the pirates and then the Venetians used this complex as a site from which to spot the possible arrival of enemies, but also as a place of refuge in the event of a siege.
The fortress can be reached on foot from the city centre via a somewhat sloping path that takes about twenty minutes to walk. From up there, however, you are rewarded with a wonderful view.
Don’t miss a visit to the St Michael’s Parish Church, which was built in the 17th century while its bell tower was erected in the 18th century. The building combines elements of early Baroque with other Gothic and Renaissance details.
Above the entrance there is a niche that holds the statue of St. Michael, while inside the church there are not only numerous coats of arms of the main Venetian noble families and the coat of arms of the town of Omiš, but also numerous valuable works of art.
The historical centre of Omis contains several old churches , and one of those not to be missed is the Church of St Peter, located along the right bank of the Cetina River. Originally built in the 10th century, the religious building has since undergone restoration work but has retained its pre-Romanesque layout.
Also worth a visit is the Church of St. Roch, a large building with a single nave and a barrel-vaulted presbytery; the main façade, on the other hand, was built with fine stone masonry. The town is also home to an old Franciscan monastery housing an art collection and a library with ancient documents from the Ottoman period.
The river Cetina (or Cettina) has its source on the slopes of Mount Dinara and after a little over 100 km flows into the Adriatic Sea right in the territory of Omis. Over the centuries, the river’s flow has created some truly majestic canyons that can now be explored in various ways.
In fact, the river is the perfect place for activities such as canyoning, rafting and kayaking while surrounded by a beautiful natural landscape. For those who want to explore the area more quietly, it is also possible to take boat trips in total relaxation.
From Omis, it is easy to set off on a boat tour and explore some of Croatia’s most beautiful islands, such as the island of Brac and those of Hvar and Vis, which are located nearby and harbour some truly breathtaking beaches. You can also plan a stop at the famous Blue Cave on the islet of Biševo, an atoll off the southern coast of Vis.
This is an absolute must-see because during a specific time of day, the rays of sunlight penetrating the cave create extraordinary blue light reflections , hence the name Blue Cave.
Omis is a small Croatian town that has only developed in recent years in terms of tourism. In the town, there are several accommodation facilities such as hotels, hotels and beachfront flats ready to welcome tourists during the summer season. Prices are lower than in other more famous resorts and services are of a good standard. If you don’t want to stay in Omis, you can always find a hotel in Split and then travel from there to Omis by car in about 40 minutes.
Omis is easily accessible by car thanks to motorway connections. In particular, the city of Split is less than 30 km away and is connected to Omis by the D8 motorway, which runs along the Croatian coastline.
A good idea is to reach the city of Split by plane or ferry and then from there travel to Omis by car or bus. There are, in fact, bus connections connecting the city of Split with Omis in more than an hour.