The city of Omis and the Omis Riviera

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The town of Omis, Croatia

Omis (Croatian: Omiš, pronounced Omish, Latin: Onaeum) lies at the mouth of the Cetina River and is surrounded by towering  mountains. The picturesque town of Omis, which now has 15,000 inhabitants, looks back on a long and rich history. In this guide, we explore the history of Omis, spanning its past achievements, turbulent history and vibrant present.

Historical overview

Ancient Origins: The origins of Omis date back to ancient times, when the city was known as Oneum and was inhabited by the Illyrian tribe. The city’s strategic location on the Adriatic coast made it an important center for trade and maritime transport.

Medieval Heritage: During the Middle Ages, Omis thrived as a powerful maritime city-state known for its skilled sailors and impressive pirate fleet. Led by the infamous Krusic family, the Omis pirates controlled parts of the Adriatic and posed a serious threat to Venetian and Ottoman shipping.

Day tours from Split: There are many excursions by bus, ship… to islands, national parks, rafting as well as city tours in Split, etc.: All can be booked on the well-known website Getyourguide.

Ottoman Occupation: In the 15th century, Omis fell under the control of the Ottoman Empire after a long siege by Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror. The city’s strategic importance as a bulwark against Venetian expansion made it a prized possession of the Ottoman Empire.

Grandmas today and tourism

Cultural Heritage: Today, Omis is known for its rich cultural heritage, characterized by well-preserved medieval architecture, narrow cobblestone streets in the beautiful old town and historic fortresses of former pirates. Visitors can tour landmarks such as Mirabella Fortress, Starigrad Fortress, and St. Michael’s Church, each of which offers a glimpse into Omis’s past.

The Cetina River flows into the Adriatic Sea in Omis

Tourism: In recent decades, tourism has become a driving force in Omis’ economy, attracting visitors to the beautiful landscape, outdoor activities including great beaches and cultural attractions. The pristine beaches, crystal clear waters and adventurous excursions make the city a popular destination for travelers seeking sun, sea and adventure.

Cultural activities and leisure activities

Festivals and Events: Omis hosts numerous cultural events and festivals throughout the year that celebrate the city’s heritage and traditions. The Omis Summer Festival, with concerts, theater performances, folk dances and much more, is the highlight of the city’s cultural calendar.

Adventure Tourism: The proximity to the Cetina River and the Biokovo Mountains makes Omiš an ideal destination for lovers of outdoor activities. Visitors can take part in a variety of activities including rafting, ziplining, climbing and hiking, offering exhilarating experiences amidst breathtaking natural scenery. Less sporty, but very interesting, are boat trips with excursion boats inland on the river. Well-known are, among other things, the Omis ziplines, which are over 2000 meters long and at a height of over 150 meters above the Cetina River. The trend sports of canyoning and white water rafting are particularly popular at the moment.

The old pirate fortresses near Omis are now a destination for many hikers

Economic and social development

Economic diversification: In addition to tourism, Omis has diversified its economy by incorporating industries such as agriculture, fishing and manufacturing. The town’s traditional crafts, including stone carving and lace-making, continue to thrive, providing a source of income for local artisans.

Infrastructure improvements: In recent years, Omiš’s infrastructure has been significantly improved, including: through the construction of new roads, bridges and public facilities. These improvements have helped accommodate the growing influx of tourists while improving accessibility and quality of life for residents.

The new bridge over the Cetina River (see picture), which is intended to reduce through traffic through Omis, is spectacular. The bridge and access roads will be almost finished at the beginning of 2024.

The new Omis bridge under construction (year 2023)

Omis, Croatia, is a city steeped in history, culture and natural beauty, offering visitors a fascinating mix of ancient heritage and modern conveniences. Travelers can explore medieval streets, climb towering fortifications and cool off on sun-drenched beaches.

Grandma’s Riviera

Stretching along the beautiful Adriatic coast, Croatia’s Omis Riviera is a region known for its stunning scenery, rich history and vibrant culture.

Today, the Omis Riviera is a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors from all over the world with its pristine beaches, clean waters and beautiful landscapes. Riviera towns such as Nemira, Celina and Pisak offer a wide range of accommodation to suit travelers’ needs, from 5-star luxury resorts to simple, cozy guesthouses and holiday apartments.

cities and communes

Omis: Located at the mouth of the Cetina River, Omis is the largest city on the Riviera with around 15,000 inhabitants and serves as an administrative and cultural center. Known for its medieval architecture, lively markets and outdoor adventures, Omiš offers visitors a variety of attractions to explore.

Duce: Located between Omis and Dugi Rat, Duce is known for its sandy beaches, quiet bays and family-friendly atmosphere. The city’s relaxed atmosphere and scenic beauty make it a popular destination for sun worshipers and water sports enthusiasts.

Lokva Rogoznica: Situated on a hill above the Adriatic Sea, Lokva Rogoznica is a charming village known for its panoramic views, historic churches and traditional stone houses. Visitors can stroll through the narrow streets, enjoy the local cuisine and take in the timeless atmosphere.

Celaena: Located on the coast, Celaena is a hidden gem known for its beaches, unspoiled nature and relaxed atmosphere. The rustic charm of the place combined with the blue water and lush vegetation make it an idyllic retreat for nature lovers and romantics.

Pisak: With its picturesque harbor, pebble beaches and crystal-clear water, Pisak is a picture-perfect place that exudes Mediterranean charm.

The towns of the Omis Riviera are a mosaic of history, culture and natural beauty, each with its own charm and appeal. Whether exploring ancient fortresses, sunbathing on amazing beaches or sampling local delicacies in charming seaside restaurants, visitors to the Omis Riviera will be enchanted by its warm hospitality.


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