Omiš is a small Central Dalmatian town and port located between Split and Makarska, situated at the mouth of the river Cetina. In the past Omiš was notorious pirate stronghold and Omiš Pirates were one of the most dangerous in the entire Mediterranean. Evidence of proud and turbulent Omiš history can be seen in every corner of the Omiš Riviera. Ancient town of Omiš, the churches and fortresses that surround it are silent reminders of the power of infamous Omiš pirates. Today, the Omiš Riviera is a famous tourist destination because of its exceptional beauty situated in the very heart of the Adriatic.
Omiš was mentioned for the first time in the tenth century. The medieval town was called Olmissium or Almiyssium, and during the Venetian rule it was called Almissa. The present name is obviously derived from medieval names. In the Middle Ages, piracy was for citizens of Omiš an important way of acquisition. The townspeople were famous pirates. The fortress FORTICA clearly demonstrates the whole rich and detailed history of piracy. Fortress is located at the top of mount Dinara. For piracy that was very important, because it was one place from where they could monitor a large area both on land and at sea. The very purpose of the fort was to defend against enemies. And boy, did they have enemies!
In times of greatest raids at the head Omiš pirates were Kačić dukes, who for two centuries have been leading attacks on the Pope's galleys and merchant ships from powerful Venice, Dubrovnik and Split. Any peace with the pirates from Omiš lasted shortly so accordingly against them were led two Crusader wars. The first war, which ended in victory for pirates, was commanded by Pope Honorius III in 1221 and it was an answer to the attack of the pirates on the Crusaders who sailed to Palestine.
Second Crusade was a lost battle for pirates of Omiš. It was led by the Venetians during years 1286 and 1287. These marked the end of the power of dukes Kačić and their rule in the town of Omiš. After lords of Omiš alternated, the piracy, while still active, was never as successful as during their rule.
When you visit Omiš and surrounding Riviera and begin to explore you will be amazed by the beauty and contrasts of the landscape in such a small space. Shadows of the valley and forests of the river Cetina are just few kilometers away from the crowds and the heat of the Adriatic beaches. It is surrounded by high mountain on one side with a beautiful view of the archipelago of central Dalmatian islands of Brač, Hvar and Vis on the other side.
Numerous beaches and bays, lavish Mediterranean vegetation, rich cultural and gastronomic offer combined with fresh air and crystal blue sea make Omiš Riviera the perfect haven for those seeking sanctuary from the fast pace of modern life. Beautiful Cetina River and its canyon, mountain Dinara, Mosor and Babnjača, ancient olive groves and vineyards and the nearby islands of Middle Dalmatia, together form the landscape of incredible beauty. For those who like active holidays, Omiš is a perfect destination. Rafting on the Cetina River, free climbing, diving, fishing, hiking, walking in nature, surfing are just some of the activities that Omiš Riviera has to offer.
Located in the heart of Dalmatia, Omiš is the perfect place to start the exploration of Dalmatia and its islands, its proud history, cultural heritage and natural beauty. Ancient Roman cities of Split and Salona are just half an hour drive from Omiš. The islands of Brač, Hvar, Korčula and Vis are all reachable from Omiš.
Omiš is literally filled with restaurants, taverns and cafes. Mediterranean cuisine based on olive oil, and seafood, combined with home-grown vegetables and wine is perhaps the most direct way to experience the true spirit of the Mediterranean. If you add this to many summer festivities held in Omiš like Omiš Cultural Summer, Festival of Dalmatian Klapa, Pirates Nights and many other musical, theatrical and gastronomic feasts you will get the perfect opportunity to experience not only the beauty of Dalmatia, but also her soul.
The center of Omiš Cultural Summer belongs to the "Festival of Dalmatian Klapa", which exists since 1967. Festival of Dalmatian acapella-singing contributed a culture of singing in general and of acapella singing groups that perform at Omiš festivals and are highly esteemed throughout Europe at the festivals of this kind. This kind of singing tells stories about the people of Dalmatia, particularly the Dalmatian fishermen and farmers going through the difficult times, missing their loved ones and above all they sing of their love for Dalmatia. It is truly fascinating once you realize that these people simply adore the Dalmatia, its rock, sea and sun.
In addition to acapella singing "Omiš Cultural Summer" is represented in concerts and recitals in churches and cloister of the Franciscan monastery, plays on the streets, folk festivities, exhibitions, literary and musical encounters. The Omiš pirates’ night, swimming marathon, Fisherman's festival, carnival, the celebration of Labour Day – all these bring together tens of thousands of people from all over Dalmatia.
Accommodation in Omiš is diverse and naturally you can choose whatever you like. Hotels in Omiš are all modernly equipped no matter how many stars they have. However, there are more apartments to rent in Omiš then hotels to stay at. But that’s only normal. There are also holiday villas in Omiš if you prefer this kind of home to stay at. Also, for all of you nature lovers there are a couple of lovely camps in Omiš so you can enjoy in waking up at the beach, absorbing the very first rays of sun surrounded by beautiful old pine trees.
One could say that Omiš Riviera has it all: an endless series of sandy and pebbly beaches and coves, impressive karst canyon of Cetina River, high mountain that goes all the way to the sea and crystal clear waters. Without doubt, the river Cetina is one of the most beautiful places in Croatia where you can experience the magic of a rafting adventure. Located in the heartland it flows through the numerous villages and hills. Axes from the Stone Age, shields from roman soldiers, personal items of medieval peasants – all this and more archaeologists are finding regularly in the mud of Cetina. All this is a confirmation of the importance of the river for people of this area, since prehistoric times.
For those who are looking for nightlife entertainment there are numerous bars and night clubs in Omiš, Split and Makarska Riviera that guarantee an unforgettable holiday. It will be amazing going back to apartment or hotel or whatever your accommodation in Omiš is, and stopping at the beach to look at the sunrise before you go to bed.
Omiš is an ideal place for rest and recreation also. Whether you're a fan of scuba diving, windsurfing, rafting or kayaking, hiking, rock climbing, paragliding, biking or boating, this ancient pirate haven offers all this in a beautiful natural environment. So, walk, sleep, swim, play - whatever you do, don’t forget to enjoy and relax, because that’s what Omiš is all about.