Adventure sports? Check. Fresh mountain air? Check. History of pirates? Check! There are so many things to do in Croatia’s Omiš to indulge your outdoorsy side!
If you’ve ever been to Vietnam, you’ll understand why one of my favorite places in the whole country is Da Lat. It’s a small mountain town known for wine and canyoning. And even though we only had one day to spend in Croatia’s Omiš, we quickly realized it is Dalmatia’s very own Da Lat!
Pronounced oh-MEESH, I found this tiny coastal town by literally clicking around on Google Maps. One look and I knew we had to visit, even if it was just for one day. Sandwiched between high, slate-colored mountains and flanked by the Cetina River, this port city used to be frequented by pirates. Fun Fact: In mid-August the town puts on “Pirates’ Night” events that place you right in the middle of 13th century pirate “battles”!
Fittingly it’s now frequented by adventure-seekers looking to kayak, raft, zip-line or canyon in — you guessed it — the Cetina Canyon. Including Boyfriend and me! And even though we only had one day to spend in Omiš, you can be sure we maximized the heck out of those 24 hours.
And we had a blast 🙂
Choose Your Adventure Sport
Boyfriend and I arrived by car from Split mid-morning to a jaw-dropping view over the Cetina. After several sharp switchbacks to get down to sea level again we met our AirBnB host, hurrying to drop off our bags before figuring out how we’d make the most of our one day in Omiš.
To do so we had a wander around the harbor in search of a company that rented equipment. We were immediately approached by several. However, when we mentioned we were thinking of renting kayaks, 80% of them were less than friendly about it, taunting us about how we were going to freeze our balls clean off.
We gave them our coldest shoulders in response.
And then we found Dalmatia Travel (phone: +385 98 192 88 64). While everyone else was trying to use us to fill up space on their boat rides filled with cruise passengers from Split, these guys just got us. They led us over to their HQ right on the harbor. They dusted off a double kayak (which they did admit the weather doesn’t usually allow for in October). Then they explained our route as they helped us climb into it.
They told us about the two restaurants on the river next to which we could just tie up our boat. They recommended the first, Kaštil Slanica, for better food. But the second, Radmanove Mlinice, they said had a better atmosphere. (Though it seems they’re owned by the same company).
They did warn us it would be cooler in the shade in October, and that the sun would set earlier. So we packed pullovers in the waterproof container they gave us and promptly pushed off.
We spent the rest of the beautiful afternoon (around four hours) on the river. The water was calm, the sun warm, and the wind just right as we paddled up to the first restaurant for a beer and bite. Tip: I highly recommend the black risotto, or “crni rižot” — it’s rich, earthy and loaded with fresh, tender calamari. Around us birds chattered while the thick reeds lining the banks whistled and danced in the breeze. We made it all the way to the rapids beyond the second restaurant before turning around, waving to the “WA-HOO”-ing zip-liners as we passed beneath them.
Watch the sun set from the Mirabela Fortress
After a quick change we decided to climb the closer Mirabela Fortress to watch the sun set over the distant karst mountains. If we were feeling more energetic we could’ve hiked to the even higher Starigrad Fortress. We were told would only take an hour to reach it.
But after kayaking all day we were more interested in a quick view before searching for a loooong reward that fit our efforts! Descending the stairs from the fortress brought us to St. Michael’s Square where we each sipped a cool glass of local white wine…
Before moseying to what turned out to be THE BEST MEAL we had in Croatia.
Sample that Seafood, girl.
As soon as we entered the homey dining room of U Našeg Marina we knew we’d chosen right.
As it was the shoulder season, the streets were calmer than I imagine they usually are in the summertime. The outdoor tables were half-empty. The only restaurants flooded with patrons were located in St. Michael’s. But we knew better than to settle for mediocre tourist fare! So we wandered over to U Našeg Marina just down the cobblestone street, ten meters, in fact, from our AirBnB.
The place was empty except for one couple sipping sherry in a quiet booth beneath hanging cast-iron skillets and bulbs of garlic. But the photos on their door told us they served a lot more than sherry. So Boyfriend and I ordered a “grilled seafood platter for two” (pictured below)… and DIED over every single incredible bite!!! The two whole fish, the tuna, the mussels, the giant shrimp and calamaris… ohhh, baby!
U Našeg Marina is family-owned, the grill-master the owner’s father, himself. They welcomed us like family, offered us homemade sherry as a digestif, and even sent us on our way with even more of it to enjoy from our balcony.
We felt profoundly spoiled — a feeling that became something of a trend over the course of our incredible trip. <3
Have breakfast on the beach
The next morning we each grabbed a flaky burek (mine with spinach, Boyfriend’s with sheep’s cheese) and enjoyed a late-morning beachside coffee at Caffe Bar Dal Mare. It was the perfect spot for planning our upcoming day road-tripping down the Makarska Riviera.
It was also, we found out, a very popular spot! Looking around we realized we were sharing the numerous waterside tables with several groups of local kids, presumably on a short break from class. We couldn’t blame them: our view (pictured below) was lovely.
In summary: We loved Omiš!
We loved its tiny-town-harbor vibe, loved its pretty views, loved its outdoorsy spirit. There are plenty of things to do, see and eat in Omiš, especially if you only have one day. So if you’ve finished playing in Split or exploring Hvar and are craving some fresh mountain air, we highly recommend making the short half-hour trip down the coast to this former pirate playground!