Before Port Royal Jamaica, or Tartuga (popularized by Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean) there was Omiš, Croatia. This city which sits at the mouth of the Cetina river surrounded by massive gorges, has historically been referred to as a Pirate town. In the 12th and 13th centuries the Pirates of Omiš were the most feared and powerful. These clever and skillful pirates ruled the Adriatic Sea until 1420, when the Dalmatian Coast (except Omiš) fell under the Venetian Rule.
For 24 years the pirates of Omiš defended themselves before finally falling into the hands of the Venetians. 1444 would mark the end of piracy on the Adriatic.
Today fortresses and remnants of pirate strongholds attract many visitors, and some are easily visible from the center of town. The most notable and ones are:
· The Fortress Mirabella, a lone tower, which sits on a hill in the center of town.
· Fortica- The Fortress Starigrad- Sits on top the mountain overlooking the town. It’s a climb but well worth it, because the view is breathtaking.
Aside from hiking and exploring ruins we have some fun adventures. Making Omiš, a must for me every summer! Whether I’m on the cruise or not, you will find me in Omiš when our boat docks. While that might not seem like a big deal, I can assure you it’s not that easy. For 2 days straight, I get up at 5 am, wake up 3 kids who would rather be sleeping, then load them into the car. There is no Starbucks (sigh) or drive-thru to get a quick breakfast and coffee for the road. Everyone is sleeping at 5am, and bakeries aren’t open. So, what could possibly compel me to do this year after year?
Zip-lining and River Rafting of course!
I am an adrenaline junkie. For the past 3+ years, I have taken countless groups to the top of the mountain zip-lining and its just as exciting as the first time. I have heard guests recount all the other places they have previously gone zip-lining and while I love hearing those experiences, nothing compares to Omiš. This zipline has 8 courses, totaling roughly 2100 meters in length, and average speeds of 65km. If you want to know what its like to fly like superman this is your chance!
River Rafting on the Cetina is a fun adventure for all ages. The rapids rank as a category II or III depending on the water table. That basically means, it’s just the right amount of rapid to make it fun without getting too crazy. I’ve done category IV and V rapids (commercially they don’t go any higher than this), trust me when I say that Rafting on the Cetina is enjoyable with a sprinkle of thrill.
Aside from Zip-lining and River Rafting Omiš is home to Canyoning and Rock Climbing.
One of the cool things to experience during the summer nights in August are, The Pirate Nights. The City of Omiš hosts pirate themed events with live music, and re-enactments of pirate battles with real pirate ships and pirates. I love taking the kids to see this.
When packing for Croatia, bring a go-pro it comes in handy when you are zipping down the mountain or surfing the rapids of the river. Follow my blog for additional resources and helpful Checklists when packing.