Posted by: viewfromtheriva | April 18, 2010

Head to Omis, the pirates are still here!

Here's a poster for Pirate Night, every Tuesday in season

Omis,  less than an hour south of Split has a rich and fabled history as the quintessential pirate lair of Dalmatia.  With the Biokovo mountain range looming over the town like a giant grey hand, the rocky crags offered Omis pirates plenty of hiding places and the views out to the Adriatic let them see who was coming way before the captains of these ships knew what hit them.

Today the Omis region is home port to some of the most beautiful wooden gulets that can be chartered or offer one to two week coastal cruises.  The town itself is downright gorgeous.  The tree-lined main street is chock a block with cafes and shops; there’s a picturesque

Only a small piece of the giant original, the bread cooked here is fabulous. The handsome coated paper bag has full color photos of the restaurant and riverfront

waterfront harbor and great places to  swim as well as an old part of town to stroll about.  But it’s the Cetina River that tumbles its way down the mountains and empties into the sea right where Omis begins that makes Omis so special.  Up river is some of the best rafting, kayaking, rock climbing and other soft adventure experiences in all of Croatia.

We were fortunate to be introduced to the area by Josko Stella who is a regional tourist official and Damir Rogosic, the owner of Kastil Slanica, a terrific river front restaurant built around a 13th century tower. Damir is also the concessionaire for Radman’s Mills (Radmanove Mlinice), a 160 year-old former flour mill that has been turned into an outdoor recreation area with sports fields, canoe safaris, rafting, a restaurant and more.

Although the area gets 200,000 visitors a year, for some odd reason, day trips from Split are not all that common.  Most of the tourists come via organized tours in buses.  Radman’s Mills can sometimes have 500 people a day all chowing down on some fabulous peka bread (made fresh daily in room that is literally an ancient walk in oven where the bread is cooked in the traditional way over a wood fire.)

Admission to the Mill site is free, and every Wednesday night in July and August there’s even a folklore evening.

Before Radman’s, closer to the town, is Kastil Slanica.  Perched over the Cetina River, the restaurant consists of both indoor and outdoor space with huge sliding glass windows that let in the wonderful air and the sound of the water in summer.

Like Radman’s the food here is extraordinary.  We got treated to their fabulous peka bread and home made prsut and local cheese.  It was the best prsut (naturally air cured dry ham) and cheese Natasha and I ever ate in Croatia.  Truly amazing.  Damir saw me enjoying the bread so much he asked the waiter to cut off a gigantic hunk and wrap it to go.  I’m still in heaven and will be until I have devoured every morsel.

With the #60 bus going from the Green Market at the Riva in Split to Omis twice an hour, there is no reason not to come here and check the place out. By car, maybe 45 minutes.  If you must choose a day to come, save Tuesday night.  It’s Pirate Night with full dress pirates swooping down river to attack unsuspecting diners.  The special Pirate Dinner looks like it is out of this world–a groaning banquet of local delicacies as well as traditional Dalmatian cuisine. Reservations for this special program, that includes dinner, are recommended. (385) 21 862 238


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