When temperatures cool on the Croatian coast, the telltale signs of tourism start to fade. Villages that were full of people in summer become very still. Only in the larger places does life go on unaffected.
The seaside city of Omiš is one such place. The charming Omiš Old Town streets hold their special atmosphere throughout the year. Autumn, in particular, is a favourite time for visitors to come.
Earthenware shades of rooftops in Omiš Old Town © Marc Rowlands
Arguably, this is the time of year when Omiš’s famous and distinct cuisine is at its best. Omiš’s special bounty of seafood comes from its position on the Cetina river. The best-tasting Mediterranean fish and shellfish love these conditions, where the freshwater meets the saltwater. And, in autumn, the prawns, scampi and calamari are at their biggest and best. The restaurants of Omiš offer fresh, seasonal specialties every day. Their tables are taken by relaxed visitors from all over the region, drawn to the city now the summertime rush has subsided.
Seafood is an autumn specialty at sister Omiš restaurants Puljiz and Bastion. © Marc Rowlands
But, in the hills above and behind Omiš, and along the long promenades of the Omiš riviera, different kinds of visitors can be found. The cooler temperatures of autumn are perfect for cycling, running, hiking and walking.
Starigrad Fortress, Omiš © Marc Rowlands
Sitting 262 metres above the city, the 15th century Starigrad Fortress is a mildly challenging hike. But, even older children can easily manage it. And the views from the top are incredibly rewarding. Autumn’s cooling winds blow along the water surface, cleaning the vista. You can see so much detail on the islands opposite Omiš when the air quality is like this.
For those who prefer sport and recreation of a different kind, autumn in Omiš holds four of the city’s most eagerly anticipated challenges
Omiš in Autumn: Dalmatia Ultra Trail
Omiš in Autumn © Dalmatia Ultra Trail
With between 60% and 80% of its entrants coming from overseas, Dalmatia Ultra Trail is among the most internationally famous of all Croatia’s cross country runs. And for good reason. The scenery is spectacular. There are three route options, allowing the race to be accessible to runners of varying abilities.
Starting from the Roman town of Solin, just north of Split, Mountain Dut is the biggest challenge of this Dalmatia Ultra Trail. On a course with a total distance of 122 km, runners will ascend to Putalj and Klis, site of the famous fortress, crossing along the Dinaric Alps before dropping down to Gata in the Omiš hinterland. From there, they drop down into the spectacular Cetina river valley and run parallel to the river until Kostanje.
In the hills near the village of Gata, Ivan Meštrović’s statue of Mila Gojsalić overlooks the Cetina river and Omiš © Marc Rowlands
Returning up into the hills to visit the traditional village of Zadvarje, the trail next takes runners down to beautiful Brela. Runners will pass by beautiful Brela beaches, then those of the Omiš riviera villages Pisak, Marušići, Mimice and Medići. Then, it’s back up to the final stretch of hills, visiting the old village of Lokva Rogoznica on the way, before finally descending to Omiš.
Mountain Dut 2021 starts on Friday 15th October at 9pm from Solin. Trail runners have 32 hours to complete the course. Each finisher will be awarded with 5 ITRA qualification points.
Omiš in Autumn © Dalmatia Ultra Trail
At 56km in length, Sea Dut offers a challenging trail set before the entire Makarska and Omiš riviera coastline. Starting in Makarska, runners rise up to the village of Kotišina, famous for its botanical gardens and castle. Thereafter, they ascend Biokovo mountain, the trail reaching almost 875 metres above sea level. They stay atop the hills all the way to Brela, where they drop down to the beach. Thereafter, they take the same course as Mountain Dut, past Pisak, Marušići, Mimice and Medići, up to Lokva Rogoznica, then down to Omiš.
Sea Dut 2021 starts on Saturday 16th October at 8am from Makarska. Trail runners have 15 hours to complete the course. Each finisher will be awarded with 3 ITRA qualification points.
Dalmatia Ultra Trail visits some of the most traditional and timeless sections of the Omiš riviera © Marc Rowlands
With a total distance of 18km, Ethno Dut is the most accessible of the Dalmatia Ultra Trails here. Starting in Dugi Rat, runners make a moderate ascent into the hills of just under 400 metres above sea level. They maintain roughly the same altitude for the entire trail, passing Jesenice and Tugare, before dropping down into Omiš.
Ethno Dut 2021 starts on Saturday 16th October at 1pm from Dugi Rat. Trail runners have 5 hours to complete the course. Each finisher will be awarded with 1 ITRA qualification point.
Omiš in Autumn: Omiš Half Marathon
Omiš in Autumn © Omiš Half Marathon
With a backdrop of mountains and the Cetina river, the half marathon in Omiš is perhaps Croatia’s most spectacular. Where else can you run a virtually flat course with such scenery accompanying you?
Of course, the striking route is facilitated by following the Cetina river canyon. When doing so, runners pass some of the best rafting, kayaking, trekking, hiking and free-climbing locations in Croatia.
In 2021, the event again has two races – the half marathon and a recreational 6 kilometre race. Both take place within the Cetina river canyon.
© Omiš Half Marathon
The Omiš Half Marathon takes place on Saturday 23rd October 2021.
UEFA Futsal Champions League 2021
Zeleno Plavi © MNK Olmissum
With the tournament celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2021, there’s no better time for the Fifa accredited UEFA Futsal Champions League to be coming to Omiš. Better still, the hometown Futsal team, MNK Olmissum are the current national champions. They won both the cup and the league in the 2020/2021 season!
Champions! © MNK Olmissum
It’s been two decades since a Croatian team reached the semi-finals of the tournament. Currently, MNK Olmissum are ranked within the top 16 of all European futsal clubs. To proceed in the competition, the hometown heroes will have to come top of their group. They face opponents Leo (Armenia), Diamant Linz (Austria) and KMF FON (Serbia). They will host the group at their home ground of Ribnjak, Omiš between October 26 and 31. The matches will be televised, but what better way to enjoy than in-person?
Omiš in Autumn: Dalmatian Trail League – Mosor Grebbening
© Marko Herman
The spectacular section of the Dinaric Alps that lies to the west of Omiš is known as Mosor. It starts near Klis, above Split, and runs to the Cetina river. Mosor Grebbening is a series of trail runs through this epic mountain terrain. In 2021, it is the 9th round of the famous Dalmatian Trail League.
The event contains a choice of three adult trails and one children’s race. All of the races start or end in the village of Gata, in the Omiš hinterland.
© Ivo Pešić
Starting in Klis and finishing in Gata, Sivonja is the toughest trail. It is 37.50km in length and has a 2590m ascent. Runners have 12 hours to complete the course.
Still a tough ask, Tovar is the slightly easier choice. At 17km and with an ascent of 1270m, you’re given 8 hours to complete the trail.
At 8 kilometres in length and with a 400 metre ascent, Pule is the most accessible race. It should take way less than the 4 hours allocated. The children’s race is an 800 metre dash around Gata.
© Marko Herman
Mosor Grebbening takes place on Saturday 13 November 2021.
Registration for the races: exclusively via the online registration form here.