Hiking to Starigrad Fortress in Omis, Croatia
Hiking to Starigrad Fortress is a must if you are in Omis. Although the hike up to the 262 m hilltop is quite exhausting, especially if you do it in the hot summer months, you will be rewarded with amazing views from the top. We participated in a lot of adventure activities in Omis, which can turn out to be quite pricey. If you are after a fun activity that is free you should definitely give the fortress a visit.
Parking in Omis
There are a few options to park in Omis and which one you choose will probably also depend on which hiking trail you choose to do. The town is not huge so all parking areas are within walking distance of each other.
Option 1: We used the biggest parking area in the town. If you are coming from Split you will find it before crossing the bridge in Omis. You can also easily find it by typing “parking Omis” into google maps. It costs 5 kuna an hour, which you pay at the end of your stay to a man in a little house, who manages the barrier.
Option 2: You can find parking after crossing the bridge (coming from Split) and turning right. There are parking spaces on both side of the road and you will have to pay at the machine with coins. The downside is that you have to decide in advance how many hours you want to stay and insert the coins based on that.
Option 3: You can find parking after the bridge (coming from Split) turning left. You will go through a tunnel and then you can find the parking area on the right side. This is ideal as this is one of the starting points of the hike and parking here is free of charge. This parking area is quite small, so places are limited. Go early to secure a spot!
Option 4: The other starting point of the hike is behind Omis fire station. This is a residential area and you can find on-street parking in front of private properties. You can drive up all the way to Put Baucici, if you want to minimise your hiking distance to the top. These parking places are very limited and probably annoying for the locals so I wouldn’t recommend this option.
Hiking to Starigrad Fortress
There are two ways to the top. We decided to go up the steep way and come down on the easier hiking trail. I think this was a good decision and I would recommend you do the same as well!
Steep route: It starts from the back of the parking area after the tunnel. There is a big, red sign which marks the starting point. It suggests 45 minutes to get to the top. This route goes through a pine forest, which means you will be protected from the sun. The trail is very obvious, it is marked along the way with a red and white circle. You can expect to hike up on a steep rocky trail. You won’t have any flat bits and towards the end, you will have to scramble a bit. Flip-flops won’t work here! You will need trainers or hiking boots! We often go hiking and have a good fitness level and managed to get to the top in 30 minutes without stopping. However, if you are not a frequent hiker you should calculate 45-60 minutes for the journey.
At Starigrad Fortress: The main point to hike to Starigrad Fortress is the view you can get from the top. There aren’t any facilities or exhibitions here. No toilet or restaurants available, although the man selling the entrance tickets was also selling Coca-Cola for 15kn/can. I am not sure this is always the case, so brings plenty of water for the hike! The hike is still well worth the effort, as you are rewarded with great views. You can see the nearby mountains, the Cetina Canyon and where the Cetina river flows into the Adriatic Sea. Omis Beach is visible as well and will look very inviting especially if you hike to the top in the hot summer months. We spent about 20 minutes on the top enjoying the views and taking pictures.
Entrance fee: There is a man at the fortress entrance and you will have to pay him 15 kuna per person to enter the site.
Easy route: We decided to take the easier route down and make it into a circular hike, to get a different experience. The trail down was obvious with signs pointing to Omis along the way and we could also see the town most of the time. Another reason to hike down this way is that we were facing nice views along the way. We could see Omis old town and the beach from the trail. This route is much longer than the other one and we had no protection from the sun. However, I would still recommend it for coming down, as the steep route would have been really hard on the knees and it would have been more boring with no views.
Duration: The circular hike was 4 km and you should estimate 2-3 hours for it.
What to bring: Sunscreen, water and trainers/hiking boots are essential!
Practical tip: I suggest going early to avoid the scorching sun, especially in the summer months. Also, that way you are likely to avoid the crowd. Hiking to Starigrad Fortress is a popular activity amongst tourists and locals who like trail running as an exercise.
With the help of this map, you should have no problem finding the right trail. You can even download it as a gpx file.
History of Starigrad Fortress
The fortress was built in the 15th-century when the Venetian ruled in the area. The purpose of the fortress was to protect the town from the Ottoman Empire who at the time occupied Bosnia and Herzegovina. Their intention was to invade parts of Croatia. In case of an attack from the Turks, the fortress was there to provide refuge to the locals. Its lookout tower was a great lookout point as well.
Watch my video about my adventure holiday in Omis!
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