Places to Paddle tm
Canoeing - Kayaking - Rafting

Cetina River, Omis, Croatia
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Copyright 2005 Alfonso Vazquez-Cuervo - See Terms of Use

Our Route Summary

  • Submitted by: Ashley Kirby
  • Date Submitted: 7/2005
  • Location: River originates in Bosnia and winds westward until it reaches the Adriatic Sea at the town of Omis, Croatia
  • Class: The Cetina is classified as a grade 2-3 river, but aside from a few spots that require a bit of concentration and could be grade 3 rapids, it would be generous to call the rest of the trip a grade 2. In fact, a charming Italian guy in our raft made up a song called "the rower" to commemorate our efforts on the slow-moving Cetina. However there was one rapid on the river that was more extreme and the guide required us to walk around it while they took the raft through solo.
  • Water Level:
  • Distance Paddled: 9 km one way
  • Water: Fresh
  • Wildlife:
  • Special Regulations:


  • Directions: The internet cafe that led us to the Cetina River outfitter was located in Split, a larger tourist town about 80 km up the coast from Omis. It was through this cafÈ that we made reservations with the rafting company in Omis, but more proactive travelers can make such arrangements through any of Croatia's state-run tourism offices, located in all major and minor cities and online at
  • Fee: Usually reservations are packaged with round-trip transportation to Omis from Split, this based on the assumption that tourists will want to stay in Split and only make a day-trip to Omis to go rafting. However, if you want to spend more time in Omis, or do the rafting trip on your way from Split to another city, it is possible to just pay for the rafting and make your own arrangements for transportation.
  • Description: For more information on rafting the Cetina, visit
  • Parking: none
  • Facilities: none
  • Handicap Access: none

What We Saw

When people think about good places to go white water rafting, Eastern Europe is probably the last place that comes to mind. Indeed, when my travel partner and I were making our way down the coast of Croatia in August, 2004, it was far from our minds. Perhaps it was Croatia's rough-around-the-edges feel (think war-beaten and formerly Communist) that initially kept this adventurous pair on the beaten track, but our usual rafting excursion was not planned for this trip. We were focused on the country's beautiful coastline, excellent seafood, ancient towns, and, I'll admit, delicious beer.

Fortunately, while in an internet cafÈ, we read an advertisement for a rafting trip that reminded us we needed to sacrifice some sun-time and get out for a little adventure. My goal in writing this summary of our experience on the Cetina is two-fold: to give readers of a description of the location of the Cetina and the rafting company that can take you down the river, and to give a good idea of the quality of this rafting route.

The Cetina River originates in Bosnia and winds westward until it reaches the Adriatic Sea at the town of Omis.

After arriving at the tour office in Omis and waiting for our rafting group to compile, we set out in passenger vans with our guides and boats for a 20 minute ride to the drop spot. We dropped in a pooling part of the river and, after some quick instructions on the basics of rafting from our guide, set off for our 9 km ride down the Cetina. Mind that I chose the word "ride" for good reason.

What the Cetina lacks in white water and challenging rapids, even fast-moving water, it makes up for with beautiful scenery. The 9 km section of the river that we rafted cuts through low mountains, providing some nice views, overhanging trees and several waterfalls. The most interesting feature of the rafting route is a sharp bend in the river that has carved a little pool out of the mountainside. This is a great place to take a rest on the large boulders that surround the pool or take sport jumping from them into the deeper parts of the pool. Many an interesting and beautiful photo opportunity can be found along the Cetina.

It is important to mention that there is one section of the river just before this pool where the rapids are very challenging, even dangerous for inexperienced rafters. The tour company does not let visitors ride these rapids, so the guide for each raft deposits everyone on the bank to walk the 50 meters of the rapids while he takes the raft through alone. No amount of pleading or extolling your abilities as a rafter will convince your guide to let you go through with him, as my friend discovered. Apparently some tourists were either severely injured or killed a few years earlier at this spot. After viewing the rapids from the shore, I was quite happy to walk around them. I suggest that anyone planning a trip without a guide should stop in at the rafting company in Omis and get information on this part of the river before setting out.

At the end of our trip down the Cetina, my friend and I assessed the day. While we were both generally positive, I thought the trip a great success while he was a bit disappointed. I enjoy rafting not just for the sport, but for the experience of being in a beautiful natural setting. Beautiful scenery and interesting plant and wildlife are just as important to me as good rapids. My friend, however, looks for exciting rapids and a few ejections out of the raft as the determinants of a good rafting trip. Your personal preferences as a rafter will determine if the Cetina is a good rafting destination for you.

Whatever your preference, remember the secondary benefits of taking a rafting trip while on vacation. The singing Italian was just one of several interesting characters we met in our raft. Fun interaction with other tourists aside, our guide, who grew up in Omis, was a great source of information on local politics and history, not just nature and rafting. Whether by rafting, rock climbing, or any other outdoor sport, getting off the tourist track and taking a trip into the more secluded regions of the country you are visiting can show you a side that the average tourist never sees. These types of trips put you in contact with locals and other tourists in a way you don't find on the beach or in a bar. If you are ever in Croatia, I recommend a trip down the Cetina, if not for great rafting then for an enriching experience.