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The Cetina river in Croatia

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General presentationGeneral information
The lower course of Cetina. Click to enlarge the image in Adobe Stock (new tab).The river Cetina (Rijeka Cetina) is a river located in the central part of Dalmatia in Croatia. With a 101 km length course, it is the longest river of Dalmatia; exit of karstic sources of the mountainous solid mass of Dinara, it is thrown in the Adriatic Sea towards the town of Omiš.
The lower course of Cetina. Click to enlarge the image.The door of Cetina. Click to enlarge the image in Adobe Stock (new tab).The narrow part of Cetina before the mouth. Click to enlarge the image.The toponym “Cetina” would come from the Phrygian word “zetna” meaning “carries”, because the mouth of the Cetina river resembles a monumental door.

During Greek Antiquity, the river was named Nestos in its lower course.

The name Cetina decides “tsétina”.


Roadmap of the area of Cetina. Click to enlarge the image.Cetina is located in the alpine range Dinariques; it is bordered in the North-East by the solid mass of Dinara - culminating with the Dinara mount to 1,831 m - and in south-west by the solid mass of Svilaja, then by the solid mass of Mosor which the river circumvents before being thrown in the arm of the sea Adriatique which names the channel of Brač (Brački kanal) separating the continent from the island of Brač.

The source of the river Cetina (author Jan Sir). Click to enlarge the image in Flickr (new tab).Cetina runs in the county of Split-Dalmatia, but its source is located in the county of Šibenik-Knin.


The total surface of drainage of the catchment area of Cetina is approximately 1,463 km²; with an average pluviometry of 1380 mm a year, the average annual flow is approximately 105 m³ /seconde; the flow during the summer is only from 4 to 6 m³ /seconde, but, during the snowmelt and rain season, the flow increases considerably.

Throughout its course of 101 km - which makes of it the longest river in Dalmatia - Cetina presents a character which varies considerably, even if this phenomenon is attenuated by the presence of many stoppings.

The lower course of Cetina. Click to enlarge the image.An oratory dug in a rock of Cetina. Click to enlarge the image.The lower course of Cetina. Click to enlarge the image in Adobe Stock (new tab).
Spring of the Cetina river
The source of the river Cetina (author XKD). Click to enlarge the image in Flickr (new tab).A source of Cetina (authors Zoran Knez and Drazen Radujkov). Click to enlarge the image.Cetina is born from powerful karstic sources located at 385 m of altitude under the south-western slopes of the solid mass of Dinara in the dinaric Alps. Apart from its visible area catchment, Cetina also receives much water starting from the karstic plain of the Bosnian west by tunnels. The primary source is close to the homonymous small village of Cetina, to 7 km north of the town of Vrlika.

This source is a turquoise water lake blue of more than hundred meters of depth, which produces in spring - with the snowmelt - enormous quantities of water. The groundwaters which feed Cetina would feed also the Krka river which runs in the county close to Šibenik-Knin.

Fawn-coloured dragonfly on Cetina. Click to enlarge the image.The source of Cetina is only to 50 km of Split; water of the river feeds out of drinking water most of central Dalmatia.

Natural spring water of Cetina. Click to enlarge the image.Its water is also put out of bottle under the name of “natural Spring water of Cetina” (Cetina Prirodna izvorska voda).

The Lake Peruča (Perućko jezero)
The lake of reserve of Peruća on Cetina (authors Zoran Knez and Drazen Radujkov). Click to enlarge the image.In its course higher Cetina crosses an artificial lake located at 25 km downstream from the source of the river. This Lake Peruča (Perućko jezero or Jezero Peruča in Croatian) is the lake of reserve of a hydroelectric station built in 1958 upstream of the plain of Hrvace (Hrvatačko Polje), between the towns of Vrlika and Sinj.

The dam Peruča was the first large tank created in karstic area; it is a stopping of ground which measures 63 m height and 467 m of width. The lake of reserve is - by its extent - the second artificial lake of Croatia, after the Lake Dubrava. It is bordered in the west by the solid mass of Svilaja and, in the North-East, by the solid mass of Dinara.

The dam Peruča contributes considerably the regulation of the flow of Cetina in the hydroelectric stations located downstream, between the plain of Sinj and the Adriatic.

At the time of military operation “Storm” in 1995, Serb terrorists tried to make jump the stopping which was filled to the brim; the stopping was damaged considerably, but did not yield; what would have destroyed the towns of Sinj and Omiš.

The Plain of Sinj (Sinjsko polje)
Bridge on Cetina with Rumin close to Hrvace (author Marko Split). Click to enlarge the image.After having crossed the Lake Peruča, Cetina enters the plain of Sinj. This karstic plain covers 6 000 hectares of fertile grounds, which makes of it the largest plain of Dalmatia.

In the past - before the construction of the stopping -, this plain was flooded during the winter season and, in spring, the stockbreeders brought their herds to it to feed in these fertile pastures. Today, the plain of Sinj is mainly dedicated to the culture of corn and wheat.

After the plain of Sinj, Cetina runs towards the east to the town of Trilj.

Gorges of the Cetina
Starting from Trilj, the middle price of Cetina penetrates in throats boxed between the solid mass of Dinara and the solid mass of Mosor. This area of Trilj had a strategic importance as of the Roman Empire; the Romans had built there a fortress legionary in Tilurium, today close to Gardun, just above the current town of Trilj; this fortress kept the entry of the valley in the south and prohibited the approach of the capital of the Province of Dalmatia with Salona.

Cetina seen since the bridge of Trilj (Saxum author). Click to enlarge the image.Throats of the river Cetina (author Luso Fox). Click to enlarge the image in Flickr (new tab).The banks in the middle price are narrower and higher, and the river is deep and slow. In the past, the river ran quickly and its force was used to make function factories; however, a stopping anti-flood was built, which made the waterway slower and major.

Cetina runs initially towards the south, but runs up against the solid mass of Mosor close to Bisko and moves then towards south-east, and from there it parallel to follows the coasts of Mosor the A1 highway. Close to Šestanovac, Cetina runs up, this time, with the solid mass of Biokovo and is directed towards the south, while passing under the A1 highway.

Below village of Zadvarje, Cetina is thrown at the bottom of the throats since a 49 height meters calcareous cliff by forming the falls of Gubavica (Velika Gubavica and Mala Gubavica), offering a sumptuous spectacle. To admire these cascades, it is necessary to take - from the village of Zadvarje - a battered way which carries out, towards the line for a view-point which overhangs the falls of the river (to follow the panel indicating “Vodopad”, waterfall). It is one of the greatest waterfalls of Croatia.

Rapids of Cetina
After the falls of Gubavica with Zadvarje (to 20 km of Omiš), Cetina enters its lower course, leaves the throats and penetrates in a valley steepsided between the solid mass of Mosor in north, and the solid mass of Biokovo in the south, while running now in the direction of the west.

Uneven the relatively important thing of this last part of Cetina led to the construction of several hydroelectric stations which slowed down the wild course of the river. However water is regularly slackened towards the valley, which allows the descent of the river in the kayak or raft (white water rafting). The place more attended for the descent of the rapids is the 8 km length section ranging between the bridge of Podgrade with Slime and the mills of Radman (Radmanove mlinice). The descent in raft lasts three hours; on the way, the site under the cascade of Studenac is an ideal place for the bathe. On arrival with the mills of Radman is a restaurant in the open air arranged around old water mills.

Kayaking on Cetina (ArturM author). Click to enlarge the image.Last rapids of Cetina with Radmanove Mlinice. Click to enlarge the image.Last rapids of Cetina with Radmanove Mlinice. Click to enlarge the image.
After the Mills of Radman, Cetina adopts a quiet course in the middle of a luxuriant vegetation.

The lower course of Cetina can also be discovered by the road: from the village of Zadvarje, to take on the right, 300 m after the exit of the village, in the direction of the hamlet of Kučiće; passed the power plant, the road, very picturesque, skirts Cetina until Omiš to 21 km.

The Mouth of Cetina
The mouth of Cetina. Click to enlarge the image.A factory on Cetina (OnkelJohn author). Click to enlarge the image.Cetina is navigable since the mills of Radman (Radmanove Mlinice) to its mouth with Omiš, 7 km downstream; the river is clear and quiet there. Services of boat-taxis make the shuttle between the two places.

Before throwing itself in the sea, the Cetina river crosses the coastal mountains, creating a procession of a few meters of width, with the high abrupt walls of a hundred meters.

One can enjoy an impressive sight on the estuary of Cetina by taking, since Omiš, the road towards the village of Spoiled which goes up on Right Bank of Cetina; the road leads to a view-point overhanging the estuary.

Boat-taxi on Cetina. Click to enlarge the image.Fawn-coloured dragonfly on Cetina. Click to enlarge the image.Boat-taxi on Cetina. Click to enlarge the image.

History and traditionsHistory, literature, arts, traditions, legends, religions, myths, symbols…

During the Middle Ages, Cetina served as border between the kingdom of Croatia and that of Serbia. The valley was important trade route connecting Bosnia-Herzegovina to the Adriatic coast. The area then was conquered by the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the 16th century until its reconquest 150 years later.

InformationPractical information

General information
Visiting timesVisiting times
The Restaurant Kaštil Slanica
The restaurant Kaštil Slanica (Castle of salt) proposes a traditional kitchen of this Dalmatian area such as the bread makes house and grazes cooked under the peka, but especially of the local specialities (frogs, eels, trouts) and of the game (roe-deer, wild boar, hen of water).

The restaurant Kastil Slanica seen since the Cetina river. Click to enlarge the image.The restaurant is in full nature, in the shade of Mediterranean trees; it is built on the foundations of an old market. Under the reign of the Kačić dukes, 12th in the 14th century, Kaštil Slanica was a sure refuge for the famous pirates of Omiš. After the 14th century, when the Turks reigned on Omiš and the surroundings of the area of Poljica, Kaštil Slanica became a place on the market where the inhabitants of Omiš and the Turks made the trade of salt, from where the name of Slanica.

The restaurant Kaštil Slanica is to only 4 km of Omiš in the valley of Cetina.

Addresses: Kanjon Cetin, HR-21310 Omiš

Telephone: 00,385 (0) 21,862,238


The Restaurant of the Mills of Radman (Radmanove Mlinice)
The restaurant of the Mills of Radman (Radmanove Mlinice) is located at 7 kilometers of Omiš in the valley of Cetina.
Boat-taxis with Radmonove Mlinice (OnkelJohn author). Click to enlarge the image.The road towards Radmanove Mlinice. Click to enlarge the image.

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The county of Split-Dalmatie in Croatia - Booklet Dalmatian Zagora (pdf)
The county of Split-Dalmatia in Croatia - Booklet Dalmatian Zagora (pdf)
The county of Split-Dalmatia in Croatia - Booklet Islands (pdf)
The town of Split in Croatia
The Cetina river in Croatia
The town of Omiš in Croatia
The riviera of Makarska in Croatia
The natural park of Biokovo in Croatia
The island of Brač in Croatia
The island of Hvar in Croatia
Broader topics
The county of Šibenik-Knin in Croatia
The county of Split-Dalmatia in Croatia
The county of Dubrovnik-Neretva in Croatia
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