The Cetina River flows through 63 miles (101 km) of southern Croatia and drops down 1,260 feet (385 m) as it rushes down into the Adriatic Sea near Split. Over the centuries rapids have formed on the upper half of the river, and it is today fast-becoming a popular white-water rafting and canyoning destination for adrenaline junkies from all over Europe.
Having its source somewhere under the mountains of Dinara and Gnjat, the Cetina wends its way through a spectacular limestone gorge, passing sites of archaeological importance far above in the high canyon, where prehistoric artifacts have been discovered along with Roman shields and medieval agricultural implements. Lower down, the Cetina flows through pastures coated in flowers in spring and the rich alluvial soil fertilizes the vineyards and crop fields bordering the river.
The heart-pumping rafting trip down the Cetina takes around three hours and finishes up at the Radmanove Mlinice picnic area by the side of an old water mill. There is a full safety briefing at the start of the trip and life jackets are provided; it is compulsory to wear them. No previous rafting experience is needed as long as you can swim.
For the first 10 miles (16 km) the pace of the river is calm; take advantage of this to admire the canyon scenery, jungle-like vegetation and pounding waterfalls. The river supplies much of the drinking water to Dalmatia and so is crystal clean and clear – ideal for swimming in the many tranquil pools. Once the pace hots up through the rapids concentration is of the essence.
Coming up river from the Adriatic, the Cetina is navigable from Omiš on the coast for five miles (seven km) to Radmanove Mlinice, and motorboats can be hired to make the gentle trek upstream.
White-water rafting expeditions start off from the village of Penšići, about 12.5 miles (20 km) north of Split, and travel down to the Radmanove Mlinice picnic area, where showers and refreshments are available.