Discover the famous Cetina River Spring (Izvor Cetine), an amazing karst spring famously known as the Eye of the Earth. This small body of water serves as the source of the Cetine River in Croatia but is popular for its amazing natural beauty (especially from the sky).
From the Adriatic Sea to the Dinara Mountains, Croatia is filled with amazing natural treasures to explore.
One of the most unique is the little-known Cetina River Spring (Izvor Cetine in Croatian), which is now better known as the Eye of the Earth. Chances are, you would have seen this incredible karst spring on social media.
While this has been a local secret for years, loads of photographers are making their way to the Cetine River source to snap an aerial photo of this natural phenomenon.
If you want to witness this awesome spot for yourself, you’ve come to the right place.
- About the Cetina River Spring (Source of the Cetina River)
- Croatia’s Eye of the Earth
- Where is the Cetina River Spring?
- How to Get to the Cetina River Spring in Croatia
- What to Expect at the Eye of the Earth in Croatia
- Photography Tips For the Cetina River Eye
- Where to Stay Near Cetina River (IZVOR CETINE)
- More Information about the Cetina River Spring in Croatia
- More Croatia Travel Guides & Hidden Gems
About the Cetina River Spring (Source of the Cetina River)
The Cetina spring is a natural karst spring located at the foothills of the Dinara Mountain Range just north of Split.
This clear water spring brings up cold groundwater and is the source of the Cetina River, which flows 101 kilometers (63 miles) all the way to the village of Omis (famous for river rafting and ziplining), in the Dalmatia region of the Adriatic Sea. On its way, it passes the deep canyons at the village of Zadvarje, forming the most famous waterfalls on this river.
This is a beautiful spring to visit since the water is crystal clear, with a distinct turquoise and emerald green color. While it simply looks like a small body of water, divers have explored this incredible karst spring to a depth of over 155 meters!
Croatia's Karst Landscapes
Croatia is home to some of the most beautiful karst landscapes on earth, including the famous Plitvice Lakes National Park and the Krka National Park.
Karst landscapes are those where the bedrock dissolves to create sinkholes, sinking streams, caves, and springs. Some of the most famous examples for divers and tourists are the Cenotes in Tulum and the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.
This phenomenon is responsible for creating this incredible karst spring, which serves as the reservoir for the Cetina River (the most water-rich river in Croatia and the longest river in Dalmatia).
Croatia's Eye of the Earth
Many people know the spring of Cetina as Croatia's Eye of the Earth. This is because from above, this body of water looks like a green and blue dragon's eye!
It's truly an incredible sight, so if you've got a drone, make sure to fly it here!
Where is the Cetina River Spring?
The famous spring is located in the town of Cetina, which is a small rural village in Dalmatia (southern Croatia). The spring is approximately 80 kilometers (49 miles) north of Split near the border of Bosnia & Herzegovina.
The spring and source of this beautiful river is located approximately 385 meters (1,263 ft) above sea level just beneath Dinara mountain, which is the tallest mountain in Croatia.
Below I've pinned the exact location of the Cetina River Spring to help you find it.
How to Get to the Cetina River Spring in Croatia
Unfortunately, there are currently no tours running to Cetina from any of the popular tourist cities on the Dalmatian Coast.
This means that if you want to make the journey to this amazing natural attraction, you'll need to drive yourself.
Luckily, renting a car in Croatia is very cheap, especially if you use rental comparison tools like DiscoverCars. We used this to book a car for a week for less than 40 Euros a day.
Once you've got your set of wheels, enter in "Cetina River Spring" or "Izvor Cetine" into your navigation app and you'll find it easily along Highway 1.
Once you take the right turn exit at Restaurant Ivan, you'll come into the small village of Cetina after following a narrow road. Soon, you'll see a small parking space and viewpoint area right next to the Serbian Orthodox Church of the Holy Salvation.
Croatia Travel Tip: If you're planning a road trip in Croatia, I highly recommend getting travel insurance. While many rental companies include insurance in your quote, this typically only covers 3rd party accidents. I recommend WorldNomads for a trip to Croatia because they offer cover for other essentials like unexpected cancellations and hospital costs.
The Cetina River Source from Dubrovnik
From Dubrovnik, expect a long, 266-kilometer (165 miles) journey taking up to 3.5 hours.
You'll need to cross a border control twice for this journey since part of the Mediterranean belongs to Bosnia & Herzegovina.
So, it's important to remember your passport.
Due to the distance, I wouldn't suggest visiting the Eye of the Earth on a day trip from Dubrovnik. Instead, break up the trip by visiting other attractions nearby like the Dinara mountains and Peruča Lake.
Also, there are plenty of great places to stay nearby, and I've given some recommendations at the bottom of this article.
The Cetina River Source from Split
Getting to the Cetina River source is much easier from the city of Split. This journey is only around 80 kilometers (49 miles), or about 1.5 hours.
Similarly, you'll take Highway 1, passing the town of Sinj on the way.
This time, there's no need to bring your passport because you won't need to cross any borders. Due to the relatively short distance, it's totally possible to drive to River Cetina on a day trip from Split.
What to Expect at the Eye of the Earth in Croatia
As soon as you arrive at the viewpoint, you'll likely discover why the Eye of the Earth at Cetina River Spring got its name!
On a clear, sunny day, the water is a translucent shade of turquoise-green, with a deep, blue section in the middle, representing the pupil.
Between the viewpoint and the hillside church, you'll find a short path leading to the edge of the water. While it seems inviting to take a dip in this clear swimming hole, locals find it quite rude for tourists to swim here since it their source of fresh drinking water. Additionally, the waters are near ice bath temperatures!
While there's not that much to do here, it does make for a great stop to relax, and take some iconic photos. Additionally, you could also walk down the banks of the Cetina River to find some nice relaxing picnic spots in the beautiful nature.
Did you know? The Eye of the Earth isn't the only spring of the Cetina River. In fact, there are several glavas springs right near this one. However, none of these are very famous or as beautiful as this eye.
Photography Tips For the Cetina River Eye
Due to its natural beauty, the Cetina River Eye is one of the most iconic natural attractions in Croatia for photographers.
If you've come to this beautiful place to take photographs of this natural wonder, here are some quick tips.
- Bring a polarizing filter (CP) - a circular polarizer acts similarly to a polarizer in your sunglasses and effectively removes the glare. This is great for the Eye of the Earth because you'll get clearer shots without glare or cloud reflections. You can get one for your camera or your drone.
- Bring a drone - it's fair to say that this is very much a drone-flying spot! You'll get some of the best photos of this natural eye from above.
- Try to visit on a clear, sunny day - to get the most vibrant colors and clear waters, you'll want to visit on a sunny day. Luckily, Croatia is known for its excellent weather almost year-round!
All photographs on this blog post are taken by me and available for purchase as fine art prints or for commercial licensing. Please contact me for more information or read about how to use my images for free. For gear information, read my article on Camera Gear for Travel.
Where to Stay Near Cetina River (IZVOR CETINE)
Looking to explore more attractions in the Dinara Mountain region of Croatia? Here are a few top-rated picks nearby.
- Villa Cetina - beautiful villa right near the river source under Dinara mountain.
- Hotel Alkar - popular hotel near the village of Sinj, just 40 minutes away.
- Kijevo Holiday Home - highly-rated holiday home on a private lot just 5 minutes from the Eye of the Earth.
More Information about the Cetina River Spring in Croatia
Divers have explored this natural eye to a depth of around 155 meters, meaning the Cetina River Spring is at least this deep (according to the Croatian Nature Institute)
The water here is very cold! The signs near the spring indicate that the water temperature brought from the depths of the earth are as low as 4 and 8 Celsius (39 F – 46 F).
No! While the no-swimming sign has been taken down, large parts of the country's water supply comes from the Veliko Vrilo spring and the local muncipality leader is petitioning to enforce a restriction of swimming in the spring.
I can't believe that this is one of the most asked questions from Google. No, this is a freshwater spring, the photos you see of a whale and a girl swimming in the Izvor Cetine is not real!
More Croatia Travel Guides & Hidden Gems
I hope you've enjoyed this guide and photos from the Cetina River Spring (Eye of the Earth) in the Dalmatian town of Omis, Croatia.
While you're here on my blog, check out a few more of my articles below. I guarantee you'll find something else to add to your Croatia or Balkans itinerary!
Wednesday 31st of August 2022
It is not allowed to swim there... https://www.total-croatia-news.com/lifestyle/65239-cetina-spring
Wednesday 31st of August 2022
Thanks for the heads up guys. I had no idea that swimming was prohibited as most sources encouraged it. Sad to see that the sign was taken down as well if locals really do find it rude. I've updated the article to let people know.
Tuesday 30th of August 2022
Verona spring is the drinking water of the nearby williges. So swimming is in it is really rude.
Monday 11th of July 2022
Hartelijk dank voor de info over Cetina river springs Wij zijn een jong dynamisch koppel van 66 jaar en we gaan in september 2 weken naar Kroatie,we vertrekken in Zadar en rijden tot Dubrovnik Aks je nog verborgen pareltjes weet mag je ze ons zeker doormailen Succes en groetjes Leen en Dirk