Makarska Riviera - travel guide to Makarska Riviera

Makarska Riviera - travel guide to Makarska Riviera

06.09.2018.


In this comprehensive travel guide to Makarska Riviera you can find very helpful information about Makarska Riviera so you can take the advantage of all the benefits it offers and spend your perfect vacation. Read about the largest attractions of Makarska Riviera, natural beauties, Biokovo mountain, opportunities for active holidays, excursions, the most beautiful beaches of Makarska Riviera, gastronomic scene and accommodation on Makarska Riviera.

Makarska Riviera is one of the most attractive parts of the Adriatic Sea, and is located in the Split-Dalmatia County. Riviera extends 53 km from Vrulje bay on the north to Baćina in the south. Makarska Riviera is located at the foot of the magnificent mountain Biokovo and has numerous attractive beaches with a natural shade of pine trees. On the seaside, Makarska Riviera overlooks the islands of Hvar, Brač and Korčula, Pelješac peninsula and the Brač Channel. The contrast between the steep slopes and the high peaks of Biokovo and the Adriatic coast covered with dense pine forests make this area one of the most attractive parts of the Croatian coast.

Makarska Riviera stretches from the municipality of Brela to Gradac, and includes the municipalities of Baška Voda, Promajna, Tučepi, Podgora, Bratuš, Drašnice, Igrane, Živogošće, Drvenik, Zaostrog, Podaca, Brist and Gradac, while the center of the Riviera is the city of Makarska.

Climate

The climate on Makarska Riviera is Mediterranean and it has hot summers with no rainfall, more than 2,700 sunny hours and relatively mild winters with plenty of rainfall. The sea temperature ranges from 23 ° C to 27 ° C during the summer months, while the average annual temperature is higher than 20 ° C. The average air temperature during the winter months is around 10 ° C while it climbs to an average of 25 ° C during the summer. Almost the ideal temperature during the summer months is extremely favorable for tourism, which is the most important economic branch in this area.

The history of the Riviera

Makarska Riviera has been inhabited since the distant past. The earliest records in which Makarska (Maccarum), Baška Voda (Biston) and Brela (Breulia) have been mentioned date from the ancient history.  According to the ancient records, the road which crossed Makarska Riviera, connected Salona and Narona, the center of the Neretva Valley. Historically, the Makarska Riviera was divided into the Upper Littoral (from Drvenik to Baćine) and the Lower Littoral (from Brela to Živogošće).

The Riviera has become a popular destination for tourists in the middle of the last century when the construction of the Adriatic road helped tourism to further develop. Together, this led to an increase in the number of tourists who wish to enjoy the beautiful nature and the mountain of Biokovo.

Biokovo Nature Park

Biokovo

 

Biokovo Nature Park is one of the most beautiful nature parks in Croatia. It has been declared a nature park in 1981, while the Nature Park covers the area of almost the entire mountain of Biokovo, part of the Dinara mountain range. Biokovo is characterized by impressive altitude and high steep cliffs on the Adriatic side, stretching about 30 kilometers in length and rising above Makarska Riviera.

The highest peak of Biokovo is Sveti Jura, high 1762 meters above sea level. It can be reached by car via a narrow asphalt road. In order to fully enjoy in the natural beauties of Biokovo and beautiful views of the entire Makarska Riviera and the nearby islands of Hvar, Brač and Korčula, and the peninsula of Pelješac, we recommend hiking via mountain trails which lead to the top of Biokovo.

On Biokovo you can find different shapes of crags, holes and caves, what is typical for the Dinarides. Although at first glance Biokovo looks bare, it has rich forest vegetation of beech and fir as well as the native forest of Dalmatian black pine. In the area of Biokovo there are also 40 species of endemic plants. Particularly interesting part of the park is Kotišina, a botanical garden founded by Dr. Jure Radić with the aim of exploring and preserving its plant life. The Botanical Garden Kotišina is located on a surface of only 16.5 hectares and is part of the Biokovo Nature Park. Kotišina is not a classic botanical garden in which plants are planted according to certain rules but is a fenced part where native plants are grown. Although it is not a classic botanical garden, we strongly recommend you to visit it because of its diverse plant life typical for this area.

Biokovo is also rich in various endangered and protected animal species such as wolf, badger, eagle, griffon vulture, fox, boar, snakes and reptiles.

What to do on Makarska Riviera?

Active holidays

Makarska Riviera offers various opportunities for visitors who are looking for an active holiday. In every coastal town of Makarska Riviera, there are sports playgrounds for different sports including football, basketball, tennis, handball, volleyball, beach volleyball, athletics and bocce. Except for indoor and outdoor tennis courts, some hotels also have indoor and outdoor swimming pools, gyms and fitness centers equipped with the newest workout machines.

In the last ten years, interest in various adrenaline sports (extreme sports) such as rock climbing, mountaineering, paragliding, mountain biking, trekking and speleology has increased. Additionally, interest for extreme water sports like windsurfing, parasailing, jet skiing, water skiing and diving has also increased. On Makarska Riviera there are many opportunities for active holidays and different sports.

Beaches

Brela

 

One of the trademarks of Makarska Riviera are beautiful beaches and coves surrounded by crystal clear Adriatic Sea, green pine forests that provide a natural shade and magnificent mountain Biokovo. The choice of beaches on Makarska Riviera is really great. You can choose between a beach with less crowd where you can find your own peace, or you can visit a beach with more crowd with bars, restaurants, attractions and sports activities. All beaches are suitable for young children. See below a list of the most attractive and the most beautiful beaches of Makarska Riviera.

Biokovo Nature Park

Because it has many viewpoints with beautiful views of the Adriatic coast and nearby islands, Biokovo mountain is very popular during the summer months. It is not too difficult to reach the highest peak of St. Jura at a height of 1762 meters. The easiest and fastest way is to go via the small asphalt road. Along the way there are several restaurants where you can make a stop and try the local cuisine specialties. In addition, you can enjoy beautiful views from one of many viewpoints that overlook Split, Omiš, Neretva river, islands of Hvar, Brač, Vis, Korčula and Mljet, as well as the Pelješac peninsula. During the clear weather, you can even see Italy.

Adrenaline lovers can go on an organized flight with a kite. If you plan to visit Makarska Riviera, visit the impressive mountain Biokovo and enjoying untouched nature.

Boat trips

Due to the exceptionally good position between Split and Dubrovnik, and close to the islands of Brač, Hvar and Korčula, Makarska Riviera is an ideal starting point for excursions to numerous destinations. During the season which runs from April to November, many operators and travel agencies offer daily excursion trips by boat to the island of Hvar, rich in historical monuments and sights, the island of Brač with a visit to one of the most beautiful beaches on the Adriatic coast - Zlatni rat beach in Bol, and the island of Korčula, birthplace of the famous sailor Marco Polo. Trip to the island of Korčula also includes a visit to the town of Korčula, which is called "Little Dubrovnik". Also, it is possible to visit the island of Mljet, the greenest island in the Adriatic, where are located national park of Mljet as well as Veliko and Malo lake. You can also find affordable full-day boat trips visiting the islands of Hvar (Jelsa) and Brač (Bol and Zlatni rat) or Korčula. Boats are departing at 8:30 am, while lunch and drinks are included in the price.

Excursions

On land, the possibilities for excursions are even bigger. Whether you are traveling via travel agency by bus or a private car, we recommend visiting the town of Trogir located between the mainland and the island of Čiovo with the famous Kamerlengo fortress from the 14th century. The city of Split is the center of Dalmatia, where you should visit Diocletian's palace from the 3rd century and the famous Riva. For nature lovers, close to Makarska Riviera is another national park Krka where you can enjoy the beauty of the biggest waterfall Skradinski buk, and before returning you should visit Šibenik - the hometown of basketball legend Dražen Petrović. Šibenik is a home of one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Croatia, St. Jacob's Cathedral, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Dubrovnik is another pearl of the Adriatic worth visiting, although it is around 160 kilometers away from Makarska Riviera. With the famous Old Town and the Dubrovnik City Walls which for centuries decorate the city, Dubrovnik looks like a huge museum. Because of its rich history, Dubrovnik is on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Due to the excellent location, from Makarska Riviera there are excursions to Imotski (we recommend visiting the Fortress of Topana and Modro Lake), Imotska Krajina and Bosnia and Herzegovina, all located on the other side of the Biokovo Mountain. Visit the city of Mostar, which during the Turkish empire was an important trade center, while Turkish architecture, mosque and bazaar have been preserved until today. Medjugorje is one of the most famous Catholic shrines, and it is visited every year by millions of believers and pilgrims from around the world. The Spirit of Medjugorje can particularly be seen on the Apparition Hill, where in 1981 the Virgin Mary first appeared.

Cetina river canyon

Omiš

 

In order to reach the Cetina canyon from Makarska Riviera, it is necessary to pass through Omiš, a town widely known for its pirates who during the 12th and 13th centuries were attacking the merchant ships of Venice and Dubrovnik. The town of Omiš is situated on the bank of the river Cetina at the mouth of the Adriatic Sea. For thousands of years, Cetina river has dug canyons on its way to the Adriatic Sea and has formed a magnificent canyon. We strongly recommend you to try local specialties such as eels and frogs in the restaurant "Radmanove mlinice" which is located on the river Cetina. For those looking for adventure, the magic of the Cetina River and its impressive canyon can be explored on rafting.

Bike trails and cycling

Makarska Riviera offers a variety of cycling trails for all types of cyclists - recreational and professional cyclists. From asphalted roads to macadamatic mountain trails (ideal for mountain biking), enjoy a bicycle ride in the amazing nature of Makarska Riviera. More demanding but extremely attractive cycling paths are located in the beautiful nature park of Biokovo. It is also possible to board a bike on a ferry or catamaran and ride it on the nearby islands of Hvar, Brač or Korčula.

There are six attractive cycling routes on Makarska Riviera:

  • 200 Brela tour - length of the path is 44 km, ascent is 1001 m, duration 3.5 hours
  • 240 Makarska tour - length of the path is 15 km, ascent is 456 m, duration 1 hour
  • 241 Biokovo tour - length of the path is 61 km, ascent is 2262 m, duration 4 hours
  • 280 Tučepi - Podgora tour - length of the path is 28 km, ascent is 770 m, duration 2 hours
  • 320 Igrane - Živogošće tour -length of the path is 26 km, ascent is 612 m, duration 2 hours
  • 360 Drvenik - Gradac tour - length of the path is 28 km, ascent is 710 m, duration 2 hours

More details of bike paths on Makarska Riviera can be found here.

Diving

Scuba diving is one of the most attractive water sports because it gives the opportunity for exploring of the Adriatic sea depths and unexplored locations of the Adriatic sea. Throughout the years, it is attracting an increasing number of domestic and foreign divers, who are looking for exploration of the remains of sunken antique boats, fish, corals and underwater world. Whether you are a professional or beginner, we recommend you to dive into the depths of the Adriatic Sea and discover the secrets of the underwater world.

Sports and recreational fishing

Many guests who visit Makarska Riviera are in love with fishing, whether recreational fishing or sports fishing. In order to enjoy sports or recreational fishing in Croatia, a fishing permit is required. With the fishing permit, sports and recreational fishing are permitted in entire Croatia. Fishing is prohibited only in ports, around mariculture facilities, and on public beaches (from 1 May to 1 October). Fishing permit can be purchased online, and although it is necessary to select the fishing zone in which the permit will be used, it is valid for entire Croatia. You can buy a fishing license here.

For those looking for adrenaline and a bigger catch, we recommend Big Game Fishing. Hunting of big fish such as tuna can be organized from Makarska. The excursion includes a boat with professional fishermen. Hunting takes place in the area between the islands of Hvar and Brač, while excursions include visits to the nearby islands and swimming in the crystal clear sea.

Shrine of Vepric, Makarska

Shrine of Vepric is located in the city of Makarska, and it is devoted to the Blessed Virgin of Mary of Lourdes. It was founded in 1908 by the Split-Makarska bishop Juraj Carić, who after his death was buried in the shrine. Surrounded by creeks, vegetation and hills, the shrine looks very similar to the shrine in Lourdes. Besides of the cave where the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary is located, the shrine also has a chapel, an altar and calvary. Vepric is visited throughout the year, however, the main pilgrimage days are Assumption of Mary (August 15th) and Nativity of Mary (September 8th).

Gastronomy and traditional cuisine

One of the best ways to get to know local people and their customs is through local culinary specialties and food. Croatia is widely known for its excellent traditional Mediterranean cuisine, that can be found in good restaurants and taverns across entire Makarska Riviera. The most famous Dalmatian traditional dishes, which we recommend you to try are lamb "na ražnju" ("janjetina na ražnju"), octopus "pod pekom" ("hobotnica pod pekom"), veal "pod pekom" ("teletina pod pekom"), Dalmatian pašticada, black risotto, octopus salad, and fish (komarča, orada, zubatac, lubin, šampjer, škarpina). Also try sauce made from domestic extra virgin olive oil, fresh parsley and garlic. For dessert, taste local specialties - dalmatian rozsata and tiramisu.

The most beautiful beaches on Makarska Riviera

Punta Rata Beach or Dugi Rat, Brela

Brela

 

Punta Rata (Dugi rat) is a beautiful pebble beach located in Brela, which according to Forbes magazine was declared as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Punta Rata Beach is located at the foot of Mountain of Biokovo and is surrounded by pine forest on one side and the clear blue Adriatic Sea on the other side. Because of natural shade and sandy sea entrance, Punta Rata is ideal for families with small children. The most recognizable symbol of this beach, which decorates many postcards is  a small island "stone of Brela". Punta Rata has the Blue Flag, a symbol of well-equipped beach with the exceptionally clean sea. Apart from renting of sun beds and sun umbrellas on the beach, you can also drink your favorite cocktail in one of the bars.

Vruja beach, Brela

The beach Vruja is a hidden pebble beach surrounded by natural steep cliffs. Access to the beach is not easy because the entrance path leads through the steep cliffs that for many guests represent an obnoxious obstacle. Vruja Beach is very popular among sailors who often anchor their yachts or boats, and enjoy the beautiful views of the impressive mountain of Biokovo, pine forest and crystal clear blue sea. On this beach, the sea is somewhat colder than the average, since it is close to springs of fresh water. Nudists or naturists (FKK beach) are located on one part of Vruja beach. The FKK is an abbreviation of the German language for "Frei Körper Kultur", or "free body culture".

Podrače Beach, Brela

The beautiful Podrače beach is one of the most beautiful coves in Brela. The quiet and untouched bay is hidden and surrounded by rocks and pine trees. According to the tourist magazine "European Best Destinations" along with Zlatni rat in Bol (island of Brač), Podrače beach was proclaimed as one of the most beautiful beaches in the whole of Europe. Podrače beach is characterized by crystal clear sea of turquoise colors and an exceptional natural beauty which remained untouched despite the rich tourist offering. Like most other beaches on Makarska Riviera, this pebble beach is ideal for families with small children.

Nikolina Beach, Baška Voda

Baška Voda

 

The main beach in Baška Voda is the beautiful pebble beach Nikolina, which was named after the patron saint of Baška Voda, St. Nikola Putnik. Due to extremely clear sea, Nikolina beach has been awarded with the blue flag, the international symbol of quality. This beach has good tourism offering, and in 2008 it has been awarded the Blue Flower Award as the best-equipped beach in the Croatian Adriatic. Natural shade can be found under the pine trees, and it also has sunbeds, playgrounds, bars, restaurants, showers and a variety of sports activities.

Beach Donja Luka, Makarska

One of the most famous beaches on Makarska Riviera is certainly Donja Luka beach, which is located in the center of Makarska. Donja Luka beach is a few kilometers long beach with many pine trees that provide natural shade. This pebble beach is extremely popular among visitors who arrive to it from early mornings. Extremely rich entertainment offering enables a full-day entertainment for all ages. In addition to water slides and pedal boats, it is also possible to enjoy adrenaline activities such as bungee jumping or parasailing. From this beach you can enjoy beautiful views of the open sea and amazing sunsets.

Nugal Beach, Makarska, Tučepi

South of Makarska, not far from Tučepi, there is a beautiful nudist beach Nugal (FKK beach). This pebble beach is one of the most famous nudist and naturist beaches in this part of the Adriatic, and it is extremely popular because it is hidden amongst the cliffs and pine forest. The beach can be reached in two ways - by walking through the forest of Osejava (walk lasts for about half an hour) or by boat. The beach is ideal for nudists and tourists wishing to escape from crowds so do not expect a well-equipped beach with developed infrastructure and additional facilities. Nugal Beach will attract you with the contrast of crystal clear blue sea, green pine forest and tall rocks that rise above it.

Tučepi Beach, Tučepi

Tučepi

 

One of the longest beaches on Makarska Riviera, Tučepi beach, is located in coastal town Tučepi. About 4 km long, beautiful pebble beach runs through the entire town. Apart from the attractive promenade, the beach is surrounded by pine and tamarisk trees that provide natural shade. Due to many attractions and entertainment content such as water slides and pedal boats, the beach is very popular with families with small children. Along the beach there are many bars, restaurants, shops and souvenirs, while sunbeds and sun umbrellas can be rented. During the evenings, we recommend you walking along the promenade and enjoying the views of the blue Adriatic Sea.

Djevičanska Beach, Igrane

Djevičanska beach is located at the northern entrance of the tourist town of Igrane. Igrane has many beautiful beaches, however, one of the most beautiful beach is Djevičanska beach. This pebble beach is surrounded by pine forests and, since it is isolated, it is ideal for guests wishing to move away from the crowds and enjoy their own peace.

Mala Duba and Velika Duba, Živogošće

The natural pebble beach Mala Duba is located just south of attractive coastal town Živogošće. This beautiful beach is ideal for families with children as it is located in the town, and it is accessible to visit on foot or by car. This natural oasis is surrounded by the greenery of pine trees, which are ideal for finding perfect natural shade. There are also many bars and restaurants, while the promenade is very popular with many families. From Mala Duba, it is possible to reach another attractive beach Velika Duba which is about half a kilometer to the south.

The pebble beach Velika Duba, located in the bay of Velika Duba, is considered as one of the most attractive beaches of Makarska Riviera. The bay is situated in the uninhabited area, 1 kilometer away from inhabited village of Živogošće Blato which can be reached by an unpaved road. The beach is surrounded by a pine forest that provides natural shade. During the season a beach bar is open where you can drink your favorite cocktail.

Kamp Dole Beach, Živogošće Blato

An attractive car camp Dole is located on the north side, just before the entrance to Živogošće Blato. The beautiful sandy beach of Kamp Dole is surrounded by the clear blue Adriatic sea and the nearby pine forest with a deep natural shade. The most common visitors of this beach are families with small children and friends who can find on Kamp Dole beach everything they need for a perfect vacation.

Gornja Vala, Gradac

The longest beach on Makarska Riviera, a 5 kilometers long beach of Gornja Vala, is located in the coastal town of Gradac. This pebble beach is surrounded by pine and olive trees that provide natural shade to those who do not like to exaggerate on the sun. From the beach you can enjoy wonderful views of the clear Adriatic Sea and the mountain Biokovo. Many facilities make it an ideal destination for families with small children. In addition to the bars and restaurants, on the beach, there are also showers and dressing rooms, while for an extra you can rent sunbeds and sun umbrellas. Those looking for active holidays can play tennis, beach volleyball, "picigin" or enjoy jet ski. For children, a water slide is available. The beach of Gornja Vala is often visited by yachtsmen and yachts, because it has the natural shelter from wind.

Please note that this is not a comprehensive list of the most beautiful beaches of Makarska Riviera since there are several hundreds of beautiful and unique beaches and bays on Makarska Riviera. The contrast between the crystal-clear blue Adriatic sea and dense pine forests which surround many beaches and coves, is a unique natural beauty that is difficult to find. Especially taking into consideration impressive mountain of Biokovo which rises above Makarska Riviera. Explore the natural beauty of one of the most beautiful parts of Dalmatia. Makarska Riviera is waiting for you!

Accommodation on Makarska Riviera

There is a wide range of options of accommodation in Makarska Riviera. Whether you want to spend your vacation in a hotel, private accommodation or camping, the offering is rich. Depending on your preferences, you can choose to stay in a hotel or in private accommodation at the friendly hosts in one of newly renovated apartments or in a holiday home. In order to experience the local atmosphere and customs of local people, we strongly recommend staying in a private accommodation - whether you are looking for an apartment with a terrace and sea view, a holiday home with a swimming pool or a modern room.

Via Private-Apartments-Croatia.com contact owners of private accommodation directly, save up to 40% and spend an unforgettable holiday on Makarska Riviera. You can find cheap accommodation in an apartment, room or holiday home along the entire Makarska Riviera. Visit Makarska, Brela, Baška Voda, Promajna, Tučepi, Podgora, Bratuš, Drašnice, Igrane, Živogošće, Drvenik, Zaostrog, Podaca, Brist or Gradac. Spend your holidays on beautiful beaches surrounded by crystal clear Adriatic sea and fresh sea air. Welcome to Makarska Riviera!

Tags: Makarska Riviera, Makarska, Brela, Baška Voda, Tučepi, Biokovo, holidays, travel guide

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