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Main city of the Makarska riviera, a vibrant and atmospheric town, blessed with beautiful beaches, irresistible gastronomy and lots of fun things to do.
- Welcome to Makarska Croatia!
- What to do in Makarska? 5 best things to do in Makarska
- Where to eat?
- Where to drink and dine informally?
- Where to stay in Makarska
- Top day trips
- Where is Makarska in Croatia? Makarska Map
- Makarska Weather
- Makarska real estate: Property for sale in Makarska
- How to get to Makarskaand get around
There’s archaeological evidence that Makarska in Croatia has been inhabited continuously since 6000 BC. The settlement on the small peninsula of Sveti Petar was founded around 2500 BC. Subsequently, it evolved into the Phoenician colony of Mukron around 1200 BC. Today, it is one of two incredible viewpoints on either side of Makarska port harbour. From there, you can watch boats sail towards islands on the near horizon. Turning from the Adriatic, your eyes are filled by the breathtaking Biokovo mountain, rising immediately behind the town.
This one view sums up Makarska pretty well. Because, here, you find a town of contrasts. From brilliant beaches down by the sea, to epic views from the mountains, Makarska’s varied offer is tantalizing. Surrounded by nature, the town has every modern luxury and contemporary offer you want from a holiday. Indeed, with nightclubs, watersports, events and other activities, it’s easy to see why this is one of the most popular and vibrant destinations in Dalmatia.
On Makarska beaches, you’ll find many thrilled young people, happy families and satisfied couples. In the town’s restaurants, a similarly varied mix of people. Not to mention the Makarska food offer being incredibly diverse. Above all, Makarska is a town that balances its best assets well. While preserving its nature, heritage and best traditions, it also beckons visitors with an array of contemporary choices. Who could say no to this city of limitless choices?
1) Enjoy brilliant Makarska beaches and coastline
Above Biloševac neighbourhood, Ramova beach is the most northerly of Makarska beaches. As such, you can often find quieter spots here. To the north, some visit areas dedicated to naturist bathing. Additionally, a section where you can take your dog. Both beach bars and fast food service the beach. In particular, these beach bars are good for watching the sunsets.
Below Ramova, Cvitačka beach shares a food option where it meets its neighbour to the north. Down from there, a thin line of pines just back from the beach offer shade. Not only can you rent jet skis here, but also there’s a nice beach bar. Find it in the thicker grouping of pines, at the most southerly point.
You’ve two sharply contrasting sections to choose from on Biloševac beach. If you want the shade of pines and a more refined beach bar, then go north. To the southern end, there’s much less shade available.
Another beach with two sections, Ratac is a lively and popular spot. Actually, it’s almost an extension of the town beach in its vibe. Except, there’s a small harbour separating them. If you want to try parasailing, then here’s a place to look.
Town beach Makarska
Stretching in a curve from just north of the city centre, Makarska city beach is an epic treat. Along the promenade running just behind, you’re spoilt for choice with restaurant options. Whether you want to hit the beach in the morning or go in the afternoon, it’s a great choice. Although, being such a great beach means it’s popular and often busy. If you’re looking for peaceful seclusion, then there are better options.
Osejava Forest Park
Important to realize, most of Makarska’s beachfront lies to the town’s north. Thereafter, its 4km run is interrupted by the town centre and port. Additionally, the coastline south of the town is raised, a rockface that drops sharply to the sea. On top of these cliffs begins a 2km stretch of trees and grassland. Not only does this run all the way to Tučepi, but also the first section is a glorious park.
No sooner do you enter Osejava Forest Park, than the characteristic scent of pines greets you. At this point, the sounds of the city fall away. Above all, it’s peaceful and calm, only cicadas, birds and waves interrupting the silence. Following gravel paths through nature, you’re gifted incredible sea views between the trees. If you want to enjoy the sunset without distractions, then head here. Also, these are the paths to take if looking for more secluded Makarska beaches.
These days, Nugal beach is not the secret it once was. Previously, this beach was cherished mostly by locals. But, word got out and now visitors come too. Compared to Makarska’s main beaches, it retains peaceful seclusion. Both naturists and regular bathers enjoy this beach. Not only do surrounding cliffs make this beach unique, but also underground, freshwater springs. In effect, they keep the sea here refreshingly cool.
Not only must you clamber over rocks to reach Solarić, but also the beach itself is all rock. Furthermore, there’s no easy, appointed entry into the sea here. However, the difficult nature of the beach means very few people come here. If that’s the level of seclusion you seek, then try here. But, bring something comfy to sit on and don’t bring the kids. There are better beaches for them and grandma.
Kraljev Gaj beach
If your priority is ultra-clear waters and an intimate beach, then head here. Kraljev Gaj beach is very small and secluded – you’ll need to walk to get there. Also, it’s popular with naturists.
2) Biokovo Nature Park
Biokovo mountain is inescapable. In fact, at 36 kilometers in length, it dominates the skyline of Makarska Riviera. In particular, as a backdrop for peaceful morning coffee on the terrace, the view is simply jaw-dropping. Furthermore, Biokovo mountain is right on your doorstep in Makarska.
The whole mountain area – almost 200 km² – is a Nature Park. While walking and hiking, you can sometimes see the rare flora and fauna living here. Or on a guided tour. Although, you can visit the summit by car if you don’t fancy the walk. If you want to find out more about the park, then visit our detailed guide.
3) Wild water sports and activities: Snorkeling, parasailing, jet ski, paragliding + more
Parasail over the sea next to mountains
Not only is it thrilling to fly over the crystal-clear Adriatic, but also Biokovo makes it breathtaking. With over 20 years of experience to their name, speak to Sport Sea Centar Antares aka Parasailing Makarska about this activity. Find them at Put cvitačke 2a, Makarska.
Race across the sea at high speeds on a jet ski
Speed across the waves on a thrilling jet ski. Not only can you find jetskimakarska.com on Cvitačka beach, but also by the harbour.
Go diving – beginners and experienced
You don’t have to be an expert to explore the deep near Makarska. With many years of experience, More sub Makarska – PADI dive resort teach children and adults. (Kresimirova 43). Therefore, they’re used to catering for both beginners and the more experienced. Moreover, they’ll open up for group bookings out of season, if you first call. Butterfly Watersports and Diving at Kraj 83 in Tučepi also do courses, snorkeling and day trips by boat.
Explore Makarska Riviera by kayak, canoe or stand up paddleboard
You’ll have great fun exploring the shoreline between Makarska and Tučepi. Not only will you pass hidden coves, but also small, difficult-to-reach beaches. In fact, just north of Tučepi, the first three beaches you reach are either difficult to reach or inaccessible other than by boat. Go find them (and remember your sunscreen)! Again, speak to Butterfly Watersports and Diving at Kraj 83 in Tučepi about this. Also, Slap tourist agency at Penšići 16, Slime 21255 Zadvarje. Not only do they do canoe and kayaks, but also rafting on the Cetina river. Additionally, Makarska tourism agency Prominens will help with all the above activities, plus boat trips and accommodation.
Paraglide from epic mountains
Biokovo paragliding airfield is operated by paragliding club ‘Edel’ from Makarska. Find them at Obala kralja Tomislava 27, Makarska. Or call on +385 (0)98 732 110, or speak to the Nature Park into centre in Makarska.
4) Boat trips: Island hopping, sailing, fishing
Not only is Makarska the largest harbour between Split and Dubrovnik, but also it’s a ferry port. Correspondingly, the amount of boat activities you can do is large.
Unforgettable island hopping by boat tour
If you just want to pop over to Brac island, then, sure, catch the ferry or catamaran. However, you can make a day of it by taking a boat tour. If you want to take in 2 or 3 islands in a day, then take this option. Furthermore, tailoring your tour to suit your interests is easy with this option. If you’re a wine buff, then you can take in islands vineyards and tasting sessions. On the other hand, spend the day swimming near secluded beaches. Afterward, visit hand-picked island restaurants. If you want to find out more, then Darmar at Maslinarska 13 Makarska are good for this.
Balanced against the town’s motor boats, visitors know less of sailing in Makarska. However, what a way to travel once you discover it! If you want to sail Makarska and the riviera, then Sailing club Bura are good for this. Find them at Obala k. Tomislava 21, Makarska. Also, the same glorious conditions mean you can windsurf in Makarska well here. If you want to do that, speak with Windsurfing club Jedro.
For the most part, it takes a special kind of enthusiast to spend the day fishing. If that’s you, then you’re in the right place. Not only are seas here good for fishing from land, but also you can go for bigger catch. In order to do that, head out on a boat trip. Again, speak to Darmar about this.
5) Discover hidden heritage and culture
Kotišina Botanical Garden
When Dr. Fr. Jure Radić designed this space he didn’t really have in mind a traditional botanical garden. Instead, he envisaged a protected area of local nature.
Within the relatively small 16.5 hectares, you’ll find many rare plants of the region. Furthermore, they live in a specifically constructed microcosm of Dalmatia. In detail, there are around 300 wild plant species here. Typically, they’re of the Mediterranean and Dalmatia’s Dinaric Alps. Notably, some of the herbs here have been used locally in traditional medicines.
In detail, find Kotišina Botanical Garden in the Biokovo foothills, above the village Kotišina. You’ll travel less than 2 km east of Makarska centre to get there.
Statues and monuments
Whether you’re a fan of statues or not, you’ll probably find something interesting in the city’s lot. Of note, a miniature shrine based on Lourdes, a sea anchor with a terrible tale, a monument to Napoleon and St. Peter.
Balanced against the rising cliffs, Kotišina castle has been here since the middle of the 17th century. In detail, it’s a multi-storey building with an irregular floor plan and two rooms. Certainly, it’s an intruiging visit and you get a great view from there.
Waterfalls of Makarska
Both Kotišina and Nugal waterfalls are seasonal. Accordingly, you’ll have to visit Makarska out-of season to see them.
At this time, you’ve never had a better choice of where to eat in Makarska. Whether you want fast food, traditional food or something special, there’s something for you. Both by the sea, inside Makarska centre and up into the hills there are great restaurants. Of course, we can’t hope to cover them all. Therefore, here is a selection of some of the best restaurants in Makarska.
Selection of restaurants in Makarska
By the sea
At the present time, Bounty restaurant & steakhouse is the only place in town that’s sat right on the beach. Therefore, you really can’t miss it. Specifically, it’s on the lower end of Makarska town beach. Not only do they have the famous steaks, but also burgers, cocktails and fine wines.
Away from the shore
Without a doubt, if you ask an informed local to recommend restaurants, Jež will be mentioned. Not only have they a great reputation for seafood, but also for presentation. Enjoy fine dining with frills, but with the Mediterranean at its heart.
Markedly, what Kap Uja does best is authentic, seasonal cooking. But, to a very high standard. Similarly, the very good Arta Larga by Gastro Diva also does seasonal food, somewhere between traditional and elaborate.
Generally, you’ll find all Makarska’s restaurants to the north of the port harbour. But, Tempera Streetfood is one to the south. Not only is its location unique, but also its vibe. If you want an informal dining experience with great contemporary food, then try here. By comparison, Konoba Kalalarga is a splendid, traditional Dalmatian tavern. Not only do they do great seafood, but also brilliant meats and light lunches, locally called ‘marenda’.
Worth travelling to
Konoba Panorama is up in the hills behind nearby Baška Voda. Its huge terrace holds epic views. Specifically, it’s authentic Dalmatian food that’s the specialty here. Look and maybe book the day before, if you want to try pasticada or peka (do!)
In nearby Tučepi, you’ll find the only Michelin-recommended restaurant on Makarska Riviera. Moreover, the style, panache and presentation of the Mediterranean reimagined at Jeny can leave you breathless. By comparison, the nearby Konoba Ranch (Ranč) is more informal. However, food is great and its location in the middle of an olive tree garden gives a truly special ambiance.
Fancy cocktails and super, fancy finger food and informal dining at Špina bar. Similarly, Kala also do superior snacks, fast food and drinks.
Important to realize, Makarska Riviera is one of Croatia’s premium destinations when it comes to accommodation offer. In fact, this stretch of coastline has more top-rated hotels than almost anywhere else on the mainland. Indeed, like here, neighbours Baška Voda, Tučepi and Brela have similar luxury and all inclusive deals Makarska has. However, that’s not the full story. Both luxury villas and budget price accommodation in Makarska are available. Specifically, in regards to the latter, you’ll find hostel options here and can even camp Makarska. Because the Makarska Riviera is open to and welcoming of everyone.
Hotels in Makarska
If you want a Makarska hotel with a 4-star rating, then there are several. Not only does Valamar have Meteor Hotel here, but also there’s the Hotel Mirjam. Additionally, Hotel Osejava to the east of the harbour entrance. If you want details of more top hotels and all inclusive Makarska stays, then see Total Croatia guides to other places on Makarska Riviera. Both Baška Voda and Tučepi are right next to Makarska and Brela is very close too.
Villas, apartments, airbnb
There are too many great options to detail all. But check the usual online booking options and review sites for details. Certainly, read more than the first couple of reviews. And, check out exactly where the place is.
Camping in Makarska
There’s a large area devoted to camping, just north of Ratac in Makarska. Furthermore, it offers the full range. Not only are there and places for the camper, but also spots to pitch your tent. Furthermore, Poseidon Mobile Home Resort rents upmarket mobile homes which share a pool.
You’ve got two campsite options in nearby Baška Voda. In the first place and closest to town there’s Baško Polje. Notably, it has lots of little wooden camping huts, nestled in the shade of a pine forest next to the beach. After that, and a little further south, Camping Krvavica has a brilliant terrace, garden and other facilities for guests. Both tents and vans/campers are accommodated at Krvavica. Moreover, both these campsites are fantastic. Also, there’s a great glamping option just south of Tucepi.
If day trips are definitely in your holiday plans, then you could not have picked a better place. Not only is Makarska extremely well connected by road and motorway, but also it has its own port. Furthermore, the Omiš Riviera and its captivating capital are literally just a few minutes up the coast. So too, a fascinating part of the Dalmatian hinterland.
Island visits: Makarska to Brač ferry
With the famous islands of Brač and Hvar constantly tempting you from across the water, it’d be a shame not to give in. Certainly, you can take local boat trips for the route Makarska Jelsa on Hvar island. But, a super cheap option is the walk-on ferries and catamarans from Makarska. They run very regularly and offer an inexpensive choice for route Makarska Brač.
Timetables and tickets: Makarska to Brač, Makarska to Dubrovnik by boat
Krilo have a fast boat service that runs between Split, Brač, Makarska, Korčula, Mljet and Dubrovnik. See the timetable and buy tickets here. On the Jadrolinija ferry you can take your car from Makarska to Brač. Timetable and tickets are here.
Special food, zipline, white water rafting on Cetina river and the atmospheric Old Town of Omiš
Without a doubt, Omiš Old Town is incredibly beautiful. Moreover, it has a wonderful nighttime ambiance. Particularly in summer, when diners and drinkers fill the alleys and little squares. Additionally, it has white water rafting on the Cetina river and Croatia’s most spectacular zipline. As a matter of fact, if you only do one mainland day trip on your Makarska holiday, and if you don’t want to travel too far, go here. Read everything you need to know about Omiš in our guide.
Visit the UNESCO Diocletian’s Palace in Split
Around 85 km north up the coast is Croatia’s second city. Subsequently, Makarska Split is a super easy journey to make. And, everyone should walk around Split Diocletian’s Palace once in their life. In fact, it’s the perfect big city for a day trip. Because there’s so much to do and see. Furthermore, the route Makarska Split is easy by car or bus. Specifically, it takes about an hour to travel from Makarska to Split by car. Find out more in our guide to the city of Split.
By car, by bus or hop on a boat from Makarska to Dubrovnik
How far is Makarska from Dubrovnik? The distance from Makarska to Dubrovnik is a not inconsiderable 150 kilometres. However, is it really so far to miss out on that visit you always dreamed of? In detail, it’s only two and a half hours by car. Additionally, it’s very doable by Makarska Dubrovnik bus. Furthermore, Krilo have a fast boat service that runs between Split, Brač, Makarska, Korčula, Mljet and Dubrovnik. Subsequently, you can travel from Makarska to Dubrovnik by boat. See the timetable and buy tickets here.
Both centrally located and the main town of Makarska Riviera, Makarska is in Dalmatia, Croatia. It faces the island of Brač and Hvar island is visible behind Brač. Specifically, it is in modern-day Split-Dalmatia county. In detail, its Makarska GPS coordinates with respect to latitude and longitude are 43.2938° N, 17.0215° E. And the Makarska zip code is 21300 Makarska (postal code).
Like all of coastal Dalmatia, Makarska has a classic Mediterranean climate, with long, hot summers. Indeed, many days of sunshine can be all but guaranteed here. What’s more, you can usually wear shorts and a t-shirt from April until November. Wondering about weather Makarska May? Pondering the weather Makarska October? Point often overlooked is that summers are extended here. Indeed, it’s warm enough in the sea to swim from some time in May right the way to October. Here’s how the weather in Makarska looks today and the Makarska weather forecast for the rest of the week.
If you’ve fallen in love with Makarska, then we don’t blame you. But, if that love extends to you wanting to buy a house in Makarska, where to look? Actually, there are many realtors in Makarska. However, buying a home in Makarska is a recognised desire. Therefore, you’ll doubtless find properties and plots on the books of estate agents in Split.
Flights to Makarska, nearest airport to Makarska
The nearest airport to Makarska is Brač island. Although, that route obviously requires a boat journey to reach the mainland. But, Makarska to Brač ferry will get you there in no time. However, for flights to Croatia region central Dalmatia, the most popular airport is Split. In detail, the distance from Split airport to Makarska is around 100 km. Moreover, it takes around 1 hour 15 minutes to get there by car. Also, you can make the trip between the two very easily by bus. For all you need to know about Split airport look here.
Makarska to Dubrovnik airport
Around twice the distance to Split airport from Makarska is Dubrovnik airport. Subsequently, it really shouldn’t take three times longer to get there (around 3 hours – no guarantees!). But, currently, it does. However, the Pelješac Bridge is nearing completion. Indeed, as much as an hour could soon be cut from the travelling time. Great! Read more about Dubrovnik airport here.
Road, by car
Makarska is a very short drive off the main motorway from Zagreb. Specifically, the motorway turn off you’re looking for is Zagvozd. In detail, from there, drop down to Baška Voda, then down a few of minutes to Makarska. However, if you’re coming from Split, you can take the coastal road, which is pretty. Out of season, this might be a good idea. And the journey time is similar to going via the motorway.
However, the tourist season is a different story. Plans are in place to upgrade the road infrastructure around the bottleneck of Omiš. But, until those works are completed, the motorway route will save you time.
Similarly, you have the coastal route option coming from Dubrovnik and the south. But, the motorway will be quicker, taking less than two and a half hours.
Krilo have a fast boat service that runs between Split, Brač, Makarska, Korčula, Mljet and Dubrovnik. If you want to see timetables and buy tickets, then look here. On the Jadrolinija ferry you can take a car from Brač to Makarska. If you want to check timetables and tickets, then look here.
Makarska bus: Local and intercity
Travelling intercity by bus in Croatia is a fast, popular and reliable option. Indeed, you can easily reach Makarska by bus from anywhere in Croatia. Furthermore, Makarska has a major bus station. In detail, every bus between Split and Dubrovnik stops here. If you want to learn more about travelling through Croatia by bus, then look here.
Also, local buses can take you up and down the Makarska Riviera, into parts of the foothills or even into the hinterland.
If you want more info, then find Makarska tourist board here: makarska-info.hr.
To follow the latest news from Makarska, check out Total Croatia News.
The author and Total Croatia would like to express thanks to the following for their help in compiling this guide. Vice Rudan, Sanja Glavina and Matko Buljan of Makarska Tourist Board. Also, Ivana Bozicevic-Tandara of My Home Adriona and Matea Saric of Prominens Makarska.