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When people think of traveling to Europe they don’t often think of Croatia. But this tiny country on the edge of the Adriatic Sea is one of the most beautiful places to visit. Makarska in Croatia is one of the hidden secrets of this country, offering gorgeous sights and tons of activities without the craziness of some of the more touristy areas of the country. Here you will find cobblestone streets, historical churches, and a gorgeous city promenade lined with palms and filled with cafes, shops, and restaurants. Makarska is a small beach town with some fun nightlife and plenty of daytime activities, which makes it perfect for a quiet couple’s getaway or a family holiday.
Where is Makarska in Croatia?
Croatia is a small European country that sits at the edge of the Adriatic Sea. Just across this small ocean sits the border of Italy. Makarska is in the southern part of the country, close to Montenegro. It is a little over 85 miles from the popular Dubrovnik, and has a small population of just over 13,000 residents. It sits between the Biokovo mountains and the Adriatic Sea, giving tourists the opportunity to visit both the beach and the mountains. It is also at the center of the Makarska Riviera, which is a coastal tourist strip that spans over 37 miles through several beach-towns under the Biokovo mountains.
Markaska in Croatia is a coastal town with plenty to offer in terms of heart-pumping activities, beautiful weather, and relaxation for couples or families. You can also find history in Makarska- the stone-paved streets, the Cathedral of Saint Mark, and the Franciscan monastery remind you that there is a story behind what Makarska looks like today.
How do you get to Makarska in Croatia?
There are several different ways you can get to Makarska in Croatia. If you are flying into Croatia the closest airport is located in Split, which is only about 35 miles from Makarska. From here you can hop aboard several different bus lines to take you to Makarska or other places on the coast of Croatia. Bus transportation is very frequent to these coastal towns, as well as up and down the coast of the Adriatic Sea, so you shouldn’t have much trouble find transportation to Makarska. Dubrovnik is also a popular airport to fly into when traveling to Croatia.
Car rental is always an option if you want to have a little bit more freedom in your travels, but with the towns being so close together and with everything you need within walking distance, renting your own vehicle isn’t necessary.
Where to Stay in Makarska
Apartment rentals are available within walking distance of the bay of Makarska. This is a great option for larger groups or if you want to do some cooking at home. There is a small grocery store on the first floor of the apartments that will provide almost everything you’ll need during your stay. Another advantage is access to a washer and dryer right in your own apartment. This could come in handy if you’re planning to spend several weeks traveling through Europe like many do.
Exploring Makarska in Croatia
Makarska in Croatia is a small beach town located right on the edge of the Adriatic Sea. Its small population allows for quiet nightlife, which isn’t something you will find in many of the coastal and tourist areas of the country. Cute cafes, delicious eateries, plenty of shopping in boutiques, and adrenaline racing activities make it a great holiday location no matter what you’re looking to do. You can spend a day walking around the historical city and exploring the sights, take a speed driven and daring ride down the seaside mountains, and enjoy delicious fresh seafood at a coastal restaurant right after you zip line across the sky. In the bay there are hundreds of boats of all sizes. Hop aboard chartered boat and head out to party all day or go for a quiet sunset cruise. No matter what type of activity level you are looking for, Makarska in Croatia has it coupled with gorgeous sights all around you.
Restaurants in Makarska
Although it is a small coastal town, there are plenty of places to eat close by. Since it is right at the edge of the Adriatic Sea, Makarska has plenty of fresh seafood. You can also try traditional Croatian dishes or have a meal influenced by neighboring European countries like Italy.
Kala Bar is a cute little restaurant down one of the cobblestone side streets near the marina. Enjoy wonderful appetizers such as bruschetta, olives, cheeses, and prosciutto paired with a tasty wine. A great spot to have a quick lunch in the alley or enjoy a few glasses of wine inside at night, the Kala Bar is a lovely spot to take a break in Makarska.
This cozy restaurant has nautical themed decor and seafood so fresh you’ll question if you really may be on a boat. Everyday there is a new dish to discover as the menu is never set the same from one day to the next. Choosing to eat here every day of your visit will bring about a new culinary experience full of amazing seafood, pasta, aged cuts of meat, and wine to pair with your fresh gourmet meal. It’s a great place to fill up on a big lunch or a romantic spot to wrap up your day. There are even two tables made from old wooden boats that you can sit around to enjoy your meal.
Bura is a quiet restaurant with delicious local and traditional cuisine. Seafood dishes like octopus salad are usually the favorites at Restoran Bura. The views are exquisite and it is the perfect place for a romantic dinner or low-key lunch in between activities.
This laid-back family restaurant is famous for once hosting one of the Saudi princes, but it is known by locals and tourists as a cozy place to enjoy a delicious meal. The decor and atmosphere will make you feel at home, and the Mediterranean style meals will make you want to stay!
Located at the top of a hill above the city, this fine dining restaurant gives the most amazing views of the town of Makarska and the sea below. Large windows allow you incredible views of the skyline as the sun sets. They have an extensive wine list where you can find the perfect pairing for your meal. It is a great place to enjoy a romantic dinner for two.
All along the beaches, the cobblestone streets, and the town’s center you will find tiny cafes and street vendors selling some of the most delicious and freshly made quick bites. From fresh seafood to popular skewers, you will be able to experience the true Croatian delicacies that Makarska has to offer that you won’t be able to find anywhere else.
Activities in Makarska in Croatia
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing holiday or something with a little more action, Makarska has it all. This beach town not only offers the quiet of a warm, sunny coast made for lounging but it also offers the fun and the thrill of the mountains. You will have a hard time deciding what to do during your trip to Makarska- which only means you’ll have to go back!
A unique feature of Makarska is the Franciscan monastery that still exists in the city. This monastery is unlike any other, though- it has a large collection of shellfish. The monastery is a culturally protected preserve and it has stood for centuries, giving you a bit of history of Makarska and the surrounding areas. The Malacological Museum holds over 3,000 specimens of exposed shells from the Adriatic Sea as well as numerous types of tropical and subtropical seas providing a look into the beautiful colors and designs created by our oceans.
Panorama Taxi Boat
A great way to see the city as you explore is to take a panorama taxi boat. This quick trip will take you along the coast of Makarska, giving you a unique viewpoint of the city from the seas. The coastline is gorgeous and a panorama taxi boat ride will allow you to see it all in one setting.
Nature Park Biokovo
Makarska in Croatia sits at the base of Mount Biokovo, which gives the area two unique settings- a beach side and a mountainous terrain side. Nature Park Biokovo has unique plant life and several different animal species within its area. Couple this with spectacular views of the Adriatic Sea and the city below, and you will find yourself immersed in a divided wonderland of land and sea. Sturdy walking shoes and plenty of water are recommended for this excursion.
Zip-Lining in Tucpei
If you are looking for something a little more extreme for your trip, you can take the short drive over to Tucpei for a zip-lining tour that takes you over the unique nature of Croatia while giving you gorgeous sights of the sea below you. The zip-line at Tip Extreme is 1,000 meters long. You will join your guides over 6 lines, exploring the towns below from new heights. All ages are welcome- younger zip-liners will be accompanied by a tour guide while adults zip-line alone.
Bike Tracking down Mount Biokovo
Another heart-pumping activity is biking down the mountain of Biokovo with Budanko Travel. This hour long ride will take you down the steep trails of Biokovo, kissing the edge of the mountain on the way down. A van will take you to the top of the mountain (or you can bike up if you are experienced). Once at the top, you will venture down the mountain at your own speed (which can get very fast!). The cliff edges are steep and the road is narrow, so there is no doubt that you will get your adrenaline pumping as you venture down. However, the views are amazing from this vantage point so it is worth the ride!
Jeep Safari of the Biokovo Villages
If you are looking to learn more about the history of the Makarska Riviera, a Jeep Safari through the surrounding Biokovi villages might be for you. This three-hour long journey takes you around the surrounding local villages, away from the tourist spots to see how locals live now as well as learn about the history and the traditions of the area. You will also visit centuries old chapels and churches, and ride along local roads to get a real feel of the area outside of Makarska.
Krka National Park
Once you arrive to Krka National Park, you will see the natural beauty that Croatia has to offer. River Krka runs right through the park, creating the landscape that you see today. There are over 17 waterfalls in the area which you can explore on your own or with a guide. This is an amazing adventure that calls for an all-day excursion, and one you don’t want to miss in your travels.
You will drive along the coast towards Sibenik where you will be able to tour one of the most sacred places of the area – St. James Cathedral. This cathedral was built in the 15th century and holds the history and marvel of the area within its walls. Explore the cobblestone streets and its narrow pathways. Ancient architecture is mixed along the hillside with modern buildings. After exploring the church and the cute streets make your way over to St. Michael’s Fortress down on the water front. The fortress once protected the city and now contains an open air theater creating a venue with amazing ambiance.
A trip to the Adriatic Sea wouldn’t be complete without a sailing excursion. The Makarski Jadran is a tourist fishing boat that sails from Makarska to Bol Brac. You will stop on the island of Jesla Hvar where you will port and enjoy refreshments in the marina. From there you will sail to Bol Brac, where you will have ample time to explore the beaches and sights of the area. Lunch and refreshments are provided.
Forrest Park Osejava
If you want to spend some time simply walking around and exploring Makarska on your own, the Forrest Park Osejava has large walking, biking, and running trails for locals and tourists to explore. It is nestled between trees and the natural habitat of Makarska, so it offers an escape from the coastal vibe for a brief moment.
Hikes in Makarska
There are endless possibilities when it comes to choosing a place or route to hike around Makarska. The mountains and cliffs along the ocean front provide for a never ending scenic view. Hike uphill away from the ocean for a challenging workout and to see the city from high above. Choose to hike parallel to the ocean and see what you can find along the shores.
Events in the Square
Chances are if you’re passing through the main square there is bound to be something happening. Maybe it’s a festival, a gathering of vendors, or even the world cup! Everyone shows up to support their city and their country. You’ll be cheering right along with the locals, sharing drinks, and lots of fun.
Beaches of Markaska
Of course there are plenty of beaches for you to explore on the coast of Markaska in Croatia. If you are looking to spend some time relaxing on the coast in between your excursions, or you would just like a relaxing holiday, the beaches in Makarska offer warm sunny weather and gorgeous views of the Adriatic Sea.
There is a nude beach on the coast of Makarska. It is known as Nugal and is in a secluded area of the coasts so as not to bother those who aren’t interested. Nugal is a quieter area and is a great place for couples to enjoy a romantic and peaceful day together. The trail along the ocean is a beautiful walk as you make your way to the beach. There are benches and lookouts to stop along the way to enjoy the views of the ocean. Just the hike to the beach is an adventure. Be sure to plan plenty of time to walk all the way there and back. It can take about 25 minutes without stops, or getting lost! There is much to explore along this peninsula along the ocean.
The city beach is where you will find families vacationing together. There is plenty of space for everyone to enjoy the crystal waters and a day relaxing together. It’s located right in the heart of the action. You’ll be sure to make some new friends here.
You will be able to find plenty of shops, cafes, and restaurants lining the area on Makarska Beach, as well as lots of delicious street food. It is a great way to spend one of your days in Makarska. Have fun shopping or try the numerous variety of gelato flavors from various vendors.
Makarska in Croatia is a sweet, coastal town that will allow you to visit one of the most amazing places in Europe without all the craziness of many similar tourist spots. The quiet yet inviting vibe of the beach city will have you wanting to spend more than just a few days exploring. Delicious food, wonderful views, and plenty of activities make it a holiday vacation that everyone can enjoy, either together as a family or as a couple.
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