Exploring Makarska, Croatia

The largest and most popular town in the Makarska Riveria, Makarska is the perfect combination of cosmopolitan bars and restaurants, with stunning beaches and blue seas.

Stunning views along the Makarska Riveria

There are beautiful views all along the Riveria

The riviera stretches for 60km, from Brela to Gradac, with Makarska sitting in the centre and is one of the most popular tourist attractions along the Croatian coast due to the numerous crystal clear beaches and peaceful bays.

We had 5 nights and 4 full days in Makarska to round off our two week holiday in Croatia and we loved it. We had spent the first 10 days of the trip doing quite a lot of walking, sightseeing and hiking, so we really just wanted the last few days to be relaxed and not have to plan too much and Makarska was perfect for that.

We stayed at the Dalmacija Sunny Hotel, which was located right on the beach in the centre of Makarska. Up until this point, we had stayed in apartments or B&B’s, but we really just wanted a pool for the last few days, which is where we spent an hour or so at the end of each day!

Makarska is overlooked by Mount Biokovo and we were fortunate enough to have an amazing view from our balcony of the mountain on one side and the sea on the other - perfect for a glass of wine at the end of the day!

Things to do In Makarska:

Promenade and Market

A promenade lined with shops and restaurants runs parallel to the beaches and shoreline. From the Dalmacjia hotel, if you turn right, and head away from the town centre, you pass through restaurants perched on the edge of the beach, with gorgeous views out to sea, until you reach Ramova Beach.

If you turn left from the Dalmacjia hotel, and walk towards the centre of Makarska, you will reach the main beach and open air market. Here you’ll find every type of holiday souvenir you could ask for as well as clothes and holiday essentials. It’s open all day and into the evening. There are also a couple of pop up food stalls and bars within the market itself.

The area around the market is much busier and feels more family-orientated as there is a small play-park next to the market and the restaurants are more family-friendly.

Enjoying the evening sun along Makarska's promenade

The bars and restaurants along the promenade are a great place to enjoy the evening sun

The Old Town

Just a few minutes walk from the promenade and market place and set back from the Marina, is the old town of Makarska. Sitting in the centre of the cobbled, narrow streets is St Mark’s Church in the main square. There are often events held in the square, which is surrounded by restaurants with outdoor seating.

St Mark's Church, Makarska, Croatia

St Mark's Church

At the edge of the old town, by the Marina, is the Franciscan Monastery, which was built in 1614 by Bosnian Monks.

The old town comes alive at night and there are many bars playing music, as well as party boats sat in the marina.

Makarska's Old Town at night

Wandering around the Old Town at night

The beaches

Most of the beaches in Croatia are pebble, so if you're hoping for white-soft sand, you're going to be disappointed. But the pebbles are what makes the sea here so crystal clear, and is why Croatia has some of the most stunning beaches in the Adriatic.

There are many beautiful beaches along the Makarska Riviera, but if you don't want to travel, there are still options within walking distance from Makarska town:

Makarska town beach is very busy and far too crowded for me personally, but convenient for those who don't want to travel far to swim in the sea. It is also perfect in the evening to sit and watch the sunset with an ice cream from one of the stalls along the promenade.

Watching the sunset from Makarska Town beach

Watching the sunset from Makarska Town beach

Ramova beach is perfect if you want the convenience of sun-loungers, restaurants and facilities, but without the big crowds of Makarska beach, and is just 3km away from the centre of Makarska.

Biloševac Beach is just on the northern outskirts of Makarska, so it can get quite busy in the summer. As well as plenty of places to eat nearby, there is the inflatable aqua park off the shoreline, jet ski rental and also the Makarska tennis centre is you fancy being a bit more active.

Nugal beach is a small, isolated cove, hidden at the base of a steep cliff. You can only access it by walking - we walked from the Marina through the Osejava Forest Park to reach the beach. There are no facilities on the beach, so if you're staying for the day, bring water and snacks. Nugal beach is popular with nudists and has a relaxed, easy vibe. Come here early morning before it gets too busy.

 Walking to Nugal Beach alongside the Osejava Forest Park in Makarska

Walking to Nugal Beach alongside the Osejava Forest Park

Along the Riviera:

Brela is just 15km north of Makarska and takes just 20 minutes by car. If you don't have your own transport, there are regular buses, or if you're feeling active, you can rent a bike and cycle along the shoreline from Makarska. Brela is home to Punta Rata beach, which has frequently been included amongst the world's most beautiful beaches.

Baska Voda is just 10km north of Makarska and is easily reached by bus. It is also just 5km south of Brela, so you could easily walk between Baska Voda and Brela along the shoreline. Like Brela, Baska Voda is a relatively small town, with the main attraction being the beaches.

Mount Biokovo range overlooks the Makarska Riviera and is home to the Biokovo Nature Park. The park is only open for visitors from April to November and has many hiking routes for various levels. The most accessible route is to Vosac Peak, which is only 1.8 miles from Makarska centre and follows a well-signposted route. From Vosac Peak, you can continue for another two hours to Sveti Jure, which is the highest peak in the area and offers stunning views across the coastline.

Other larger resorts along the riviera are Tucepi and Gradac, both boasting many attractions, bars, restaurants and shops as well as more beautiful beaches of course!

The Biokovo Mountain range providing an impressive backdrop to Makarska's marina

The Biokovo Mountain range providing an impressive backdrop to Makarska's marina

Day trips from Makarska:

Brac can be reached by taking the Jadrolinija ferry from Makarska to Sumartin on the Island. The ferries are regular and take just 50 minutes, giving you plenty of time to explore the island. One of the most well-known spots on the Island is Zlatni Rat or the ‘Golden Horn’ beach, close to the popular town of Bol.

Korcula is just 65 minutes by catamaran from Makarska so you could easily visit this island on a day trip. Korcula is not as popular with tourists as some of the other islands, such as brac and Hvar, but this just means it is less crowded! Korcula Town is often referred to as ‘Little Dubrovnik’ due to its medieval squares and buildings.

Makarska is a great place to base yourself to explore the riviera and there is so much to do, whether you're a foodie, a sun worshipper or enjoying walking in the mountains. We sadly only had 4 days here, but you could easily spend a full week or 10 days here if you had your own car and really wanted to explore the entire riviera.

All links on this website are my own recommendations or sites I found useful when planning and are not affiliated. I do not receive any commission from including these links within this blog.

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