Nestled between the popular Croatian cities of Split and Dubrovnik, is the coastal town of Makarska.
Located 60 kilometres south of Split and 160 kilometres north of Dubrovnik, Makarska has a lot to offer travellers, especially during the warmer months of the year.
It is home to some of Croatia’s finest beaches, a stunning nature park, and is one of the many picturesque coastal towns that make up the Makarska Riviera, making a visit to the town of Makarska a great addition to your Adriatic adventure.
When To Visit Makarska
It is important to note that Makarska is very much a summer destination and primarily caters to sun-seekers and beach lovers.
This is slowly changing, with more and more businesses recognizing that travelers and digital nomads are interested in spending time in towns like Makarska, outside of the summer months.
That being said, at this point, if you want to have access to all that Makarska has to offer, consider planning your trip to this coastal town between May and October.
If you thrive on vacations filled with walking tours, live entertainment, sunny beach days, and vibrant nights in restaurants or clubs, Makarska in July and August is tailor-made for you. These months offer a diverse range of experiences to cater to almost every traveler’s preferences.
July and August are the warmest months, boasting temperatures ranging from the low to mid-30s Celsius. These peak months witnessed a surge in tourists, nearly doubling the town’s population of 13,000. Creating a lively atmosphere during the hot summer months!
May, June, and September offer slightly milder temperatures, typically in the mid to high 20s Celsius. While weather patterns during these months might be less predictable compared to July and August, Makarska is fully operational, ensuring all services are available.
The added advantage of visiting Makarska in May, June, and September? You can enjoy the town and all it has to offer, without the bustling crowds that characterize the peak summer months.
Places to Explore in Makarska
During the summer months, Makarska’s 2-kilometre-long pebble beach stands out as a major attraction and is bustling with sunbathers swimming in the crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic Sea.
Interested in spending more of your time in the mesmerizing blue waters of the Adriatic Sea? Makarska has a lot to offer with many water activities to choose from including inflatable water parks, paddle boarding, parasailing, and jet ski rentals, just to name a few.
While on the beach, you will find vendors walking around and selling foods such as kukuruz (corn on the cob) and krofne (airy-filled doughnuts with either chocolate or jam filling) and of course: a medley of fruit. Be sure to keep your eyes on the shoreline where at some point in the day, you will see a boat or two come by, selling fruit.
If you’re keen on exploring nearby beaches, maybe someplace less crowded, consider visiting Nugal Beach, a naturist beach. Nugal beach is situated on the Osejava peninsula, between Makarska and Tu?epi.
Nugal Beach is a 20-30 minute walk from Makarska. Accessible via a well-marked path through Osejava Nature Park or by boat. This beach can’t be reached by car, and there are no cafes or restaurants on the beach. So be sure to pack your walking shoes, water, food, and any other necessities for the day.
Upon reaching Nugal Beach, take in the breathtaking view, and the smaller crowds and enjoy your day in this tranquil oasis.
For those traveling in groups, it is advisable to arrive at the beach early, especially during July and August, as Makarska beach tends to get crowded quickly.
Thinking of leaving your beach towels in the morning to reserve your spot? Think again. This practice is discouraged as town officials might relocate or remove your belongings if they’re left unattended for an extended period.
Additionally, be sure to bring water shoes. If you don’t have a pair, don’t worry; vendors along the beach sell them. Water shoes are essential for many beachgoers as they provide excellent support while entering and exiting the rocky waters of the Adriatic Sea.
Biokovo Nature Park and Biokovo Skywalk
Nature and hiking enthusiasts should mark Biokovo Nature Park as a place to visit while in Makarska.
Designated as a nature park in 1981, the park covers 30 km of the Biokovo mountains and offers some of the most breathtaking views of the Adriatic Sea and nearby islands. Biokovo is the second-highest mountain in Croatia – it rises to 1,762 meters at its highest point (Sveti Jure). It is one of Croatia’s most popular destinations for hikers.
Biokovo Nature Park’s main entrance is roughly 8 kilometers from Makarska. You can visit the park on foot or by bike or motorized vehicle.
You can also look into entering the park with a tour group. Many tour group operators advertise their services along the Makarska promenade, harbor, and beaches.
For adventure enthusiasts, consider booking a tour with Makarska Unimog Experience. They currently have three tours to choose from including one that takes you to an elevation of 1335 meters. The view from that peak is breathtaking. And on a windy day, you might be lucky enough to see Italy!
The newest attraction within the Biokovo Nature Park, and probably the most popular, is the Biokovo Skywalk.
The skywalk opened in 2020 and is an impressive glass-floored platform extending from the cliffs and offers a breathtaking view of the Adriatic coastline.
Skywalk Biokovo is semicircular with a diameter of 8.5 meters and is the first skywalk in Croatia. The Skywalk is located at a height of 1228 meters above sea level and is an ideal spot for photography enthusiasts.
Make sure to visit the official website to review all park attractions and to confirm operating hours and pricing.
Tennis Center Makarska
If tennis is more your game, visit Tennis Center Makarska. The Centre features nine clay courts, one hard court, and two indoor courts, all offering a fantastic tennis experience with the stunning Adriatic Sea as a backdrop.
Even if you have never spent any time on the tennis courts, stop by and have a drink at the Tennis Centre cafe. Watch a tennis session from the stands or just marvel at the fact that you are sitting in such proximity to a mountain range AND the Adriatic Sea – it is simply breathtaking!
If you plan to visit Makarska at the end of May, don’t miss the Makarska International Championships. This WTA 125-level women’s tennis tournament unfolds on outdoor clay courts at the Tennis Center, promising a week brimming with tennis excitement and various events.
Makarska Old Town
Wander through Makarska’s Old Town for a while and explore its cobblestone streets, including Kalalagra or Široka ulica (Wide Street), where you will discover charming shops, galleries, cafes, and restaurants.
Walk over to Ka?i? Trg, the main town square, a place where people continue to gather for special events including lots of live music during the summer months. From Ka?i? Trg, look towards the Biokovo mountains and you will see St. Mark, a church that dates back to 1756 and was never finished.
To the left of the church, you will find the Makarska open-air market, where vendors sell local and seasonal food.
Check out the market to find out what is in season in Croatia. Strawberries from the nearby town of Vrgorac, renowned for being the best in Croatia, make their way to the market in April. Local fresh figs can be found during two periods: one at the end of June and the other towards the end of August. Adriatic figs are one of the most popular types of figs in the world and are exceptionally sweeter than other types of figs.
Makarska Harbour is a focal point for boats, boat tour operators, and waterfront dining.
Take a stroll along the harbor and check out the local fisherman selling their catch of the day. Not sure how to prepare the fish? The fishermen will give you tips on the best way to prepare the fish. And they will clean the fish for you. Now that’s service.
During the summer months, Makarska hosts a series of ‘Fishermen’s Nights’ along the harbor – offering a night of live music, vendors, and yes, lots of fish.
While strolling through the harbor, be sure to check out possible island-hopping adventures. Numerous tour operators line the waterfront, offering trips to some of Croatia’s most beautiful islands including Bra?, Hvar, Kor?ula, and Vis.
The TP Line Catamaran is a great way to get to the islands of Hvar, Bra?, or Vis. Be sure to check the website for tickets and schedules.
If you have access to a vehicle during your visit to Makarska, consider taking a scenic drive along the picturesque Makarska Riviera. The Riviera, spanning 60 kilometers, is adorned with charming villages that come to life between May and September.
The Makarska Riviera encompasses towns including Brela, Baška Voda, Tu?epi, Podgora, Drašnice, Igrane, Živogoš?e, Drvenik, and Gradac, with Makarska serving as the focal point for tourists and cultural activities.
These villages along the Riviera feature pristine beaches with the Biokovo mountain range as the backdrop. Making the drive alone a pleasurable experience.
Makarska Riviera Recommendations
Brela, a town 18 kilometers north of Makarska, offers six kilometres of pebbly beaches, including the famous Punta Rata beach and the Brela stone. In addition, in Brela, you can explore the French Road, where between 1808 and 1813, the French constructed a road along the historical region of Dalmacija – from Obrovac to Boka Kotorska. Today this road is known as “Napoleon’s Road” or the “French Road.”
Krvavica is part of the Baska Voda municipality and is worth noting here, not for its beaches or its hiking trails but because it is home to an abandoned building that is still fairly interesting to view: The Abandoned Children’s Health Resort also known as the Children’s Maritime Resort for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Children with Lung Disease Insured Through the Military.
The resort was built between 1963-64 and catered to children with a parent employed by the JNA (Yugoslav People’s Army) who suffered from respiratory illness. The building has been abandoned since the early 90’s.
The structure has been described as a “ring on pillars,” with one side offering a view of Biokovo and the other a view of the Adriatic Sea.
It is fascinating to see such a structure, left abandoned and in such proximity to the Adriatic Sea. If you have a few hours and would like to explore the area, you won’t be disappointed. It serves as a reminder that the country experienced conflict not so long ago and that the road to recovery is a work in progress.
For those seeking an opportunity to explore this abandoned space, you can get there by car or by foot, along the waterfront from Makarska or Baška Voda.
While Makarska may not be as popular as some of the other well-known Croatian coastal spots, it has a lot to offer.
From idyllic beaches to a majestic mountain range to historical roads built during the Napolean era, there is a great deal to explore in and around Makarska, especially during the summer months.
Now that you know a few more details about Makarska, will you add it to your Adriatic adventure?