Last year, I was lucky to be able to visit Croatia for a summer holiday. Croatia’s beautiful landscape and architecture, as well as its affordable prices, make it a great alternative to other popular Mediterranean tourist destinations like Spain or Italy. It wasn’t my first time visiting that beautiful country, but it was my first time staying in Makarska. Today I want to take you on a virtual tour around the town.
Makarska is a small town in the south of Croatia, on the Dalmatian Adriatic coastline. In summer months, it fills with life when tourists come and its population temporarily increases 3-4 times.
The landscape is truly unique. The town lies at the foot of sharp, tall mountains towering over the warm waters of the sea. There are hiking routes in the Biokovo mountain range if you fancy a break from sunbathing (they don’t start directly in Makarska though, so it’s easiest to get to those if you have a car).
There is no airport in Makarska. The nearest large airport is in Split, where you can rent a car or, if you prefer, use public transport. You’ll need to first take an airport bus to Split city centre (~30 minutes) and then another bus to Makarska (~2.5h).
You’ll pay in Croatian kunas (note: Croatia is set to join the eurozone on January 1st, 2023). Make sure to take some cash with you. You’ll be able to pay with a card in large supermarkets, but smaller shops, cafes, restaurants, or bus drivers will only accept cash. To make visitors’ lives easier, there are a multitude of ATMs in tourist zones.
The main part of Makarska is the promenade stretching through the town along the beach. It’s home to numerous restaurants, cafes, and souvenir shops. During the day, you can easily grab some pick-me-up snacks there to fuel the sunbathing. At night, the promenade is where the nightlife happens.
The beach in Makarska is the same as in most parts of Croatia – you won’t find any silky, soft sand here. What you will find are sharp, small pebbles. You can rent a beach chair if you want to sunbathe in full comfort. Otherwise, make sure to come equipped with a thick foam beach mat. Laying on a regular towel is for the brave ones – you’ll feel every sharp edge of the stones.
Makarska is located on two peninsulas. The tips of both peninsulas are elevated and form rocky hills with hiking routes. Make sure you have comfortable shoes if you go on a quick trip there – it’s no walk in the park! The hiking area is small, so the trip won’t take more than a couple hours, depending on where you choose to go, but the terrain is rough and can be challenging. But it’s worth giving it a go! The northern peninsula is home to an old lighthouse, a small church, and a Saint Peter statue – the saint is facing the harbour, holding the key to the town. Most importantly, the views from the hills are simply breathtaking.
Between the two peninsulas, there’s a harbour where you can often spot luxury yachts. You can also take a ferry to the nearby islands, e.g. Brac, which I did – but that’s a story for another day.
There is a small town square in Makarska, with an old church. If you look closely, at the entrance to one of the streets coming out of the town square you’ll find a tiny art gallery / an artist’s workshop. You’re welcome to come in and admire the colourful paintings, and you can buy one too, if you fancy.
There’s also a small museum in the centre of Makarska. Its opening hours are odd and short (check online before you visit). However, I tried to visit it twice (within the advertised hours) only to face a closed door. 😦
When in Croatia, you’ll find plenty of pekaras – small bakeries at every corner of the street. They sell doughnuts, pizzas by the slice (each slice being a size of a small pizza itself), bread, pastry and more. In particular, I’d recommend trying two items. First of all, cornbread – very popular in Croatia. It’s regular bread made with cornflour, which makes is soft and delicate, almost slightly sweet. Secondly, burek. A savoury pie made with flaky filo dough, filled with feta cheese. Delicious!
Makarska is a great starting point for day trips too. Consider taking a ferry to the nearby islands or going to Split, Trogir, Omis, or even Dubrovnik.