I am sure you have all heard about the country that lies in the central Europe, nestled between Adriatic Sea, Dinaric Alps and Pannonian Basin. Most of people want to visit Croatia during summer for the obvious reasons. There are not a lot of countries in the world where you can choose between hundreds of islands (Hvar, Brac, Korcula being amongst most popular) or so-called mainland rivieras with beautiful old towns like Dubrovnik or Split. I have visited most of Croatian rivieras (in fact, I visit Opatija almost every month), and I can easily say that Makarska is one of the most beautiful ones in the Adriatic region. Unfortunately, millions of tourists also know this, so prepare to get crowded. A lot. Alternatively, here are 5 things to do near Makarska Riviera in case you have an extra day off or you get tired of frying your body in the sun.
If you are fed up with beach hopping in Makarska riviera (let’s be honest, Croatian coastline is way too crowded during July and August) you will probably want to jump into your car and search for something completely different. If you aren’t traveling by your own car, I suggest you check Sixt rent a car – my personal experience with them has always been very smooth.
This will probably come as a surprise, but 2 out of 5 things to do around Makarska Riviera in my book are actually located in the neighboring country of Bosnia and Herzegovina. First one is Mostar, a charming city with a beautiful old town and scenic stone bridge across the Neretva River. Get lost in the cobblestone streets full of bars, restaurants and souvenir shops. Buy yourself some nice coffee set, knit house socks or cozy slippers. Treat yourself with delicious cevapi, burek or baklava and worry about the calories later. In fact, you can burn them the next day in Biokovo mountain 😉
Tips and tricks: Distance from Makarska: around 90 km or less than 2 hour’s drive. Duration: whole-day trip. Passport and money: you need a valid passport to enter BIH, and you can pay in Euros nearly everywhere (the exchange rate is around 2 convertible marks for 1 EUR), which is not usually the case in Croatia.
2. National park Biokovo (Biokovo mountain)
About those calories… The next in line is the national park Biokovo, a beautiful mountain range with several hiking paths and breathtaking views of the Adriatic Sea. Mount Biokovo is the second highest in Croatia, rising at 1,762 meters above the sea level. There are several ways you can reach the top of Sv. Jure (St. George) to walk around the peak, overlooking all sides of the mountain: by bus, by car, by bicycle (very popular route by the way) or on foot (around 2 hours hiking from the coastline). Be sure not to miss one of the spectacular lookout points – I visited Vošac which can be reached from a parking lot and an easy 15 minutes’ hike.
Tips and tricks: Entrance fee: 50 HRK per person in a vehicle (25 HRK for bicycle). Bring a lot of water, although there are a few kiosks along the way. It is very windy and quite cold on the top so bring a light jacket, even during summer, especially on a cloudy day. If you are not a very good driver, I suggest you leave the drive to your significant other because the road is really narrow and at some points you literally have to drive backwards if you meet another car.
3. Kravica Waterfalls
Back to Bosnia and Herzegovina but this time less shopping and more nature. The Kravica Waterfalls is a very green and picturesque watery area, about 50 km away from Mostar. Since you can actually take the same road from Makarska, you might consider either joining the 2 destinations, or spending the night in Mostar. This way you can properly try some of that killer Bosnian rakija and not having to worry who will drive back 😉 You can find some of Mostar and Kravica pictures in my Facebook album.
Tips and tricks: Kravica (also Kravice) waterfalls is located around 80 km from Makarska and is open to visits from May to October only. The waterfall itself is very accessible – it is about 25 meters high with a small lake below so bring your swimsuit and thank me later.
Game of Thrones or hashtag #GOT. Need I say more? Although you will probably get stuck in traffic and even meet worse crowds than in Makarska beach, let’s be honest: you need to see the old town and the great wall of Dubrovnik. And you need to climb on Mount Srd to scream: Dracarys!
Tips and tricks: Dubrovnik is roughly 2,5 hours’ drive from Makarska, so this is not a hop-on hop-off thing. Sure, you can make it a one day trip, but if you want to walk the walls, get robbed in one of the restaurants (prices are really crazy so be careful and check the menus before you enter), hike or drive to Mt Srd to watch the sunset… well, do your own math, I ain’t your mama.
5. Krka National Park
I am a sucker for national parks and instead of pointing you towards the town of Split or Šibenik, I will rather suggest another waterfall. A huge one this time. I mean like a real national park one. Krka National Park lies within Šibenik-Knin County and covers a total area of 109 square kilometers on the nicest section of the Krka River. The park is easily walkable within an hour or so – if you just want to follow the wooden path towards the waterfall. Several other options of recreation and tourism activities are also possible. You can find more photos in my Facebook album.
Tips and tricks: National Park Krka in open all-year-round. The entrance fee varies within seasons from 30 to 200 HRK. The distance from Makarska: 130 km or 1,5 hour’s drive.
There, I covered my top 5 things to do near Makarska riviera. Easier said than done? Well, let me know what is your idea of spending some quality time instead of burning your ass off on the beach. Scroll down for comments 😉