Makarska is a destination right on Croatia’s tourist trail that gets much less action than other spots along the Dalmatian coast and I can not for the life of me figure out why more people don’t come to the Makarska Riviera, especially with the variety of things to do in Makarska.
I heard about Makarska through a fellow backpacker that I met in Zadar who told me of a beautiful place with mountains almost pushing up to the water’s edge, where epic sunsets were held nightly, there was a beach, hiking and plenty of relaxation.
Seriously, consider Makarska added to your Croatia itinerary because I’m going to convince you that you need to visit Makarska.
All prices are quoted in Croatian Kuna. Check up to date conversions here.
Things to do in Makarska
Find what to do in Makarska to fill your time along the coast or what you can do to just chill out.
Hit the beach
Makarska beaches are amazing. That’s all you need to know. There are a couple but the main Makarska beach stretches for kilometres down the coast offering prime sun basking spots on the warm pebble stones.
The water is beautiful, a stunning shade of blue with enough buoyancy to float effortlessly.
There are more beaches too that don’t just include the main beach that’s most easily accessed from the centre of town. If you have a car you have ample opportunity to access beaches that are less popular.
Chill out on the nude beach
Or you could hike to Nugal, the most popular nude beach in Makarska. The walk to the beach is beautiful and you can always stop at some of the other beaches that are on the way just on the edge of town.
Keep in mind that all beaches in Croatia could have nude people tanning, it is Europe!
Nugal is in a secluded cove and before you descend down to the beach itself be sure to snap a few pics, it’s breathtaking with the colour of the water and the cliffs!
Take a walk along the shoreline
To get to Nugal beach there is a dirt walking track that offers pristine views of teal blue water in the shade of trees, dramatic cliffs and a serene area to take in nature.
Walking trails take off from the centre of Makarska that go both north and south for a great morning or afternoon of discovering new spots and lookouts while having great views the entire time.
Catch sunset from one of Croatia’s best sunset spots
I spent a lot of time on Croatia’s Dalmatian coast and I went to watch the sunset in Makarska every night because they were just that good. My go-to spot was by the lighthouse on St. Peter’s Peninsula.
Here you can watch the sunset without crowds, take in the colours that were oh so beautiful and then turn back and watch how the sun casts a pink due over the mountains. Seriously, so gorgeous!
Play some water sports
Along the main beach there were always locals playing some kind of game in the water such as water polo or kayaking from the shores.
There was even a decent sized floating course that you could run, climb and jump across, something kids and adults would equally enjoy.
Get a taste of Croatia’s islands
If chilling out, taking in great views and not wanting to be in a busy city is what you’re after then Makarska is a great place to base yourself. But just in case you get antsy there are a number of day trips from Makarska that you can take.
If you want to get a quick look at some of Croatia’s islands then a day trip to Hvar and Brac will show you the beauty of these two popular destinations.
On Brac you can visit the most famous beach in Croatia, Zlatni Rat, taste test wine, visit the most picturesque spots and more.
Hike to the best viewpoint in Makarska
If you’re a big hiker then you can opt to hike to the top of St. Jure, the highest peak in the region which takes 7 hours one-way.
Hiking is not my thing but I still tried part of it because it has great views. Beware, it is steep and definitely do it in the morning and avoid going during the mid-day heat like I did (rookie mistake).
If you have a car it’s possible to drive to several viewpoints.
Visit Krka National Park
If you’re based in Makarska you should make some time to visit one of Croatia’s national parks. Krka is the closest and Krka day trips are often combined with a stop in Sibenik, one of Croatia’s oldest cities that is oh so charming.
Krka National Park itself has gorgeous waterfalls, an area to swim and easy hiking trails that wind over the water and through the trees.
Take a day trip to Mostar
If you’re looking at Makarska day trips, why not take a quick trip to another country? Makarska is close enough that you could visit the old city of Mostar in Bosnia & Herzegovina.
On this trip you’ll visit the Old Town where you can snap pics of one of the most famous images of the country, the Old Bridge, discover a new culture and learn about the turbulent past of Bosnia & Herzegovina.
Go rafting on Cetina River
For adventure lovers you have the opportunity to raft down Croatia’s longest river, the Cetina River. You’ll hit grade 2-3 rapids and have stops so that you have the chance to swim in the crystal clear waters.
Check out Kacic Square
This short and sweet Makarska activity is a must-do and won’t take up much of your time. Kacic Square is the main square and is quite small but still charming.
St. Mark’s Church dominates the square which is surrounded by a few shops, cafes and restaurants just a few steps off of the promenade. There’s also a market selling fresh food just to the left of the church.
See the stars from the Astronomical Observatory
For a sweet night of stargazing checkout the Astronomical Observatory. It’s built on a monument and is surrounded by trees that darken the area for the ultimate night of stargazing.
It’s really close to town and the beach too so it’s only a quick stroll from sunset to Glavica hill.
Shop through the market
Part market, part permanent tourist attraction, just north off of the Makarska promenade you’ll find a ton of tents set up with locals selling goodies like jewelry and water accessories to float within the Adriatic Sea.
There are a bunch of food options too from ice cream to cocktails and cheap things to eat.
Explore the nightlife scene
Makarska actually has a pretty decent nightlife scene. The most popular club to go to is Deep Makarska right by the edge of the water but if a disco and thumping music isn’t your thing then there are plenty of bars and restaurants along the promenade for you to choose from for a relaxed drink and evening chats.
Where to Stay in Makarska
These Makarska accommodation options are ideal for backpackers, holidaymakers and everything in between.
Hostels in Makarska
There are only two hostel options in Makarska so your choice is easy. Subtub Hostel Makarska is more laid back and Hostel Yeti is more party. Both are in excellent locations.
Hotels in Makarska
- Makarska City Bay Studios | BOOK NOW: Booking.com
- Hotel Rosina | BOOK NOW: Booking.com
- Valamar Meteor Hotel | BOOK NOW: Booking.com
How to Get to Makarska
Luckily getting to Makarska, like all major destinations in Croatia is easy, even though Makarska is not a major destination. The Makarska Riviera is not far from the Split airport which has regular flights from all over Europe daily.
From Split hop on a bus and it’s about a 1 hour and 15-minute ride. From the Split airport it’s possible to get a bus or transfer to the bus station directly. You can check Get By Bus for schedules.
If you prefer to travel by water in the summer months (June to September) there is a ferry service between Split-Bol-Makarska-Korcula-Mljet and Dubrovnik. The ride is an hour and a half from Split or 2 and a half hours from Dubrovnik. You can find ferry schedules on Jadrolinjia, the company that runs the boats.
A bus from Dubrovnik is approximately 3 hours.
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