Makarska Travel Guide

Makarska is a picturesque coastal town located on a peninsula in Croatia, sheltered by the Biokovo mountain range. It has become a popular destination for travellers in recent years due to its central location between Split and Dubrovnik. With its stunning shoreline, towering mountains and rich history, Makarska is an ideal destination for anyone looking…

Town History

Makarska is an ancient town located on the coast in southern Dalmatia. Archeological findings indicate that people have been living there since 6000 BC. It was first settled by the Illyrians in the 4th century, and then by Slavic people in the 7th century. Makarska has been ruled by many different empires over the centuries but is now independent.

The Makarska region was governed by the Ottoman Empire during the Middle Ages and used as a fortified town by Omiš pirates because of its natural harbour. The Venetians ruled Makarska next before it came under French rule. The French found Makarska in a period of positive development and growth.

Makarska’s status as a top tourist destination was solidified in the early 20th century when the town’s first hotel was built. The 1960s saw a surge in popularity for Makarska, establishing it as an essential stop for any traveller.

Best way to get to Makarska

Makarska is a location that is both popular with locals and tourists alike, and it is simple to reach! Though Makarska does not have an airport of its own, the nearest one is located in Split. There are many buses that depart (usually every half hour or hour) from Dubrovnik or Split, as well as from Croatia’s capital city, Zagreb. The most expeditious way to get to Makarska is on one of the daily buses from Split, which takes around 1 hour. If you are travelling from Dubrovnik by bus, the journey will take 3 hours approximately. The Makarska bus station is situated conveniently and only a 7-minute walk from Makarska’s Main Square in the town centre.

You can browse our selection of Cruises in Croatia to find the one which offers the Makarska in the itinerary.

What to do while I am in Makarska?

Explore the Old Town

Makarska’s Old Town is much smaller in comparison to the nearby towns of Split and Dubrovnik, but don’t be fooled, there is still an abundance of beauty and culture to be found within its streets. Navigating through Makarska’s narrow roads lined with stone buildings is easy with stunning attractions that will grab your attention.

The main square in the centre of Makarska is Kačić Square. This picturesque square was named after the most renowned poet of Dalmatia and is divided into 4 levels, with views of the Adriatic Sea on one side and being surrounded by the stunning Biokovo Mountains on the other.

The small square known as Kačić Square is located in the Old Town of Makarska and is home to four different attractions. The most prominent feature of the square is St. Mark’s Church, which sits on the highest point. The church is an important collegiate church, similar to a cathedral. Also located in the square is a statue of Croatian Franciscan friar Andrija Kačić Miošić, along with a Venetian fountain built in 1775. The fourth attraction in the square is an old school built behind St. Mark’s Church in a Neo-Renaissance style.

Experiance Makarska Promenade

The Makarska promenade is a 60km stretch along the Riviera that gives a window into the traditional mode of transport used by the city. There are many options to explore, including cafes and bakeries along the waterline, as well as market stalls selling souvenirs. The promenade also leads to a beach where you can take a dip in the water.

Climb Biokovo Mountain

The Biokovo Mountain Range is a sight to behold, standing tall and beautiful behind Makarska. The range is covered in dense pine trees, giving it a dark appearance from below. Biokovo is home to a unique collection of flora and fauna, as it lies between Croatia’s coastal and continental climates.

The Biokovo mountain range is the highest in Dalmatia, with Sveti Jure as its highest peak at 1,762m above sea level. Climbing to the top of Biokovo is an accomplishment and an experience you won’t soon forget! From the peak of Sveti Jure, you’ll be greeted with stunning panoramic views of Croatia and its coastline. On a clear day, you may even be able to see parts of Bosnia and Italy from your vantage point – talk about incredible!

Experience the Fence of Love

On the left side of Makarska’s crescent-shaped coastline is an area often overlooked by visitors! At the end of the promenade is a set of stone stairs that leads up to hidden gems around the peninsula. If you’ve seen pictures of Makarska, you’ve probably come across a photo of a green statue of Sveti Petar with a view of the town – this is the path that will take you to him. Just past Sveti Petar’s line of sight is the Fence of Love below. Strung along the railing are countless padlocks dedicated to love by locals and travellers alike. With the bright blue Adriatic Sea as a romantic backdrop, some of these locks date back as far as WWII.

What about accommodation in Makarska?

Makarska is a popular tourist destination, and there are many accommodation options available. There are hotels, hostels, and Airbnb rentals available. Additionally, there are many private villas and cottages for rent.

Towns near Makarska

Drvenik

Mentioned for the first time in the 13th century, Drvenik is a coastal village situated 24 kilometres southeast of Makarska. It takes approximately half an hour to get there by car. Drvenik is located between two bays and is home to Fort Drvenik, built in the 17th century and overlooking the town.

Tucepi

Tucepi is a town located very close to Makarska- only 4 kilometres away. Tucepi is well known for its amazing beach that stretches for 4 kilometres. The town is also surrounded by olive groves, vineyards, and natural springs due to its location at the base of the Biokovo mountains. If you’re interested in visiting Tucepi, you can bike through the scenic Osejava park or take a bus that will get you there in 10 minutes.

Brela

Brela, most well-known for its beach, Punta Rata, is the first stop on the Makarska Riviera from the north. It takes about 10-15 minutes to travel there from Makarska. In recent years, Brela has become increasingly popular and is now a desired destination in Dalmatia for its excellent food options, natural beauty and stunning beaches. It is much more low-key than Makarska but worth taking a walk along the promenade.