The town, located at the feet of the mountain of Biokovo, is the centre of Makarska Riviera. There are excellent beaches, hiking opportunities and a buzzing nightlife here. What to do in Makarska? Make your holiday unforgettable by choosing from the following great programmes!
This article gives you an overview of the following topics:
- Things to do in Makarska: The best beaches
- What to do in Makarska: The nature calls
- Things to do in Makarska: Visit the sights to see in town!
- Traditions and events in Makarska
- Gastronomy of Makarska
Things to do in Makarska: The best beaches
Gradska plaža is the central beach in town, located on the western side. The beach, which has an impressive size with its 2 kilometres length, offers several good-quality services; there are catering facilities, entertainment opportunities and safeguards who provide safety for the guests. The water deepens slowly so children are welcome to swim as well. The trees along the beach provide shade on hot summer days. Despite its large size, the beach is often crowded, so it is recommended to arrive early during the main season. The other popular beach in the area is the Nugal. It is located app. 2 kilometres from the town port; it can be found between Makarska and Tučepi. You can access it on a boat or on foot, walking through beautiful pines. The beach is situated in an unspoiled natural environment, so naturalists visit it frequently.
What to do in Makarska: The nature calls
Biokovo Nature Park
The mountain of Biokovo is located between the rivers Vetina and Neretva; it towers behind Makarska Riviera. In 1981, the territory of nearly 200 km2 was given priority protection and was named Biokovo Nature Park. The entrance can be found only a few kilometres from Makarska. Today, the area is characterised by incredibly rich flora and fauna. Beside golden eagles and white-headed vultures, there are also wolves, boars, chamois and mouflons in the mountains. The highest point is Sveti Jure – Saint George – with 1762 metres. There is a wonderful view of Makarska Riviera, Middle Dalmatia and in clear weather even the shores of Italy from up here. Sports enthusiasts can go mountain biking, hiking, horse-riding or try the adventurous paragliding.
Kotišina Botanical Garden
The Kotišina Botanical Garden belongs to the beautiful Biokovo Nature Park, located 350-500 metres above sea level. It was established by the priest and scholar Dr. fra Jure Radić. Beside scientific research, the park’s main purpose is to observe, protect, preserve and popularise the flora of the Biokovo. You can explore several hundreds of local plants on the territory of 16.5 hectares, and they have also planted exotic plants, crops and herbs in certain places. Near the entrance, you can see the walls of a fort from the 17th century.
Forest Park Osejava
You can go on a very nice walk among the woods in Forest Park Osejava and get as far as the beach of Nugal. If you go further, you may even reach Tučepi and its beach. The forest, the rocks and the sea are a breathtaking site.
Things to do in Makarska: Visit the sights to see in town!
Makarska, located in Middle Dalmatia, has amazing buildings; we particularly recommend that you visit the following churches, museums and interesting places.
The churches and the sanctuary
Co-Cathedral of St. Mark
The cathedral built-in 1766 is among the most prominent monuments in town. We still cannot consider it complete, as it should have two further aisles according to the plan. The main altar is among the most beautiful ones in Croatia made by Venetian craftsmen. There is also a Venetian fountain from 1755 next to the church. On the main square, there is a statue erected in honour of the popular Croatian writer and monk Andrija Kačić Miošić.
St Peter’s Church
The church is located on the Peninsula of St Peter, closing the town port from the west. The church from the 14th century, which was originally a Gothic church, was rebuilt-in a Baroque style in the 17th century. In 1962, an earthquake had such a devastating effect on the building that it had to be demolished completely. They finished the work in 1992, and the church earned its current state. There is a lighthouse nearby that was built-in 1884. You can also discover another famous sight on the peninsula, the statue of St Peter holding the Keys of Heaven.
St. Philip Neri Church
The Baroque church was built-in 1758 in the middle of the bay, directly on the beach. On the inside, on the choir railing, there are seven canvas paintings depicting scenes from the life of St Philip. The church was declared a landmark in 1968; today they only hold masses here every few years.
The sanctuary was founded by bishop Dr Juraj Carić, who is buried here. The natural cave is located in the western part of Makarska. Interestingly, it resembles the famous French sanctuary, Lourdes, so Vepric is a popular destination among pilgrims. There are several religious items inside and outside the cave, including an outdoor altar and a confessional.
Museums and galleries
The City Museum can be found on the beach, inside the Baroque Villa Tonolli on the western side of the port. They established it in 1995, and there is a collection of around 2700 items exhibited here. The writings, drawings and pictures are all connected to the history of the area. The museum also has a collection of postcards, posters and cards.
The museum was built at the beginning of the 15th century; the Franciscan monastery, renovated in the 17th century, is definitely worth visiting. This is where one of the largest and most beautiful shell museums in the world is located; you can see shells from the Adriatic Sea and from all over the world here. Most of the collection is the result of Jure Radić’s great dedication. The museum, established in 1963, also has a plant collection exhibiting the wonderful flora of the Biokovo mountain.
Antun Gojak Town Gallery
The gallery can be found in an old school building in Makarska, in the Mihovila Pavlinovića street. It was founded by famous painter Marin Gojak, the brother of Antin, who donated 132 pictures and 201 graphics to the town in 1988. Later the items in the collection increased to 400 thanks to private donations – the gallery provides a thorough insight of the art of Makarska and its neighbourhood.
There are several palaces in the town; the Baroque Ivanišević Palace, the Villa Tonolli and the Renaissance Kačić-Peko are the most significant. The latter is decorated by a semi-circular staircase and a little fountain in the park. During the years, they have renovated it several times, and the palace has become one of the most imposing buildings in Makarska. Today it also operates as a luxury hotel.
Traditions and events in Makarska
In the summer, they offer several cultural programmes and entertainment opportunities for visitors. They organise the festival called Makarska Cultural Summer every year with a popular event, the Night of Fishermen, during which the local fishermen assemble and sail out to sea. The competition is about catching the most or largest fish. During the event, tourists can have a good time in town. At night when the fishermen return, the winners are announced, and the fish caught are distributed among the guests.
The Croatian town is special for another reason as well: this is where it is allowed to party at night even in the old city. As a result, there are several night clubs and discos. One of the most popular places is Peter Pan, located at the end of the port. The large open area can accommodate up to 1, 000 guests. During the summer, there are parties here at almost every night, and they also organise concerts often. The club Deep is located on the Osejava Peninsula. It is unique because the dance floor is in a cave from World War II. The club is also open during the day, offering pleasant lounge music. We can also sunbathe on the rocks in front of the cave. As for bars, we particularly recommend the Marinata, which open all year long.
Gastronomy of Makarska
The Mediterranean town is located at the foot of the Biokovo mountain. If you get hungry before or after your trip, you can find the restaurant Vrata Biokova here, at a height of 890 metres. They offer incredibly delicious meat dishes, and we can buy souvenirs, olive oil, honey and schnaps made by the locals as well. Il Golfo on the beach is also a great choice, especially during sunset. They have speedy service and polite staff, and the frutti di mare is definitely worth trying. In the old city near the port, there is another small but popular restaurant, the Hrpina. They offer large fish dishes made with fresh ingredients for fair prices. If you choose this restaurant, remember to book in advance.
In this article, we have listed the best things to do in Makarska. The centre of Makarska Riviera has several beautiful buildings to offer, and those who are looking for active recreation will have the opportunity to hike in a wonderful natural environment. Explore it yourself! Read more if you plan Makarska sailing or rent a boat in Makarska.