The Makarska Riviera is one of Croatia’s most scenic destinations. For those torn between the love of mountains and the sea, in Makarska, you are gifted with both. Spending the day along this breathtaking coastline, tourists can enjoy some of the best travel experiences that Croatia has to offer.
On a recent visit, friends offered us a tour of some of their favorite hang outs around Makarska. As tourists, exploring with a local is like being let in on a special secret. Our day was action packed and full of awe inspiring views. A few locations even got us so far off of the beaten path that we felt like we had Croatia all to ourselves. So where did our local friends take us?
Exploring with a local is like being let in on a special secret.
Here are five hidden-gem destinations around Makarska where those in the know would go.
Secret Beach Vruya Bay
With a dramatic mountain backdrop and the clear, calm waters of the Adriatic Sea, the Makarska Riviera holds some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. While many flock to the typical touristy hotspots, locals know of a secret, hidden bay. In Dubci, there’s a trail head that is the start of a 30-40 minute hike down a rugged path. Eventually you’ll reach “Secret Beach Vruya” characterized by dreamy, turquoise waters and a secluded beach. Be sure to note the unique geology of how the underground river causes the sea to bubble and stir with its fresh water spring.
At the base of a wooded hill, there’s a holy shrine set within a small cave. It was built in 1908, by a Bishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Split-Makarska named Jura Carić. It was his desire was to build a place of religious devotion to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the appearance of the Virgin Mary in Lourdes, France. Visitors visit the shrine for a time of reflection, prayer, or to walk among the tranquility in the scenic, natural setting.
Easily accessible from Makarska’s Riva, a long, but easy trail makes its way along the rocky coast. Visitors can walk under the pines, find a sunny spot to watch the waves, or bring a lock of love to hang on the designated chain fences. If you’re lucky, you’ll discover the eerie, abandoned cave bar which was probably quite the “trip” in its heyday. Looking for a challenge? Continue the hike south to find your own hidden piece of paradise.
St. Marks Church & Kalalarga Street
In the 18th century, Kalalarga Street was Makarska’s main strip. The charming stone path leads to St. Mark’s Church which features the town fountain constructed in 1755 and Makarska’s oldest stone coat-of-arms. Be sure to note the unique fish shaped door knob.
Afterwards, master the art of savoring the two hour cappuccino. Enjoy Croatian cafe culture in the adjoining square, which draws less crowds than Makarska’s seafront (riva).
A wise photographer once told us, “If you want better photos, then seek out more amazing places.” End the day with a drive and a short hike up to the Mt. Biokovo lookout. Take in the sunset at 6,000 ft (1762 meters), which the highest peak on the Dalmatia Coast. On clear days you can see Mt. Gargano on Italy’s eastern side which is 157 miles (252 km) away. As darkness falls, drive up further towards the FM transmitter tower to relish views of the beautiful twinkling stars and city lights.
Or, if relaxation is what you seek, simply spend the day at one of Makarska’s stunning beaches.