Makarska – Where the coast meets the mountains [Travel Guide]

Makarska Riviera croatia

Makarska is the popular seaside town just over an hour south of Split. When you arrive at Makarska you are greeted with one of the more stunning scenes you will see. Crystal clear blue waters and terracotta rooved houses merge into the Biokovo Mountain range. This setting of mountains framing the coastline is spectacular, so much so that it almost looks fake. We both commented that at times it looks like someone has taken a photo of the beach and photoshopped the mountains behind. Despite all of the other charms Makarska has to offer, these views were the highlight of our stay.

Like pretty much all of the beaches in Croatia, the water in Makarska is beautifully clear and a delightful temperature (much to Tess’s delight!). Makarska boasts a 3km stretch of beaches, with much of the Riviera lined with bars and restaurants. The majority of this coastline is small pebble beaches with trees providing patches of shade for beachgoers. The atmosphere along the promenade is upbeat with a real ‘holiday feel’.

The old town of Makarska is small, only consisting of a few streets. The centre of this town is the main square and old church, something that is worth having a walk past. The restaurants and cafe’s in the old town aren’t as busy as the promenade, but there’s a few worth considering that we will list below. While a charming old town, we found the coast line, harbour and promenade are greater highlights in Makarska.

Some Makarska Highlights:

Swimming off the rocks in the warm Croatian waters: read below for our recommended swimming spot!

Watching the sunset: The sunset in Makarska was one of the best during our time in Croatia. Sit on the beach, or better yet, head down to the rocks at the left end of the beach and watch the magic.

Running the promenade: The promenade along the beach is perfect for a morning run (or walk). Go early to beat the heat in summer!

Wandering the park and clifftops along the end of the Makarska port. There are great views of the ocean, of the port, mountains, and the beach as you walk around. You can also check out the cute little St. Peter’s Church.

Bars, cafes and restaurants in Makarska

The bars and restaurants in Makarska are everywhere, particularly along the promenade. There is an almost continuous row of restaurants for at least 1-1.5kms, along with many around the harbour and in the old town, giving you lots of options! We didn’t get through many, but the options below are some we recommend to check out if visiting Makarska.

THE BUDGET OPTION: Wandering along the promenade we checked out a number of the food options, and ended up deciding on Lemon Garden. The menu prices were competitive, the place was busy (always a good sign) and they had some good grilled meat/fish options (so we could escape the almost endless pasta/pizza options). We paid <$40 (AUD) for two good sized portions of grilled chicken and grilled vegetables.

THE BRUNCH OPTION: There is a little cafe in the old town called Smile which delivers great brunch options including avocado toast, bagels, salads, smoothie bowls and more.

THE ‘NICE RESTAURANT’ OPTION: Located in the old town is Gastro Diva. This restaurant comes to life at night, and was highly recommended by our wonderful AirBnB host. There are also some stunning restaurant locations along the riviera, including ones right on the beach, however the price tag was a little above what we usually go for. If you’re looking for a fancy restaurant, these are worth checking out.

COFFEE: Smile, as mentioned above, does great brunch options, and also excellent coffee. After stumbling upon this little cafe in the old town, it became our regular ‘coffee spot’.

THE WINE BAR: As mentioned above, there are so many good options along the promenade. In the old town, we loved Buffet Spina Bar.

Our favourite swimming spot in Makarska

With close to 3kms of coastline, there are many options to choose for a dip in Croatia’s warm waters. Our favourite spot to swim was on the rocks to the left of the main beach. If you head to the very end of the main beach, you will reach a series of rocks and concreted areas to sunbake and jump in off. Despite only being 5 minutes away from the beach area, this is quieter, and we found the water even clearer down here. The downside was there isn’t much shake here. Overall, you can’t go wrong with any of the excellent swimming spots.

ONE TO CONSIDER: If you are a fan of some cliff jumping like Ky, Makarska has a great spot at the mouth of the harbour. Just below the monument of St. Peter is a popular cliff jumping spot.

Please note: we don’t recommend you cliff jump due to risks associated so please take safety precautions and do so at your own risk. We take no responsibility for any accidents that may occur.

Weather in Makarska:

We arrived in Makarska in July to bright sunshine, fitting with the temperatures above 28+ degrees for the previous month. However, on the 2nd day, the wind picked up significantly and the rain came on and off. These strong winds were unexpected, however after discussions with locals, found this was apparently not uncommon 2-3 times per summer. Whilst this didn’t ruin our stay, it’s worth considering when visiting Makarska.

Where to stay in Makarska?

Makarska is a holiday town with so many options of where to stay. We generally enjoyed staying in the old town, and our accommodation in Makarska was amazing! Located in the heart of the town, only a few minutes from the harbour, and about 5 minutes to the beach, this AirBnB had an amazing host, air-conditioning, a kitchenette and a washing machine (Tess was very happy about this). Take a look here!

A few other options to consider..
Want to look at other accommodation options in Makarska?

Take a look at travel content from Croatia! And follow all of our travel moments here!

Want to head to a Croatian Island? Consider heading to Vis! See our thoughts on Vis here!

Check out more stories, moments and recommendations from our time in Puglia, Italy! Check it out here!

Take a look at some more highlights, tips and advice from our travels in Italy! Check it out here!

Check out further highlights from our time in the Europe! Take a look!

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