The Call of the Wild on the Makarska Riviera

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At first glance, the resort town of Makarska strikes like the perfect place for lazy holidays on the Dalmatian coast. Stacked upon a pine-rimmed fringe of whitewashed beaches, it’s centred on a seaside promenade echoing with waves, chatter and kids’ laughter. If you’re looking to kick back and soak up the sun, sea and summertime vibes, you are certain – you are in the right place.
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Biokovo Mountain

Biokovo Is a Must-Do When in Makarska

But spin and look around at the 360-degree panorama of the surroundings, and anyone with an adventurous bone in their body should expect a serious case of butterflies and itchy feet. Towering over the town like its body – guard is Mount Biokovo, often lovingly described as ‘the mountain rooted in the sea’. For the local population, Biokovo has been the backbone of livelihood for centuries, a place to grow crops and nourish livestock. Grateful for its generosity, the people of Makarska always treaded lightly on its grounds, keeping their backwoods so well preserved that in 1981 a large part of Biokovo became protected as a nature park. Crisscrossed by trails that vary from easy walks to strenuous hikes, Biokovo is a must-do when in Makarska. Close to the base, at an altitude of 350 metres, lies the easily accessible Kotišina Botanical Garden, a great insight into the mountain’s biodiversity. Rather than introducing exotic plants to an existing habitat, this 16-hectare patch of nature simply frames a part of the indigenous landscape. In this way it showcases different habitats, from arable to rocky land to a canyon with a waterfall, as well as over 300 plant species, some as unique as the endemic Adriatic iris.

Skywalk Biokovo

A Magnificent Sight of the Adriatic Sea From the Skywalk

Further up, at 1228 metres, sits the horseshoe-shaped Skywalk, one of the newer additions to the scenery. Hovering in thin air above sharp cliffs, this steel-and-glass viewing platform features a magnificent sight of the Adriatic Sea. It also may feature some inner drama, should you not be best friends with heights; the sight is not only dazzling, it’s quite dizzying. Going the distance to the capping peak of Biokovo, the 1,764-metre Sv. Jure, means conquering Croatia’s second tallest mountain, an undertaking not to be taken lightly. The ridge makes a border between Mediterranean and continental climates; the weather can take sudden and swift turns, so some hiking experience and good equipment will come in handy. Luckily, the same asphalt road that leads to the Skywalk runs to the very top of Biokovo.

Driving on the roads of Biokovo MountainBiking or driving up is an adventure in its own right, as one single lane doubles as a two-way road and comes complete with many switchbacks. At the top, a wondrous moonscape of dolines and sinkholes, some nearly 1,000-metres deep, rewards geologists and speleologists, while the views that stretch as far as Italy and the mountains of Bosnia and Herzegovina will crown the ascent for everyone else. The trails of Biokovo never get crowded, but you may encounter wild horses that roam these rugged slopes freely. The truth is, they mainly keep close to their stables by the Vrata Biokova restaurant. Here, 12 wild horses have been trained for horseback riding, a unique experience that pairs perfectly with a lunch of local specialties.

View of Makarska Riviera

More Activities for Adrenaline Seekers

You can opt for more dramatic descents from the mountain, such as paragliding from the 1300-metre Pržinovac or the 650-metre Miletin, or abseiling down the rocks. The inviting cliffs around Biokovo, and its wider massif of Dinaric Alps have enticed rock climbers to explore since the 1950s. Today, the most popular rock-climbing sites include some 70 routes by the tiny seaside village of Brela, and some 30 routes near the town of Omiš. An easy 40-minute drive from Makarska up the coastal Adriatic motorway, Omiš sits at the mouth of the Cetina River. Winding over 100 kilometres of rugged terrain, Cetina joins the sea in an extraordinary testament to nature’s fine work – a pine-covered canyon flanked by formidable grey cliffs that frame rushing streams of cold turquoise water. Adrenaline seekers love this place. Soaring above the canyon is a zipline that spans 2.1 kilometres and features eight wires at the height of 150 metres above ground. You can whoosh between trees, above the river and from cliff to cliff. The cold rapids of Cetina are a perfect summertime refreshment, whether one chooses river rafting or hard-core canyoning that packs in hiking, rapid conquests and swimming under waterfalls. Even when you lounge by the hotel pool in Makarska, action always remains in sight. Cyclists rove the gorgeous lungomare, kayakers paddle into the sunset and deep-sea divers admire the magical whirls of sunken freshwater springs in Vruje.

Makarska sure is a perfect place for lazy holidays, if only you can resist the call of adventure.

Makarska Riviera Seaside


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Bloggers, journalists, tourist guides, artists, entertainers and all kinds of hospitality experts and enthusiasts have gathered under the ValamArtists handle to lovingly bring you the best out of the Croatian holiday experience. Enjoy the ride!
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