MAKARSKA – The Coastal Hidden Town Embraced by the Mighty Mountain
Ok, I’ve got it, this is what “surreal” actually refers to! – went through my mind as I was approaching Makarska via Adriatic Highway – this literally looks far-out-of-this-planet!
And yet, many of our dear readers might still be wondering what exactly am I talking about here. What is this place Makarska and why is it so special all of a sudden?
Well, Makarska definitely comes in terms of hidden treasures of Dalmatian coast.
Though, the statue of a tourist pair in a walk down the waterfront promenade, holding hand in hand, pulling the two-wheeled suitcase luggage behind them, dressed in shorts and light summer dress, might suggest a completely different story.
And it would be true.
Makarska really lives up to its image of a strict tourist destination.
The town cherishes the long tradition in tourism, one of the longest in southern Adriatic region of Croatia.
Makarska was welcoming tourists from all over the world long before Split or Dubrovnik chose to go that direction exclusively, too. But, in recent years, Split and Dubrovnik rocketed sky-high, while Makarska, standing on the road connecting the two cities, exploit the hype to stay a peaceful tourist oasis.
Makarska is still a place where it’s easy to while away an hour or two over a coffee just watching people going about their business.
The Town and The Mountain
But, let’s get back to the start for a second because I feel we didn’t unravel the “surreal” enough.
Picture this – as you wind down the Riviera road, with your sunglasses on and the wind blowing your hair, you find yourself right at the bottom where mountain dives right into the sea.
Mountain on one side, the sea on the other. That’s what I meant by “surreal”. I mean c’ mon, those are not some mild slopes that eventually lower down to the sea level, but the real rocky mountain with some of the steepest hiking trails in Europe.
And it’s huge… looking from down under.
Biokovo is the third highest mountain in Croatia and it’s the mountain that separates Dalmatian coast from the hinterland.
It’s the true outdoor playground perfect for hiking, trekking, mountain biking and climbing.
Mountain is mostly a barren limestone which makes it a moon-like and provides an extraordinary experience for its visitors. Its highest peak is St. Jure at 1762 meters of altitude.
The climb is however not advisable to anyone less than an amateur mountaineer. Luckily, the buses are transporting guests on several occasions during the day.
Down at the foothill of Biokovo… … you can see Makarska, the Capitol of Makarska Riviera.
The Makarska Riviera curves around an endless landscape of crystal clear seas, mountains and greenery for 60 kilometers from Brela to Gradac.
The further south you go, the towns and villages get quieter, and beaches less crowded.
As described above, Makarska is specifically a tourist destination. But, unlike Split and Dubrovnik nowadays, Makarska is the destination where you can still get a first-hand touch of that take-it-easy vibe of Dalmatia.
There are not as many attractions, but the town quickly drains you into its relaxation modes.
The Old Town center is gorgeous.
It’s one of those Venetian-style Mediterranean coastal towns with stone houses and narrow lanes providing a whole-day shade to cool down from the summer heat.
One of the oldest streets that stayed untouched over World War Two is Kalelarga where the prominent restaurant Konoba Kalelarga is rapidly making a name for itself throughout the region.
If authentic local flavors are of any of your interests Konoba Kalelarga is highly recommendable.
But, don’t be surprised if you find no proper menu there. because it’s one of those places where fresh produce is purchased and different dishes are prepared everyday.
Sound inviting doesn’t it?
Witness and enjoy the local’s everyday routines.
Kalelarga street will also take you to the Kacic Square, the town’s main square, dominated by the Baroque cathedral of Saint Mark.This is the social center of the town. Bars and cafes are encircling the square where locals practice their coffee routine and babble about all kind of stuff going on around them.
Makarska town is spread along the large bay hidden from an open sea with two fingers of land. One of them is the Peninsula of Saint Peter.
The oasis of green right next to the town center is where people of Makarska find piece&quiet during the day. Criss-crossed walking paths lead over the peninsula to various places of interests – rocky beaches, lighthouse, or the church of Saint Peter.
I found it a perfect place to calm down during the afternoon hours before a sunset swim.
It was then when I swam away into the deep ocean and accidentally turned back, that I once again witnessed the pure surreality of the place I’ve been to – The mountain, like a giant who stopped on his way by the sea only for a moment, and the town, at the foot of it, like a small mouse calming the giant’s wild nature, saying: Don’t go any further, you belong here.
You have found all the love you were searching for.
Your CTC Team, S.J.