It was a nice mid-January jaunt over to Makarska, a small Croatian town fifty kilometres Southeast of Split. With a population of 13,000 the place was quiet since it was the off season. There were a noticeable number of cafes, restaurants and tourist kiosks boarded up. However, most places on the waterfront were open. On sunny days people came out of nowhere and flocked to the cafes along the promenade to bask in the sun and enjoy coffee and cappuccinos. Makarska is really a summertime destination. I would have loved to try out that beachfront waterslide into the bay; you’re never too old to try something fun and crazy.
It takes about 3.5 hours for the bus from Dubrovnik (or about an hour from Split) to make the trip to Makarska. And everything in town was walking distance. Though getting back to my home base after this trip was problematic since there was bad weather in the southern region and ferry boats from Dubrovnik weren’t going anywhere. So after Makarska I was stuck in Dubrovnik for a few days before getting back to the island.
There were quite a number of apartment choices to rent in the town. After all, there aren’t many tourists booking at this time of year so apartment hosts were willing to give a good deal. I was messaging four at the last minute and selected my second choice since my first choice didn’t respond right away, even though it was closer to the main tourist area. I settled for an apartment advertised on Airbnb with a nice balcony view of the town, mountains and seaside within short walking distance to the beach and cafes. The apartment hosts were really nice and this same level of hospitality was evident at the various cafes and restaurants that I frequented.
The Biokovo Mountain is breathtaking. The town is basically right next to an almost vertical mountain wall. I spent more time looking at the steep drop with clouds hovering above it than at the Adriatic Sea; reminded me of the Rockies in British Columbia. There are also a handful old churches, monasteries, monuments and museums to check out. And the small forest-park of Sveti Petar offers a pleasant morning or afternoon stroll. The park is situated on the peninsula where the lighthouse is.
There was a pizzeria just a few steps north of the bus station that served a great tasting pizza. I had pizza cravings for a while and was completely satisfied. Though the next day I half ate undercooked cevapi at a place close to the promenade. The server was apologetic and didn’t charge for it after I had a “dialogue” with him. Coffees and cappuccinos are just as good in Makarska as anywhere in Dalmatia. There is a good nightlife and even better one during the tourist season.
Czech Me Out
As confirmed by a half dozen locals, Makarska is the summer retreat for Czechs. They visit in such huge numbers that it is alleged the police hire Czech police officers to help out during their high tourist season. So if you do visit Makarska you may want to brush up on your Czech instead of Croatian. I was most likely the first Canadian born (-Czech) tourist in town for 2013. Makarska is also popular with tourists from Germany and Austria.
A beautiful beach and breathtaking mountains that serves as a backdrop to a small picturesque tourist town is a must place to visit. It serves as a good place to start, end or take a break along your journey through Dalmatia.