How did we get there?
We flew from London, with Thomas Cook, to Dubrovnik, where we relaxed for an afternoon before catching a bus to Makarska. We then caught a bus to Makarska, which took 3 hours and cost us 12 euros each (we booked online beforehand). There are around 15 buses a day that make the journey. We found timekeeping wasn’t fantastic when using the bus system, which I believe is due to the fact that many of the journeys involve border crossings with Bosnia and there can be delays. Our bus turned up 40 minutes late which wasn’t great as Dubrovnik bus station is not a nice place to wait. The journey however was absolutely beautiful and we were the only ones on the bus, meaning we had plenty of room to stretch out!
If you fly into Split the bus to Makarska takes just over an hour and costs about 5 euros so may be a more preferable destination to fly to.
Where we stayed
We were in Makarska for 7 nights and as we were looking to make this a budget trip we decided to turn to AirBnB. We paid £40 a night to stay at Apartman Anita 2 which was amazingly located just a couple of minutes from the bus station and a 5 minute walk to the harbour. We had a large bedroom, kitchen and dining room and big bathroom for our private use. We also had access to a garden full of kittens and tortoises, which we personally loved. The whole time we were looked after by the friendly hosts, Anita and her husband, who were always around to offer us a cold drink or local recommendations.
My only criticism of the place would be the air conditioning advertised was a standalone unit, rather than a wall mounted unit, and wasn’t quite as powerful. When we cooked in the apartment, which we did most nights, it got almost unbearably hot in there.
What we did
This was certainly the ‘relaxing’ leg of our trip and Makarska was a perfect location for such a thing. The old town was so quaint and lovely to walk around and the harbour was such a nice area to stroll down. It was very popular in the evenings as there were lots of restaurants there but in the day it was the perfect spot for an ice cream.
Makarska had some of the clearest water I’ve seen in my life and although I certainly don’t classify myself as a beach lover I was certainly drawn to the sea here. There was a section of the beach full of floating inflatable obstacle courses, for those with children, and there were also lots of water spots on offer. The beach is long but narrow so you may have to do some walking to find yourself a quiet spot but it’s a beautiful walk! My greatest purchase for this holiday was sea shoes. The beaches can be rocky and pebbly but the lack of sand is what keeps that water so clear.
In the background of Makarska sits the BioKovo mountain and if you’re one for hiking then you’re certainly going to be given an amazing view from this mountain. When we went it was far too hot to be considering any kind of hike but it was a wonderful thing to see from our apartment window.
The simplistic but beautiful St Mark’s church is worth checking out as it has been sitting in the heart of Makarska since 1756. We never managed to encounter it when it was open but I believe inside sits wooden statues that may be worth seeing if you get the chance.
There is a museum of Fish that sits near the church and has a 10 kuna (about £1.20) entry fee. The ‘museum’ is just one room and it’s absolutely full of stuffed fish and shellfish, all locally caught. It only really takes about 10 minutes to get around but with such a cheap admission price its worth a look.
The Malacological museum houses a large collection of shells, which are very beautiful to view with lots of interesting colours and patterns (although no photos allowed!). I did manage to grab a sneaky picture of the wonderful Franciscan monastery that the museum is housed in. Once again at only 15 kuna entry (£1.75) it was totally worth it.
Another place to view the wonderful waters from is the Sveti Petar Peninsula, which offers amazing sea views. It’s an easy area to get around, despite the uneven terrain I managed it fine in flip-flops. As you adventure around you can find ruins and statues but be warned you’ll also find many nudists sunbathing on the surrounding rocks! At the top of the Peninsula you’ll find a lighthouse, built in 1884.
One of my favourite memories in Makarska was when Adam and I decided to walk the Park Suma O Sejava at sunset. We were the only ones there and again it was a lovely easy walk, even if the ground was rocky at points. It gave us wonderful views back to the harbour. I think you can walk for quite a distance if you’d like but we walked for maybe half an hour before turning back.
Where we ate
As we were going to be away for a month in total we decided to choose AirBnB’s with kitchens so we could eat in during the evenings to reduce our costs. This was done very easily in Makarska as there were a plethora of supermarkets in the area, including a large Lidl about 10 minute walk from our apartment.
Along the beach there are a huge number of restaurants to eat at but they can work out quite expensive. We did dine one lunchtime at Restaurant Lavender, which had a number of lunch offers available. We chose 3 courses for 62 kuna (about £7.30) which was actually one of the more expensive set menu options. We had a soup, followed by stuffed chicken finished by panna cotta. The setting was really lovely, overlooking the beach, so I’d recommend it.
If you’re by the beach Street Food La Strada is also a good lunch option. It’s got a funky interior, friendly service and good food. Adam had a pulled pork sandwich whilst I went for a vegetable and meat pasta and our bill was about 80 kuna (£9.50) which was amazing value.
One evening we went to Deep, a bar set within a cave that sits on the beach. It was a nice location for us to watch the sunset and it was reasonably priced with a wine and a beer coming to 50 kuna (£5.50). By night the place becomes a club but Adam and I enjoyed its daytime vibe.
One lunchtime we stopped at Konoba Kalarga as it was right by our hotel and well reviewed. There is no menu, they serve whatever is available to them locally on the day. Adam had a fish stew whilst I had some sort of meaty fish with potato. The meal was absolutely divine and incredibly good value.