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Beauties of Makarska Riviera are hard to resist

Officially the most beautiful beach in Europe, active vacation, the most beautiful hotels, apartments and vacation houses – Makarska Riviera is one of the most desirable destinations and an excellent choice for vacation throughout the year.

What a view! That’s the first thing that crosses your mind when you climb up one of numerous Biokovo peaks and take a look at the sea. There’s nothing more beautiful, Brela and Gradac locals will say, who have this mountain encrypted in their DNA; than recognizable image of Makarska Riviera. It used to enrich holiday albums and postcards, now it lures Facebook and Instagram likes. Its beauty is hardy resistible, so you will want to take long a walk along one of its arranged roads or take a ride in a bus as long as the road goes.

It is a challenge for free climbers, mountaineers, paragliders and speleologists, unavoidable destination of hunting tourism, irresistible oasis of nature enthusiasts and a favourite polygon for cyclists.

There are six marked cycling roads that go through Makarska Riviera. The most demanding of them all is Biokovo tour, which leads along Biokovo road to Makarska and Tučepi; usually chosen by professionals and recreationists with high level of fitness. Although the road is asphalted in all its length (61,2 km), what makes it difficult are high climbs, so it takes you about 3 hours to get to St. Jure, 1762 metres high, the highest peak on Biokovo and second highest in Croatia. There is Amphore nearby, which was with its 790 m the deepest pit on Biokovo,  until 10 years ago when Mokre noge were discovered with almost 840 m.

More than hundred species of songbirds, chamois, mouflons, wolves and around 40 endemic plants, subterranean waters and karst springs, unique net-like karst that resembles Moon craters and a beautiful botanical garden Kotišina – there is no end to the richness of this place so Biokovo was pronounced, in 1981 a nature park.

The most beautiful legends  

In botanical garden in Kotišina above Makarska, founded by famous Makarska Franciscan Jure Radić, rises the Great Kaštel. According to a legged, during Turkish siege one lady who lived in a fort hit a Turkish soldier with a large piece of cheese, so Turks retreated very quickly, believing the fort is full of food supplies. There are several more preserved forts from the times of Ottoman intrusions, among which the most attractive are Zalina fort in Igrane, remains of a fort in Podaca and smaller fort on Gradina hill above Drvenik. After construction of famous Neretva bridge, in 1568, famous Mimar Hajrudin came to Makarska, student of the greatest Ottoman architect Sinan, but his buildings, unfortunately, were not preserved.

If we go further back in past, well known legend of this region says that picturesque place with beautiful beaches, Igrane was named after Igraynea, mother of Roman general Arthorius Lucius Castus, who owned large estates near Podstrana. There his grave was found, and British historian John Matthews, to the astonishment of the Britons, thinks that it is actually the great king Arthur, the leader of Round Table, ruler of Camelot and the owner of Excalibur sword.  

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Legends do not necessarily have to come from the far past, and this is confirmed by one that originated around 10 years ago in Makarska. Authors are tourists who claim that a statue of a seagull depicting a local lad with a foreign lady in a hug, brings luck.

Since it was created in 2006, on 100th anniversary of Makarska tourism, it is believed that happiness in love will follow those who touch the breast of lad’s girlfriend, so even the most sceptic ones cannot resist the temptation.

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For culture tourism enthusiasts

A visit to Franciscan monastery in Makarska is a not-to-miss destination for culture lovers. Monastery’s library keeps over five thousand books, 24 incunabula and manuscripts, and in archive there are even 369 Turkish documents. Tourists in Makarska Riviera do not miss to visit Malacological museum with rich collection of sea snails and shellfish of the Adriatic and the entire world, founded in 1963 by a famous Franciscan monk of this area, Jure Radić, the very same one who founded the botanical garden on Biokovo from the beginning of our story.

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Picturesque landscape with hills, a stream and a cave, very near Makarska, reminded bishop Juraj Carić of Lourdes, so he founded a sanctuary in Vepric dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes. A chapel was erected there with sacristy, altar on a square, a confessional, Way of the Cross stations, a home for spiritual exercises, procession path, and due to the beauty and peace it offers, it is visited throughout the year, especially during the pilgrimage time, on 11 February, 25 March, 15 August and 7 and 8 September.

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We haven’t forgotten the gourmets

This part of heaven lures with scents of Dalmatian cuisine. For an appetizer you will be served cheese and irresistible Dalmatian prosciutto. Traditional Dalmatian pašticada, the finest specialty made of young beef marinated for days to become tasty and tender, will be hard to resist. And if it’s served with tasty traditional gnocchi… Try also meat and potatoes under the lid or just caught fish and seafood. As a great finale of this gourmet experience there are Makarska’s rafioli, traditional cake made of dough and walnut mixture and unavoidable “Makarana” almond cake. Fingerlicking!

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From Vruja to Gradac

From Vruja to Jakiruša, from Stomarica across Pćit to Podrače – beautiful beaches are the strongest advantage of Brela. There is also Punta rata, the most famous beach of Makarska Riviera, chosen by Forbes magazine as the sixth most beautiful beach in the world, but the most beautiful in Europe. Neighbouring Baška Voda also has nice pebble beach Nikolina, watched over by a statue of Baška Voda’s patron St. Nicholas. Ever since at the beginning of the 20th century Sikavica brothers built hotel Slavia, which got awards and a golden medal for comfort, cuisine and wines on World fair in London, Baška Voda has been an attractive tourist destination.

Caffe bars and clubs in the centre of the town, good restaurants, hotels, sports terrains, extreme sports, pools, beautiful beaches  – Makarska is a great choice at any time of the year. the biggest town on Riviera with a long tourist tradition attracts with the perfect balance of urban rhythm and typical Dalmatian ambience.

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After the earthquake in 1962, residents of villages above today’s Tučepi have descended to the shore and so the new settlement was formed, an attractive tourist destination with beautiful beach, bays, hotels and apartments.

Podgora has been known since ever as a famous fisherman centre with a nice picturesque port and attractive waterfront, favourite walking area of numerous tourists. A monument Seagull’s Wings, located on a hill, is recognizable symbol of this place.

Those who like peace and quiet will choose to spend their vacation in Bratuš, Drašnice or Podaca, typical little Dalmatian places. Igrane will enchant you with their beaches, but also with ancient olive groves in the centre of which is a small church of St. Michael from 11th century, the most significant medieval monument in Makarska Primorje.

After the earthquake in 1962, residents of villages above today’s Tučepi have descended to the shore and so the new settlement was formed, an attractive tourist destination with beautiful beach, bays, hotels and apartments.

Podgora has been known since ever as a famous fisherman centre with a nice picturesque port and attractive waterfront, favourite walking area of numerous tourists. A monument Seagull’s Wings, located on a hill, is recognizable symbol of this place.

Those who like peace and quiet will choose to spend their vacation in Bratuš, Drašnice or Podaca, typical little Dalmatian places. Igrane will enchant you with their beaches, but also with ancient olive groves in the centre of which is a small church of St. Michael from 11th century, the most significant medieval monument in Makarska Primorje.

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In Živogošće visit monastery of St. Cross built in 17th century in a place of former villae rusticae. In its vicinity, on a stone cliff, an ode to a spring of cold water was engraved, one of the most beautiful monuments from Roman period.

Lovely wooded beaches with spring of fresh water give a special touch to Drvenik, which stretches along two bays – Gornja and Donja vala. In the place there is a ferry port that connects mainland with islands Hvar and Korčula. 

Today an attractive destination, Zaostrog is a former base of medieval Neretva’s princes. You mustn’t miss a visit to Franciscan monastery of St. Marry with a botanical garden, rich library and memorial gallery of Mladen Veža. Painter Mladen Veža was born in neighbouring Brist, same as Andrija Kačić Miošić, one of the most famous Dalmatian poets.

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Gornja vala is the longest beach on Makarska Riviera, located in Gradac, a tourist centre where first hotel was built in 1919. This place is the final destination of Riviera if you come from Split. 

Photo: Central Dalmatia, Tourist boards of Split Dalmatia county

www.dalmatia.hr

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