Makarska is located in central Dalmatia, at the foot of Biokovo Mountain. It is believed that Makarska is named after the nearby village of Makar. The first inhabitants of the area of Makarska today were the Illyrians, who founded a settlement called Muccurum. Name Makarska was first mentioned in a document dating from the 16th century, during the Turkish conquest. Turks in Makarska kept the army and the imperial tax collectors. After Turkey, Makarska fell under Venetian rule, then under the Habsburg Monarchy. After Napoleon's victory in the early 19th century, Makarska fell under his authority. Napoleon encouraged the culture and build roads that connect Makarska with other coastal cities. At the western entrance to the city was built monument to him, known as Napoleon monument. That was not so imaginative. Although Napoleon encouraged the development of culture in Makarska, the Austro-Hungarian Empire was responsible for blossoming of tourism.
Today it is a city with more than 15 thousand inhabitants that encompasses picturesque villages under Biokovo, Great Hill, Puharic Kotišina and Makar
Makarska has a rich cultural and historical heritage, but the special attraction is the Malacological Museum in the Franciscan monastery with an interesting and unique collection from the Adriatic Sea. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful and richest malacological museums in the world. The Malacological Museum in Makarska displays the shells of sea mollusks. This museum was a result of the systematic and self-sacrificing work of the theologian and natural scientist Jure Radic with the support and cooperation of many people, scholars, museum workers, collectors. When you see it all at one place, it makes you wonder how on Earth did he have patience to do all that?!
Athletes and recreation enthusiasts may use numerous playgrounds, facilities and equipment for all sports on land and sea. The tennis camp has nine clay courts; one color set court and two indoor clay courts. This modern tennis center is the venue of important tennis tournaments and it is located near the famous beach of Makarska.
There are many people who most of all enjoy long walks, alone or with a companion, they find it kind of therapeutic. Well, in Makarska, and in entire Dalmatia, people really like to walk. A pleasant stroll along the port and beaches in Makarska might be what you were looking for. The clean air, moisturized skin – all this makes a perfect condition for this kind of activity. In case you like it more rough, you can hire a bike and visit some of the hiking trails to the peaks of Biokovo, which offer a nice fresh air, tranquility and magnificent views.
Cultural and entertainment programs are an integral part of the life in Makarska, especially during the summer season. In July and August there is the traditional “Makarska summer” festivities, with a rich drama and concert program, performances of Dalmatian acapella singing, exhibitions, recitals and folk music performances.
Accommodation in Makarska meets all the needs one might have. If you prefer to spend your holiday at a hotel in Makarska, there are many to choose from. Really, the best thing to do is to research before your trip. The hotels on the Makarska Riviera have total of seven indoor and eleven outdoor pools, including the Center for Medical Rehabilitation Biokovka with indoor swimming pool and modern fitness center. There are also a large number of apartments in Makarska to rent, if you prefer to be on your own. If you are just passing by, you might need a room to rent in Makarska, but this might be a tough cookie as during summer all facilities are booked in advance. For all of guys who want to rent a house or holiday villa in Makarska, rest assured that you will find what you need. Every year more and more of these are built.
Tourism is the center of the Makarska Riviera. Makarska has developed in a shape of an amphitheater along the coast and at the foot of Biokovo. Its integral parts are old Mediterranean type houses, and a newer part with hotels, restaurants, shops, and similar facilities.
In recent years there has been a growing interest in extreme sports such as paragliding, rock climbing, hiking, mountain biking, trekking, cave exploring. Also, the title extreme goes for water sports including windsurfing, scuba diving and paragliding. All this became a regular in Makarska during summer, so all of you adrenalin freaks will find something for their amusement.
For art enthusiasts there are numerous art galleries in Makarska. These are not big, but rather small, showing the art of historical significance and some of the contemporary Croatian artists.
Let us not forget the botanical Garden Kotišina which is located on the coastal slopes of the mountain Biokovo above the village Kotišina. It is an integral part of the Nature Park Biokovo. The garden was founded by Jure Radic, a Franciscan priest and scientist we mentioned earlier, with the purpose of scientific research and monitoring as well as protection and preservation (and popularization) of plant life of the Biokovo Mountain. Biokovo Botanical Garden is not an ordinary botanical garden, but is organized as "protected part of the nature" which will keep the natural vegetation forms with the autochthonous flora.
As for beaches, just imagine kilometers long clean gravel beaches surrounded with quiet pine forests. You just need to relax and sip slowly your cocktail or whatever you are drinking and sunbathe. For those looking for privacy and complete freedom in terms of being naked all day, there are a nudist beaches here also.
Let us not forget to mention that Makarska is known as a center of entertainment and nightlife in Dalmatia. Numerous bars and night clubs will provide an unforgettable entertainment until the early morning hours. Every year, Makarska proves that it is the main party destinations between Vodice and Budva in Montenegro. Among the famous nightclubs in Makarska, one of them is actually inside of the cave. Yes, a real cave. That one looks and feels fantastic. People from all around the world come to party there and during the summer you can enjoy in music played by some of the world’s famous DJs.
In all places of Makarska Riviera, during the tourist season there are numerous cultural, entertainments, sports, gastronomy and all kinds of other events. These are the days of traditional folk festivals that you might like. Festivities like “fishing nights" and other entertainment and sporting events that take place in ports, on beaches or terraces hotels in Makarska will find their way to your heart.
All things said, looks like a holiday in Makarska might be what you were looking for. We only hope that you will find your accommodation before everything is booked, so remember to start searching months before the summer starts, because then it is already late. If you are lucky, as some of us are, you may just show yourself there and a room or apartment will be waiting just for you. It happened to a friend of ours. Lucky bastard.