Makarska Croatia Travel Guide

Makarska is a central Dalmatian coastal town and a popular seaside resort featuring a lovely old town, good nightlife, and some of the best beaches in Croatia. 

Known for its beautiful beaches, crystal-clear sea, seafront promenade, Mount Biokovo’s rugged landscapes, vibrant nightlife, cosmopolitan vibe, and a short hop away to the nearby Hvar and Brac islands, Makarska is a great place in Croatia to spend a summer vacation. 

Makarska is a nice town and one of Croatia’s most popular family destinations for European holidaymakers, especially Eastern Europeans. 

Makarska Croatia Travel Guide, Illustration

With our Makarska Travel Guide, find out where Makarska is, the best time to visit Makarska, and why to visit. We also share the best things to see and do in Makarska, places to stay, eat and drink, and provide all necessary travel information to help you plan your stay in Makarska, Croatia.

Makarska is located in central Dalmatia, 60 km south of Split and 220 km north of Dubrovnik. Makarska is a small town that spreads over 28 km2 and has a population of 13.000 people. Makarska is well worth a visit for beach aficionados. The best time to visit Makarska is in September. Makarska has a Mediterranean climate. A vibrant atmosphere, central location, good infrastructure, lovely surroundings, and beautiful beaches make Makarska well worth a visit. Whether you are looking for a place to relax by the beach, swim and snorkel in a lovely Adriatic, hike by the sea, high up in the mountain, island hop, or enjoy a chilled vibe all day long, Makarska’s got you covered!

Makarska has many accommodations for all budgets and travel styles: room 5-star full-service hotels, 4-star resorts, small family-run guest houses, various vacation rentals, and even a campsite. As for places to eat and drink in Makarska, worry not! Bars, restaurants, and ice cream parlors line the seafront promenade from one side of the town to the other.  

Where is Makarska?

Makarska is located in central Dalmatia, 60 km south of Split and 220 km north of Dubrovnik. 

Makarska lies below Mount Biokovo. Makarska’s old town is in a sheltered bay between two small peninsulas – Osejava to the south and St. Petar to the north. 

The Adriatic Sea separates the town from Barc and Hvar Islands. The Brac Island lies just 7 nm west of Makarska, and a ferry connects them daily throughout the year. Makarska is about 17 nm away from Jelsa on Hvar Island. 

Below is the map of Makarska!

Makarska facts

Makarska is a small town that spreads over 28 km2 and has a population of 13.000 people. 

Its small size and mostly flat surface make Makarska an easily walkable town. 

During the summer, when tourists book all the rooms, the town grows to the capacity of 60.000 people if not more. 

Makarska attracts young people and families with children in high season, while senior citizens and sports groups enjoy the town in the off-season. Makarska is a nice town with a laid-back vibe of a typical summer resort.  

Is Makarska worth visiting?

Makarska, Croatia, leisure boats

While not among the top 5 destinations for first-time visitors to Croatia, which include Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik, Hvar, and Plitvice, Makarska is well worth a visit for beach aficionados.

It is also an excellent base for exploring the rest of Dalmatia, central Dalmatian islands, and neighboring Bosnia and Herzegovina. Split, Trogir, Krka Waterfalls, Omis, Brac, Hvar, Dubrovnik, Peljesac, Korcula, and Mostar are all easily reachable daily from Makarska. 

Best time to visit Makarska

The best time to visit Makarska is in September. But you can’t go wrong visiting it anytime between June and September. 

From June to September, the weather is nice in Makarska, the tourist season is in full swing, and the town is bustling with activities and people. 

The town gets overcrowded in July and August. The crowds are especially problematic on the beaches, where people almost fight for a place to lay their towels. 

On the other hand, June and September benefit from sunny weather and fewer crowds. In September, the sea is warmer than in June, so we prefer to visit Makarska in September than in June. 

How many days is enough to visit Makarska?

Makarska is a small coastal town that can easily be visited in a few hours. However, if you are looking for a good base for your stay in Dalmatia, you can easily spend a week in Makarska.

It is centrally located to visit central and southern Dalmatian islands like Hvar, Brac, Korcula, and Mljet. It is also an ideal spot for day trips to Split, Trogir, Krka Waterfalls, Dubrovnik, Peljesac Peninsula, and Mostar.

Add to that kilometers of pristine pebble beaches, a good tourist infrastructure, and a small-town vibe, and you’ll understand why many visitors to Croatia choose Makarska for their 7-day stay in Croatia.

Weather in Makarska

Makarska has a Mediterranean climate with warm and dry summers and mild winters. January and February are the coldest months, with average night temperatures around 7°C, while the average daily temperature is around 12°C. 

July and August are the warmest months in Makarska, with average daily temperatures of 28°C. 

Why visit Makarska? 

Makarska panorama with Biokovo Mountain, taken from Osejava parking

Are you in search of a Croatian coastal town with beautiful beaches? Do you like vibrant yet unpretentious coastal towns with good tourist infrastructure, lovely surroundings, and endless possibilities for active holidays? And finally, are you looking for a centrally located destination in Croatia to use as your base while exploring main landmarks? Well, if you answered Yes to the above questions, then Makarska can be a great place. 

Makarska is a nice town known for its beautiful beaches, some of the best in Croatia. Some of these beaches are in the town, and others are in the neighboring villages along Makarska Riviera but within easy reach from Makarska. 

Biokovo, the second largest Croatian mountain, is a perfect backdrop in the hinterland of Makarska. This contrast between the sea and the mountain, and the wonderful nature of the Makarska region, will simply amaze you. 

Located 90 km from Split and 90 km from Mostar in Bosnia & Herzegovina, 150 km from Dubrovnik, a short boat ride from Hvar and Brac islands, and only 35 km from Omis, makes Makarska a perfect base to explore many interesting places in Croatia. 

The Vepric Shrine is another reason people visit Makarska. It’s dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes, and it started in 1908, on the 50th anniversary of the apparition in Lourdes. It is a nice and peaceful place worth visiting, even if you aren’t into religion.   

Makarska has many (too many) apartments to rent of various quality standards and many hotels. The lower quality accommodation attracts budget-conscious travelers, while competition makes rates even more affordable. So basically, you will find in Makarska more affordable accommodation than in other popular tourist destinations in Croatia, like Split, Dubrovnik, Rovinj, or Zadar.

Whether you are an occasional stroller or a hardcore mountain climber, Makarska offers many scenic walking and hiking trails. Some are adapted to beginners, others for more skilled hikers, and some take you along the seashore, while others bring you high up in the mountains, dramatic views included. 

Makarska is also an unpretentious coastal town where you can just relax without feeling obligated to go sightseeing or do anything. Kick back, relax, and enjoy a real summer vacation, dipping in the sea, reading, sleeping, and drinking cocktails all day. 

What to do in Makarska

Beach near Makarska, Croatia, pebbles, pines

Beach hopping and swimming are two main activities to do in Makarska. Don’t miss clothing-optional Nugal Beach, famed Podrace Beach in Brela, or remote Vela Duba Beach in Zivogosce. You can’t go wrong with any of the beaches in Makarska.

Makarska’s old town is small but cute, with a lovely main square, a daily farmers market, and a nice seafront promenade lined with bars, cafes, and restaurants. Explore Makarska’s old town! Stroll along Riva, a seafront promenade or chill at one of the street side terraces while watching the world go by.

If you rent an apartment with a fully-equipped kitchen in Makarska, don’t miss buying the fresh fish, a catch of the day, directly from the fishing boats upon returning to the port. Makarska is one of the few Croatian coastal towns that kept this tradition. Even if you are not shopping for fresh fish, pass by to watch the spectacle. 

Get away to the nearby islands! Hvar and Brac are just a short boat ride from Makarska, and many local agencies offer day trips to the islands. You can also rent a boat or take a ferry to reach them.

Makarska is a known hiking destination in Croatia due to ample trails through the Biokovo mountain range, Osejava Forest Park, forested paths of the Sveti Petar peninsula, and easy paths along the coast to Brela. 

Accommodation in Makarska

Mobile Home in Camping Zivogosce, Makarska, Illustration

Makarska has many accommodations for all budgets and travel styles: room 5-star full-service hotels, 4-star resorts, small family-run guest houses, various vacation rentals, and even a campsite. 

Consider the following when deciding where to stay in Makarska: 

Parking is hard, so if you travel by car, choose an accommodation that provides parking. 

The closer to the sea and the old town accommodation is, the higher the rates. Some properties are right on the seafront. This is especially true for large full-service hotels. 

The main coastal road divides the town into two parts. Anything that is above this road, I would consider far. And also, it’s on the slopes so that you will walk uphill a lot. The views are great, though! Villa rentals are the only accommodation type in the hills I would go for. And it is simply because they are hard to find by the sea. 

Large full-service hotels often offer an affordable half-board formula where you get breakfast and dinner included in the price of your room. Sometimes you can save money by staying at hotels. Check carefully before booking your stay!

Here is our list of the best Makarska hotels!

Recommended accommodation in Makarska

A 5-star seafront, Aminess Khalani Beach Hotel, opened in the summer of 2022. We like Aminess Khalani Beach Hotel for its spacious rooms with amazing sea views, a lovely location by the sea, friendly staff, airy, modern interiors, heated outdoor pools, kids-friendly facilities, and activities. The only downside is that it is a big hotel with over 300 rooms, and it gets busy and noisy during the main summer season. Prices start at 110 € for a double room with breakfast!

Heritage Hotel Porin offers accommodation in 10 double rooms and 1 suite on the seafront promenade. We love Hotel Porin because of its central location, 19th-century architectural details, elegant interiors, and friendly staff. This is a great place to stay if you want to be in the heart of Makarska’s old town! Prices start at 100 € for a double room with breakfast!

Located near the beach and in the vicinity of Khalani Beach Hotel, we like Boutique Hotel Mirjam for its rooftop swimming pool with endless sea views, room with spacious balconies, cleanness, yummy and varied breakfast, and quiet location. Prices start at 90 € for a double room with breakfast!

If you want to feel the spirit of old Makarska when fishing was more important than tourism, choose Apartments Beso was your stay in Makarska. Set in an old stone house next to the old port and overlooking Makarska’s old town, Apartments Beso is a great place to stay in Makarska if you are looking for a centrally-located, yer quiet, and relaxing place. Owners are welcoming, friendly and caring. Prices start at 80 € for a one-bedroom apartment for 2!

Conveniently located, close to the beach and the center of Makarska, Apartments Elda offers accommodation in one- and two-bedroom apartments. The building is completely renovated, with an elevator for easy access to the higher floors. Private parking is right at the property and free of charge! Prices start at 60 € for a one-bedroom apartment for 2!

Restaurants in Makarska

You’ll find plenty of restaurants in Makarska for all budgets. Bars, restaurants, and ice cream parlors line the seafront promenade from Aminess Khalani Beach Resort to the Osejava Forest Park. 

Most of the restaurants in Makarska serve more or less the same type of food: pizza, pasta, risotto, grilled meat and fish, and burgers. These restaurants are mainly intended for tourists.

Expect to pay anywhere between 5.5 € to 10 € for a burger and 10 € to 13.5 € for a plate of pasta, risotto, or a pizza. Specialty pizzas are more expensive and cost 11 € and more. The main dish in Makarska’s restaurants costs anywhere between 20 € and 30 €, while the dessert will set you back another 4€ to 6 €. 

Restaurant Bura serves the best and the most affordable lunch in town. Just aske for marenda! Their a la carte offer is also second-to-none (albeit not as affordable as the lunch offer). 

Head to Papar Grill & Boutique Butchery for the best cevapi in town. Papar is also a good choice for all grilled meat specialties, and it offers the best value for money when it comes to eating out in Makarska. 

If you fancy an upscale dining experience in Makarska, you can’t go wrong with Restaurant Jez

Basta Gourmet Bar and Maka make both Neapolitan-style pizzas. While pizzas are equally good, Maka is cheaper and more popular among locals. In Cafe Romana, you can taste typical cake from Makarska. It’s called Makarana, made of almonds, citruses, rose liqueur, and various spices. Cafe Bar Skala serves the best ice cream in town! 

Beaches in Makarska

Nugal Beach, Makarska, Croatia

If there is one thing Makarska is known for, then it’s the beaches! This strip of the coast, known as Makarska Riviera, stretching from Brela to Gradac, features some of the loveliest, most scenic beaches in all of Croatia.

Beaches in Makarska are mostly pebbly, but the pebbles here are small, rounded, and simply perfect! Pebbles make seabed clear, and they don’t get all over you as opposed to sand. The beaches in Makarska are some of the finest we’ve swum anywhere in the world. 

Then, where to swim in Makarska? If, for the moment, we leave aside amazing beaches along the 50 km-long Makarska Riviera, and focus only on in-town beaches, here are your options.

Town beach stretches 1 km from the Sveti Petar peninsula to Hotel Dalmacija. It has cafes, bars, restaurants, shops, children’s playgrounds, and whatnot. This beach is extremely crowded in summer, but the seas remain crystal clear and clean. 

Bilosevac Beach starts right after the town beach. It is a continuous beach, but each part has its name. This beach stretches to Aminess Khalani Beach Resort. The beach also has all services and is busy during the summer because there are many apartment rentals and hotels along this strip. 

Below Aminess Khalani Beach Hotel, you’ll find Buba Beach, whose name derives from the beach bar of the same name. This beach has a clubbing vibe that attracts a younger crowd. The DJ plays music throughout the day, and the cocktails pour. Nice sunsets too!  

If you continue walking along the coast, you can go to Brela. And along the coast are many beautiful beaches like Cvitacka, Ramova, Krvavica, etc … 

Sveti Petar peninsula offers rocky shores for a more intimate beach experience. Although still crowded in summer, here you’ll always have more space for yourself than on other Makarska beaches. Clothing-optional bathing is accepted.

Beach Osejava is a small pebbly beach next to the hotel Osejava. It’s usually busy with hotel guests but also some locals. Osejava Beach is nice, but it is a bit like swimming in the port. 

And finally, Nugal Beach! This is the nicest of all beaches within walking distance from Makarska. It takes about 30 min walk to reach this beach, but once there you’ll love it. It’s a wonderful pebbly beach with crystal-clear water! 

Parking in Makarska

Parking in Makarska is a mess and hard to come by. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many cars anywhere as I’ve seen in Makarska in July and August. In Makarska, almost every house has apartments to rent but insufficient parking spots. So you see cars everywhere. If you are staying at Airbnb, oftentimes, the owners keep an eye on a parking spot for you, meaning that they hustle on the street to keep a spot reserved for you. But this is not legal, so sometimes there are fights. All in all, horror. 

However, large full-service hotels like Valamar Meteor, Dalmacija by PLACES, or Aminess Khalani Beach Resort, provide parking for their guests. Some vacation rentals also provide corresponding parking spots for each available apartment rental. 

If you visit Makarska for a day, you can also park in parking lots or use the street parking.

Parking in Makarska is divided into three zones: red, yellow, and blue. 

Parking fee applies on all parking in these three zones, from 7 am-7 pm (Oct-May, except on Sunday), and daily from 6 am-2 am (Jun-Sept). 

In the red zone, parking costs 4 € per hour from June through September and 0.9 € per hour from October through May. The daily ticket costs 48 € and 11 € respectively. 

In the yellow zone, parking costs 2 € per hour or 24 € per day from June through September and 0.7 € per hour or 8 € per day from October through May. 

In the blue zone, parking will set you back 1 € per hour or 12 € per day from June through September and 0.4 € per hour or 5 € per day from October through May.

Transport in Makarska

Makarska is a fairly small town best explored on foot or by bike. The electric touristic train connects the town with the nearby hotels. 

Scooter, e-scooter, e-bike, and bike rentals are available everywhere. The rental prices start at 27 € for 3 hours for a scooter, 5 € for a 30 min rental of an e-scooter, or 4 € for a 1h of bicycle rental. 

How to reach Makarska

While Makarska doesn’t have an airport or a train station, it is well-served by intercity buses from all parts of Croatia. 

If you want to visit Makarska by plane, 115 km away, Split Airport is the closest to Makarska. Other options include Dubrovnik and Zadar. Zadar Airport is 200 km north of Makarska, and Dubrovnik Airport is 180 km south of Makarska. You will need to take a bus, rent a car, book a private transfer, or a taxi from each of these towns to reach Makarska. 

We don’t recommend traveling by train in Croatia because the railroad network in Croatia is very limited, the infrastructure is old, and trains are slow. However, if you still want to travel by train to Makarska, you can take a train to either Split or Ploce and from there again, you will need to take a bus, rent a car or book a private transfer or a taxi to reach Makarska. 

Intercity buses connect Makarska with many towns in Croatia. If you want public transport, then buses are your best option when traveling to Makarska. Buses are modern, reliant, fast, affordable, and frequent. You can use the Get By Bus or Bookaway website to find buses to Makarska and buy tickets online.

Car is the best way to reach Makarska. Finding a parking spot in Makarska is a real hustle in July and August. Still, the car gives you so much flexibility and possibilities to visit many beaches and other natural sites, make interesting day trips, and enjoy scenic drives along the Riviera and up in the hills. For us, having a car means having freedom! If you are considering renting a car for your trip to Makarska, we recommend!

Taking a private transfer or taxi is another way to reach Makarska. Check Connecto Transfers for the best deals. 

Money and ATM

As of January 1st, 2023, the Croatian currency is Euro. The exchange rates are as follows, 1 $ will get around 0.93 €; 1 CAD about 0.7 €, 1 AUD around 0.65 €, and 1 £ around 1.13 €. If you need to exchange money, currency exchange offices, banks, and hotel receptions are good places to look for.

You will find ATMs throughout the town. ATMs are operated by banks but also by other money operators. The bank machines charge lower fees than the others. If you are budget conscious, avoid Euronet’s, Auro Domus’, and similar operators. Stick to the bank’s ATMs. If you don’t mind a few euros here and there, use any ATM. They are all safe to use, and some are located at more convenient locations than others.

Another thing to be aware of is the so-called dynamic currency exchange rate. When you pay with a credit card, you will be offered a choice to pay in your or local currency. It’s a tricky question, as it might seem logical to choose your currency. But you’ll often pay higher fees if you choose to pay in your own currency. So, we always choose to be charged in local currency.


Most hotels offer free WiFi connections and many bars and restaurants. However, the connection is not open, and you’ll need to ask for a password.

Let us know in the comments below if you still have questions regarding Makarska Croatia!

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