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The Best Beaches in Makarska Riviera

Looking for the best Makarska beaches? We have you covered!

Outside the hotspot tourist domains of Split & Dubrovnik, there’s a little known Riviera in Croatia where the locals come to gather: Makarska Riviera.

With the serene Adriatic Sea in front and the majestic Biokovo Mountain behind, it’s a setting that awes us with its natural beauty.

The stellar view along the road of the Makarska stretch(yes, we absolutely swam down there!

Image by @nowhereandeverywhere_ – View along the road of the Makarska stretch (yes, we absolutely swam down there!)

Each beach along the Makarska Riviera has its unique charm and attributes.

It’s this variety that keeps us coming back, each visit promising a new discovery along the crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic.

In the height of summer you’re still likely to find a bay to yourself along the way (or share with a few boats).

Podrace Bay, one of the most stunning beachesin Europe. Go early in the morning to claim your spot!

Image by @nowhereandeverywhere_ – Podrace Bay, one of the most stunning beaches in Europe. Go early in the morning to claim your spot!

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What to Expect Around Markaska Beaches

Stretching 60km (38 miles) from Brela to Gradac, the Makarska Riviera curves around an endless landscape of crystal-clear seas, mountains, and greenery. If you can, rent a scooter or car to really soak in this stretch.

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When you start, stretch your legs near the Podrace Bay region and see how long you can resist jumping straight in.

Head down to the path and walk toward Punta Rata where you’ll have numerous small bays for your morning swim start. In the area you can hire a peddle boat or simply head straight in. The warm water will wrap itself around you.

View from the old Starigrad fortress in Omis (it’s a steep climb up!)

View from the old starigrad fortress in Omis (it’s a steep climb up!)

One more tip – no matter which way you start your journey, tack on Omis at the beginning or end.

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Just outside of Brela it is a gorgeous spot set against the backdrop of Dinara Mountain, snuggled into the rocks that tower over it. It’s also a pirate town having been home to some of the most powerful, ruling pirates of the Adriatic Sea centuries ago.

The stretches of the coast are at times filled with fruit and little local eats. The further south you head (toward Dubrovnik), the quieter the towns get and the more you can slowly wile the warm hours away, and they offer some of Croatia’s best beaches.

Outside the main towns, the Makarska Riviera feels like a quiet oasis of locals going about their business (mostly fishing, wine & olive making, and small tourism).

It’s quiet, with seaside villages, crisp, clear mornings, and little bars by the sand to cool down.

In the south of Makarska Riviera, the towns are unassuming, peaceful and remain feeling somewhat untouched

Image by @nowhereandeverywhere_ – Forever a favorite: walk around old towns to take a peek of local life.

Best Time to Visit Makarska Beaches

When discussing a Croatian beach vacation, timing is everything, especially if we’re eyeing the stunning Makarska Riviera. So, when’s the best time for us to hit those pebbled shores?

Late Spring to Early Summer (May to June): These months are fantastic for us to enjoy the beaches comfortably. It’s warm enough for swimming but not too crowded, so we can have ample space to lay our towels.

  • Pros: The water temperature starts to warm up, and nature is in full bloom. Plus, the tourist crowds have not reached their peak.
  • Cons: Sea temperatures may still be refreshing (aka chilly!) rather than warm, which might not suit everyone.

High Summer (July to August): High summer is our peak season if we prefer our beach time buzzing with energy and don’t mind a lively atmosphere. It’s prime time for sunbathing, water sports, and nightlife.

  • Pros: The warmest sea temperatures and the most active scene in terms of events and activities.
  • Cons: Expect the beaches to be the busiest, and accommodation and other expenses can peak.

September: Our insider’s tip is hitting the beaches in September. The weather is still gorgeous, the water’s warm from the summer sun, but the crowds have thinned out.

  • Pros: Comfortable temperatures, quieter beaches, and better deals on accommodation.
  • Cons: The nightlife and certain tourist services might scale back as the season winds down.

There are coves and bays along the way here so if you see a few vehicles parked randomly or spot an incredible turquoise beach below, there’s nearly always a little dirt track down to it.

Overlook the cutest harbours in Croatia on your visit to Makarska Riviera

Popular Makarska Beaches

When we think of the Makarska Riviera, we can’t help but daydream about its amazing beaches. With crystal-clear waters and pebbled shores, each beach has something special to offer.

Buba Beach

Buba Beach is one of the vibrant spots along the Riviera, where we find lively beach bars and café-filled promenades. Basking in the sun or enjoying a cocktail as the sun sets, this place gives us a taste of coastal bliss with a side of social buzz.

Beach Amenities:

  • Sun loungers and umbrellas
  • Changing facilities

Close by bars, beach clubs, places to eat: There are a few places around including Buba Beach Bar.

Watersports options:

  • Jet skiing
  • Parasailing

Accessibility and Parking: Accessible by foot or car with parking nearby

Where to stay:

  • Beachfront apartments
  • Hotels within walking distance
Nugal Beach (clothing optional) can be walked to and has turquoise waters that spill into the blue

Image by @nowhereandeverywhere_ – Nugal Beach (clothing optional) can be walked to and has turquoise waters that spill into the blue.

Nugal Beach

Nugal Beach is a hidden gem sandwiched between cliffs and can only be accessed through a trail or by sea. It’s the perfect spot to escape the crowds and enjoy a peaceful day at the beach.

Beach Amenities: None, due to its natural setting

Close by bars, beach clubs, places to eat: Limited options, pack a picnic

Watersports options: None, it’s more for swimming and sunbathing

Accessibility and Parking: Reachable via a hike or boat

Where to stay: Accommodation available in nearby Makarska

City Beach Makarska

Right at the heart of the action, City Beach Makarska offers you a convenient stretch of pebble and sand mix fringed by the city’s amenities. With the backdrop of Biokovo Mountain, it’s the perfect place for a family day out, where everything you need is at your fingertips.

Beach Amenities:

  • Showers
  • Playgrounds

Close by bars, beach clubs, places to eat: A lot along the promenade

Watersports options:

  • Pedal boats
  • Banana boat rides

Accessibility and Parking: Easily accessible with ample parking

Where to stay: A bunch of hotels and guesthouses nearby

Tucepi Beach

Tucepi Beach is nestled in a cozy bay with pine trees all around. It’s the perfect spot to chill out and soak up the sun, and there are plenty of cafes and places to grab a bite just a stone’s throw away from the sparkling waters.

Beach Amenities:

  • Toilets
  • Sunbed rentals

Close by bars, beach clubs, places to eat: Beachfront restaurants

Watersports options:

  • Water skiing
  • Boat rentals

Accessibility and Parking: Good access with parking spaces available

Where to stay: Seaside hotels and family-run bed and breakfasts.

Boats floating around Makarska Riviera, enjoying the summer days

Hidden Gems

When exploring Makarska, it’s a thrill to discover beaches that are off the beaten path. These hidden gems offer a serene escape, each with a unique charm of its own.

Vrulja Beach

Vrulja Beach is a hidden gem nestled between sheer cliffs that can only be accessed by boat. It’s a secluded spot where you can appreciate the untouched wilderness and the natural springs that bubble up under the pebbles.

The waters here are crystal clear, perfect for snorkeling and admiring the underwater world. It’s the perfect haven for those of us looking for a break away from crowds.

Beach Amenities: None, offering a truly natural experience.

Close by bars, beach clubs, places to eat: Limited options; best to bring your own snacks. We usually pack a picnic.

Watersports options: Mainly snorkeling due to the clear waters.

Accessibility and Parking: Accessible by boat; no traditional parking available.

Where to stay: Accommodations found in nearby towns; a boon for day-trippers.

Ramova Beach

Just a stone’s throw away from the main areas, Ramova Beach is a small, pebbly nook we find perfect for families. The surrounding pine trees offer ample shade, and the pebbles make for a massage-like sensation underfoot.

Although more frequented by locals, it maintains an undisturbed vibe. We immerse ourselves here in the sunbathing and relaxing atmosphere, occasionally taking a dip in the calming sea.

Beach Amenities:

  • Showers
  • Changing facilities

Close by bars, beach clubs, places to eat: A few local taverns are within walking distance.

Watersports options:

  • Paddle boats
  • Kayaks

Accessibility and Parking: Accessible by car with available parking nearby.

Where to stay: A selection of private apartments close to the beach.

Krvavica Beach

Krvavica Beach is a secluded stretch beyond a thick pine forest and one of our favorite Makarska beaches. It’s a marvel with its fine shingle and clear waters. It wasn’t uncommon for us to share the beach with just a few others, making for an almost private beachgoing experience.

The natural shade and crisp sea air are a blissful respite from the summer heat.

Beach Amenities: Limited; surrounded by nature.

Close by bars, beach clubs, and places to eat: A modest selection in the nearby village of Krvavica.

Watersports options: Primarily swimming and sunbathing due to the peaceful environment.

Accessibility and Parking: A short walk through the forest; parking available in the village.

Where to stay: Nearby guesthouses and villas for a cozy stay.

Look inland along the road and you’ll see mountains and olive & wine regions of Makarska riviera

How to Get Around Makarska Beaches

Let’s talk about getting around the Makarska Riviera, which is like figuring out the best ways to explore this super cool place in Croatia.

Imagine the Riviera as a long, beautiful stretch along the coast with loads of awesome spots to check out. The main thing to remember is that you’ve got a bunch of options to move around, depending on what you like and what fits your budget.

Buses – The Chill Way to Travel: Buses are like the backbone of transport here. They’re pretty easy to use and not too pricey. You can hop on a bus to go from one town to another along the coast. It’s cool because you get to see the sights without worrying about driving.

Renting a Car – Your Own Adventure: If you want more freedom and don’t mind spending a bit more, renting a car is the way to go. Want to stop at a hidden beach or a cute little café you just spotted? No problem! Just remember, in summer, the roads can get busy, and parking might be a bit of a challenge in popular spots.

Biking – For the Active Explorers: If you’re into fitness or just love being active, biking is great. There are places where you can rent bikes, and it’s a fun way to see the area. Plus, you get some exercise! Just be ready for some hills and bring water, especially when it’s hot.

Boats – A Different Perspective: Now, this is something special. You can take boat trips to see the Riviera from the sea. It’s a whole different vibe, and you get to visit islands and hidden beaches that you can’t reach by land. It might cost more, but it’s a unique experience.

Our Pick
Looking for the best beaches in Makarska? We have you covered

Half-day Speedboat Tour: Explore Hidden Gems of Hvar Island

Ready for a quick adventure? Hop on a half-day speedboat tour from Makarska to discover Hvar Island’s hidden gems. Dive into the clear waters for some exciting swimming and snorkeling in the island’s secluded northern bays, surrounded by pristine nature. It’s the perfect way to see more in less time!

Walking – Slow Down and Soak It In: In some of the smaller towns, walking is the best way to explore. You can take your time, wander around the little streets, and find cool spots that you might miss otherwise. It’s relaxing and gives you a real feel for the local life.

So, there you have it! Whether you’re on a budget or looking to splurge a bit, there’s a way to explore the Makarska Riviera that’s just right for you. Just think about what kind of experience you want and go for it!

Travel Tips and Safety

When we head to Makarska Riviera, it’s important for us to keep a few travel tips and safety considerations in mind. Let’s break them down:

General Safety:

  • Always check the weather forecast in advance to ensure that beach days are safe from sudden storms.
  • Keep our belongings secure and in sight, just as we would in any tourist destination, to prevent theft.

Swimming Safety:

  • Take note of the flag system on beaches, which indicates swimming conditions. Green is for safe, yellow for caution, and red for danger.
  • Avoid swimming alone or in unfamiliar areas and always stay within the designated swimming zones.

Health Precautions:

  • Make sure to apply waterproof sunscreen to protect your skin from UV rays.
  • Stay hydrated, especially on hotter days, and wear hats and sunglasses for additional protection.

Beach Etiquette:

Local Wildlife:

  • We watch out for sea urchins, especially on pebbly beaches. Wearing water shoes can help protect our feet.
What to BringWhy It’s Important
Water ShoesTo protect our feet from pebbles and sea urchins
Reusable Water BottleKeeps us hydrated and is eco-friendly
Sun ProtectionPrevents sunburn and UV damage

Following these simple tips and staying aware of our surroundings ensures a safe and enjoyable visit to Makarska’s beaches.

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, we’ll cover some common questions about the incredible beaches you can explore around Makarska Riviera.

What’s the top beach to visit in Makarska Riviera?

The top beach that always gets mentioned is Punta Rata. It’s famous for its stunning turquoise waters and picturesque pebble shores.

Are there any sandy beaches in the vicinity of Makarska?

Sandy beaches are rare around Makarska as the coastline is known for its pebble beaches. However, for those preferring sand, a few options are a short drive away.

Can you recommend some family-friendly beaches near Makarska?

Certainly! The beaches in Makarska are great for families, with many of them offering calm waters and plenty of amenities like showers and snack bars.

Is Nugal Beach worth the visit when in Makarska?

Absolutely, if you’re up for a hike! Nugal is tucked away and offers a more secluded experience. Do note it’s a favorite among naturists.

How does Punta Rata Beach stand out in the Makarska Riviera?

Punta Rata Beach is beautiful and accoladed; it’s been flagged as a Blue Flag beach for its cleanliness and water quality.

Is Makarska generally crowded during summer?

It can be, especially in July and August when tourists flock to enjoy the warm Mediterranean climate and the beautiful beaches.

Gather travel inspiration with a guide on the best places in Croatia – or even specifically to the best beaches in Makarska, and turn it into a full-blown trip.

Alternatively, drive your rental car to Italy in an hour or two and create a diverse European road trip!

So let’s pack our sunscreen and explore the serene beauty of Makarska beaches together!

About the author:

Lis is the founder and photographer behind Nowhere & Everywhere merging travel & environmentalism. She has traveled through 60+ countries, likes green juices, jumps in every waterfall, and thinks we could all spend a little more time on the open road.

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