Outside the hotspot tourist domains of Split & Dubrovnik, there’s a little known Riviera in Croatia where the locals come to gather: Makarska Riviera. In the height of summer you’re still likely to find a bay to yourself along the way (or share with a few boats). Time to get inspired for the summer with this photo essay of an area with the brightest turquoise waters.
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, hire a scooter or car to really soak in this stretch. There are coves and bays along the whole 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. Walk down and take a dip under the sun – you’ll even find yourself meandering through long forgotten olive groves.
If these visuals from Makarska Riviera tickle your fancy, surely a trip is best combined with some other highlights Croatia has to offer. Gather up travel inspiration with a guide on 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!
Image by @nowhereandeverywhere_ – View along the road of the Makarska stretch (yes, we absolutely swam down there!)
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
Image by @nowhereandeverywhere_ – Podrace Bay, one of the most stunning beaches in Europe. Go early in the morning to claim your spot!
The stretches of 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,.
Image by @nowhereandeverywhere_ – Forever a favorite: walk around old towns to take a peek of local life.
Outside of 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.
Image by @nowhereandeverywhere_ – Nugal Beach (clothing optional) can be walked to and has turquoise waters that spill into the blue.
Image by @nowhereandeverywhere_ – Boats enjoying the summer days.
Image by @nowhereandeverywhere_ – The towns in the south are unassuming, peaceful and remain feeling somewhat untouched.
Image by @nowhereandeverywhere_
Image by @nowhereandeverywhere_ – 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. 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.
Adding Makarska Riviera to your summer Europe list?
About the author:
Lis is the founder and photographer behind Nowhere & Everywhere merging travel & environmentalism. She has travelled through 60+ countries, actually likes green juices, jumps in every waterfall and thinks we could all spend a little more time on the open road. You can find more of her photography on @freerangepixels_ and @freerangepixelcities.