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Makarska Church of St Mark
Makarska is a picturesque town and port at the foot of the towering Biokovo mountain. The old town core is classically Mediterranean and the newer part with hotels and resorts radiates outward. It's surrounded by delightful pebble beaches and within easy reach of Brela beach.
The setting is stunning and the climate relatively mild since the port is protected by the mountain. There are no real cultural sights to speak of but Makarska is an ideal base for active travellers. Biokovo mountain offers walks, hikes and climbs for all levels. Trails are well-marked and there are companies that offer guided tours and jeep trips up the mountain. The less energetic can take a pleasant seaside promenade or poke around the old town.
To get the lay of the land, take a stroll along the seaside promenade, obala Tomislava, and stop in at the City Museum (Tomislava 17, www.mdc.hr/makarska) open 7am-3pm Monday to Friday, 9am-noon Saturday. Still hungering for museums? Try the Shell Museum (tel 021-611 256, Franjevački put 1) which has a collection of 3000 shells. It's in the cloister of the Franciscan Monastery and is open 9am-noon and 5-7pm Monday to Saturday and 10am-noon Sunday. Collected from the Adriatic and other seas, it's considered the finest of its kind in the world. There's also the Museum of Fish, Mollusks and Crustaceans (tel 091 596 88 98, Ulica fra Filipa Grabovca bb) with a collection of 200 species. It's open daily 8.30am-1pm and 5.30-10.30pm.
Directly above Makarska and looming over it is the imposing Biokovo mountain and nature park, a paradise for walkers, climbers and hikers mainly for the spectacular views from a number of vantage points. More.
High in the Biokovo mountains lies the old village of Markar, probably the Roman Muccurum, which was destroyed by the Goths in 548. The Slavs moved in the 7th century and spread down the coast. They were not peaceable folks. Their tribe the Neretlyans, fought continuously against the Venetians who gazed covetously on their prime real estate on the Adriatic. The Neretlyans were strong enough to force the Venetians to pay tribute for the privilege of sailing unmolested past their settlement. Makarska was snatched up by the Croatian King Kresimir in the 11th century and then fell under Bosnian rule until the Turks came in 1499 and destroyed it. It remained under Turkish rule for 150 years during which time it became the main port for the salt trade for all of Bosnia and Hercegovina. When the Turks left, Venice got ahold of the town again and kept it until 1797.
Three-star hotels in Makarska
Hotel Biokovo --In the old town and close to the beach. The recent renovation included a wellness centre and new rooms with an internet connection and air-conditioning.
There are hourly buses going from Dubrovnik to Makarska (3 hours; see the schedule at buses from Dubrovnik) and buses to and from Split (1 1/4 hours) where you can catch the motorway to Zagreb. Also frequent are the daily ferries to Sumartin on Brac Island which range from two to five a day. See the Makarska-Sumartin ferry schedule.
Even with all the buses leaving and arriving Makarska, nothing beats the convenience of having your own wheels, especially if you want to get out to the beaches of Brela and Baska Voda. Most car rental companies in Croatia have outlets in Makarska.
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The Makarska tourist office (tel 021-612 002) is in the town centre at Tomislava 16.
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