Our overnight stay in Makarska was only built in to give a resting point between Dubrovnik and Split so any sites here were bonuses. We hadn’t researched the town, but as the apartment was only a 10 minute walk away from the centre we thought we’d check it out. The owners of the apartment had suggested that "Jez" was a good local restaurant (see separate review) and so that was where we would finish our exploration of the town.
It turns out that settlement in Makarska dates back to early in the 4th century and had a strong naval force based there in the Middle Ages and was strongly influence by the Venetians in the century from 1680. However, I can’t say that we were particularly aware of its heritage in our brief stay there and perhaps it should have demanded a more intensive sightseeing tour.
What was evident is that the town is a popular tourist place for those wanting to enjoy sea, sand and sun. The town has a 2-kilometre sandy beach – a big plus when many of the beaches that we spotted on route were more pebbly than sandy. But perhaps the one thing that stood out was the fact that pine trees are everywhere and as we wandered the walkways the scent of the pine needles gently wafted over our olfactory organs. Looking over our shoulder as we walked down to the promenade we couldn’t help but be impressed by the mountain of Biokovo which, at 1762m, stands to make its mark on the landscape. Indeed we also understand that the mountain is responsible for protecting Makarska from any extremes in the climate, ensuring mild winters and not overly hot summers.
As we approached the sea front we passed a large caravan park and it was clear that this resort, alongside many places on the Adriatic coastline have become very popular with caravanners and campers in general. The front was littered with "typical seaside stalls" and in all honesty it’s this feature that would turn me off a resort rather than encourage me to visit it. The problem I had with Makarska was not that these existed but that there were too many of them crammed together on what should have been a picturesque promenade alongside the Adriatic and under the boughs of the Pine Trees.
Cheek by jowl with the souvenir stands were numerous bog-standard restaurants. Now there’s nothing wrong with that but I’m afraid that the basic restaurants didn’t have basic prices. There were, it seemed to us overly inflated especially when we compared those to the price and food quality of "Jez". However, alongside the basic restaurant were some higher quality establishments, linked to the hotels with a sea view. It seemed a bit of a mishmash along the sea front although in itself the promenade was pleasant to walk along as it comprised of some recently laid block paving.
Moving away from the beach we were soon away from the "seaside resort" and closer to the real town with its small corner shops and family apartments.
I feel that Markaska’ town was probably worth a deeper exploration than we gave it, but we only had time to check out its surrounding countryside and the magnificent mountains that surround it. If you’re exploring Croatia by car I’d suggest that a couple of hours in Markaska may be sufficient, but you may know different....