A magical, unspoilt archipelago of a thousand-plus islands stretching along Croatia’s southern coast. A heady mix of sea, mountains, adventure sports and medieval buildings
Travel bucket list idea:
Hike up Mount Biokovo
Split, Dalmatia, Croatia
Rising directly behind the seaside resort of Makarska, Mount Biokovo is Croatia’s second-highest mountain, with the 1,762m peak of Sveti Jure affording amazing views out to sea and inland to Bosnia-Herzegovina.
A large portion of the south-facing slopes have been declared a nature park, and clearly marked hiking paths lead from Makarska to the top. Wild and totally unspoilt, Biokovo’s pastures are populated by hardy chamois goats and mouflon sheep, both endangered species.
While you're there
Near the hamlet of Kotisina, on the mountain’s lower slopes, the Kotisina Botanical Garden is an enchanting place to visit, showcasing indigenous rock plants. It’s especially lovely in the spring when the flowers are in bloom.
Getting there & doing it
Makarska lies 59km south east of Split and is served by regular buses. The mountain can be accessed independently or as part of an organised tour.
The hike to the Sveti Jure peak from Makarska takes at least five hours and requires a good level of fitness. If you are doing it independently, be sure to visit the Makarska Tourist Office first to check the local weather forecast and pick up a free map charting the various trails. Ideally, pack a picnic and carry plenty of water. There are several mountain huts serving basic meals, but opening hours are sporadic.
If you don’t feel like hiking, in the summer you can also drive the 31km from Makarska to Sveti Jure – take the road to Vrgorac, then turn left at the sign for Biokovo Nature Park and brave the tight hairpins.
For post-hike refuelling, head to Konoba Kalalarga in Makarska’s old town. This tiny, informal tavern, popular with locals, serves a limited selection of daily specials and wine by the carafe.
When to do it
The park is officially open to visitors April to mid-November, seven days a week.
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