Central Dalmatia has two centers: Split (administrative, cultural, party) and Makarska (resort, beach, carefree).
And if in Split you can stay for a day or two for sightseeing, then Makarska is the best place for a family vacation.
Moreover, around the big resort of Makarska there are small villages with beautiful beaches, pine groves and comfortable hotels. All together they form the Makarska Riviera, and the name says it all.
On the choice of time to go, the best beaches, hotels and other subtleties of holidays with children in Makarska read in the Kidpassage review.
Makarska on the map of Croatia
The town of Makarska is one of the popular resorts in Middle Dalmatia, the center of the Makarska Riviera. The city is located on the Adriatic Sea coast, at the foot of the mountain massif of Biokovo, on the territory of Split-Dalmatian region (the administrative center – Split).
The distance from Makarska to Zagreb is 460 km, to Split – 65 km, to Dubrovnik – 152 km, to the island of Brac – 15 km.
The place where Makarska is located is very cozy. The town was originally built between Cape St. Peter and Cape Oseava – the bay fenced off from the sea was good both for defensive purposes (for Makarska many countries fought), and for resort (the first hotel for beach lovers was built in 1914).
Since then Makarska grew, and added to the old town a new part with beaches, hotels, restaurants and stores.
Holidays with children
What about tourists who have every day changing moods? Today they want to nap on the beach under the rustle of waves, and tomorrow – to break into the mountains or walk around all the nearby museums.
They should choose a resort that has everything at once – the sea, the mountains and museums. Makarska in this sense is ideal.
Vacation in Makarska can be different every day. I want beaches – here they are, framed by pines, neat, equipped with everything you need. I want sights – the old town consists only of them. If you want solitude, the mountain massif of Biokovo and the islands of Brac and Hvar are at hand.
And there is even a place for extreme sports: a trip on the mountain river Cetinje or diving will add to the experience.
It should be noted that the town of Makarska itself in the high season is buzzing like a beehive. If you dream to relax with your child in peace and quiet, it is advisable to choose one of the resort villages in the neighborhood.
For a vacation with an infant is more suitable Tučepi or Promajna.
The resort has only one disadvantage: in Makarska little entertainment for children. Full excursion program with visits to islands, waterfalls and caves will be appreciated by teenagers, but the choice of activities for preschoolers and primary school children is small. Partly save the situation family hotels, where they care about the leisure of young guests.
And yet, to make sure that holidays in Makarska with children don’t seem boring, we’ve picked up a few options to occupy young tourists.
When to go
Makarska is a typical seaside resort, so tourists come here mostly in summer. The season in Makarska is relatively short, you need to fit in those three and a half months when the weather is favorable to a beach holiday.
Airlines also adjust their flights for the weather: from mid-May to early September, you can charter to Split, which is a short drive to Makarska.
If you plan to stay in Central Dalmatia before or after that time, you have to change flights.
You can sunbathe in the resort as early as May but the real opening of the season in Makarska takes place in mid-June when the sea is well warmed up. Usually by this time the town and its surroundings are flooded with lovers of beach holidays.
The real tourist boom is in July and August. This time is not the best answer to the question of when to go to Makarska. If you have to spend your vacation in the second half of summer, find an accommodation well in advance: during the season you won’t find anything available at the resort.
It should be added that you can spend the summer in Makarska not only on the beach. From June to September every weekend there is something interesting happening in the resort: concerts, festivals and exhibitions.
The Makarsko kulturno ljeeto program changes every year, the only thing that does not change is the summer carnival on July 31.
Weather and climate
The climate of Makarska is Mediterranean, so it is warm in summer and not so cold in winter. But the weather at the resort has its own characteristics and tourists should be aware of them.
- Because of the close location of the mountains in Makarska very cold at night. In July and August with the sunset the temperature drops to +15-16 ° C, in June and September to +12-13 ° C, and in May to +8-9 ° C.
- The mountains retain the rain clouds over Makarska, so it rains all year round. The driest month is August, in June and July there are brief showers, and in the spring, fall and especially winter there are as many rainy days as sunny ones.
In May the resort is already quite warm, but the weather is unpredictable: the summer heat up to +28 ° C may be followed by a cool down to +16-20 ° C. May vacation in Makarska is better to devote to excursions, as the beach vacation may be unlucky, and the sea is still cold.
In June, the warmth becomes more stable. The average temperature is +25 ° C, the rains are less frequent than in May. To get a lot of sunbathing and swimming, plan your vacation with a child in the second half of June: by this time the sea has time to warm up.
In July and August the heat at the resort reaches its maximum, but the intense heat at the same time does not happen. The temperature usually stays within +29-30 ° C, although sometimes the air heats up to +35 ° C.
Despite the heat, the best vacation in Makarska with children is in the second half of summer, when the temperature of the air and sea is almost equal.
September at the resort can be very hot and cold. Plan a vacation with a baby in Makarska at this time, because the rains can interfere with walks.
But for a trip to the most beautiful cities in the Adriatic, it’s a good time. In the luggage put swimwear and warm clothes: in September it can be as +30 ° C, and +15 ° C.
From October, the temperature in Makarska gradually decreases, and the rains are more frequent. In winter the resort is only +5-6 ° C, but in March the warmth returns to the coast.
Sea water temperature
No matter how warm the winter on the Adriatic, the sea still manages to cool down. By the end of spring the water temperature in Makarska barely rises to +19-20 ° C.
In June, the sea temperature depends on the weather. If the weather is hot, the sea warms up to 23 ° C in mid-June.
In July, the sea in Makarska is always warm. The minimum water temperature is +24 ° C and the maximum is +28 ° C.
The situation does not change in August. And even in September, despite the vagaries of the weather, the sea cools down quite slowly. By the middle of the month the water temperature drops to +23 ° C, and by early October to +22 ° C.
The concept of food in the hotel has the least impact on the choice of where to stay in Makarska with children. Breakfast is usually included in the room rate, some hotels offer half or full board, there is even an “all inclusive” system.
But most vacationers prefer to eat in restaurants of Croatian cuisine, or konobabs. The local cuisine is full of light dishes suitable for children’s meals.
If you are going to cook your own food, you can go to supermarkets or markets – they are in all resorts. Farmer’s market in Makarska is located in the old town. Fish and seafood is better to buy in “Rybarnitsa”.
Public transport in Makarska is something superfluous. From the city center to the outskirts can be reached in half an hour at a leisurely pace. Moreover, tourists walk to Makarska from Promajna and Tučepi, admiring the sea scenery and working up an appetite.
Instead of buses it is common to use bicycles to get around Makarska. Rental shops are located in the old town and you can ride throughout the Makarska Riviera.
But the intercity transport in Makarska is very popular. Modern buses leave from the bus station to Dubrovnik, Split, Zagreb and other Croatian cities.
A bus ticket to Split costs 50 kuna, to Dubrovnik 100 kuna. There is no discount for children. Timetables are available at the bus station and on the website of the bus conductor Promet Makarska.
The easiest way to get from the airport is by cab. The trip will cost 90-100 Euros. You can also call a cab in town.
For active travel it is advisable to rent a car. This is a good way to go to Biokovo (there are roads in the mountains), to colorful towns, to the Krka waterfalls or to Plitvice Lakes.
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What to do
Makarska cannot be called a children’s resort in the usual sense. There are no water parks, amusement parks or entertainment complexes in the town or nearby.
True, there are playgrounds and trampolines for kids on the beaches and in the hotels. But if you travel with children who do not mind walking around the old town and go on a sea excursion, a family vacation in Makarska will be successful.
So how to spend time with the kids to make the trip memorable? The plan could be this.
- Take a walk through the narrow streets of Makarska, check out the yachts in the harbor, look for ancient Roman tombstones, and catch a glimpse of a very old house covered with greenery.
- Wander the trails of Cape St. Peter and Cape Oseiwa. The paths there are steep for walks with a baby carriage, but among the greenery is nice to walk with an older child. At St. Peter’s Cape there is a small amusement park for children.
- Look at the city from the sea: the houses seem like toys against the background of the mountain massif of Biokovo.
- Take a ferry to the island of Brac. In the village of Sumartin, where the ferry arrives, it is quiet even in high season. But travelers do not stay there long, seeking to see the Brač quarries, Dragon’s Cave and the village of Šcrip, where time seems to have stopped several centuries ago.
- Visit other cities in Central Dalmatia. In Split you can take your children to the zoo (the smallest in Europe) and the aquarium. In Trogir all tourists are attracted by the fortress Kamerlengo. In Omis, a former pirate harbor, there are two fortresses, and also there is a dinosaur park.
- Look at the stars through a telescope on Glavica Hill. The observatory is surrounded by “Astropark” constructed as a model of solar system and equipped with a children’s game labyrinth.
- Take a tour of the Biokovo National Park. In the mountains there are routes of varying difficulty, some are designed for tourists with children. On the slopes of Biokovo is an unusual botanical garden, where the trees are not planted in neat groups, but grow in their usual conditions – that is, right on the rocks.
- Descend into the cave Vranyachu. This tour will be especially interesting for a child imaginative. In the underground sculptures you can see the figures of animals, birds, plants, fairy creatures. The temperature in the cave in summer does not exceed +15 ° C, so you must take warm clothes on tour.
- To get to the Krka waterfalls. This is the main attraction of Northern Dalmatia, but in Makarska organize excursions to the river Krka with a stop in the town of Sibenik.
If you think you could do with a bit of extreme relaxation for your child in Makarska, you could try rafting on the Cetinje River or cycling along the Makarska Riviera.
The Sea and the Beach
When they talk about beach holidays in Makarska, they mean the resort itself and the surrounding villages – that is, the entire Makarska Riviera. From Baška Voda to Tučepi there are pebble beaches.
Even if only a couple of them have received a “blue flag” for compliance with a dozen of requirements, all other beaches in the region can be estimated on their own: a well-kept coast with sun beds, gentle bottom, clear sea – everything looks great.
Makarska beaches are located in Donja Luka and Ratac, west of the old town. The narrow shore is covered with pebbles, you can hide from the sun in the shadow of pine trees and there are water slides in the sea.
Brela is famous for its long beaches of fine pebbles. Here is the beach Punta Rata, named one of the ten most beautiful beaches in the world by Forbes magazine.
The beaches of Baska Voda village alternate between fine pebbles and sand. The sea at the resort is very shallow, the water is already warm in June, so the village is very popular among families with children. Beach Plaza Nikolina awarded the “blue flag”.
The beaches of Promajna can be called wide in comparison with the narrow strip of coast at other resorts. In the shade of the trees there are several playgrounds for children.
The beaches of Tučepi village are very beautiful. Somewhere on the shore piles of huge stones, but they rather add color to this area than interfere with your rest. The shore of the village is covered with pebbles and the bottom goes down slowly, so even inexperienced swimmers will feel confident.
To rest at sea is not boring, you can learn scuba diving. The most transparent sea is in Brela, and therefore there are several diving centers with courses for beginners. The centers have programs for children 8-10 years old.
What to see
The main attraction of Dalmatia is nature, so there aren’t many museums to visit in Makarska with a child.
One of them is the City Museum, which tells about Ancient Rome, the Venetian Republic, the Ottoman Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, that is, everything that influenced life in Makarska.
After visiting the museum, you will begin to see the signs left by history right on the streets. Fortunately, the relatively recent tragic events (military conflict in 1990) have not affected the appearance of the resort.
Unexpected treasures are found in the Franciscan monastery: paintings of Renaissance artists are on display there. In the monastery there is another interesting place for children –
The Malacological Museum. The name comes from the Greek word “malachion”, which means “mollusk”. The museum has more than 3,000 exhibits, from stones with imprints of ancient invertebrates to beautiful shells.
Just 200 meters from the monastery is the Fish, Crustaceans and Mollusks Museum. If you want to show your child how tiny the fish are and how big the lobsters are, what sharks are in the Adriatic Sea and how the urchin fish is built, visit this small exhibition.
Note that the museums in Makarska do not work the same way as in big cities: they may close for a siesta or work until lunchtime. We recommend looking at the tourist website of the city before the tour and checking the schedule.
And since the list of what to see with children in Makarska was so short, it can be complemented by the attractions of neighboring cities.
In Split, you must visit the Palace of Diocletian, for the construction of which Brač white stone was used, the Museum of the Croatian archaeological sites and the Ethnographic Museum.
In Dubrovnik it is worth to stay for a couple of days to see the city walls and Lovrenac fortress, visit the museum in the princely palace and relax on the island of Lokrum, where peacocks live.
The children’s program in Dubrovnik is even wider, and includes a visit to the aquarium and the Maritime Museum, a cable car ride up Mount Srdj and a visit to the honey valley farm.
Also during a vacation in Makarska with children you can go to Mostar (Bosnia and Herzegovina). Two parts of Mostar, absolutely no resemblance to each other, connect the old bridge, built in 1566 and entered in the World Heritage List of UNESCO.
Makarska Riviera – amazingly clear sea
Dreaming of a quiet and peaceful vacation by the warm sea? Go to Makarska in Croatia! Learn from the reviews, what are the beaches in Makarska Riviera, in what hotels is better to stay and what to see on vacation.
Impression of the resort
A small town Makarska and resort villages near it are nestled next to each other along the Adriatic coast in Central Dalmatia. Holidaymakers come here a lot, but pandemonium, as in Italy or Spain, does not happen.
In Makarska Riviera you will not find large resorts, supermarkets and busy highways. Tourists enjoy the quiet, relaxed atmosphere, beautiful scenery, the cleanest mountain air and the smell of pine trees. The sun sets directly into the sea, so from all the beaches you can see stunning sunsets.
But the main highlight of the resort is the cleanest sea:
gilinale: “I haven’t seen the sea anywhere as clean as it is here – not in Greece, France or Portugal. There’s no algae, no jellyfish and no garbage brought in from the open sea. All the reason is that the town is located on the shores of two deep bays, and from the Adriatic Sea it is protected by two big islands – Brac and Hvar.
View of the resort. Photo: antonsharov / unsplash.com.
Almost all hotels in Makarska Riviera resorts in Croatia are on the beach or within walking distance of the beaches. Hotels 4-5* are compact, without large areas. Hotels on mountain slopes have pools and offer magnificent panoramic views of the Adriatic coast. If you come in a group of 3-5 people, it’s better not to stay in a hotel, but to rent a villa or apartment with local residents. Look for hotels in Makarska on Hotelluk, accommodation with locals on Airbnb.
The best hotels in Makarska, according to tourist reviews:
Makarska 3* – A comfortable hotel 400 m from St. Mark’s Cathedral and 550 m from the beach. In high season, a room for two with breakfast costs from 80 €.
Maritimo 3* is a good family hotel near a pebble beach and a marina. For a double room you will pay 99 €.
Osejava 4* – a new hotel in the center of Makarska near three great beaches. Double room with breakfast costs from 115 €.
Boutique Hotel Ani 4* – a small hotel with outdoor pool and wellness center. It is only 200 m to the seashore. A room for two costs 176 €.
Miramare 4* – a beautiful apartment hotel on the peninsula of St. Peter, near the Riva promenade and the resort port. A room for two costs from 218 €.
Villa Afrodita 5* – luxury accommodation with a spa, outdoor pool and children’s playground. Villa for 6-8 guests costs from 750 € per day.
Beaches in Makarska
Cape St. Peter separates Makarska coast into two bays. To the east, to the cape Osejava stretches port and marinas. To the west spread the beach resorts. A thick pine forest grows along the coast, and the islands of Brac and Hvar protect the coast from the big waves.
Makarska is loved for its greenish-emerald sea and good fine pebble beaches. They are quite narrow and long. Some beaches of the Croatian resort for cleanliness and excellent infrastructure were awarded the honorary Blue Flag.
Well known nudist beaches Makarska. The most popular is the beach Nugal, it is located under a large beautiful rock, near the village of Tučepi.
Be aware that there are sea urchins in the rocks, not far from the shore. To protect your feet from the prickles, swim in aqua helmets!
Elena: “Very clean, well-groomed beaches. On the beaches there are showers, booths, pine trees. So there is a place to be in the shade. Holidaymakers mostly on their own bedding, but sunbeds and umbrellas are everywhere. Entertainments on the beach are usual, nothing extreme. The shore is pebbly, you can do without special slippers.
Nugal Beach, Makarska. Photo: ante_kante / unsplash.com.
What to see
Connoisseurs of history are attracted by the small town of Makarska, which stands in a quiet bay surrounded by green mountains. The seaside resort is famous for its beautiful Dalmatian architecture. See the medieval Franciscan monastery, Roman tombstones, the temples of St. Mark and St. Peter! Fans of outdoor activities enjoy going on boat trips to the islands of Brac and Hvar, as well as hiking in the high mountain park of Biokovo.
NadiaDamian: “Nature Park Biokovo is a must-visit in Croatia, the most valuable and beautiful after Plitvice Lakes. A real hike in the mountains! You will discover unearthly beauty. In clear weather you will see not only the golden sea, but also Italy.
“Park šuma Osejava is a beautiful place for walks and relaxation. The park is strewn with many small and large paths, which will give maximum relaxation to hiking lovers. The part of the peninsula facing the sea is a paradise for those who like to climb steep cliffs.
Monument to St. Nicholas in Baska Voda. Photo: Bumble-Dee / Depositphotos.com.
Holidays with children
Vacation in Makarska resorts with children has many advantages – warm sea, mild climate, pine and mixed forests. In the Middle Dalmatia in the summer there are few mosquitoes. The main disadvantages – few sandy beaches and mountainous terrain. It is difficult to go down to the sea with baby carriages!
With children older it is convenient to have a rest in the city of Makarska. With the kids we suggest choosing a quieter place. According to tourist reviews, for a family vacation are also good resort villages Promajna and Tučepi. In addition to swimming in the sea, go with your child in the mountains and visit the local observatory!
juliamirzina: “Makarska Observatory – both kids and adults were very impressed. We saw Jupiter, Saturn, the mesmerizing Moon and two stars through the telescope.
Vacation at the resorts of Makarska with children has many advantages – a warm sea and a mild climate. Photo: ekspektopatronum / Depositphotos.com.
When to go
Makarska is a typical seaside resort in Croatia. Tourists come here during the warm season. The bathing season lasts from May to October, and most holidaymakers are in summer.
Parents with young children and older travelers usually choose to vacation in June or September, when the resort is less crowded. If you like warm sea, are not afraid of heat and crowds of tourists, plan your vacation in Makarska in July and August!
Eugenia: “I liked everything in September. The weather pleased, however, the sea was cool. I don’t know, maybe it’s always not very warm”.
Conclusions: is it worth to go to Makarska
Makarska Riviera resort area in Croatia is a great place for a quiet, relaxing vacation with children, elderly tourists, couples and romantic travel. The clear sea water is ideal for swimming with babies, snorkeling and diving.
Vacationers in Makarska breathe the wonderful pine air and walk along the long promenade Marineta. Architecture connoisseurs are attracted by Baroque palaces, ancient temples and Venetian fountain, while ecotourism lovers are attracted by nature parks.