Trip into the Biokovo mountains.
We do not normally go on organised excursions but we desperately need to be up in the mountains and since we had no car and were not fully fledged climbers we decided on a trip in a mini bus. This turned out to be a good choice.
The road was of course very narrow (mostly single track with passing places), twisty and twindy. Typical hair raising mountain roads. Apparently the professional tour drivers have problems with tourists travelling in their own cars since the latter are not experienced in mountain driving and frequently cause dangerous situations. Officials are trying to ban access to the mountain road to all non professional drivers.
We stopped a few times on the way up before culminating at the peak - Sv Jure which is 1762 metres, Croatia's third highest mountain (with it's 10 metre mast it is the highest!).
The scenery is, of course, magnificient, Makarska and the surrounding coastline in full view and the whole vista of the Biokovo mountains.The whole area is a Nature reserve park.
We knew lunch was included at the end of the trip but did not realise to what extent - it was a banquet! We ate outside, were greeted with a glass of home made herb brandy. (the guides, who were husband wife, made this brandy and obviously encouraged us to buy some.We were backpacking and could not carry it). It was delicious by the way. We had huge salad for starters, chicken with local ham and cheese, potatoes and Croatian cooked cabbage which was excellent and pancakes with fig marmalade. An endless supply of locally produced red wine was provided, also very good. It must have lasted about 2 hours and there was a good party spirit.
"Makarska Riviera beach"
The only good news from being ill was that while we stopped at the Makarska Riviera beach area along the way, I was wandering around the wooded area being sick, sore with a raw stomach, throat, and a pounding headache that just wouldn’t quit. There were also several cars parked there in an overflow beach parking area, and I happened ‘to find’ a front license plate from Italy. This became my perfect souvenir for my car back home. Florida doesn’t use a front license tag, so I can use the EU Italian one on my car. Joan already had one on her car that we ‘borrowed’ from our rental car last year while in Rome.
The Riviera is one of the most famous tourist locations along the Croatian coast and is also one of the most beautiful with countless sandy beaches, pine trees, sparkling water and peaceful bays. The area is also known for the Biokovo Mountain, which overlooks the coastal area.
"many food stands, gift shops and very nice park"
The Makarska beach area is wonderful with a beautiful walkway lined with many food stands, gift shops and very nice park / tree area. One side is the park and grassy area, and on the other side of the walkway is the actual beach and water. There were about 30 guys in wheelchairs hanging around in one area, and then I saw that there was a special lift that lowered them into the sea which was mounted on a dock. It seemed to be part of this public beach facility. That was a very nice and special arrangement I thought for persons with disabilities, indeed. This group gathering I further observed must have been some sort of Olympic group or athletic club for they were one heck of a pretty muscular gathering.
General Impressions from Makarska
Makarska is a typical coastal city in Croatia, with its old city, churches etc. The only really unique site we found was the Malacological Museum, with its large display of shells and sea mollusks (www.makarska-croatia.com/kultura/skoljke/english.html). You can find it around the back of the Franciscan Monastery. There is an entrance fee (10 kuna, if I remember correctly).
I am also told that Makarska has a lively open-air market in the main square but, as I was there on a Sunday, I didn't get to see it.