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Makarska is a little slice of paradise on Croatia's Dalmatian coast. Its chilled-out vibe and easy access to the islands makes it a fantastic place to unwind. It's also incredibly beautiful, backed by mountains that slope dramatically down to the Adriatic Sea. There are clear, calm waters for swimming and snorkelling, while the cobbled streets of the centre are lined with gin bars and seafood restaurants where you can soak up the atmosphere.
Some Makarska hostels have outdoor spaces where you can make the most of the Croatian sunshine. Look for hostels with barbecues and fire up the grill to cook up a feast for your new travel buddies, or simply relax together with a local beer in a rooftop seating area. Pick a Makarska hostel in a classic stone building in the old town square, a modern house at the bottom of Biokovo Mountain or colourful apartments with private kitchens.
Makarska Town's pebble beach is dotted with pine trees, so you can find a shady spot when you're not swimming in the sea. Behind the beach there's a promenade lined with restaurants and an outdoor market where you can buy trinkets and souvenirs. The heart of town is Kačić Square, which has a few low-key bars. It's also easy to catch a ferry out to nearby Brač island, which has more beaches and great windsurfing and scuba diving.
For spectacular views of Makarska and its mountains, take a short walk up St Peter Peninsula (Sveti Petar). There's a statue of St Peter at the top, and a pretty 13th-century chapel too. Makarska's nightlife is very relaxed, though the highlight is a nightclub inside a cave on a small pebbly beach. The crystal clear water around the town and its neighbouring islands make it ideal for learning to scuba dive, and there are plenty of places where you can get your PADI licence.
Split Airport is the nearest one to Makarska, around 98km along the coast. It takes about 90 minutes to get there by taxi or private transfer. If you'd rather use public transport, you can hop onto a bus to Split and change there for a bus to Makarska. The bus station in Makarska is a 5-minute walk from the beach, and the town centre is the perfect size for wandering around on foot.