Europe's Other Riviera

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September 10th 2021
Published: September 18th 2021
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Croatian Island Hopping

Arrive Split, round trip bus to Makarska, ferries to Bol, Hvar, Korčula, and Dubrovnik then a bus to Kotor in Montenegro


View descending just below Vošač. Brač Island upper right.
There is another European "Riviera" in Croatia starting about an hour south of Split and centered around Makarska. I stopped there not to schmooze but to tackle the second highest peak in Croatia, Sveti Jure, at 1752m located in Biokovo National Park. And the vertical gain was almost the entire height of the massif since I would be starting only a bit above sea level so it was going to be a bit tough especially with the heat.

First stop was the park office which was closed but fortunately the tourist office in the same building was open and I was able to procure a pretty good park trail map. Also, I was told the one way hike from Sveti Ivan (a small church in the village of Makar a bit above Makarska) would take me 7 hours. I found that difficult to believe but left the apartment at 05:35 so by first light at 06:00 I would reach the start of the trail in Makar.

At the trailhead a park sign said the hike would take oy 5 hours one way so I was feeling a bit better about being able to get back to Split before it
Sveti JureSveti JureSveti Jure

a.k.a, Saint George
was too late. The trail was in good shape and shielded from the sun for the steepest part and I made really good time to the base of Vošač peak by 07:50. I did not tag that peak even though the views were reportedly great as I wanted to reach the objective and hit Vošač on the return if there were time. From there the trail was more or less flat along the plateau and I blazed to Sveti Jure by 09:50.

Did not dawdle on the "summit" as it is a communications tower and the true summit is prohibited so I made it back to Vošač by 11:40. Even though I had plenty of time I did not tag the peak as it had gotten very cloudy around the summit and there were good, unobscured views down the trail on the way back to Makar. Reached Sveti Ivan at 13:25 and just caught the 14:00 bus back to Split.

$US ≈ 6.4Kn (Croatian kuna)


With the direct Makarska-Bol boat not in service this summer it was more or less obligatory to spend a night here to tackle Sveti Jure.

Accommodation and food Got
Vošač From the PlateauVošač From the PlateauVošač From the Plateau

Mountain refuges closed this year.
a last minute deal at Makarska Apartments M&I. Never met M or I but it was a small, clean efficiency with a bathroom for €22 or 166Kn. Grabbed a 41Kn margherita pizza at Domina near the bus terminal which was big enough for a late lunch and dinner. Also in the vicinity is Palma bakery where I bought a double espresso (which I chilled in my apt fridge) and a croissant for a pre-hike brekky and a cheese burek that I would take on the trail along with a couple of Clif bars for lunch. The bakery total ran 40Kn for the 3 items.

Transport Bus to and from Split was 55Kn each way, 5Kn of which is a terminal tax avoided by buying the ticket directly from the driver. There were a lot of people milling about and I did not want to take the chance of that bus selling out so I bought the ticket before boarding.


Center of all manner of transport in Dalmatia... international airport, buses to all corners of Croatia, train station, and ferries to several islands as well as Italy. Aside from Diocleatians Palace, not much to keep the traveler
Sveti Ivan Church, MakarSveti Ivan Church, MakarSveti Ivan Church, Makar

Vošač up high.
here for more than a couple of days. I had 3 days, mostly chillaxin' after the long trip from Seattle via Frankfurt.

Accommodation and food Emasculating name aside, Backpackers Fairytale Hostel is an OK place to stay in Split. I paid 430Kn including the increasingly annoying city tax for a 4 person dorm with AC. The hostel's main drawback is being on the 5th floor with no elevator. Nearby is Fast Food Gricko serving the ex-Yugoslavia national food, ćevapi, for 27Kn. St. Burek prepares the other national dish, big meat or cheese bureks for 13Kn. Best place was Restoran Index, like a USSR stolovaya, cafeteria style but pretty, pretty good and cheap, 35-40Kn for a substantial meal. Great public market between the hostel and the water but many sellers pack up by 14:00.

Transport Jadrolinija catamaran to Bol was 55Kn, took an hour. Continuing from Bol to Hvar also with Jadrolinija was 100Kn even though that was also an hour. Croatia Airlines runs buses between SPU and the terminal every 20 minutes for most of the day. Unlike intercity buses, no fee for baggage in the hold.


Famous for Zlatni Rat beach and the highest
Mountain GoatMountain GoatMountain Goat

Biokovo NP on the ascent to Sveti Jure. Saw a small herd of about 7.
mountain of all the Adriatic Islands, Vidova Gora 781m. One day is enough for both. I left the hostel in Bol at 06:17, reached the summit at 07:45 and was back in Bol at 09:20. Plenty of time to pack up, grab yet another burek for breakfast, hit the beach, and catch the 16:45 boat to Hvar.

Accommodation and food Only one backpacker option, White House Hostel. 6 person dorm (but only 3 of us) was 160Kn, kind of pricey. Arguola Fast Food serves a HUGE burgers with fries for 45Kn while Pekara Bol bureks go for 16Kn, assorted pastries 10Kn and up. Good Kozum market by the water and they take credit cards (many places in Croatia do not).

Transport Boats to Hvar, Split, Dubrovnik, etc. Prices and times vary with the different companies. Limited bus services on the island, mostly to Supetar. There is a slightly complicated bus/ferry route to Makarska via Sumartin that I wanted to do in reverse but it is not possible without a night in Sumartin. It was better to go back to Split.


Still party season here but not for me. The main objective was Sveti Nikola, the
Summit of Vidova GoraSummit of Vidova GoraSummit of Vidova Gora

Zlatni Rat just visible over my right shoulder.
island high point at 626m above the difficult to reach wine making village of Sveta Nedjelja. I took the bus from Hvar town to Dubovica beach leaving 08:20, arriving 08:40. Ticket was 19Kn. I hiked down to the beach where there was an obvious trail along the coast just above the water which was an unexpected surprise. At some point the trail ascended back to the road as it got cliffed out. I probably walked about 2 kms on the dusty road before cadging a lift the last couple-three kms to Sv Nedjelja which had the overpowering aroma of wine since it was harvest season.

Started the hike at 09:50 and made it to the cave below the summit at 10:15. Cooled off a bit there then trudged the last bit to the summit, arriving 11:10. The plan was to walk down to Stari Grad while trying to hitch but the only other people on the road were bicyclists heading uphill mid-day in the scorching sun. Got to tiny Stari Grad at 13:00 where there was a Studenac grocery for a late lunch chased down with a liter of very muy importante OJ for rehydration and electrolyte replacement. There
Zlatni Rat BeachZlatni Rat BeachZlatni Rat Beach

Means Golden Horn. Vidova Gora in the distance.
was a 14:30 bus back to Hvar, 27Kn. Really good trip.

Accommodation and food Got a great deal at Rooms Hvar, ~$70 for 3 nights in a small private room with AC and share bath, no kitchen but there is a fridge and kettle. Great WiFi so I could watch the New England Patriots lose their first game with Tom Brady's heir apparent, Mac Jones. I somehow managed to cobble together breakfasts and lunches from the Konzum market but took a couple quick meals at Gustico close to my crash pad.

Transport Krilo boats to Korčula depart twice a day, early and late. I took the 08:50 boat for 110Kn arriving 10:00. The late boat is 70Kn. Also a Jadrolinija boat.


After Hvar it was nice to stay in a small town with few people. Tried to tag the highest point on the island, Klupca, but the trail (an old overgrown road) was completely unmaintained and very rough. I gave it a shot but bailed after thrashing around for 20 minutes or so.

Accommodation and food Hostel Korčula could not be better situated right inside the city's walls. 2 nights in a 6 person

Can just make out Vidova Gora in the distance.
dorm was ~$42 including the city tax. There's a small but adequate kitchen that I used to fry up some fish I bought at the nearby fish market by the ferry dock. Didn't hit a single restaurant during my short stay.

Transport TP Line catamaran to Dubrovnik left at 07:30, arrived 09:35 after a very bumpy ride. 90Kn is a steal for the 2 hour trip. Other companies boats leave later and cost more. Local buses run to Lumbarda, Vela Luka, et al, every hour or so. I didn't stay in Dubrovnik, caught a bus to Kotor, Montenegro. Spent the day relaxing as the frenetic pace of the first 12 days of this trip has caught up to me.

Additional photos below
Photos: 14, Displayed: 14


19th September 2021

Traveling again!
Hi, it's nice to see a post from you traveling again. Bill and I haven't been able to go anywhere these past 18 months, but we are itching to go. Our last trip was to the Pyranees where we were able to rent a small cabin right on the boarder of France and Spain for a month. We hiked just about every day and managed to see a day of the Tour de France circus. Bill is retiring at the end of the year, so we hope to take off to Australia for a few months. Thanks for sharing your photo's, looks like you are having fun.

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