8 Stunning Beaches on the Makarska Riviera

Written by Meagan Drillinger
Jun 23, 2023

Author Meagan Drillinger drove the Makarska Riviera as part of her month-long adventure in Croatia in May 2023.

The Makarska Riviera is a long, winding stretch of 60 stunning kilometers down Croatia's Dalmatian Coast. Beginning in the village of Brela and running down to Gradac, north of Dubrovnik, this epic coastal route is marked by endless bays and coves, spectacular Biokovo Mountains, and lush, Mediterranean forest.

Author Meagan Drillinger on Punta Rata Beach
Author Meagan Drillinger on Punta Rata Beach | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

But the main reason visitors come to the Makarska Riviera is to visit its beaches. I drove the entire route on my journey from Split to Dubrovnik. I knew certain beaches were an absolute must, like Punta Rata in Brela and Nikolina Beach in Baska Voda. These beaches are frequently regarded as the best beaches in Makarska.

But half of the fun of a Makarska Riviera road trip is to let the road take you where it's going to go and to discover beaches all your own. With a sense of adventure and a loose plan, this led me to beaches like Loznica Beach and Slatina Beach, two stunning slices of white-stone coast with epically clear and beautiful water.

Some beaches are packed with amenities and located close to downtown, while others require a little extra legwork to reach — such as Vruja Beach which is, quite literally, a hike down a steep hill.

But no matter what beach vibe you're chasing, Makarska is carved with coves that will surely appease every type of beach lover.

Read on to discover the best beaches in the Makarska Riviera.

1. Punta Rata

Punta Rata and mountains in the distance
Punta Rata and mountains in the distance | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

Punta Rata is a perfect example of an ideal Croatian beach. The color palette alone sets the scene. Think bright turquoise, shimmering whites and silvers, deep greens, and pinkish reds. Located within the village of Brela, this beach is consistently mentioned as one of the best beaches in the Makarska Riviera.

One look and it will be easy to see why. It was certainly my favorite beach in an area that is over-saturated with beautiful beaches. The iridescent white pebbles along the beach gleam like pearls and make the dreamy, blue water positively pop. The beach has two sections of shoreline on either side of a skinny point. In both directions, you'll have views of the craggy mountains sloping off as far as the eye can see.

Behind the beach is a tree-covered walking path that hugs the shoreline and leads to other beaches in the area, but none is quite as beautiful or as popular as Punta Rata.

The beach area has a few restaurants and coffee shops but I recommend Restaurant Punta Rata. It's located directly before the entrance to the beach and has a nice menu of seafood and regional specialties. The service is very friendly and they offer free Wi-Fi.

Address: Trg Alojzija Stepinca 80, 21322, Brela

2. Nikolina Beach

Nikolina Beach
Nikolina Beach | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

The energy at Nikolina Beach is palpable. This is a true Riviera-style town and one of the top vacation destinations along the Makarska Riviera. Located in the town of Baska Voda, this beach is the star of the show and the "it" spot for the entire town.

Simply put, this beach is fun, and the energy is contagious. The vibe here is outgoing, bubbly, and energetic — everything you'd want from a beach right in the heart of town. The road that backs the beach is lined with hotels and restaurants. The beach itself is long and curves around a beautiful bay directly in front of the town.

The shoreline here is made up of fine, white pebbles. The water is blue and clear, and you have views of lush, tree-covered mountains that fade off into the endless crisp blue sky. You can also see the rooftops and buildings of the nearby Riviera towns in the distance.

Because the area has so many hotels and restaurants, the beach has plenty of options for sun bed rentals, as well as showers and bathrooms. If you want to find a spot of shade, you'll find trees along the back end of the beach, which are perfect for providing a break from the sun.

The waterfront promenade, flanked by palm trees, is a big center for activity. You'll find people strolling along the water, jogging, taking pictures with family, or simply sitting on one of the beaches and having a sandwich, watching the buzzy scene go by.

Address: Obala Sv. Nikole, 21320, Baška Voda

3. Makarska Beach

Makarska Beach
Makarska Beach | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

Makarska Beach is located in the main town of Makarska and, similar to Nikolina Beach, is also the highlight of the village. Backed by a long walking promenade lined with restaurants and water sports rental shops, Makarska Beach is where you'll find everyone hanging out on a beautiful spring or summer day.

The beach wraps around Donja Luka Bay and, though the beach itself is narrow, it stretches for more than a kilometer. You can walk along the beach to reach Old Town. It is also backed by a row of trees that provide ample shade on those blazingly hot days. Like other beaches along the Makarska Riviera, Makarska Beach rewards with splendid views of the mountains in every direction.

Water sports are popular at this beach, like pedal boats or inflatable water parks, which spring up during the summer season.

Makarska Old Town is definitely worth a visit. This beautiful village gives the entire area its name, and it will be easy to see why. The medieval town is known for its narrow, stone alleys, broad squares, historic architecture, and outdoor markets. If you have a moment, stand on the waterfront promenade and look back at the skyline of Old Town, with the impressive Mount Biokovo looming overhead.

Address: Šetalište Dr. Franje Tuđmana 11, 21300, Makarska

4. Vruja Beach

View over Vruja Beach
View over Vruja Beach | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

While Brela is the official first stop along the Makarska Riviera, its beautiful beaches technically begin a little bit earlier. As you are driving down D8 towards Brela, you may notice cars pulled off to the side of the highway and people standing taking pictures. What they're photographing is Vruja Beach (and the remarkable scenery that surrounds it).

One of the best beaches in Makarska, this hidden gem is a bit tricky to reach, but worth the effort. It's tucked at the base of a towering mountain on the side of a highway, with a zig-zagging dirt road that winds its way down to the shoreline. The catch? You need to walk down on foot and the walk back up is not pleasant, especially in the summer months.

If you do decide to make the journey down, you'll be rewarded with epic views of the mountains and a wildly rugged, crystal-clear beach. You also may have the place nearly to yourself.

This beach is worth it if you have some time to kill. It's definitely a hike to get there. If you are short on time, I recommend stopping for the photo op at the top of the hill and continuing on to other beaches that are more accessible.

5. Dracevac Beach

Dracevac Beach
Dracevac Beach | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

As you drive down the Makarska Riviera and pass through the town of Tucepi, you'll be approaching the entrance to another beautiful beach — Dracevac Beach. Parking for this beach is along the side of the road. You'll see other cars lined up at the pull-out. From there, it's a quick walk down the hill to the bone-white pebble shoreline and bright turquoise water.

One thing to note about Dracevac Beach is that it is an FKK Beach, which stands for "frei-körper-kultur," which is essentially German for "nude beach." The beach is a bit outside of town and tucked behind a hill, away from the road, which is why it's such a popular spot for those who do, indeed, want a bit more privacy.

Whether you're interested in baring all or not, one thing is true — the beach is beautiful. Picture pearl-shaped white pebbles, endless mountain views, and a clear, clean, and calm sea. By no means is it a requirement to don the dress code, either (or lack thereof). Plenty of people at this beach were in their swimsuits and hanging out for peace and quiet.

Address: D8 36, 21325, Tučepi

6. Loznica Beach

Loznica Beach
Loznica Beach | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

Down the coast from Punta Rata is another beautiful Brela beach. Loznica Beach is another sun-drenched stretch of white rock and pebbles that slowly slope into a calm pool of turquoise. Note: About 5 meters from the shore, the seafloor drops quickly.

Mountains stretch out in the distance with a trail of green forest that creeps up the limestone slopes, and white houses with red tile roofs can be seen dotting the hillsides. Truly the quintessential Croatian backdrop.

People playing on Loznica Beach
People playing on Loznica Beach | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

The beach itself is not as broad as other beaches, but it's a very quiet spot and does not see as much foot traffic as other beaches in the area. The beach also has showers and sun beds. You can perch on the white rock jetty that sticks out into the calm cove, which I would highly recommend. This is the best seat in the house for sunbathing and views of the stunning mountains.

If you're feeling hungry, Puz Restaurant is just a few steps from the beach. This spot is a true local favorite and serves deliciously fresh pasta with seafood, salads, pizzas, and dessert. Go at sunset for the best views of the orange glow setting fire to the turquoise sea.

Address: Frankopanska, 21322, Brela, Croatia

7. Slatina Beach

Slatina Beach
Slatina Beach | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

Between the towns of Makarska and Tucepi, Slatina Beach is a lovely white stone beach with a string of fluffy pine trees and stunning blue water. The beach is at the base of a hill with a road that zig-zags down from the main highway to reach the shoreline. It's one of Croatia's many Blue Flag beaches, as well.

All along the waterfront is a promenade with small shops and restaurants. The beach itself stretches for a lengthy four kilometers, with views of the mountains in every direction. Keep your eyes peeled for Mount Biokovo — it will be tough to miss this beacon that looms over Tucepi and is a constant presence along the entire drive down the coastline.

This is one of the most popular beaches in Tucepi, but the town has many other beautiful beaches to explore, too, like Kraljev Gaj Beach, which is a quick walk north along the promenade. Tucepi Beach is the main beach in town and has lots of cafes and restaurants.

8. Drasnice Beach

Drasnice Beach
Drasnice Beach | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

At the base of Mount Biokovo, Drasnice Beach is another locally loved stretch of sand that is light on tourists but big on views. Staring out to sea from the shoreline, on your right you'll have splendid mountain views, while out in the distance you can see the islands of Hvar and Brač.

The wide bay is very calm and quiet, with a shoreline made up of fine white and brown pebbles. The water is clean and clear, and trees provide plenty of shade. Trees may be the only amenities, though. You'll have to bring your own snacks and beach chairs. It does have free parking, though.

Not far from the beach is the actual town of Drasnice. This seaside village sits in the shadow of the mountains and dates back at least until the 16th century. Today it's a thriving beach town with plenty of opportunities for watersports, like waterskiing, jet-ski, parasailing, and getting lost in nature.