National parks from Makarska Riviera are great idea for one day trip. Excursions from Makarska Riviera are the best way to get to know Dalmatia and in a short time discover its diversity and natural, historical and cultural richness. Regardless of where you are staying on the Makarska Riviera, many sights are very close and can be visited in one day, and for some you will need half a day, which is ideal for combining with swimming and other beach activities. The Makarska Riviera is perfectly positioned as a starting point for many other destinations, and this is a great advantage in the pre and post-season when the sea is cooler and the weather may be less suitable for the beach.
In addition to Makarska itself, which is the center of the Riviera, and which is worth a visit if you are staying in another place, it will seem to you that there is an endless list of destinations that you can visit through one-day trips. There are islands, mountains, adrenaline activities, wineries, nature and national parks, beaches, and beautiful cities. What should you choose?
It depends on what you are most interested in and how you have imagined your vacation. If you want to spend most of your time on the beach and in the sea, you will probably be more interested in trips to the islands and by boat. Half-day trips are also ideal for combining. And if you enjoy nature more and want to discover natural beauty and attractions for at least one day of your vacation, then national parks are an indispensable part of your itinerary.
Croatia has a total of eight national parks: Brijuni, Kornati, Krka, Mljet, Paklenica, Plitvice Lakes, Risnjak and Northern Velebit.
Excursions to national parks from Makarska Riviera put as many as three famous national parks at your fingertips, which you can visit in one day! In the rest of the text, we bring you the most important things about them, as well as instructions and suggestions on how to get there, what to see and where to take a break.
With some, it is possible to combine visits to other famous locations, so read to the end to help you decide which national park to include on your to-do list during your stay on the Makarska Riviera.
Krka National Park is located in Šibenik – Knin County and covers an area of 109 square kilometers. It is approximately a 2-hour drive from the Makarska Riviera.
The Krka River has 7 waterfalls that represent a natural karst phenomenon. In addition to the waterfalls, numerous other attractions are worth visiting, such as the islets of Visovac and Burnum, and during the visit, you have the opportunity to learn about the ethnographic wealth and way of life in the past.
The main attraction is Skradinski Buk, Roški waterfall, and Visovac islet.
The journey from Makarska Riviera takes approximately two hours. There are several options for visiting Krka National Park.
Organized tours to national parks from Makarska Riviera with a guide are all-day tours that start early in the morning, the price includes the entrance fee and guidance throughout the trip, and the tour usually does not include lunch or drinks.
Another option for an organized excursion allows you a bit more freedom. It is an organized transfer to and from your place of residence (the vehicle picks you up at the agreed pick-up point), you get all the necessary information and brochures, and when you arrive at the entrance of the national park you buy the tickets yourself, and the free time in the park is yours alone. In this way, you can adjust the sightseeing to yourself, and you have approximately 3-4 hours at your disposal. You can also have lunch inside the national park. One of the options that are especially suitable for families, groups of friends, or colleagues is a private trip, i.e. booking a vehicle just for you. In this option, you choose the time of departure from your apartment or hotel, the driver takes you to the national park and you agree with him on the time you will spend there. At the end of your sightseeing, the driver will wait for you at the agreed place.
In all these options, and considering the location of the national park, a visit to another city is also included. Most often it is Šibenik or Trogir, and you can also choose the private option. These are usually shorter stopovers of an hour or an hour and a half, during which you get to visit the city center and drink coffee or eat ice cream. In the private option, you can make the combination that suits you best or use it all the time only for the national park. If you decide on an option that does not include an organized guide, and you want someone expert to show you the national park and reveal its secrets, it is possible to book an expert guide only in the national park. The tour operator or your driver can do this for you.
If you are on vacation with your own car or have decided to rent a vehicle in order to get to know Dalmatia better and to visit national parks from Makarska Riviera, the journey from the Makarska Riviera is not difficult. When you leave your destination, join the A1 highway at the Zagvozd toll booth and drive in the direction of Zagreb to the exit marked Krka National Park. You can also choose to drive on local roads instead of the highway. It will take you a bit more time, but you will definitely enjoy the picturesque little places along the way and the scenery. In the vicinity of the Krka National Park, there is a wonderful town called Skradin, which is worth visiting. Bill Gates also likes it, and you can also have lunch there in one of the famous restaurants.
The ticket price for adults in the summer months (June, July, August and September) is €40.00 per person, and for children aged 7 to 18 the price is €28.00. In April, May and October, the price for adults is €20.00, and for children €15.00. In the winter months, the price is €7 or €4 for children. Children up to 7 years of age have free admission.
Tickets can be purchased online or at the entrances to the Krka National Park. There are 5 entrances, and visitors most often choose the Lozovac entrance or the Skradin entrance, from where you arrive at the national park by boat. Take care that there is a large free parking lot at the entrance to Lozovac, from which you can reach the park on foot or by minibus, and in Skradin you have to pay for parking. If you enter there, carefully check the boat’s timetable so that you can return on time.
The excursion from the Makarska Riviera to the Krka National Park is suitable for all ages and families with children. However, keep in mind that visiting the park requires a lot of walking. Also, people with mobility problems may have problems with it. It’s not impossible with help, but it’s a bit challenging.
If you are going in the summer months, dress comfortably and lightly and wear sturdy shoes. Swimming is prohibited in Krka National Park, so you don’t need any equipment for swimming there. If you go in the pre-season or off-season, consider that it can be a bit cooler by the waterfalls and on the river and that it is definitely a good idea to have a windbreaker or a warmer jacket.
Plitvice lakes are the largest and oldest national park in Croatia. They consist of 16 lakes of different sizes, and because of their beauty and uniqueness, they have been under UNESCO protection since 1979.
The drive from Makarska Riviera to the Plitvice National Park is slightly longer than the drive to Krka. It takes about 3 hours of driving, and you should also include (at least) one break for coffee and a snack.
There are no organized group trips to Plitvice with a guide, but there are tour organizers who, like for Krka, offer transport to Plitvice where you buy the ticket yourself and have free time to visit the national park and have lunch. Free time is approximately 3-4 hours, during which time you can see the most important attractions and eat. Another option is a private tour to Plitvice, for which you agree with your tour organizer on the time of departure, the duration of the tour of Plitvice, and whether you will have time for lunch in the park itself or at another destination.
You can get to Plitvice on your own or a rented car, and to save time it is better to use the A1 highway. There are secured parking spaces for visitors at Entrances 1 and 2, parking is paid at the exit. Until April 1, 2023. parking is free. If you are traveling on your own, we recommend visiting Rastoke and Jelena Valley Ranch.
Plitvice is certainly a good idea for a one-day trip, and many guests choose it as a destination they visit when returning home by car or as a place for a one-day rest before driving to the final sea destination.
Tickets for the Plitvice National Park can be purchased online, and when purchasing, you select the date and time of your visit and the entrance you wish to enter. The number of tickets per hour is limited and only if they are not sold online can they be bought at the entrances to the national park. In any case, it is better to buy and pay for your tickets in advance to avoid unnecessary waiting and possible disappointment. You don’t have to print the ticket, it’s enough to have it on your mobile phone. The ticket price includes transportation by electric boat and panoramic train. The ticket price for adults in the summer months (01.06.-30.09.) is €39.80, and for children from 7 to 18 years €15.90. In April, May and October, the price for adults is €23.50, and for children €6.50. In the winter months, the ticket for adults is €10.00, and for children €5.50. Children up to 7 years old do not pay admission. It is possible to buy a two-day ticket as well as a half-day ticket for entering the park after 4 p.m.
The beauty of the Plitvice Lakes is enjoyed by everyone, but it should be remembered that the drive from the Makarska Riviera is a bit longer and that in the national park, it is necessary to walk to see all the natural beauty.
Considering the longer driving and walking, make sure that your clothes are comfortable and that you can move easily in them, and that your shoes are sturdy and that they do not bother you for longer walks.
Plitvice is located further north than the Makarska Riviera and it is possible that the temperature is lower even in the summer months, which is great for refreshment, but keep a long sleeve handy, especially in spring and autumn.
Many guests who have been vacationing on the Makarska Riviera for many years have already visited Krka and Plitvice, some more than once, so they want to explore the other beauties of Croatia. Some are lovers of the sea and islands, so this is their most important wish. Be that as it may, if you are resting on the Makarska Riviera and have decided to visit the Mljet National Park, you could find yourself in front of a lack of the informations and the question of how to relly get there.
Mljet is the southernmost Croatian national park and covers the northwestern part of the island of the same name.
It has a unique panoramic view, and the Great and Small Lakes, the islet of St. Mary and the beautiful nature and charming small settlements will leave you breathless. You can get around on foot, but we recommend that you opt for a bicycle or electric bike to make the most of a day in Mljet. The island is for the most part quite flat, so you don’t have to worry if you are not in any physical shape. There is also the possibility to rent a kayak or canoe and thus discover the charms of the lake.
There are several options for getting from the Makarska Riviera to Mljet. It will be easiest if you happen to have a catamaran on the Makarska Mljet route during your stay. In that case, it will be enough to buy a ticket online or in one of the partner branches and board a comfortable catamaran from Veliki Mul in Makarska, which departs around 9:00 a.m. and arrives in Mljet around 11:15 a.m. This catamaran goes to Sobra, which is not part of the National Park, so you will need transport or a bicycle to get there.
Another option, also by catamaran, is to leave Split for Mljet. You need to get up early to get on board, but you arrive directly in Pomena, where the entrance to the national park is. Both catamarans from Mljet return in the afternoon.
If you want more freedom and flexibility, you can also get to Mljet by fast boat. There is currently no organized excursion on offer, but you can rent a boat with a skipper that will take you to Mljet. When renting a boat, it’s worth knowing that you pay a fixed rent and a skipper, and fuel is paid based on consumption. When arranging a trip, be sure to check the cost of fuel for a trip to Mljet.
You can also get to Mljet by car, your own or a rented one. In that case, you should drive to Ploče, get on the ferry to Pelješac, and from Pelješac, more precisely from the town of Trpanj, drive to Prapratno from where the ferry goes to Mljet. You can also go by car to Prapratno (with a visit to Ston!), and then to the ferry to Mljet.
In both variants, be sure to check the timetable of the ferries in advance, but also take into account that in the seasons there may be congestion on the roads and in the ferry ports themselves.
In the summer months, the ticket for adults costs €20.00, and for children aged 8 to 18, the price is €6. These prices are valid for buying tickets online! If you buy it at the entrance to the national park, the prices are €25.00, or €8. Additionally, the return ticket for the boat to the island of St. Mary costs €5.00. Children up to 7 years old do not pay a ticket.
This is a trip for lovers of nature, peace, and quiet. An ideal day for those who like cycling or hiking and untouched nature. It is great for couples, families, and groups of friends.
If you go to Mljet in the summer months, swimming equipment and a beach towel are mandatory. For other clothes, it is important that they are comfortable, and that the shoes are such that you can walk and ride a bike in them. Don’t forget sunscreen, a visor or hat, and enough water.
This was our short guide to the 3 national parks that are closest to you from the Makarska Riviera. Each of them is magical and special in its way, and each has its loyal fans.
Which one are you planning to visit?