Immerse yourself in the breathtaking natural beauty of southern Dalmatia with a trip to Biokovo Nature Park. Commanding the landscape with its arresting presence, this natural wonder towers majestically over the Makarska Riviera. Admired for its dramatic vistas, varied scenery, and abundant biodiversity, this jewel of Croatia is an adventurer’s paradise.
Biokovo Nature Park: Park Features and Attractions
As one of the country’s largest nature parks, Biokovo stretches over an expansive 19,550 hectares. The pinnacle of the park – and indeed of the Biokovo Mountain range itself – is Sveti Jure, which stands tall at 1,762 meters. This park’s unique geography offers visitors unimaginable panoramic views of the nearby islands and resplendent Adriatic Sea below.
Among the park’s specialties is a rich array of endemic plants like the Biokovo bellflower. A standout landmark within the park is the famed Kotisina Botanical Garden, located a mere 3 kilometers from Makarska. The park’s territories also encompass Zabiokovlje, enhancing its ecological diversity.
Biokovo Nature Park: Geology
The geographic beauty of Biokovo Nature Park owes much to its rich geological history.
Its story started approximately 65 million years ago, towards the end of the Cretaceous era, when the African and Eurasian tectonic plates began to collide. This collision led to the creation of dramatic mountain ranges such as the Dinarides range, which Biokovo is a part of. Today, remnants of the ancient Tethys Ocean have formed the Mediterranean Sea we know today.
The park itself comprises mainly of Eocene Flysch sediments at the lower parts near the sea and carbonate sedimentary rocks at higher elevations.
Biokovo Nature Park: Vegetation
The park’s rugged geography cloaks a rather diverse ecosystem. Biokovo Nature Park boasts a fusion of ancient Mediterranean, Boreal, and new Central floral elements making it a botanist’s dream. From drypis spinosa and moltkia petraea to Dalmatian black pine and Aleppo pine, the floral variety is hugely impressive.
Biokovo Nature Park: Educational Trails and Attractions
For outdoor enthusiasts who appreciate knowledge alongside adventure, Biokovo Nature Park offers an array of enriching educational trails.
- Geological trail under Vikovik: Learn about limestone formation and geomorphological phenomena.
- Paths of Ancient Berulia: Unearth the history of old Berulije and its inhabitants amid the plush outdoors as you journey past key landmarks like the Church of Our Lady of Good Health and the historic property of St. Nikola.
- Kaoci Educational Trail: Walk through time in the rich forest vegetation of Kaoci, equipped with an amphitheatre, repurposed wells, and an educational information centre. This trail is a part of the larger ‘Forest Eye’ project aimed at mitigating risks of natural catastrophes and promoting sustainable use of resources
- Artillery Trail: Follow the remnants of the defence line during World War I and study the role of these strategic locations during various battles
- Geological Trail – Makar to Vošac: Delve into geological formations as you tackle one of the most popular hiking trails in the park
- The French Road over Brela: Travel the unfinished road that represents exceptional engineering efforts of the 19th century.
Biokovo Nature Park: Organised and Individual Hiking
At Biokovo Nature Park, there are trails for every ability and interest. Whether organised group hikes or individual paths of discovery are more your style, choose from the wide range of available hiking tours. Essential mountain-tourist maps are available at the park entrance to guide your journey.
Biokovo Nature Park: Hiking Trails
In choosing a trail, consider your primary interests, stamina, and experience. From easy climbs to more challenging treks, the park truly has something for everyone:
- Podgora/Srida Sela – Vrutak – Staza: An easy 2.5-hour climb
- Makarska – Makar – Kruška – Štrbina: A medium difficulty trail featuring Babina Vrklja and Sv. Jure, a 7-hour hike
- Makarska – Veliko Brdo/Baškovići – Miletin bor: A 5-hour medium difficulty route touching upon Lokva
- Brela Gornja/Subotišće – Sv. Nikola: A fairly easy route of 3 hours, culminating at Bukovac
- Biokovo Mountain Path: A more demanding, multi-day adventure for experienced hikers who want a more immersive experience.
Biokovo Nature Park: Practical Information and Tips for Visitors
Before you embark on your exciting journey to Biokovo Nature Park, here are a few practical tips and information to ensure a comfortable and safe visit.
- Opening Times: The nature park is open to visitors throughout the year. However, the best time to visit is from April to October when the weather condition is most favourable for hiking and other outdoor activities.
- Entry Fees: Entry into the park is chargeable. Please do check the official website for the most recent rates and discounts for groups or children.
- Hiking Essentials: Good quality and comfortable hiking boots are a must. Also bring along a hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, ample water and snacks for the trip.
- Weather: Weather in the mountains can change quickly. Regularly check the weather forecast before your visit and during your hike.
- Wildlife: Respect all wildlife in the park. Maintain a safe distance and never feed the animals.
- Safety: Although the park is generally safe, always follow clearly marked trails to avoid getting lost. If you’re hiking alone, let someone know your plan and expected return time.
- Guided Tours: Consider hiring a local guide if you’re less experienced with mountain hiking. This is also a fantastic way to learn more about the park.
Biokovo Nature Park: Conclusion
Biokovo Nature Park, with its extensive array of geological wonders, diverse flora, robust history and strategic layout, offers a unique experience that both enlightens and entertains. Whether it’s the enthralling views atop Sveti Jure or the insightful lessons induced by ancient Berulia— truly, nothing can surpass the wonder Biok ovo holds. Visitors are encouraged to take their time exploring the park, taking into account their physical ability, interests, and the adequate availability of resources for a safe and fulfilling trip.
We invite you to step into the great outdoors, be a part of the Biokovo experience, and immerse yourself in the grandeur of one of Croatia’s finest nature parks. Make memories, live the adventure, and most of all, respect the pristine environment that Biokovo Nature Park joyously embodies. Happy hiking!