Croatia is a diverse country packed with a wide array of activities. In Croatia, you’ll be able to explore the ocean and climb high mountains all in the same day. After spending an ample amount of time in the Balkans, we found that the best hike in Croatia is Sveti Jure in Biokovo Nature Park.
Sveti Jure is the second tallest mountain in Croatia and the trek to the top is not for the faint of heart. But, if you can successfully reach the top of Biokovo Nature Park, you will be rewarded with the best views on the entire coast of Croatia.
Biokovo Nature Park Hikes
Biokovo Nature Park sits among the Biokovo Mountain Range in a small town called Makarska. Makarska is just south of Split, Croatia and can be reached by car in one hour.
This coastal mountain range is home to numerous hiking trails for people of all fitness levels. Exploring Biokovo Nature Park is one of the best things to do in Makarska and one of the best things to do in all of Croatia.
Hikes range in distance and difficulty. A few of the more popular hikes include Makarska to Vosac, Sveti Jure, and Kotišina.
Before exploring Biokovo Nature Park, we had heard that there was an entrance fee of 50 kunas. Perhaps it’s because we visited Biokovo Nature Park in the off-season (November), but we were never charged an entrance fee. In fact, we were the only hikers in the park.
Hiking Stats For Sveti Jure
Distance: Approximately 16 miles (25 km)
Elevation: 1,762 (5,780 ft)
Time on Trail: 7-10 hours
Sveti Jure is the second tallest mountain in Croatia and the tallest mountain in the Biokovo mountain range. Summiting this mountain is an amazing feat for any hiker due to its distance and intensity.
When attempting Sveti Jure, allow yourself 8-10 hours; this includes the trek to the summit and the return hike to Makarska. Hiking in the winter months poses another challenge because you’ll be limited on daylight. Start your hike early in the morning so you can complete the entire trail before sunset.
Hiking Map For Sveti Jure
The hike to Sveti Jure in Biokovo Nature Park begins in Makarska, a small port town on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. You’ll begin your hike by climbing up to Vosac Peak. From Vosac Peak, you’ll continue along the trail heading northeast.
The summit of Sveti Jure and your end destination will be approximately 8 miles from the trailhead in Makarska. Use the map above as a reference to where the trail takes you.
The Trailhead To Sveti Jure & Biokovo Hikes
We began our hike up to Sveti Jure in Biokovo Nature Park at the trailhead in Makar. Makar is a small neighborhood in Makarska that sits on the edge of the mountain.
The trail markers begin at Ivan Krstitelj, the church at the top of the hill. Use the link above and the map below to find the exact location of this church. The large parking lot can accommodate many cars and it’s free!
Hike Makarska To Vosac
The Church of St. Ivan Krstitelj can be seen even from the top of Vosac Peak, the first summit you will reach on the hike to Sveti Jure. As you start your trek up the ridge, follow any sign for “Vosac”.
You’ll experience switchbacks the entire way up to Vosac, which can be a bit daunting. This is the toughest part of the entire hike. The trail doesn’t let up until you reach the top of Vosac, meaning you’ll be hiking an incline for several hours.
Along the trail, you’ll experience a few “false summits” where you think you’ve reached the top of Vosac Peak, but you haven’t. Vosac is located on the very top of the saddle; you’ll know you’ve reached the top when you start to descend down the other side into the valley.
Hike Vosac To Sveti Jure
When you see the rock painted with “Vosac” and “Kotišina”, you’ve reached the top of the switchbacks. You should also be able to see the communication tower that sits on top of Sveti Jure at this point. This is where you’ll begin to descend. From this point on, the trail becomes much easier as you approach Biokovo Nature Park.
Pro-tip: Since the hike up to Vosac is the most difficult part of the trail and ultimately takes the longest amount of time, it’s important to note that you can drive up to Vosac if you want. This will significantly decrease the distance and difficulty of the Sveti Jure hike.
Pro-tip II: We found that the remainder of the hike was difficult to navigate. Use our description below to reach the summit of Sveti Jure in Biokovo Nature Park.
From the top of Vosac, descend into the valley where you’ll see a few buildings (there was construction happening when we arrived) and a dirt road. Continue to follow the trail markers (the red circles with white dots in the middle).
The dirt road might throw you off; it did for us! We weren’t sure where to go or if we were supposed to follow the road. Instead of following the dirt road, find the dirt trail that leads you north.
In the picture below, you’ll see the dirt trail with a red trail marker. There is also a sign hidden behind the tree at the start of this dirt trail. Follow the sign toward “Lokva”.
After taking this trail, you’ll come to another split. The trail to the left leads you to the buildings at the bottom of Vosac. The trail to the right leads you to Biokovo Nature Park and Sveti Jure. Take the trail to the right.
This trail will be rocky and grassy as you continue your trek toward the communication tower atop of Sveti Jure. Luckily, you’ll get a break from the grueling uphills; this path has a mix of steady uphills and downhills.
Another spot that confused us on our way to the top of Sveti Jure was the T in the trail shown in the picture below. The trail either leads east or west. We aren’t sure where the trail to the east leads, but we do know that the trail to the west is where you’ll want to go.
When you see a small wooden hut to your right, you’ll know you’re on the correct path (see picture below for reference). Unfortunately, there aren’t many signs to indicate where the trail to Sveti Jure leads, so use these markers to find your way. As long as you’re heading toward the communication tower, you should be able to find the right trail.
Continue on down this trail for a few more kilometers. This section of the hike contains a lot of forest walking and gentle hills. Soon, the larger mountains will appear and you’ll pass by a few Christian shrines along the trail.
When you reach the turnoff to the summit of Sveti Jure, you’ll have approximately one hour left of hiking. This turnoff is the main junction where many trails in Biokovo Nature Park meet. Don’t miss this turn or your hike will continue for hours and hours to no avail.
The remainder of the hike is primarily uphill. Follow the trail as it leads to the base of Sveti Jure before ascending to the summit. You’ll quickly meet up with the road that goes to the top of the mountain. This last push will be difficult but victory awaits at the end.
Note: during busy summer months, you may be able to find a ride back down to Makarska from other travelers. Since it is possible to drive to the top of Sveti Jure and Biokovo Nature Park, finding a ride would cut your hiking time in half. It might also save your knees from endless descending switchbacks!
What To Pack For Hikes In Biokovo Nature Park
Hiking Sveti Jure and any hike in Biokovo Nature Park requires proper preparation and packing the correct supplies. Below, I’ve included a list of things you’ll want to bring on this strenuous hike:
Any hydration pack will do. We recommend the Vibrelli Hydration Backpack. These are reasonably priced and high-quality backpacks, large enough to hold all of your hiking supplies.
2. Lots of water
There are no places along the trail to Sveti Jure or Biokovo Nature Park for refilling water bottles. Since this is a 16-mile hike, you’ll want to come fully prepared with several liters of drinking water.
Refuel your body with sandwiches, chocolate bars, and nuts. You can load up on food at the Lidl in Makarska. Lidl stores have incredible deals, similar to Aldi.
4. Rain jacket
The weather in the Balkans is unpredictable. A rain jacket is always necessary when hiking long distances. We bring our North Face Rain Jackets on every hike.
5. Extra clothing
We couldn’t believe the temperature difference from Makarska to the summit of Sveti Jure. We only wish we would’ve brought more clothing to wear at the top. Don’t make the same mistake we did!
Alternative Option: Sveti Jure By Bike Or Car
The summit of Sveti Jure and all of the Biokovo Nature Park hikes can be accessed by car and bike. The ride up to Sveti Jure is approximately 1.5 hours by car and a 30-kilometer bike ride. If you aren’t much of a hiker, these are great alternative options for exploring the area.
Where To Stay While Exploring Biokovo Nature Park
Biokovo Nature Park is easily accessible from the small coastal town, Makarska. Makarska is one of the most beautiful places in Croatia, so I highly recommend staying here while exploring the Biokovo Mountains.
We drove from Dubrovnik to Makarska in a rental car and had a blast exploring parts of Bosnia as well.
There are plenty of hotels and guesthouses in Makarska, however, we chose to stay in an Airbnb during our stay. This new two-bedroom apartment was in an excellent location with easy access to the Sveti Jure trailhead and Biokovo Nature Park hikes.
If you haven’t signed up for an Airbnb account, use this link and get $40 off your first booking!
The Wrap-Up: Biokovo Sveti Jure Hike
Exploring Biokovo Nature Park and summiting Sveti Jure, the second tallest mountain in Croatia, is one of the best adventures on the Croatian coast. Add the beautiful port city, Makarska, to your Croatian holiday itinerary. The hiking options in the Biokovo mountain range are unmatched by any other mountain range in Croatia.
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