Right on the coast the mountain Biokovo rises to the highest peak Sveti Jure at 1762 meters and is part of the mountain range of the Dinarides. The Nature Park covers an area of 19,550 hectares. It is located in the southern part of Croatia, in Split-Dalmatia County, and includes the areas of towns of Makarska and Vrgorac, and municipalities Brela, Baška Voda, Tučepi, Podgora, Zagvozd, Zadvarje and Šestanovac.
The mountain Biokovo, from the pass Dubci near Brelo to the pass Stupica above Gornje Igrane, in 1981 was declared a nature park. The unique geomorphology, distinctive beauty of the landscape and the extraordinary biodiversity were crucial for its declaration.
Biokovo is part of the mountain range of the Dinarides and, as such, has the direction of the north west-south east. The composition of the lower parts towards the sea and across the hinterland side consist of predominantly Eocene flysch deposits, while the higher parts are formed in Mesozoic carbonate sedimentary rocks. The foot of the central part of Biokovo is a slightly tilted plateau, which rises from the sea to a height of about 300 m, and given that it is formed mainly in flysch sediments, it is fertile and green.
This “green belt” is continued by the most impressive part of the rocks that rise to a height of about 1000 m and as a facade enclosing Zagora from the coastal area. On top of these cliffs there is a region that has the shape of undulating plateau, it is wide about 3-4 km: it is characterized by a richly developed karst relief – sinkholes, cracks, oysters, caves, ice caves and of which are the deepest Mokre noge (wet feet) (-832) – fourth deepest in Croatia and Amphora (-788) – the fifth deepest in Croatia.
In the caves and pits of Biokovo numerous fossils from younger geological periods were discovered. At the pass Dubci, the most important finding of multilayer fossiliferous bone breccias was discovered, and it was formed by the tectonic contact between the Upper Cretaceous limestone and Eocene flysch marl. By the paleontological analysis of animal bones and teeth collected from breccias, it was found that the faun community from the site Dubci consists of 29 fauna elements, making it the richest faun community in Dinaric karst area.
Plant life of Biokovo is extremely interesting and rich. Diverse forms of vegetation are present, ranging from the Mediterranean to the mountain ones. So far it was recorded more than 1,500 vascular plant species, of which a significant number are those of endemic species and relics. The fauna of Biokovo, although still insufficiently researched, is special and diverse, but also has numerous endemic and tertiary relics. Underground fauna of Biokovo is especially interesting; among more than 120 cave organisms, even more than half of them are endemic species, of which 25 species are found only on Biokovo.
In the area of the Nature Park Biokovo there are numerous signs that indicate the former co-existence of the man with the mountain, as well as the remains of religious buildings (churches, chapels, etc.), some of which are well preserved. Numerous archaeological finds, prehistoric mounds, tombstones, remnants of Napoleon’s road, memorial plaques, shepherds lodges witness to the history of this area with a rich cultural heritage, and of the life of past times, the customs and ways of the population to adapt to the harsh living conditions on this beautiful and brutal mountain.
Within the park there is Biokovo Botanical Garden Kotišina of the surface of 16.5 hectares where in one place wild plant species from the narrower and wider areas of Biokovo can be seen. Individual and organized hiking is available in the Park, thanks to the network of 19 hiking trails, from which stretch lookouts with beautiful views: Sveti Jure on 1762 m, Vošac on 1422 m, Štrbina at 1338 m, Ravna vlaška 1228 m, Staza 897 m. In addition to hiking, there are two educational paths “pod Vidovikom” (“under Vidovik”) “Putovima drevne Berulije” (“Down the Paths of Ancient Berulia”) and five hiking trails: Brela, Baška Voda, Makarska, Tučepi i Podgora and Podgora. For cycling asphalt Biokovo road is intended, in the length of 23 km from the entrance to the park to the highest peak of St. Jura – 1762 m above sea level, with particular caution as the road has only one lane and that it is used during the tourist season by an increased number of cars, a van-buses and motorcycles. Dirt road Staza-Saranač 8 km long, as well as fire roads within the Park and in the contact zones are suitable for mountain biking. In the Park there is also an airfield “Biokovo” intended for free flying and paragliding.
The main road entrance in the Park is in the vicinity of city Makarska (around 30 km), centre of Makarska coast, which can be reached by car or bus.
The closest railway station is in Split, and the closest airports are Split and Dubrovnik. Split and Dubrovnik are also connected with Italy, with boat lines Split – Ancona and Dubrovnik – Bari. The distance of Makarska from the main centers in Croatia is: Split 59 km, Šibenik 124 km, Zadar 186 km, Rijeka 372 km, Zagreb 480 km.
The main road entrance to the Nature Park Biokovo can be reached from direction:
Makarska – after turning left from the Adriatic main road (at the exit from the city) on the state road Makarska – Vrgorac (6 km),
Dubrovnik – by the Adriatic main road to the crossroads on the entrance to Makarska, where it should be turned on right on the state road Makarska – Vrgorac (151 km) and
Vrgorac – by a state road Vrgorac – Makarska (35 km).
From the entrance reception of the Parka (365 m above sea level), to the highest peak of Biokovo – Sv. Jura (1762 m above sea level), the road of Biokovo is used, which is also the highest road in the Republic of Croatia. It is 23 km long, and given that it has only one lane with expansions at around 300 m and has all the characteristics of mountain road, it implies specific driving conditions and drivers use it on their personal responsibility.