Ahh, Biokovo. The giant wall that separates Makarska Riviera from Dalmatian Inlands. The second highest mountain in Croatia, from which you can even see Italy, nearly 250 kilometers away. It's impressive and mystical, no matter from which side you look at it. The mountain stretches all the way from Dubci and Vruja area on the west, down the coast, above Makarska, and further down south all the way to Gradac.
It is unique in its geomorphology and incredibly rich in flora and fauna, and therefore was pronunced a Nature Park in 1981. This accomplishment is mostly attributed to fra Jure Radic, a franciscan monk from Makarska, who also established the Botanical Garden in Kotisina, and the Malacological Museum in Makarska. Biokovo mountain boasts in more than 40 endemic species, with Biokovo bellflower (Latin: Edraianthus pumilio) being the probably best known one. It is a home to all kinds of animal life as well, with chamois (Latin: Rupicapra Rupicapra) being its trademark, ever since it was first brought into the higher mountain areas in the 1960s, where it found a perfect home.
From the very beginning, the mountain offered home and refuge to the Dalmatian people. It was (and still is) a bringer of life, with massive peaks and numerous valleys that give chance to cultivate plants and livestock. The life in the mountain has always been harsh, but it gives plenty back. Biokovo potato is still considered a delicacy, not to mention game, prosciutto or cheese from Dalmatian Busa indigenous cow breed.
Today, Biokovo attracts tourists as much as it does locals. The mountain road that leads to St George (Croatian: Sv Jure) is the hightest road in Croatia, and it ends at 1762 meters above the sea level. Beware, the road is not for the fainthearted, as it is a very narrow and steep two-way road. In some places, you won't be able to pass a car coming your way, and you'll have to back down (or up) to the nearest passing spot.
That's why it's best to leave the driving to the professionals. Many agencies in Makarska Riviera offer different tours of the mountain, so while the driver is constantly looking at the road, you can try and spot a chamois or a wild horse, or simply enjoy the view.
The Nature Park Biokovo area stretches both across the south and north end of the mountain and covers some of its most important spots. Make sure you visit the Adrion Presentation Center before hitting the road. The well-informed staff will give you all the neccessary info and make sure that everything goes as planned. Biokovo is one of the most beautiful and most unforgiving mountains in Croatia. Going up the mountain at high noon, buzzed from that cocktail you had on the beach, or in flipflops is not advised. So if you don't want to become a part of the dark statistics, make sure you are well prepares. Oh, and when you're up there, stay still and quiet for a moment or two – you just might spot the dragons and hear the song of fairies that guard this extraordinary mountain!