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Makarska

Makarska is a quaint town about 30 miles south of the much larger city of Split located on the Adriatic Sea in southern Croatia.  The city is beginning to be a more popular area to visit which features amazing views of mountains that drop of quickly to the blue waters of the sea.  With a small population of around 15,000 people the town thrives on tourists looking for a laid back time relaxing in the water or on the course beaches.  It is a hub to take a boat ride to visit the local islands.  There are many small inns that serve as a starting point for adventures into the mountains or out on the water.

Safety Warning

DISCLAIMER: This info is from personal experience.  There are many risks associated with paragliding which can change dramatically in a short amount of time based on weather and where you choose to fly.  Paragliding Makarska is for experienced pilots.  There is not a guide or school in the area.  I am not responsible for your poor decisions.  If you are in doubt, go parasailing which requires no knowledge or experience.

Getting There

There are many buses that travel throughout major cities in Croatia.  It is likely your best bet as they run continuously.  You can take a boat from Italy to Split and bus down from there.  If you have a car, you can of course drive which is a good idea because you will need transportation to reach the launches.



Launches

There are two main launches that can be used.  Both of which can be seen on the map above.  Each of them are in the Biokovo nature park.  You must pay the entry fee for the park to use either site although only the Przinovac launch is located beyond the main guarded gate.  It is also necessary to register with the Flight Operator.

You can contact the Flight Operator before your trip with the following information:

Paragliding club "Edel" - Makarska
Obala kralja Tomislava 27, Makarska
Mob.: +385 (0)98 732 110
E-mail: matko.benkovic@st.t-com.hr

The flight manager on the runway Matko Benković.

Przinovac

Przinovac is located at 1300 meters above sea level and is the higher of the two launches.  You will need to park at the location on the map and hike your gear in over a rocky trail.  It is a decent drive to get there taking approximately 45 minutes to get there from Makarska.  The road is high, narrow and not for the faint of heart.  Once you get to the launch site it is absolutely beautiful.  You will be greeted with a wonderful view of Makarska from above along with the fabulous blue waters stretching for as far as you can see.  The launch is a wide open area with no obstacles other than the large rocks that cover the landscape.  Make sure you wear some solid shoes to avoid twisting an ankle while you are getting your paraglider airborne.

 Here is a video of a full length POV flight from the Przinovac launch.

 

 

Miletin Bor

Miletin Bor is a paraglider launch to the northeast of the landing area.  You can get there much quicker in only about 20 minutes.  The road is not as well maintained and is rocky twisty and narrow.  Only one car can fit at a time so you may have to pull way off to the side to let other traffic go by.  Luckily, there is not much traffic on this road.  Again, you can see the exact site on the map above.  This launch is much tighter and steep with obstacles present.  You must lay your glider across the road and run straight down a loose gravel launch to get going.  If thermic conditions are present you will quickly find the thermals across the flat plain straight in front on the launch.  When no thermals are present you will have to quickly decide to go straight towards the landing area to make it over the plateau below the launch.  

Here is a much shorter video that you can see both launches from a POV camera as well as watching others launch.

 

 

Remember, according to local flight rules, ridge soaring is prohibited.


Landing

The landing area is not large, in fact, it is quite small.  Make sure to visit the area before flying so you have a good idea of the best routes for the approach.  The wind is generally light but it will be coming from either the north or the south.  Plan your approach accordingly and arrive with plenty of altitude to adjust the plan if need be.  The emergency landing can be found at the Makarska Sports Center and should only be used in an emergency.  One bonus to landing on the beach is the local small bars that you can enjoy a beer while reliving the journey from above.



Have fun.  Be safe.  Share your trips and tips in the comments below!


Helpful Links

Makarska Paragliding Weather

National Geographic Traveler: Croatia 

Lonely Planet Croatia (Travel Guide)

Thermal Flying