Balkan Road Trip 2018 - Part 6 - Dubrovnik, City Walls & Mount Srd
Balkans Road Trip 2018 - Part 8 - Split, Diocletian's Palace & Hvar Island

Balkan Road Trip 2018 - Part 7- Makarska, Biokovo National Park & St Jure Chapel

Part 1. Part 2, Part 3. Part 4. Part 5. Part 6Part 8. Part 9 & Part 10.

After a lovely breakfast provided by Ivana on the terrace of our apartment, we checked out. Our next destination - 3 nights in Split. But before we got there we decided to visit Makarska, and Biokovo National Park. The drive from Dubrovnik towards Split takes you through 2 border crossings. This is because Bosnia and Herzegovina extends towards the coast to include the coastal town of Neum and a narrow strip of territory that separates and splits Croatia into two - with Cavtat and Dubrovnik in the south and the rest of the country to the north.


We decided to stop at Makarska, Croatia for lunch. We shared a salad and some pasta.


We ate outside and enjoyed the view.


After lunch we decided to explore the town. We found this amazing square.


With a stone church and a mountain behind it.


Kevin wanted to go to Biokovo National Park. We had read about this amazing road up the mountain to St Jure (George) Chapel. So we decided that we would do that. It is a little bit of a back track to get to the entrance of the park. It is 50 kuna per person to get in. They made us wait a little for a swarm of scooters who were coming down and out the park. And then the epic adventure began!

The roads up to St Jure Chapel are paved. But the road gets narrower and narrower the higher one gets.


As you can imagine it makes passing oncoming cars or scooters quite nail biting. In areas where the road was only a single car wide, you would need to take advantage of the occasional carve outs that would allow two cars to pass. If a carve out was not close by, you would have to reverse until you found one.


We were very glad that we had rented a small car.


We found the scenery amazingly stark and beautiful.


And rugged.




We kept thinking that we should be reaching the top soon, but the road continued up and up, winding and zig-zagging up the mountain. This photo gives the phrase "against the ropes" a new meaning!


We even saw cyclists attempting the route. What a climb!


 Eventually we got to the top, and found a parking spot in the sky.


We left our car and followed the path to St Jure. But not before looking back down to see part of the road we had to drive to get there.


And the views! Did I mention the views?


The path to the chapel is not far from the parking lot. Just follow the loop and the rope.


A chapel built on sky.


 The church of St. Jure is the highest church in Croatia (1,762 meters above sea level.) It is dedicated to St Jure who is supposed to have killed a dragon.


I certainly can imagine this country side being the hunting grounds of a dragon.


After the epic and nail biting drive coming up the mountain, we had to go back down. Luckily we had a perfect vantage point. We waited and watched for the arrival of three minivans (we didn't want to meet them on the way down the first section of switchbacks - backing would be a drag!), and then we were off - and down we went... (this photo looks like we are still going up!)


And down...


This drive to St Jure Chapel was one of the highlights of our entire trip. It is an amazing drive. But do make sure you have a small car, the roads are incredibly narrow! (Of course, if you are super fit - the bike ride looks like quite the work out!)

This excursion meant a wonderful sunset and arrival in Split around 7pm.