altThe strip of coast immediately south of Makarska is one of the most intensively developed in Croatia, reminiscent of the Spanish costas in the number of hotels and apartment blocks that straggle along the coast. Tučepi and Podgora, a few kilometres south of Makarska, are fairly typical, with nice beaches backed by a soulless straggle of holiday homes and hotels. Podgora is the more characterful of the two, if only because it retains a still-functioning fleet of trawlers (fishing on an industrial scale has disappeared almost everywhere else in southern Dalmatia), many of which turn themselves into tourist excursion boats in summer.
The next cluster of resorts begins with the small, unremarkable port of Drvenik, 15km past Drasnice. It's really two settlements separated by a small headland - Donja Vala to the north, and Gornja Vala to the south - each of which has a pebble beach. There's a tourist office in Donja Vala (Mon-Sat 8am-noon & 5-7pm, Sun 8am-noon) with rooms. Four kilometres further on is the quiet and charming village of ZAOSTROG, built around a sixteenth-century Franciscan monastery (Frarjevači samostan), with a simple, plant-filled cloister and a small museum (daily 4.30-7.30pm) displaying church silver and traditional agricultural implements. There's a long beach in front of the monastery, and the path leading north out of Zaostrog back towards Drvenik leads past some attractive rocky coves. Zaostrog has two campsites, the slightly scruffy Viter at the centre of the village, and the more attractive Uvala Borova site occupying pine-shaded terraces about 1500m to the south. The Makarska Riviera peters out at Gradac, 8km beyond Zaostrog, a frumpy but inoffensive little town with a shingle beach on each side of the central church-topped peninsula. -Specializing in Cheap Flights F