Nowhere along the Adriatic coast does the forceful massive of the Dinarid mountains approach the sea as it does between the Cetina and Neretva Rivers, Biokovo has its roots in the sea and head in the clouds, as its highest peak, St. Jure (1762) is only 5 km from the coast.
The rising of Biokovo from the depths of the sea began some 65 million years ago. Water, ice, wind and sea cut the soft limestone into numerous karst forms – round valleys, cracks, water wells, caves and pits. After the beautiful pebble beaches over the terrifying steep cliffs rises up the fantastic Biokovo karst plateau, a stone sponge which swallows rainwater into its deep pits, passing it through to the sources in the foothills, and deeper into the sea where the submarine springs emerge. The imposing Brela springs are the largest submarine springs in the Mediterranean Sea.
Seemingly impoverished and naked, Biokovo is in fact home to a wealth of plant and animal life. In the patches of virgin forests of beech and black Dalmatian pine, we can find almost 1500 plant species, including numerous endemic species – the Biokovo bellflower (Edriaianthus pumilio), the cuspidate centaurea (Centaurea cuspidata), Centaurea gloriosa and others. In addition to the plant cover, there is also an entire world, still unstudied, of mushrooms and invertebrates with numerous relic and endemic species. Among the thirty species of mammals, there are field mice, bats, wild boar, chamois and mouflon. A common predator is the wolf. There are also numerous amphibians, reptiles and birds present in the park. Until recently, the Griffon vulture ruled over the skies, together with the golden eagle
In its depths, Biokovo hides numerous caves and deep pits. The deepest is the Amfora pit, at 788 m in dept. With their eternal snow and ice, once harvested by the Biokovo ice farmers, and their hidden archaeology and palaeontology finds, these pits are home to over one hundred cave species, including 25 Biokovo endemic species.
Despite the lack of fertile soil, strong northern winter winds and snow, man has been present on Biokovo for thousands of years as an animal breeder and land worker. Evidence of the cohabitation with the mountains is seen in the numerous rock piles where the Illyrians buried their dead, the pastoral stone cattle pens, the stone fences around their wheat fields, the stone wells and the famous Biokovo potatoes. Here we meet rare Croatian breeds of domestic animals – the Dalmatian Buša and Dalmatian Ass, Grey Dalmatian Cattle and horse Croatian Bušak.
Today, the mountain is explored by new explorers and conquered by numerous nature lovers. They rock climb, hike, ride mountain bikes, fly with paragliders and go spelunking in pits and canyons. If you are not such an adventure lover, take the longest paved road in Croatia, 24 kilometres long, which leads from the sea to the highest peak and to the viewing points at Staza, Ravna Vlaška, Štrbina, Vošac and Sv. Jure, where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the Makarska Rivijera, the Pelješac peninsula and the central Dalmatian islands, as well as the inland regions of Biokovo all the way to the mountains of Herzegovina.
The unique geomorphologic mountain system, the natural beauty of its landscape and its numerous fascinating karst phenomena, and exceptional biological diversity and many endemic species led to the proclamation of the Biokovo Nature Park in 1981. The park spreads over and area of 196 km2 and includes the entire mountain area from Dubci Pass to Staza Pass, a distance of 25 km.
The Biokovo Mountains, a seemingly eternal labyrinth of grey cliffs and hidden forests, is but a fragile karst ecosystem.