Located on the coastline of central-southern Croatia on the Makarska Riviera in Split-Dalmatia County, Podgora is a small town which used to be a fishing village. Nowadays it has a population of around 2.000. During the summer season (July to August) three times as many tourists can find a bed in Podgora, either in one of the hotels, in an apartment or on a camping site.
Podgora has a small cosy harbour with nice restaurants and cafes and three or four tourist boats which frequently offer trips to the surrounding islands Hvar, Brač or Korčula. A narrow promenade with lots of cafes, bars, restaurants and shops spans the town.
How to get there
The easiest way will be by plane to Split (SPU) and from there by taxi or bus which costs around EUR 100,- (taxi) or EUR 10-15,- (bus). To Podgora it is around 90km and takes about 1,5h, depending on the traffic. The trip takes you along the magistrale with a gorgeous view at the Adriatic, mountains and plenty of small villages, beaches and harbours. Try to sit on the right side of the vehicle. And if you take the highway, it is probably a bit faster but you will have to pay the toll.
Diving: Birgmaier Sub
Birgmaier Sub (TA) is the place to go if you want to go snorkeling, do a discovery dive, maybe sign up for a CMAS course or, as an already certified diver, go on a diving trip either by boat or from the shore. The owner and instructor Oleg Birgmaier and his son Petr are skilled divers with tens of years of experience and they both ensure that you will have a very pleasant and safe time.
You can either get in your suit at the diving center or carry everything across the promenade to the beach and get ready there. Distance to the water is about 20m.
The discovery or refreshment dives take place in shallow water until a depth between 6 to 8m. Max. depth for discovery dives is 10m.
Uzorita beach (Mediteran)
Another diving spot, the Uzorita beach, is situated in front of the former Hotel Mediteran, now belonging to the Medora Auri hotel complex.
Two routes are common: Less experienced divers, or new divers doing the CMAS one-star course, stay on top of the reef in about 15m depth. More experienced divers can go deeper, usually until a depth of about 20m. My first deep dive (31,4m) took place there, as a part of the CMAS two-star course. If you are lucky, you can see a scorpionfish (scorpaenidae) - Be careful at the reef and wear gloves as you could accidentally touch a scorpionfish which has venomous fin spines causing painful wounds. These fish almost look like rocks (they are also called stonefish or rockfish).
Korito (below Camp Sutikla)
This location is close to Uzorita below the cemetery and Camp Sutikla, right next to an abandoned Pizza and ice cream (Sladoled) place. Regular diving depth is 17-20m.
Until 2016 the site used to have a quite nice reef, but in 2017 we discovered that major parts of it got destroyed by massive rocks that got dumped there. It made us want to cry.
A diving trip by boat to a very nice lagoon in the north-west end of Podgora featuring a reef and a small wreck. Diving depth is between 12-35m.
The diving buddies will use a hand truck to bring the equipment along the promenade to a pier, around 500m distance to the diving center. From there it takes about 15 minutes by boat to get to the spot. Garma is also a nice place for snorkeling.
Žuć Kamen (Yellow stone)
This yellow stone is located between Čaklje and Drašnice and a nice place for snorkeling and diving. The usual depth is between 9-15m, the water is ocassionally quite cold.
A diving site for every level of experience, located between Podgora and the south-west end of Tučepi.
I only went there once so far, my depth was around 21m. It was a bit challenging as we went in a group of six, the visibility was quite bad that day and there was some minor current. Overall it was a very nice dive.
Food & Drinks
There are plenty of family-owned restaurants and Konobas in Podgora. All waiters speak English, older ones even German or some additional slavik languages. The food ranges from typical touristic food (pasta, pizza, "Wiener Schnitzel") to very nice meat and fish. Almost all restaurants are full in the evenings during the season, hence I recommend booking a table, which can be combined with a stroll along the promenade during lunchtime.
Various dishes, from pasta over pizza to meat and fish - and a lot of it on each plate! // TA
Located in the port of Podgora. Very nice mostly domestic meals, with fish caught by local fishermen. Good wine. If a big fish is on display you can go and choose the part which you would like to have. // TA
Right next to Konoba Borak is this old restaurant which is part of the Hotel Primordia. They offer a salad bar which is included in every meal. Their food ranges from Wiener Schnitzel or Zagrebački Odrezak (Gordon bleu) to nice domestic fish.