Sveti Jure is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 1.762m (5,780ft) above the sea level, located in the Biokovo mountain range in Croatia, along the Dalmatian coast of the Adriatic Sea. It’s the highest mountain road in the country. The road commands a breathtaking panorama of the folds of the mountains stretching down to the seashore and islands of Croatia, and the view to the sea and inland is amazing. You should be prepared to back up if you meet an oncoming vehicle.
This is an exquisite winding mountain drive with sharp and blind curves and hairpin switchbacks leading the traveler over the mountains. The drive is definitely worth it. There are many excellent photo opportunities. Don’t forget your camera! The road to the top, through national park Biokovo (national park Biokovo is open from 7.00 to 20.00 hours) has a fee entrance. The route is recommended during all seasons. During winter time check the snow conditions. Don’t choose windy time because the wind can be very strong on Biokovo. Check carefully the weather report before the trip.
There are some narrow sections -scarcely wide enough for two cars- where if two vehicles have to pass each other, one might have to reverse for some kilometres of winding narrow road to get to a place wide enough to pass. It shouldn’t be attempted by those who don't know how to reverse. The road is difficult and it’s a nightmare in the wet or dark (or both). The top of this mountain is large rocky dome, occupied by a TV tower. Until1964, when this tower was built, Sv. Jure chapel was standing there. Then it was moved a little bit to the north, few meters below the summit. It was there since 1646, till modern technology came.
There are 3 possible routes to reach the summit. Starting from Makarska, the ascent is 30 km long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 1662 heightmeters. The average percentage is 5.5 %. Starting from Biokovo, the ascent is 21.74 km long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 1370 heightmeters. The average percentage is 6.3 %. And starting from Podgora, the ascent is 24.59 km long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 1692 heightmeters. The average percentage is 6.8 %.
There are sheer drops virtually along the entire route and enough hairpins to make a whirling dervish dizzy. A quick glance at the map at its sheer drops and serpentine twists and turns, confirms that this is no hype. From the entrance to the Nature Park, at 365m above the sea level, the Biokovo Tourist Road is 23km long, climbing up to the peak, at 1.762m. The speed limit is 30km/h. It’s forbidden to overtake. Drive with great caution.
There is little room for error on this road. It's normal for your palms to sweat looking at those photos, imagine what it must have been like before the barriers. It’s incredibly disorienting to look over the edge, or even just to see the valleys a couple thousand feet below you. It’s a mind numbing vertical drop of hundreds of meters so you might want to give it a miss on a windy day.