Pag Island, Croatia: Travel Guide
Pag island is the fifth largest island in the Adriatic Sea. It’s the only island that administratively belongs to two regions – Northern Dalmatia (Zadar county) and Kvarner bay region.
The eastern part of the island of Pag with Pag town (island capital) belongs to Zadar county while western part, around Novalja village makes part of Kvarner region. Useful references and notes about this island!
Island’s the longest coastal line, over 270 kilometers long, boasts with numerous bays, coves, capes and beaches. Due to the proximity of the mainland and exposure to cold winds from the north, the island is almost naked without the forest cover.
Because of this poor vegetation cover is often compared to the moon surface, particularly northern parts of Pag island. Due to its position under the Velebit mountain range and the strong wind the island surface is almost all covered with salt from the Velebit channel.
Getting To Pag Island
You can reach island of Pag, from different directions. If you are driving, this island is connected on the south side by the Pag that links the island to the mainland.
If you are heading from Rijeka by car the best way is to take a car ferry:
- Car ferry Line N° 335 from Prizna to Zigljen (Pag) by Jadrolinija company. It takes only 15 minutes to reach the island. This ferry line sails 20 times daily in period from 01.07- 04.09.
- At your disposal there is a catamaran line Rijeka – Rab – Novalja (the trip takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes). Line N° 9309
If you decide to travel by bus from Zagreb to the town of Pag journey takes approximately 6 hours, from Rijeka to Pag bus trip takes about 3 hours and 45 minutes.
Pag Island Symbols
Visitors who come to Pag will see that this is an island of diversity in which man lives in harmony with nature using all what this island offers.
If you ask someone what makes this island famous, it is certain that the response will be related to four nouns – lamb, salt, cheese and lace.
Pag lace is a unique handicraft made by valuable and skilled hands of women from Pag. Making lace began in the late 15th century for the church liturgical vestments.
Making lace was initiated by the Benedictine convent where it was established a school of lace. Lace collection that Benedictine nuns kept and collected more than 150 years was declared the Croatian cultural heritage by the Ministry of Culture.
Throughout the history, lace making has become so famous, that women from Pag went to the court of Maria Theresa to make lace for her.
Pag sheep Pramenka – lamb meat
This autochthonous Pag sheep, lamb meat has specific flavor because of the environment in which lives. A variety of medicinal plants that grow on the karst, barren rocks and grass covered with salt deposited by cold winter winds, gives the lamb’s meat a specific taste.
While elsewhere the lamb is separated when it reaches a 30 pound at Pag it is done much earlier due to the exploitation of sheep milk in the production of the famous cheese. Because of such breeding and dietary habits, lamb meat has a specific taste.
Don’t miss to taste it as the world gastronomes consider it to be unforgettable delicacy of Pag table.
Pag Cheese is along with the lace, the most famous symbol of the island. The quality of this unique cheese starts with wind from Velebit ranges which lifts salt from the sea and then salt the vegetation.
In such circumstances, Pag sheep, eating salted plants and medicinal herbs, gives milk the special taste and smell. Visiting this island you can buy Pag cheese at different households that are engaged in the production of cheese.
Finished cheese has a coil shape, with average weight of four to five pounds, and the color of gold or golden-yellow. The cheese matures at least five months. It has a distinctive, extremely spicy taste and characteristic odor.
I strongly recommend you to taste cheese in some of the island’s tavern, at home or as a starter in one of the island’s restaurants.
The white gold of Pag island
The salt has been always called a white gold of the Pag town. It always had an important role in the lives of locals, and salt production lasts for a thousand years.
Salt-work of Pag is one of the oldest of the east Adriatic coast that has the most intensive salt production on the coast of Croatia. The traditional way of producing salt by natural evaporation was abandoned 25 years ago when the salt factory was built at the area of Svilno, 5 km south of the town of Pag.
Nowadays, ‘Solana Pag‘ with its silty pools covers an area of over 2 million square meters and together with storage and the factory facilities, is the largest manufacturing plant in Croatia.
Pag Island Party Beaches
Have you ever heard about Croatia’s party beaches? Few years ago, Ibiza Spain was considered the world’s party capital, without competition. But lately Pag beach Zrce has become one of the most popular party beaches. It’s probably the only beach in Croatia with Ibiza sense.
Zrce is a long sandy beach with crystal clear sea. The beach has numerous facilities and three popular open-air clubs offering entertainment until ‘small’ hours.
Pag Island Sandy Beaches
The island of Pag and its well-indented coastline is the longest in the Adriatic. It is 270 kilometers long, full of bays, coves, capes and beaches. Near Novalja you can find all types of beaches from beautiful sandy to pebble ones.
Here are some of the most famous beaches on the island of Pag:
Trincel (Planjka) beach
Sveti Duh beach
Trincel beach is located in Stara Novalja (Old Novalja), north of the town of Novalja, on Pag island.
The beach is covered with soft sand, surrounded by vegetation and close to the road leading to the city center.
The beach offers all kind of sport activities from volleyball court, water slides for kids, canoe and peddle boats rental. It’s equipped with chairs and umbrellas, dressing cabins, showers and toilet. At the very center of the beach you’ll find a mini bar offering fast food. If you coming by car, there is a large parking area.
Caska beach is in close vicinity of Caska settlement offering rooms in the villas of its hospitable landlords in the immediate vicinity of this beautiful beach.
It is a sandy beach, with a sandy bottom which makes it suitable for families with children. There is a restaurant on the beach and some recreational facilities.
For foodies lovers, nearby Zal restaurant, offers young lamb meat that graze particular rocky ground pasture.
Sveti Duh (The Holy Spirit) sandy beach is one of the most beautiful on the Pag island, located 10 kilometers east of Novalja town. It is about 5 kilometers long and it is connected with the beach Eista, which is also a sandy beach,
Half of the beach is used by naturists. Naturist has to pay the entrance fee about 7 Kuna (that’s about 0.8 EUR). On the southern end of the beach you can find small autocamp ‘Sv. Duh’ with basic facilities (bar and sanitary facilities).
Strasko is one of the biggest and nicest camping sites on the Adriatic coast, located 2 km south-east from Novalja Pag island.
It can be reached from Novalja by car, by foot or by mountain-bike trough the forest path. The camping has a lovely seaside setting in the shade of Dalmatian oak, pine and olive trees along 2 km long beach.
It offers a large number of sporting and recreational facilities, restaurants, bars, shops, evening entertaining programs for children and adults. There are also fully equipped, air conditioned bungalows to rent.
Rucica sandy beach – a secluded sandy beach of undiscovered beauty. If you have a chance don’t miss to visit this unique beach.
It’s located 10 Km from Novalja town, near the village Metajna on the Pag island. (see the above map)
A special peculiarity of Rucica beach is extraordinary moon-like surroundings taht makes it really special. The beach is free of any shade, ideal for quick sunbathing and usually visited by naturist lovers.