Complete Guide to Rab Island, Croatia (Including Best Beaches)

If you approach Rab island by boat, from a distance you’ll have the feeling that you are approaching to the huge ship with four masts.

This strange but magical impression is nothing but Rab’s town four church towers that rise above the roofs in the old town.

I still remember when in 1980 while cruising on the luxury yacht along the Adriatic coast, we disembarked in front of Rab town with 400 American tourists with an insatiable desire to know as much as possible about Croatia (in that period Croatia was a communist country).

I was one of eight travel guides on the cruising ship, sufficiently prepared to explain all four Rab churches from:

  • The bell tower of the church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • The Cathedral, the bell tower of the church of St. John the Evangelist
  • The belfry of the church of St. Andrew the Apostle
  • The bell tower of the church of St. Justine

Besides the churches and towers you shouldn’t miss:

  • The City Lodge – Built in the Renaissance style 1509. It is a spacious hall with a roof held by numerous columns. The Lodge was the center of Rab until the fall of the Venetian Republic in 1797.
  • City walls – Tower of the bold (Kula smjelih) and Tower of St. Christopher. Built in the 15 century with the intention to strengthen the fort, these two towers stand on the ruins of previous, medieval walls built in the 12th or 13th century.
  • Monastery of St.Anthony Abbot – This Franciscan Monastery is located in the old town (Kladanac) and was founded in 11th century as a refuge for aristocrats. Today it serves as a gallery for antique oil paintings of Rab from the 1638. Nuns still inhabit it, taking care of the gardens and make various souvenirs.
  • Few magnificent Renaissance buildings and palaces like – Nimira Palace, Bakota Palace and Tudorini Palace.

Rab Island History

Why Rab island is called a happy island? This island was settled by Illyrians in 350BC. In the 1st century, BC Rab has become a Roman municipality called Felix Arba (Felix in Latin means happy or lucky and Arb is Illyric means wooded, green).

The most prosperous period was from the second half of the XI century all the way to XIII century, when it was governed by the Croatian rulers. Venetian republic ruled here from XV century all the way to the 1798 when Napoleon came to these parts.

It’s interesting story about the local stonemason, St. Marino, who moved to the Apennines peninsula to establish the Republic of San Marino in the 4th century. He is the saint patron of Lopar town on the island and very important to locals.

How to get to Rab island

On the above map you can see that this island is located between island Krk on the north and island of Pag on the south. It’s 22 kilometers long and 11 kilometers wide.

The island is connected with one car ferry line from Krk island and by a fast catamaran line from Rijeka to Rab town and proceeding to Novalja (Pag island)

  • Ferry line N° 338 from Valbiska (Krk island) to Lopar (Rab). This Jadrolinija ferry runs on this route all the year round. From June 3rd to October 2nd , four times a day. It takes 80 minutes to reach Lopar from Krk island.
  • Jadrolinija company has introduced a fast catamaran line N° 9309 from Rijeka to Rab and Novalja (Pag island). This is all year round line, running only 3 times a day. It take less than 2 hours from Rijeka to Rab.
  • Another company ‘Rapska plovidba‘ with its headquarter on the island Rab, keeps connection from the mainland to the island. The best connection between Rab and mainland is by ferry from the Stinica (ferry port on mainland) to Misnjak (ferry port on the south side of the island).
  • The desire has become reality when ECA has introduced the first hydroplane line between Rab and Split, Rab to Zadar, Rab to Losinj landing in Rab tow port, making your arrival and departure to Rab even more comfortable. Make sure to book in advance, as this can only accommodate 16 passengers at a time!

Rab Island Beaches

With 30 sandy beaches Rab is a really a happy island. Rare are the islands with so many different beaches scattered all round the island from sandy to pebble ones.

Everyone can find its own private beach on Rab whether you are on holiday with children, or you are a nudist beach fan or a couple looking for a romantic secluded beach. This island wont let you down!

The Kandarola nudist rock and pebble beach

Kandarola King Edward VIII nudist beach

As early as 1934 the first naturist beach opened on the island of Rab, which is known as the pioneer of naturism in the Adriatic.

August 1936 is the official beginning of naturism in Rab when the English King Edward VIII and his wife got permission from Rab’s authorities to experience Croatia naturally.

The most beautiful Rab island beaches

Rajska plaza or Paradise beach near Lopar town is the most famous beach on the island. Almost 2 km long with a ‘blue flag’ title since 2003 is the most visited sandy beaches, perfect place for families with children, offering fine sand and large shallow water areas.

Pudarica sandy beach is another one near Barbat village, on the south part of the island. Pudarica beach is all fine sand and clear sea and you can only get there by a car or by a boat. After the sunset, the famous Beach Clubs Santos is waiting for you , only 5 km from there.

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