The island of Pag is unique among the thousands of Croatian islands, with its lunar landscape and its two contrasting souls of centuries-old tradition and unbridled modernity.
Tourists who cross the bridge from the mainland to come here for a holiday of relaxation and nature find enchanting beaches washed by a blue sea and a rugged but incredibly impressive natural landscape formed by Corsican rocks and areas of Mediterranean scrub.
Young people from all over Europe, on the other hand, come to Pag to spend long nights clubbing to the sounds of the trendiest music of the summer or to attend popular electronic music festivals on the Zrće party beach.
In the meantime, the life of the islanders goes on slowly: fishermen, cheese makers, women busy working lace, just like in the old days.
Whether it is the high, the nature or the desire to rediscover a slower pace of life, Pag will certainly remain in your heart.
The town of Pag is a pretty little town built by the Venetians in the 15th century according to an urban design that was entrusted to one of the most famous architects of the time, Juraj Dalmatinac.
The atmosphere of the town is old-fashioned, with narrow streets, low stone houses and old men sitting outside their homes chatting.
The old town, enclosed within Vangrada and Podmir streets, is now a pedestrian zone. You can have a coffee or sit on the benches of the central square, Trg Kralja, and watch the people go by, then take a look at the town’s interesting churches: the Gothic-style Church of St Mary, the Renaissance and Baroque-style Church of St Margaret and the Church of St George.
Also take a look at the richly ornamented portal of the Ducal Palace, then go inside to visit the Lace Museum, which with precious examples of handmade lace, historical photographs and information panels tells the story of a very important local tradition.
In the centre you will also find salt warehouses, testimony to the importance of this natural product for the local population.
Lacking the historical charm of Pag, Novalja, the second largest town on the island, has become a must-see destination for the nightlife crowd with its wide selection of bars and discos attracting a young crowd in search of summer highs and adventures.
If you are looking for peace and quiet, it may not be the best choice for you, but if you are travelling in the low season, you can enjoy a leisurely stroll along the waterfront and explore the beautiful beaches in the surrounding area without being disturbed by hordes of wild young people.Read more
On the island of Pag, you can choose from a number of villages scattered around the island as a base for your stay: fishing villages, picturesque villages nestled in a bay, tourist towns and recent settlements created to expand the range of tourist facilities on the island.
Here are just a few of them:
Zrće is undoubtedly the most famous beach on the island of Pag, and one of the most party-loving beaches in Croatia, so much so that young people under 35 now come here from all over Europe in search of a good time.
This micro-Ibiza is a succession of beach bars that surround the three main clubs, where you enter when it is night and leave when it is already morning.
At 1 km long, this crescent-shaped pebble beach, with the inland mountains in the background, is actually a little paradise that you can have all to yourself if you come here in the low season.Read more
If a mundane beach like Zrće is not your ideal holiday destination, visit its opposite: the enchanting Beritnica beach is a grand natural spectacle.
Three huge boulders emerge mightily from the water, like an art installation or a prehistoric temple, while behind the beach rises the spectacular rocky tower of the Stogaj promontory. The landscape is lunar and the sea is an intense blue colour.
This hidden gem can be reached by walking along an unmarked path from the car park of Ručice beach, which is also very beautiful.
Such a remote beach is not everyone’s cup of tea, which is why Beritnica is never crowded, even during peak periods of mass tourism, which makes it all the more special.
“Čista’ in Croatian means ‘clean, pure’ and Čista beach has certainly earned this name for its crystal-clear waters.
It is a long beach of white sand that slopes gently down to the sea, and is therefore also suitable for families with small children.
Strolling around the town of Pag, it is still possible to see women intent on working elaborate lace, a local tradition that has lasted for centuries.
It is said that the origins of Pag lace go back as far as the Renaissance period; initially it was used as an ornament for shirts and neckerchiefs, and only from the beginning of the 20th century did it become an ornament for tablecloths and bedspreads.
The decorative motifs of lace, generally geometric, are passed down from generation to generation, a baggage to which each lace-maker can, however, add a touch of personal creativity.
You cannot leave Pag without tasting the island’s prized pecorino cheese: the milk of the local sheep, which feed on meagre herbs, and the maturing process in stone containers give it a special, rather marked flavour.
You can buy it directly from producers who display a sign, usually handwritten, outside their door.
Another typical local product is Žutica white wine.
The Carnival of Pag is the most famous event on the island. The original version takes place in the winter and is a traditional festival, almost exclusively attended by islanders. In July, a second edition is organised for tourists, again with traditional dancing and music.
Pag is also famous for the electronic music festivals held during the summer months on the island’s party beach, Zrće. With line-ups of up to 100+ artists, including top international DJs, Hide Out, Sonus and Fresh Island Festival are must-see events for fans of the genre.
The options for sleeping in Pag are numerous. There are plenty of facilities, mainly flats and rooms for rent, which are rented out to tourists by locals during the summer season. There are also a number of all inclusive facilities and hotels by the sea, which is quite rare in Croatia, underlining the strong tourist vocation that Pag carries with it.
The choice of where to stay in Pag has mainly to do with the type of holiday one is looking for. Indeed, for the young, Pag is synonymous with unbridled fun, and the town that embodies this spirit is undoubtedly Novalija, where the famous Zrce beach is located, which every day turns into a huge open-air disco. Needless to say, those seeking peace and quiet, especially couples or families, will have to avoid this area, and head for other areas such as Pag town, much more authentic and characteristic, or the northern and southern parts of the island, much less beaten by mass tourism, and therefore quieter and cheaper.
A good compromise for sleeping in Pag is Pag town, the ideal solution for those who want to visit the island far and wide, since it is more or less in its geographical centre. At the same time, it is very convenient for families with small children, since all services such as supermarkets and pharmacies can be found here, as well as a beautiful beach, Plaža Prosika, which is very comfortable to walk to.
Finally, those arriving from continental Croatia, perhaps from Zadar or Split, and who do not have too much time to dedicate to Pag, can choose to sleep in the first two villages they come across after crossing the Paski Most bridge, Miškovići and Dinjiška respectively. Both are authentic and relatively close to the mainland, very quiet but with some beautiful beaches nearby.
Pag is about 80 km from Zadar and can be easily reached by car, thanks to a bridge connecting it to the mainland. There is also a ferry service from the north of the island to mainland Croatia.
Theisland of Pag, one of Croatia's largest and a destination for tourists from all over Europe in search of beautiful beaches and entertainment, is located in the heart of the Croatian archipelago, which stretches off the coast of the Dalmatian region. The island lies a few kilometres north of the city of Zadar, from which it is about a half-hour drive, and is connected to the mainland by a bridge, Paski Most, just over 200 metres long.
Pag is a very large island: it has a very elongated shape, with a maximum length of about 60 kilometres, and a maximum width of only 7 kilometres. Off the coast of Pag are small, uninhabited and unspoilt islands, such as the island of Maun and the island of Skrda. Pag is about 140 kilometres from Ancona, the nearest Italian city, as the crow flies.