Of the Kvarner islands, Rab is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful. A true natural paradise, it was declared a Geopark in 2008 due to the variety of its landscapes.
The southern coast of the island of Rab, dotted with beaches and coves surrounded by pine forests, is the most densely populated, while in the north the landscape is more rugged, with a rocky coastline and a few scattered settlements. Protected from the winds by the mountainous relief, the hinterland is a gentle landscape cultivated with vineyards and olive groves.
The town of Rab is a picturesque medieval village with four bell towers rising proudly into the sky, while the Lopar peninsula, another major attraction of the island, is a succession of beautiful sandy beaches with shallow waters, making them suitable even for those travelling with small children.
Rab is a charming medieval town squeezed into a peninsula that juts out into the sea between the Bay of St Euphemia and the port of Gradska.
The main streets, Donja, Srednja and Gornja ulica, stretch from north to south with a corollary of side streets. A good starting point for sightseeing is Trg Svetog Kristofora square, where you can admire a fountain with the figures of Kalifront and Draga, the protagonists of a local legend.
The distinctive feature of the town of Rab are the four bell towers that stand out against the blue Croatian sky, emerging from a picturesque expanse of rooftops.
Some of these towers can be climbed to enjoy a romantic view of the town’s rooftops, with the sea in the background. The most impressive is the bell tower of St. Mary, one of the most beautiful in Croatia: it dates back to the 12th century and is 26 metres high.
Strolling through the centre of Rab you will come across interesting religious buildings, often only open during mass or at irregular times. If you can, take a look at Rab’s most beautiful churches:
Among the civil buildings, the most interesting is undoubtedly the 15th-century Palazzo Dominis, with splendid Renaissance windows and an elegant portal.
If you are tired of walking around town, take a rest in Komrča Park: originally a pasture for animals, its function was radically changed in the 19th century when the first trees were planted. Today it is a perfect place to have a picnic, take the children to play, get some fresh air.
At the northern end of Rab is Lopar, the island’s second tourist resort. The entire peninsula is a popular family holiday destination, thanks to the abundance of sandy beaches protected by shady pine forests, which are more comfortable and safer for those with small children.
There are as many as 22, but bear in mind that the beaches on the north-eastern part of the peninsula are more bare and are generally frequented by naturists.
Barbat is a small village in the plains, surrounded by vineyards and vegetable gardens, with a 3 km long shoreline. There is a good choice of houses for rent in this area.
Suha Punta is a tourist complex located on the Kalifront peninsula, with rocky beaches, shady paths, shops, restaurants and sports fields.
Rab is famous for its beautiful sandy beaches on the Lopar peninsula, but in other areas you can also find rocky and pebble beaches as well as several naturist beaches.
Here are the most beautiful beaches on Rab:
You can hire bikes, motorbikes and boats to explore the island of Rab, but if the idea of wandering the island alone doesn’t appeal to you, you can join an organised tour.
There are numerous boat trips around the island, allowing you to admire its beautiful coastline, but day tours to Lošinj and the island of Pag are also available.
Walking enthusiasts will find numerous opportunities on Rab to spend pleasant hours walking in beautiful natural scenery.
One beautiful path is the one that starts at the Hotel Istra and leads to the top of Sveti Ilija, a hillock 100 metres above the sea. The walk is really easy and you will be rewarded with a magnificent panorama.
There is no shortage of opportunities for memorable diving: there are diving centres on the island where you can rent equipment and book sea excursions.
The northernmost town on Rab is Lopar, which overlooks two opposing gulfs. Here you will find numerous flats for rent and also a few hotels. The area is suitable for families with children thanks to the two large, wide beaches, and the tranquillity of the place.
A little further to the south is the village of Supetarska Draga, which does not offer any beaches that can be reached on foot, but does have a marina from which various tours on private boats depart, so sleeping here is ideal for those who like to experience the sea 100%.
More or less in the geographical centre of the island is the town of Rab, with a delightful historical centre where one can find many flats and some boutique hotels. There is also no shortage of luxury or all-inclusive hotels along the waterfront. Ultimately, sleeping in Rab town is the right choice for those who want a pleasant town to wander around in the evening, with plenty of restaurants, bars and clubs to stay late.
Finally, the southernmost settlement on the island, about 5-6 kilometres from Rab town, is Barbat na Rabu. This is where things get quieter, and away from the hustle and bustle of the island’s capital, you have the opportunity to enjoy a quieter holiday, with magnificent beaches but still with all the necessary facilities, such as supermarkets, bars and restaurants – ideal, therefore, for families with children.
To reach Rab by car you can either take a ferry from Stinica on the Croatian coast, or reach the island of Krk via the bridge connecting it to the mainland and from there take a ferry to Rab.
If you want to travel by public transport, you can take a direct bus from Zagreb and Rijeka.