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Island of Pag Croatia Travel Guide | Best Island on the Croatian Coast 2023 

the festival of may on pag Croatia. there are people dancing, signing, eating, and drinking in the town square of novalja pag

I was lucky enough to call Pag Croatia home, and now y’all are lucky enough to get the insider scoop. Here is my Island of Pag Croatia, travel guide! Home to my favorite, the Paški Sir, world famous cheese, salt trade, and yes parties. But, my very favorite part of the beautiful island of Pag, is the people I met. 

Pag Hrvatska is the fifth largest island on the Croatian coast. They have an unusual topography and rich history. The summer months are high season and are the ideal destination for party people and nature lovers. It is also a popular film location for international, and Croatian filmmakers, including Ridley Scott’s BBC Series, The Grand Tour, and the Netflix comedy dj Ibiza. 

me and carter eating cheese inside the paski sir factory on pag island.

Pag Island Travel Guide

Check out what is the best time of year to visit Croatia here! But, there is no wrong time to explore Croatia.

How to Get to Pag Island Croatia & How to Get Around 

The first thing you notice when you enter Pag Croatia is the stunning Pag Island Bridge. It connects the southern part of the island to the mainland. And the Prizna Ziglijen ferry connects the northern part. 

Pag to Zadar is only about an hour, and there are many ways to get into town. Book a Pag Zadar Airport private transfer, drive yourself, or you can find out the bus schedule here.

The journey from Pag Croatia island to Split is about two hours. Book a private ride from Split Airport.

the beautiful pag bridge during sunset the mountains in the back are purple and the clouds are as well.

There are many taxis in the summertime to drive you around, bike rentals, and of course, you can always rent a car! You can try Uber, but when I was there it was much better to hire a taxi.

You can also book a day trip to pag island from Zadar!

Take a look at the best and free things to do in Zadar.

Pag Croatia: The Moonrock Island Different Areas to Explore

Novalja Pag: Novalja is a vibrant town with so many things to do in Novalja it is known as the hub of Pag Island. It’s famous for Zrće Beach, but Novalja also has a rich history with Roman aqueducts, ancient churches, and the mysterious Pag Triangle nearby.

Pag Town: The main town on the island, Pag Town, dates back to the 15th century. Its medieval old town features Gothic churches, ancient city walls, and the Duke’s Palace. Pag Town is also famous for lace making, salt pans, and the local cheese, Paški Sir’.

Mandre Pag: Mandre is a seaside village on the southern side of the Pag Croatia. With beautiful beaches, clear waters, and a serene atmosphere. The village offers a relaxed pace of life, making it ideal for a peaceful getaway.

The seaside in Novalja town square from above. the sea is beautiful and clear and people are out enjoying the sunset

Povljana Pag: Situated in the southern part of the island, Povljana is a small town surrounded by gorgeous landscapes, including sandy beaches, vineyards, and medicinal mud. The area is popular for outdoor activities like cycling and hiking.

Metajna Pag: Metajna is also a small fishing village in the northern part of Pag Croatia. It’s quiet and known for the unique Beritnica Beach and “Life on Mars” hiking trail. This is where the island’s moon-like landscape starts.

Gajac Pag: Gajac is a small town located near Novalja and Zrće Beach. It’s a relatively newer settlement, developed mainly for tourism purposes. It offers accommodation facilities and is a good base for those looking to enjoy the Pags nightlife.

Šimuni Pag: Šimuni is a picturesque fishing village located between Mandre and the town of Kolan. It’s known for its sandy beaches and a large campsite that blends naturally into a pine forest. Šimuni is also a great spot for sailing and oceanfront restaurants on Pag Island with a view.

Best Things To Do in Pag Croatia 

Best Beaches on Pag Island

For a more in-depth look, with real photos, addresses and all check out my Best Beaches on Pag Island blog! But here is a run down some of the many beaches you can find exploring Pag Croatia.

Pag Island Beaches: perfect for hot summer days.

Zrće Beach: Undoubtedly the most famous beach on the island, Zrće is known as the ‘Croatian Ibiza‘. This pebble beach is home to famous hideout festival and open-air clubs and often hosts international DJs during the summer with sizzling nightlife.

one of the best beaches on pag croatia with a nice clear sea and lovely rocks around

Caska Beach: Located near Zrće, Caska is a more peaceful alternative. It’s a sandy beach with shallow waters, making it ideal for families with children. The beach offers a beautiful view of the bay and according to local legend, the remains of a sunken Roman city lie beneath its waters.

Bosana Beach: Situated near the town of Pag, Bosana is a pebble beach known for its clear waters and stunning views of the surrounding landscape. This is the local’s favorite beach!

Ručica Beach: Located in Metajna Pag, Ručica is a unique beach surrounded by barren, rocky landscapes that resemble the moon. The contrast between the golden rocks and the turquoise sea creates beautiful scenery. Book a unique night hike on Rućica Beach, for a fun night out!

a boat in the water by the coast of novalja

Novalja Zrce bungee jump!

night kayak with light up

Discover How the Ancient Romans Lived

Pag Island was inhabited by the Illyrians before the Romans, but it was under the Romans that the island saw significant development.

The Romans recognized the strategic importance of Pag Island due to its location in the Adriatic Sea. They built roads and urban settlements and aqueducts, or an Italian hole. These mysterious passageways are under the town’s history museum on Kralja Zvonimira Street. 

abbey in the roman aqueducts smiling, wearing a red shirt and black pants

The aqueduct was built in the 1st century AD and was used to supply water from a distant spring to the Roman city of Cissa (today’s Novalja). The remains of Cissa are now underwater due to a seaquake, but some artifacts have been recovered and are displayed in the Novalja City Museum.

Additionally, the Romans brought their culture, laws, and religion to Pag. They built temples, public buildings, and villas, some of which have been discovered during archaeological excavations.

While much of the Roman influence has faded over the centuries, their impact on the development and history of Pag Island is undeniable. Today, visitors can still see how the Romans lived in the island’s architecture, archaeological sites, and museums.

the remains of an old boat found off the coast of Pag Croatia

Biking & Hiking on Pag Croatia 

The Hikes on Pag Island are remarkable! Each one is a little different than the last. You will for sure want to wear hiking boots, as most of them are pebbly, and you might even want to wear gloves. Bring lots of water, and don’t forget your camera!

Life on Mars Trail: This is a unique trail located in Metajna Pag that truly showcases Pag’s moon-like landscape. The barren, rocky terrain, coupled with stunning sea views, and very little vegetation gives you a feeling of exploring another planet.

the life on mars trail in novalja croatia

Svetojanj hike tour: For those looking for a challenge, the trail to the peak of Sveti Vid, the highest point on the island, is perfect. The climb is steep, but the panoramic views of the island and surrounding sea are breathtaking. Svetojanj has a new bike trail it is not for the faint of heart, but the tour guides help, and so do the e-bikes.

For a more detailed account of these hikes, please read my detailed blog about Hikes on Pag Island.

carter standing high on one of the best hikes in pag

Explore Pag’s Bermuda Triangle

UFO investigators have been to Pag’s Bermuda Triangle and classified it as very unusual. It doesn’t seem like much until you get up close. Inside the rocky terrain is the shape of a big triangle.

What makes it even more unusual is that the rocks inside the triangle are distinctly different from the surrounding landscape. They are smoother and lighter, and vegetation is much smaller inside the triangle compared to the rest of the landscape.

Discovered in 1999, the origin of the Pag Triangle remains a mystery. You have to go and check it out yourself and decide it if was a landing pad for a UFO, or just mother nature playing tricks on us.

Where to Stay on Pag Island 

There are quite a few good quality hotels in Pag Croatia. Here are my favs. You can also check out the many camping Novalja sites!

Hotel Belveder Pag

Hotel Belveder Pag has an outdoor pool, lounge, and restaurants that serve local cheeses, lamb meat, and seafood accompanied by a wide selection of Croatian wine.

Check rates here: Booking.com

Family Hotel Pagus All Inclusive

Family Hotel Pagus is the perfect all-inclusive hotel and the largest resort on the island of Pag! They have a private pebble beach and a large spa and wellness center!

Check rates here: Booking.com

Hotel Loza Novalja

Hotel Loza Novalja has the best sunset out of all the hotels in Pag. Located in the city center or Novalja, they are near Zcre and have a buffet breakfast that stays open late! Perfect for the late night crowd.

Check rates here: booking.com

the loza in the town square of pag croatia

You may also like this list of the Best Hotels in Split.

Apartments on Pag Island Pag 

Apartments Tomana– is one of the most affordable Novalja apartments right by the sea. You will be within walking distance from Novalja with a lovely seafront view.

Check rates here: Booking.com

Enjoy the Pag Town Carnival

The Pag Croatia Carnival also known as Karneval Pag is one of the oldest traditions on Pag Island, dating back to the Roman era. Usually held on Ash Wednesday in the center of Pag old town.  

The town comes alive with colorful parades, traditional music and dances, and theatrical performances. Locals dress up in costumes and masks, adding to the festive atmosphere.

the festival of may on pag Croatia. there are people dancing, signing, eating, and drinking in the town square of novalja pag

One of the key highlights of the Pag Town Carnival is the traditional “Paški tanac” a traditional folk dance in traditional Pag costumes.

Another unique feature of the carnival is the “Balun” party where locals and guests dance, sing, and enjoy local food and drinks. The event is a symbolic trial and burning of the puppet “Marko”, representing the bad events of the year, a ritual that brings good luck for the next year.

Croatia’s best delicacies: Pag cheese, Pag lamb, Pag salt, Pag Lace

Pag salt or Solana Pag

People on Pag Island have been making salt since Roman times! The salt pans in the town of Pag, where favorable climate conditions, strong winds, and high evaporation, create the perfect environment for sea salt production.

The process of producing Pag Salt is organic and relies on natural elements: sea, sun, and wind. Seawater from the Adriatic is left in shallow pools, called salt pans. The sun and wind evaporate the water over time, leaving behind the salt which is then harvested by hand using wooden tools.

Pag Salt is highly valued for its purity, high mineral content, and distinct taste. It’s used widely in Croatian cuisine and is specially paired with the other famous product from Pag Croatia, Paški Sir cheese.

Try Pag Lamb, A Local Delicacy Tuck into Pag lamb Do a wine tasting of Pag’s best vino

Sip Pag brandy & Sample Pag wines

The island of Pag in Croatia, while more famous for its cheese and salt, also has a tradition of producing local wines and brandy.

Wine: The production of wine on Pag Island is challenging due to the sandy soil and the strong Bura winds. These same factors contribute to the unique taste of Pag’s wines.

Gegić is the white grape only that wines are made from They are light, with fresh acidity and notes of Mediterranean herbs, ideal for pairing with the local cheese and seafood.

Brandy: Apart from wine, Pag Island is also known for its homemade brandies, often referred to as ‘rakija’. The most popular type of brandy on the island is ‘travarica’, a grape brandy infused with a mix of local herbs. Another notable brandy is ‘rogačuša’, made from the fruit of the carob tree, which is abundant on the island.

Nibble Pag Cheese

The local cheese is known as Paski Sir and it is some of the best in the world. This is because it is made with sheep’s milk, and the sheep on Pag Island are extra special. They are smaller than most sheep and are very strong due to the strong bura winds in the winter months. Their milk is salty due to the strong wind blowing the sea salt onto the rocks, which the small sheep lick. 

the small and strong sheep on pag island.

The farmers milk every day twice a day in the off-season, and in the summer months, they get a break. As the rest of the island goes to work. 

Three are two different Pag cheese factories for a Pag cheese tour, and I had the pleasure of taking a guided tour of both. Paski Sir is sold world wide and is known as a delicacy. There are all different kinds some are made with fresh herbs, some a little spicy, some aged, and some fresh! 

paskir sir label in front of the cheese in the back round

Page Lace Making or Paška čipka

Pag lacemaking is a centuries old tradition started by Benedictine nuns. Each piece of Pag lace is unique and painstakingly created by hand using a needle, thread, and backing that holds the pattern. The designs are often inspired by the island, with flowers, vines, and geometric patterns.

The tradition of lace-making is passed down from generation to generation and today, Pag lace is highly valued for its artistic and cultural significance. It has been listed as an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. In Pag Town, there’s a Lace Museum where visitors can learn more about this craft, see exquisite examples of Pag lace, and even watch lace-makers at work.

pepole dressed beautiful in tradtional clothing on at one of th festivals on pag croatia, they are wearing pag lace on their heads

Olive Gardens of Lun Pag Croatia 

The history of the Olive Gardens of Lun brought us to Pag Croatia. They are the oldest natural olive grove in the world! What I loved the most about the Lun olive grove, is that it is passed down generational to the women of the families, and each family has their own marks painted on these gorgeous olive trees. 

It is about 30 minutes outside of the old town, and always worth a visit. We made a mini-documentary for the NY Olive Oil Times about the groves of Lun Croatia and the challenges they face. 

Go and take a tour, buy some olive oils, and keep your eyes peeled for the wild sheep. It’s a mystic experience that everyone should see. The best time of day is sunrise, you may even see dolphins swimming along the rocky shore. 

Support Local Musicians at Sonus

Pag Island knows how to party. and there are plenty of local musicians to listen to. Zrće beach is the best-known place for festivals, but in Pag town, Sonus is where the locals go to enjoy music. 

Cruise Pag Bay

Starting your exploration of Pag Bay, you’re greeted by the stunning coastal views. The bay’s turquoise waters are perfect for paddle boarding, swimming, snorkeling, or kayaking. As you venture further, you’ll find secluded coves and hidden beaches.

A boat tour around the bay affords breathtaking views of the rugged coastline, with opportunities to spot dolphins swimming around. Book a party boat for an epic summer day!

Pag Island Bay isn’t just about its natural beauty. It’s steeped in history too. The old town of Pag, located near the bay, although a ghost town is a treasure trove of medieval architecture.

Visit The Ghost Town

The ghost town on Pag Island the Old Town of Pag, is also known as Stari Grad Pag. It’s located about 2 kilometers from the current town of Pag.

Stari Grad Pag was originally built in the 15th century and was the island’s main settlement until the residents decided to abandon it due to attacks and a lack of water supply. They moved to a more favorable location nearby, which is now the present-day Pag Town.

Among the ruins, you can still see remnants of the medieval walls, the Duke’s Palace, and several churches, including the Church of St. Mary.

Despite being abandoned, the Old Town of Pag carries a unique charm and historical significance. It offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape and the sea. The site is easily accessible and makes for an intriguing visit for those interested in history and architecture.

the basclia of st mary on the shore of pag croatia

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Abbey Rae

Fulltime Traveller, Blogger, SEO Writer

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